“Resolved unanimously that [Virginia’s] delegates in General Congress be instructed to propose to that respectable body to declare the United Colonies free and independent upon the crown or parliament of Great Britain…” 5th Virginia Convention, May 15, 1776. With this historic vote, His Majesty’s Old Dominion (Virginia) effectively declared its independence from Great Britain. This bold act in the spring of 1776, an act that was inconceivable to most Virginians just twelve months earlier, was the culmination of a decade long dispute between the American colonists and British officials. In hindsight, the separation between Great Britain and her American colonies seemed inevitable, at least Thomas Paine thought so when he wrote in Common Sense that, “In no instance hath nature made the satellite larger than its primary planet…” But independence was far from a foregone conclusion prior to 1776 in large part because each of the thirteen American colonies had to individually wrestle with the issue of independence before the Continental Congress could. For a colony like Massachusetts, which experienced military occupation and bloodshed, the decision to support independence came easily and early. Virginia, on the other hand, had a much different experience and thus, its path towards independence was different as well. This book highlights Virginia’s path to independence by exploring the key events that occurred in the 1760s and 1770s, events that ultimately led to the 5th Virginia Convention’s fateful vote for independence in May 1776. Maps, a bibliography and an index to full-names, places and subjects add to the value of this work.
2014, 5½x8½, paper, index, 352 pp.