Radio Times

Historian Richard Beeman’s behind the scenes look at the Continental Congress

July 4, 2013

Guest:  Richard Beeman

[REBROADCAST] In his recent book, Our Lives, Our Fortunes, & Our Sacred Honor: The Forging of American Independence, historian RICHARD BEEMAN documents the turbulent 22 months the First and Second Continental Congresses met in Philadelphia to chart their course for independence. From September, 1774 to July 4,1776, fifty-six delegates from 13 colonies, debated, maneuvered and dithered about if, how and when the colonies could go from being subjects of England to citizens of a new nation. The story involves a fascinating cast of characters including the relentless, obnoxious and passionate John Adams and his rival John Dickinson, a fiery Samuel Adams and a neophyte Thomas Jefferson, who through an intellectual skill and good timing, came to write the Declaration of Independence. Says Beeman, “it’s the story of how a group of men with diverse interests and ideology came together” and “acquired a familiarity and respect for one another that is missing in politics today.”

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