John Adams speaking in favor of American independence:
Objects of the most stupendous magnitude. Measures which will effect the lives of millions–born and unborn–are now before us. We must expect a great expense of blood to obtain them, but we must always remember that a free constitution of civil government cannot be purchased at too dear a rate as there is nothing on this side of Jerusalem of greater importance to mankind.
My worthy colleague from Pennsylvania has spoken with great ingenuity and eloquence. He has given you a grim prognostication of our national future. But where he foresees apocalypse, I see hope. I see a new nation ready to take its place in the world, not an empire, but a republic. And a republic of laws, not men!
Gentlemen, we are in the very midst of revolution; the most complete, unexpected and remarkable of any in the history of the world. How few of the human race have ever had an opportunity of choosing a system of government for themselves and their children? I am not without apprehensions, gentlemen. But the end we have in sight is more than worth all the means.
My belief says that the hour has come. My judgment approves this measure and my whole heart is in it.
All that I have, all that I am, and all I that I hope in this life I am now ready to stake upon it. While I live, let me have a country. A free country!
Watch the moving speech from the excellent John Adams miniseries here.