American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"John Adams" (2008)


John Adams Declaims American Independence from Great Britain at the 2nd Continental Congress


Continental Congress President John Hancock: President recognizes Mr. Adams, Massachusetts.

John Adams (Rep-Mass): Objects of the most stupendous magnitude, measures which will affect 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 [Rep. John Dickinson] has spoken with great ingenuity and eloquence. He's 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 that we have in sight is more than worth all the means.

I believe, Sirs, 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 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.

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HTML transcription by Michael E. Eidenmuller.