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According to the autobiography of John Adams, on Monday, July 22, 1776, “The Congress resolved itself into a Committee of the whole, to take into consideration the Articles of confederation.”

“After some time,” Adams writes, the President of Congress, John Hancock, resumed the Chair.

What they were looking at was a major piece of political groundwork that needed further study, the very first printed draft of John Dickinson’s “Articles of Confederation.”

What they were looking at was the first draft of what would later be known as the U.S. Constitution.

“Mr. Harrison reported, that the Committee have made some progress in the matter to them referred, but not having come to a conclusion, desire leave to sit again.”

They agreed to take it up again the following day. “Resolved that this Congress will tomorrow again resolve itself into a Committee of the whole to take into their further Consideration, the Articles of Confederation.”

The Articles would eventually be adopted, but not until November of 1777.

As Congress was meeting in Philadelphia, a package from John Hancock containing the signed copy of the Declaration of Independence arrived on schedule in Halifax, North Carolina.

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