JOHN DICKINSON—A DISSENTING PATRIOT. The musical 1776 achieves great drama while staying very close to the facts of the declaration of independence. John Dickinson is portrayed as the chief opponent of declaring independence. I have always been moved by the Dickinson character’s statement, after the declaration of independence is approved, that he will join the militia. I saw in the last couple days in the coverage of the impending holiday that Dickinson had done some of his service in the Revolutionary War as a private. This wikipedia article confirms this and also confirms that Dickinson opposed independence because he believed it was premature—a foreign alliance and articles of confederation should come first. Accepting and supporting a decision after being outvoted can be an important part of republican government (not always, of course), and Dickinson’s moment at the end of 1776 is an important one.

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