Nor Have We Been Wanting in Attentions to Our British Brethren

American colonists had been petitioning the British Parliament for over a decade for redress of what they viewed as infringements of their rights as British subjects. John Adams later recounts in his 1818 letter to Hezekiah Niles that over the course of twelve years Americans gradually moved away from petitioning to considering independence. The culminating influence on the public mind came with Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” pamphlet in January of 1776, which made a powerful and persuasive case for independence.