In the early summer of 1776, John Adams had grown profoundly exasperated.
King George had declared the 13 American colonies in open rebellion and sent troops to enforce his authority. A declaration of independence, and all-out war, seemed inevitable but still, holdouts in the Second Continental Congress kept clogging the docket with feckless half-measures and spineless appeasements.
“In politics, the middle way is none at all,” Adams fumed that March in a letter to an ally. “If we finally fail in this great and glorious contest, it will be by bewildering ourselves in groping for the middle way.”