Saturday, March 22, 2008

1776: Cool, Considerate Men

video
The lyrics

Dickinson:
Oh say do you see what I see?
Congress sitting here in sweet serenity
I could cheer; the reason's clear
For the first time in a year Adams isn't here
And look, the sun is in the sky
A breeze is blowing by, and there's not a single fly
I sing hosanna, hosanna
Hosanna, hosanna
And it's cool
Come ye cool cool conservative men
The likes of which may never be seen again
We have land, cash in hand
Self-command, future planned
Fortune flies, society survives
In neatly ordered lives with well-endowered wives
We sing hosanna, hosanna
To our breeding and our banner
We are cool
Come ye cool cool considerate set
We'll dance together to the same minuet
To the right, ever to the right
Never to the left, forever to the right
May our creed be never to exceed
Regulated speed, no matter what the need
We sing hosanna, hosanna
Enblazoned on our banner
Is keep cool
What we do we do rationally
We never ever go off half-cocked, not we
Why begin till we know that we can win
And if we cannot win why bother to begin?
Rutledge:
We say this game's not of our choosing
Why should we risk losing?
All:
We are cool
To the right, ever to the right
Never to the left, forever to the right
We have gold, a market that will hold
Tradition that is old, a reluctance to be bold.
Dickinson:
I sing hosanna, hosanna
In a sane and lucid manner
We are cool
All:
Come ye cool cool considerate men
The likes of which may never be seen again
With our land, cash in hand
Self-command, future planned
And we'll hold to our gold
Tradition that is old, reluctant to be bold.
We say this game's not of our choosing
Why should we risk losing?
We cool, cool, cool
Cool, cool, cool
Cool cool men.

The context from Scene 3
As the argument between the delegates grows more heated, Dickinson launches into a long tirade against Adams and his supporters, calling him an agitator and a madman. Adams lashes back by accusing Dickinson and his fellow conservative "cool, considerate men" of hanging to the rear of every issue to see who will triumph; this results in a physical fight breaking out. Caesar Rodney of Delaware separates the two and berates them for not focusing on the real enemy: England. He collapses from the overexertion; he has cancer. Colonel McKean offers to take him back home. This leaves the Delaware delegation with only one man present, George Read, and he is not in favor of independence. Rutledge, seeing the majority swinging in his favor, moves for a vote on the question of independence. Franklin seeks to stall the motion, and asks that the resolution be read aloud again. As Thomson is reading it, the new New Jersey delegation arrives, led by Rev. John Witherspoon. He informs the Congress that they have been instructed to vote in favor of independence. The vote is now six for independence and six against (with New York's usual "courteous" abstention), and Adams reminds Hancock of his duty as President to break all ties. Seeing that the resolution might pass, Dickinson moves that any vote for independence must pass unanimously on the grounds that "no colony [may] be torn from its mother country without its own consent." His motion is seconded by Read, and the vote produces the same tie, which Hancock breaks by voting for unanimity. His reasoning is that without consent of all the colonies, any of them voting against independence would likely be forced to fight on England's side, and that the new nation would "carry as its emblem the mark of Cain."

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