The following is a dramatization of John Adams' speech for independence to the Continental Congress on July 1, 1776, in the HBO series John Adams (2008), starring Paul Giamatti as Adams. John Dickinson of Pennsylvania (played by Zeljko Ivanek) spoke before Adams, pleading that the time wasn't right for independence, memorably asserting it would amount to braving the storm "in a skiff made of paper."
Adams better captured to mood of the Congress, which voted 12-0 the next day for independence, with only New York abstaining.
According to David McCullough in his book John Adams (2001), "No transcription was made, no notes were kept. There would only be Adams' recollections, plus those of several others who would remember more the force of Adams himself than any particular thing he said. That is was the most powerful and important speech heard in the Congress since it was first convened, and the greatest speech of Adams' life, there is no question.
"To Jefferson, Adams was 'not graceful nor elegant, nor remarkably fluent,' but spoke 'with a power of thought and expression that moved us from our seats.' "