Following a fruitless session of the Continental Congress, a sabbatical at Adams' Braintree farm is disrupted by news of the siege of Lexington and Concord. Adams witnesses the aftermath of the bloody battle and, later, reports back to Philadelphia. There, he jousts with delegates debating the pros and cons of independence, eschewing an olive-branch proposal from Pennsylvania's John Dickinson and throwing down the gauntlet for independence. As more violence rages in and around Boston, Adams nominates George Washington to lead the newly created Continental Army. After another brief return home, Adams returns to Philadelphia-and a proclamation from King George III that treason will be met with death. After several debates and postponements, Adams seconds a resolution for independence proposed by Virginia's Richard Henry Lee, and persuades Thomas Jefferson to draft a declaration. With the support of Benjamin Franklin, Adams wins over skeptical delegates, in particular Dickinson and South Carolina's Edward Rutledge. On July 2, 1776, a final vote confirms the Congress' near-unanimous decision (New York abstained) to form an independent nation. While Abigail tends to an outbreak of smallpox in Massachusetts, the Declaration of Independence is read to a raucous crowd in Philadelphia. Adams writes to his wife, The break is made, and now our work begins.