In a sweltering Philadelphia summer, the First Continental Congress is stalemated on the issue of independence. General Washington has been fighting the English for months and losing, and the Southern states are nowhere near as interested in breaking from England as is the embattled New England area. Firebrand John Adamsof Massachusetts is 'obnoxious and disliked', so he and the genial Benjamin Franklin talk Richard Henry Lee of Virginia into introducing the issue. Thomas Jefferson is tasked with drafting the declaration, but he pines for his new wife Martha as does Adams for his sturdy Boston housewife Abigail. With time running out, the issue of slavery is likely to foredoom the declaration's ever being adopted - the South has successfully mandated that any vote for independence be unanimous.