A hearty collection of excerpts tracing the spirit and letter of 1776 from Crevecoeur's characterization of the American as a ""new man"" through final revisions of Jefferson's Declaration. From sources as varied as daily Gazettes and subsequent rememberings, diary entries and colonial handbills, private correspondence, personal conversations and classic writings, Mr. Sanderlin has assembled a substantial sampling of colonial opinions, moving in the general direction of mounting opposition to virtual representation (a ""cob-web"") and ""rapacious harpies"" to the Tea Party (when the fear was still of impending tyranny) and to the Massacre (an intentionally inflated incident). Resistance grows; reasonable men look to philosophers--Polybius, Tacitus, Locke, Rousseau--while George III overlooks the eloquence of Burke. Lexington and Concord prefigure guerrilla warfare: Hancock's expression alters drastically when Washington (better Virginia than radical New England) is nominated for Commander-in-Chief. Paine's Common Sense and the British evacuation of Boston are urgent thrusts; Jefferson's ""clause reprobating the enslaving the inhabitants of Africa"" is rebuffed and withdrawn. Contemporary engravings and some unusual representations improve an already appealing book which uses larger type for the excerpts than for the author's connective and interpretive passages. Responsible Independence.