At the meeting of the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduced a resolution that “these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states.”
The colonies offered the Olive Branch Petition to King George III. In the petition, the colonies offered to remain loyal to the Crown if their grievances were addressed. Parliament and King George rejected the petition.
In March of 1776, American forces captured Dorchester Heights, which overlooked Boston harbor. They proceeded to enhance their position with artillery captured from Fort Ticonderoga. Outflanked, the British were forced to evacuate Boston and set sail for Halifax, Nova Scotia.