October 31, 1777

My dearest Elizabeth,

I send my warmest greetings. We have moved again to a little town called Yorktown. Yorktown is a very interesting place. The people here are mostly from German descent and are very hard to understand. For example, when I arrived at the M'Logan Inn, I asked the owner if he had any rooms available. "Ya," he answered. I had no idea what he meant by that.

Another interesting thing about Yorktown is that there are so many different views about the town. Cousin John criticizes the little town while I think that Yorktown is a very quaint little town. Upon arrival, I noticed the Common and the Codorus Creek, which happens to have very clean water. Most of the houses here are made of brick and very sturdily built. One bad thing about the town is that the streets are neither paved nor lighted and are very hard to navigate. I still think that this town is a very well laid out and that it is one of the better towns that we have stayed in.

I am writing this to you on a day of celebration due to the Patriot's win over the British at the Battle of Saratoga. I suggested that we should have an ordered day of thanksgiving in December. I hope, however, to return to you by then. I have taken this day to reflect on what we have accomplished, which is close to nothing.

Almost every day we debate in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening. The biggest thing we are debating is how much representation each state should get.


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I think we should just use the bicameral or two-house system put forward by Thomas Jefferson. He suggested that we have a Senate and a House of Representatives so that the large states and the small states can get equal representation. About half of the delegates are siding with him. I agree with him too. Another form of government that was brought to the floor is the unicameral or one-house system. This means that we would only have a Congress with no Senate or House of Representatives. This system requires each state to send at least two people to Congress and up to seven delegates, but each state gets only one vote.

What we need to make is a strong foundational government that will set the tone for the years to come. This is what the Articles of Confederation need to be. If we can do this, our nation will become one of the greatest in the world. I believe that the bicameral system is the best solution for our country. If we take this route, every state will have equal amounts of power to make our country's decisions.

Some of the delegates do not see it like I do. They want to make sure that our country will not become a dictatorship like Britain is. This is a large issue that we are debating. We seem to be making progress, however, some of our delegates do not approve of any idea that is brought to the floor. Those types of people should not even be in Congress. However, most of our delegates are working together and should soon have the Articles of Confederation ready for ratification. Our 13 colonies are almost like 13 different countries. We are trying to get all of the colonies to band together for the greater good. We can't just be the States of America; we need to be the United States of America.

How are you faring? In your reply to this letter, could you please tell me how Queue is faring? Give him a bone and a pat on the head for me. I should be home in November. Give my regards to Samuel Jr. and Hannah.

Your loving husband,

Samuel

(This is a fictional letter from Mass. Delegate Samuel Adams to his wife Elizabeth.)

Michael Renga, Red Lion, is an eighth-grade homeschooled student.