As the delegates from the many colonies were meeting in Philadelphia at the Continental Congresses, local communities were expressing their thoughts on becoming independent from England. Towns crafted their own statements on independence or drafted explicit instructions for their delegates to the colonial legislatures. In this way, public support gathered for the radical step of breaking from the British. This statement from the town of Natick, Massachusetts shows that local communities were pledging their "lives and fortunes" to the cause of independence.
At a meeting of the town of Natick, June 20, 1776, legally warned, in consequence of a resolve of the late House of Representatives being laid before the Town, setting forth their sense of the obligations that lie upon every town in this Colony solemnly to engage to support with their lives and fortunes the honorable Continental Congress, should said Congress, for the safety of the Colonies, come into the measure of declaring themselves independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain, it was unanimously.
Voted, That, in consideration of the many acts of the British Parliament, pass at divers sessions of the same, within about thirteen years past, relating to said Colonies, especially those within the two or three last years, by which every idea of moderation, justice, humanity, and Christianity are entirely laid aside, and those principles and measures adopted and pursued which would disgrace the most unenlightened and uncivilized tribe of aboriginal natives in the most interior parts of this extensive continent; and, also, in consequence of the glaring impropriety, incapacity, and fatal tendency, of any State whatever, at the distance of three thousand miles, to legislate for these Colonies, which at the same time are so numerous, so knowing, and capable of legislating; or to have a negative upon those laws which they, in their respective Assemblies, and by their united representation in General Congress, shall, from time to time, want and establish for themselves; and upon divers other considerations, which, for brevity's sake, we omit to mention,--we, the inhabitants of Natick, in town-meeting assembled, do hereby declare, agreeable to the tenor of the aforementioned resolve, that, should the honourable Continental Congress declare these American Colonies independent from the Kingdom of Great Britain, we will, with our lives and fortunes, join with the other inhabitants of this Colony, and with those of the other Colonies, in supporting them in such measure, which we look upon to be both important and necessary, and which, if we may be permitted to suggest our opinion, the sooner it is come into the fewer difficulties we shall have to contend with, and the grand objects of peace, liberty, and safety, will be more likely speedily to be restored and established in our once happy land.
"Natick, Massachusetts, June 20, 1776, " American Archives, Peter Force, ed., 4th Series, Vol. VI (Washington D.C.: 1833-1846) 703.