Cold Wind, Warm Election May 1, 1776
Voters kept arriving on Philadelphia’s western outskirts. At the block of Chestnut Street between Fifth and Sixth streets, outside the door to the Pennsylvania State House, the men kicked up dust, a growing crowd of tricornered hats and winter-beaten coats. Soon they were trading insults and threats. It was Mayday of 1776, bright but cold, with a wind blowing from the Delaware River, and the polls had been open since ten in the morning for what one, a visitor, predicted would be “the warmest election that ever was held in this city.” The...