HOME

TheInfoList




The Continental Congress was a series of
legislative bodies A legislature is a deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is the body of ethics, Procedural law, rules, and Norm (sociology) ...
, with some executive function, for thirteen of
Britain's colonies
Britain's colonies
in North America, and the newly declared
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
just before, during, and after the
American Revolution The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution which occurred in colonial North America between 1765 and 1783. The Americans in the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colo ...
. The term "Continental Congress" most specifically refers to the First and Second Congresses of 1774–1781 and may also refer to the
Congress of the Confederation The Congress of the Confederation, or the Confederation Congress, formally referred to as the United States in Congress Assembled, was the governing body of the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), ...
of 1781–1789, which operated as the first national government of the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
until being replaced under the
Constitution of the United States The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organization, or orga ...
. Thus, the term covers the three congressional bodies of the
Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Founded in the 17th and 18th centuries, th ...
and the new
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
that met between 1774 and 1789. The
First Continental Congress The First Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from 12 of the 13 British colonies that became the United States. It met from September 5 to October 26, 1774, at Carpenters' Hall Carpenters' Hall is the official birthplace of the C ...
was called in 1774 in response to growing tensions between the colonies culminating in the passage of the
Intolerable Acts The Intolerable Acts were punitive laws passed by the British Parliament The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dep ...
by the
British Parliament The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind ...
. It met for about six weeks and sought to repair the fraying relationship between Britain and colonies while asserting the rights of colonists. The
Second Continental Congress The Second Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British c ...
convened in 1775 in response to the breakout of hostilities in
Massachusetts Massachusetts (, ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * ...
. Soon after meeting, this second Congress sent the
Olive Branch Petition 250px, Signature page of the Olive Branch Petition, with John Hancock's prominent signature at the top The Olive Branch Petition was adopted by the Second Continental Congress The Second Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from ...
to
King George III George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 173829 January 1820) was King of Great Britain and of Monarchy of Ireland, Ireland from 25 October 1760 until Acts of Union 1800, the union of the two kingdoms on 1 January 1801, after which he wa ...

King George III
while also selecting
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continenta ...

George Washington
as the head of the new
Continental Army The Continental Army was the army of the Thirteen Colonies and the Revolutionary-era United States. It was formed by the Second Continental Congress after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, and was established by a resolution of ...
. After peace was not forthcoming, the same congress drafted and adopted the
Declaration of Independence#REDIRECT Declaration of independence {{Redirect category shell, {{R from other capitalisation ...
in July 1776, proclaiming that the former colonies were now independent sovereign states. The Second Continental Congress served as the
provisional government A provisional government, also called an interim government, an emergency government, or a transitional government, is an emergency government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally ...
of the U.S. for most of the
War of Independence Conflicts called war of independence or independence war include: * Algerian War of Independence The Algerian War, also known as the Algerian Revolution or the Algerian War of Independence,( ar, الثورة الجزائرية '; '' ber, Tagra ...
. In March 1781, the nation's first
Frame of Government A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation or other type of Legal entity, entity and commonly determine how that entity is to be governed. When ...
, the
Articles of Confederation The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was an agreement among the 13 original states of the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America ...
,
came into force In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bo ...
, at which time the body became the
Congress of the Confederation The Congress of the Confederation, or the Confederation Congress, formally referred to as the United States in Congress Assembled, was the governing body of the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), ...
. This unicameral governing body would convene in eight sessions before disbanding in 1789, when the 1st United States Congress under the new
Constitution of the United States The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organization, or orga ...
took over the role as the nation's legislative branch of government. Both the First and Second Continental Congresses convened in
Philadelphia Philadelphia (colloquially known simply as Philly) is the largest city in the Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is ...

Philadelphia
, though with the city's capture during the Revolutionary War, the Second Congress was forced to meet in other locations for a time. The Congress of Confederation was also established in Philadelphia and later moved to
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...

New York City
when it became the U.S. capital in 1785. Much of what is known today about the daily activities of these congresses come from the journals kept by the secretary for all three congresses,
Charles Thomson Charles Thomson (November 29, 1729 – August 16, 1824) was an Irish-born Patriot leader in Philadelphia Philadelphia, colloquially Philly, is a city in the state of Pennsylvania in the United States. It is the sixth-most populous city in ...
. Printed contemporaneously, the Papers of the Continental Congress contain the official congressional papers, letters, treaties, reports and records. The delegates to the Continental and Confederation congresses had extensive experience in deliberative bodies, with "a cumulative total of nearly 500 years of experience in their Colonial assemblies, and fully a dozen of them had served as speakers of the houses of their legislatures."


Background

The idea of a congress of British American Colonies was first broached in 1754 at the start of the
French and Indian War The French and Indian War (1754–1763) was a theater of the Seven Years' War The Seven Years' War (1756–1763) is widely considered to be the first global conflict in history, and was a struggle for world supremacy between Great Britain ...

French and Indian War
, which started as the North American front of the
Seven Years' War The Seven Years' War (1756–1763) is widely considered to be the first global conflict in history, and was a struggle for world supremacy between Kingdom of Great Britain, Great Britain and Kingdom of France, France. In Europe, the conflict ar ...
between Great Britain and France. Known as the
Albany Congress ) Albany, New York The Albany Congress (June 19 – July 11, 1754), also known as the Albany Convention of 1754, was a meeting of representatives sent by the legislatures of seven of the thirteen British colonies in British America Briti ...
, it met in
Albany, New York Albany ( ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller low ...
from June 18 to July 11, 1754, and representatives from seven colonies attended. Among the delegates was
Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin ( April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simply the Founding Fathers or Founders, were a group of American revolutionary Patriots (also ...

Benjamin Franklin
of
Philadelphia Philadelphia (colloquially known simply as Philly) is the largest city in the Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is ...

Philadelphia
, who proposed that the colonies join in a
confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty, confederations of states tend to be established for dealing with critical issu ...
. Though this idea was rejected, Franklin and others continued to argue that the colonies should act more cohesively. Though participants did not meet in person, the intermittent activation of
committees of correspondence The committees of correspondence was the brainchild of Boston patriot Samuel Adams, intended to establish an underground network of communication among patriot leaders in the Thirteen Colonies via letter writing. The purpose of the Committees of Cor ...
during times of crisis would further bring the colonies together. In 1765, the
British Parliament The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind ...
passed the Stamp Act requiring that many printed materials in the colonies be produced on stamped paper produced in London, carrying an embossed revenue stamp. The Act provoked the ire of merchants in New York, Boston and Philadelphia, who responded by placing an embargo on British imports until the Stamp Act was repealed. To present a united front in their opposition, delegates from several provinces met in the
Stamp Act Congress The Stamp Act Congress (October 7 – 25, 1765), also known as the Continental Congress of 1765, was a meeting held in New York, New York, consisting of representatives from some of the British colonies in North America. It was the first gat ...
, which convened in
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...

New York City
from October 7 through 25, 1765. It issued a
Declaration of Rights and Grievances In response to the Stamp and Tea Acts, the Declaration of Rights and Grievances was a document written by the Stamp Act Congress The Stamp Act Congress (October 7 – 25, 1765), also known as the Continental Congress of 1765, was a meeting he ...
, which it sent to Parliament. Subsequently, under pressure from British companies hurt by the embargo, the government of
Prime Minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
Lord Rockingham and
King George III George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 173829 January 1820) was King of Great Britain and of Monarchy of Ireland, Ireland from 25 October 1760 until Acts of Union 1800, the union of the two kingdoms on 1 January 1801, after which he wa ...

King George III
relented, and the Stamp Act was repealed in March 1766. The colonists' resistance to the Stamp Act served as a catalyst for subsequent acts of resistance. The
Townshend Acts The Townshend Acts () or Townshend Duties, refers to a series of British acts of Parliament passed during 1767 and 1768 relating to the British colonies in America. They are named after Charles Townshend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer The ...
(which imposed indirect taxes on various items not produced within the colonies, and created a more effective means of enforcing compliance with trade regulations), passed by Parliament passed in 1767 and 1768, sparked renewed animosity in the colonies, which eventually resulted in the
Boston Massacre The Boston Massacre was a confrontation on March 5, 1770, in which British soldiers shot and killed several people while being harassed by a mob in Boston Boston (, ), officially the City of Boston, is the and city of the of in the ...

Boston Massacre
of 1770. Three years later, the
Tea Act The Tea Act 1773 (13 Geo 3 c 44) was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in May 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of UnionAct of Union may refer to: In Great Britain and Ireland ...
(which granted the
British East India company The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), East India Trading Company (EITC), the English East India Company or (after 1707) the British East India Company, and informally known as John Company, Com ...
the right to directly ship its tea to North America and the right to the duty-free export of tea from Great Britain) became law, exacerbating the colonists' resentment toward the British government, inciting the December 1773
Boston Tea Party The Boston Tea Party was an American political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relatio ...

Boston Tea Party
, and inspiring the September 1774
Suffolk Resolves The Suffolk Resolves was a declaration made on September 9, 1774, by the leaders of Suffolk County, Massachusetts Suffolk County is located in the Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded ...
.


First Continental Congress, 1774

The
First Continental Congress The First Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from 12 of the 13 British colonies that became the United States. It met from September 5 to October 26, 1774, at Carpenters' Hall Carpenters' Hall is the official birthplace of the C ...
met briefly in Carpenter's Hall in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Philadelphia (colloquially known simply as Philly) is the largest city in the Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is ...

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
, from September 5 to October 26, 1774. Delegates from twelve of the
thirteen colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Founded in the 17th and 18th centuries, th ...
that would ultimately join in the
Revolutionary WarRevolutionary War(s) may refer to: * American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), the armed conflict between Great Britain and 13 of its North American colonies, which had declared themselves the independent United States of America * French Revolution ...
participated. Only
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country), a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia * Georgia (U.S. state), one of the states of the United States of America Georgia may also refer to: Historical states and entities * Democratic Republ ...
, where
Loyalist Loyalism, in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdo ...
feelings still outweighed Patriotic emotion, and which relied upon Great Britain for military supplies to defend settlers against possible
Indian Indian or Indians refers to people or things related to India, or to the indigenous people of the Americas, or Aboriginal Australians until the 19th century. People South Asia * Indian people, people of Indian nationality, or people who come ...
attacks, did not. Altogether, 56 delegates attended, including
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continenta ...

George Washington
,
Patrick Henry Patrick Henry (May 29, 1736June 6, 1799) was an American attorney, Planter class, planter, politician, and orator best known for his declaration to the Virginia Conventions, Second Virginia Convention (1775): "Give me liberty, or give me death ...

Patrick Henry
, and
John Adams John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific stud ...

John Adams
. Other notable delegates included
Samuel Adams Samuel Adams ( – October 2, 1803) was an American statesman, Political philosophy, political philosopher, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was a politician in Province of Massachusetts Bay, colonial Massachusetts, a l ...

Samuel Adams
from
Massachusetts Bay Massachusetts Bay is a bay A bay is a recessed, coastal body of water that directly connects to a larger main body of water, such as an ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers a ...
, along with
Joseph Galloway Joseph Galloway (1731August 10, 1803) was an American politician. He became a Loyalist during the American Revolutionary War The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the Revolutionary War and the American War of Inde ...

Joseph Galloway
and
John Dickinson John Dickinson (November 13 Julian_calendar">/nowiki> Julian_calendar">/nowiki>Julian_calendar_November_2">Julian_calendar.html"_;"title="/nowiki>Julian_calendar">/nowiki>Julian_calendar_November_2_1732_–_February_14,_1808),_a_Founding_Fathe ...
from the
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania ( , elsewhere ; pdc, Pennsilfaani), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie on endorheic basi ...
.
Peyton Randolph Peyton Randolph (September 10, 1721 – October 22, 1775) was a planter and public official from the Colony of Virginia. He served as Speaker (politics), Speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses, president of Virginia Conventions, and the first ...

Peyton Randolph
of Virginia was its president.
Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin ( April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simply the Founding Fathers or Founders, were a group of American revolutionary Patriots (also ...

Benjamin Franklin
had put forth the idea of such a meeting the year before, but he was unable to convince the colonies of its necessity until the British Navy instituted a
blockade A blockade is an effort to cut off Contraband, supplies, Materiel, war material or communications from a particular area by force, either in part or totally. A blockade is not an embargo or International sanctions, sanctions, which are legal b ...
of
Boston Harbor Boston Harbor is a natural harbor and estuary of Massachusetts Bay, and is located adjacent to the city of Boston, Massachusetts. It is home to the Port of Boston, a major shipping facility in the northeastern United States. History Since it ...
and Parliament passed the punitive
Intolerable Acts The Intolerable Acts were punitive laws passed by the British Parliament The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dep ...
in 1774 in response to the Boston Tea Party. During the congress, delegates organized an economic boycott of Great Britain in protest and petitioned the King for a redress of grievances. The colonies were united in their effort to demonstrate to the ''
mother country
mother country
'' their authority by virtue of their common causes and their unity; but their ultimate objectives were not consistent. Most delegates were not yet ready to break away from Great Britain, but they most definitely wanted the king and parliament to act in what they considered a fairer manner. Delegates from the provinces of Pennsylvania and
New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, located in the state of New York * New York (state), a state in the northeastern United States New York may also refer to: Film and television * New ...
were given firm instructions to pursue a resolution with Great Britain. While the other colonies all held the idea of colonial rights as paramount, they were split between those who sought legislative equality with Britain and those who instead favored independence and a break from
the Crown The Crown is the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...
and its excesses.


Second Continental Congress, 1775–1781

In London, Parliament debated the merits of meeting the demands made by the colonies; however, it took no official notice of Congress's petitions and addresses. On November 30, 1774, King George III opened Parliament with a speech condemning Massachusetts and the Suffolk Resolves. At that point it became clear that the Continental Congress would have to convene once again. The
Second Continental Congress The Second Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British c ...
convened on May 10, 1775, at Pennsylvania's
State House
State House
in Philadelphia shortly after the start of the
Revolutionary WarRevolutionary War(s) may refer to: * American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), the armed conflict between Great Britain and 13 of its North American colonies, which had declared themselves the independent United States of America * French Revolution ...
. Initially, it functioned as a ''de facto'' national government by raising armies, directing strategy, appointing diplomats, and making formal treaties. The following year it adopted a
resolution for independence
resolution for independence
on July 2, 1776, and two days later approved the
Declaration of Independence#REDIRECT Declaration of independence {{Redirect category shell, {{R from other capitalisation ...

Declaration of Independence
.
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were cr ...

Thomas Jefferson
drafted the declaration, and John Adams was a leader in the debates in favor of its adoption. Afterward, the Congress functioned as the
provisional government A provisional government, also called an interim government, an emergency government, or a transitional government, is an emergency government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally ...
of the United States of America through March 1, 1781. To govern the war effort and to foster unity among the
states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
, Congress created various
standing committees A committee or commission is a body of one or more persons that is subordinate to a deliberative assembly. Usually, the assembly sends matters into a committee as a way to explore them more fully than would be possible if the assembly itself were ...
to handle war-related activities, such as the committee of secret correspondence, the treasury board, the board of war and ordnance, and the navy board. Much work was also done in small ''
ad hoc Ad hoc is a Latin phrase __NOTOC__ This is a list of Wikipedia articles of Latin phrases and their translation into English. To view all phrases on a single, lengthy document, see: * List of Latin phrases (full) The list also is divided alpha ...

ad hoc
'' committees. One such small group was tasked with developing a
constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...

constitution
to perpetuate the new Union. Such an agreement, the
Articles of Confederation The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was an agreement among the 13 original states of the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America ...
was approved by Congress on November 15, 1777, and sent to the states for
ratification Ratification is a principal Principal may refer to: Title or rank * Principal (academia) The principal is the chief executive and the chief academic officer of a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational insti ...

ratification
.


Confederation Congress, 1781–1788

The Articles of Confederation
came into force In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bo ...
on March 1, 1781, after being ratified by all 13 states, and the Second Continental Congress became the
Congress of the Confederation The Congress of the Confederation, or the Confederation Congress, formally referred to as the United States in Congress Assembled, was the governing body of the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), ...
(officially styled the "United States in Congress Assembled"), a
unicameral In government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by ...
body composed of delegates from the several states. A guiding principle of the Articles was to preserve the
independence Independence is a condition of a person, nation, country, or Sovereign state, state in which residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory. The opposite of independe ...

independence
and
sovereignty Sovereignty is the supreme authority within a territory. Sovereignty entails hierarchy within the state, as well as external autonomy for states. In any state, sovereignty is assigned to the person, body, or institution that has the ultimate a ...
of the states. The weak
central government A central government is the government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...
established by the Articles received only those powers which the former colonies had recognized as belonging to king and parliament. Congress had the power to declare war, sign treaties, and settle disputes between the states. It could also borrow or print money, but did not have the power to tax. It helped guide the United States through the final stages of the Revolutionary War, but steeply declined in authority afterward. During peacetime, there were two important, long-lasting acts of the Confederation Congress: # The passage of the
Northwest Ordinance The Northwest Ordinance (formally An Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States, North-West of the River Ohio and also known as the Ordinance of 1787), enacted July 13, 1787, was an organic act of the Congress of the Con ...
in 1787. This ordinance accepted the abolition of all claims to the land west of
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania ( , elsewhere ; pdc, Pennsilfaani), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie on endorheic basi ...

Pennsylvania
and north of the
Ohio River The Ohio River is a long river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course wi ...

Ohio River
by the states of Pennsylvania,
Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), '' ...

Virginia
,
New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, located in the state of New York * New York (state), a state in the northeastern United States New York may also refer to: Film and television * New ...
,
Connecticut Connecticut () is the southernmost state in the New England region of the United States. As of the 2010 United States census, 2010 Census, it has the highest per-capita income, second-highest level of List of U.S. states and territories by H ...
, and
Massachusetts Massachusetts (, ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * ...

Massachusetts
, and the ordinance established Federal control over all of this land in the
Northwest Territory The Northwest Territory, also known as the Old Northwest and formally known as the Territory Northwest of the River Ohio, was formed from unorganized western territory of the United States after the . Established in 1787 by the through the , ...

Northwest Territory
—with the goal that several new states should be created there. In the course of time, this land was divided over the course of many decades into
Ohio Ohio () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Co ...

Ohio
,
Michigan Michigan () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Michigan
,
Indiana Indiana () is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern United States. It is the List of U.S. states and territories by area, 38th-largest by area and the List of U.S. states and territories by population, 17th-most populous o ...

Indiana
,
Illinois Illinois ( ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspape ...

Illinois
,
Wisconsin Wisconsin () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Wisconsin
, and part of
Minnesota Minnesota () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Minnesota
. # After years of frustration, an agreement was reached in 1786 at the Annapolis Convention to call another convention in May 1787 in
Philadelphia Philadelphia (colloquially known simply as Philly) is the largest city in the Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is ...

Philadelphia
with the mission of writing and proposing several amendments to the Articles of Confederation to improve the form of government. The report was sent to the Confederation Congress and the State. The result was the Philadelphia Convention of 1787, which was authorized by all the States thus fulfilling the unanimous requirement of the Articles of Confederation to allow changes to the Articles. Under the Articles of Confederation, the Confederation Congress had little power to compel the individual states to comply with its decisions. More and more prospective delegates elected to the Confederation Congress declined to serve in it. The leading men in each State preferred to serve in the state governments, and thus the Continental Congress had frequent difficulties in establishing a quorum. When the Articles of Confederation were superseded by the
Constitution of the United States The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organization, or orga ...
, the Confederation Congress was superseded by the United States Congress. The Confederation Congress finally set up a suitable administrative structure for the Federal government. It put into operation a departmental system, with ministers of finance, of war, and of foreign affairs. Robert Morris (financier), Robert Morris was selected as the new Superintendent of Finance, and then Morris used some ingenuity and initiative—along with a loan from the French Government—to deal with his empty treasury and also runaway inflation, for a number of years, in the supply of paper money. As the ambassador to France,
Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin ( April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simply the Founding Fathers or Founders, were a group of American revolutionary Patriots (also ...

Benjamin Franklin
not only secured the "bridge loan" for the national budget, but he also persuaded France to send an army of about 6,000 soldiers across the Atlantic Ocean to America—and also to dispatch a large squadron of French warships under Comte de Grasse to the coasts of
Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), '' ...

Virginia
and North Carolina. These French warships were decisive at the Siege of Yorktown, Battle of Yorktown along the coast of Virginia by preventing Lord Cornwallis's British troops from receiving supplies, reinforcements, or evacuation via the James River and Hampton Roads, Virginia. Robert Morris, the Minister of Finance, persuaded Congress to charter the Bank of North America on December 31, 1781. Although a private bank, the Federal Government acquired partial ownership with money lent by France. The Bank of North America played a major role in financing the war against Kingdom of Great Britain, Great Britain. The combined armies of
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continenta ...

George Washington
and Nathanael Greene, with the help of the French Army and Navy, defeated the British in the Battle of Yorktown during October 1781. Lord Cornwallis was forced to sue for peace and to surrender his entire army to General Washington. During 1783, the Americans secured the official recognition of the independence of the United States from the United Kingdom via negotiations with British diplomats in Paris, France. These negotiations culminated with the signing of the Treaty of Paris (1783), Treaty of Paris of 1783, and this treaty was soon ratified by the British Parliament.


Organization

Both the British Parliament and many of their own Colonial assemblies had powerful Speaker (politics), speakers of the house and standing committees with strong chairmen, with Executive (government), executive power held by the British Monarch or the colonial Governor. However, the organization of the Continental Congress was based less on the British Parliament or on local colonial assemblies than on the 1765 Stamp Act Congress. Nine delegates to that congress were in attendance at the First Congress in 1774, and their perspective on Polity, governance influenced the direction of both the Continental Congresses and the later Confederation Congress. Congress took on powers normally held by the British King-in-Council, such as foreign and military affairs. However, the right to tax and regulate trade was reserved for the states, not Congress. Congress had no formal way to enforce its ordinances on the state governments. Delegates were responsible to and reported directly to their home state assemblies; an organizational structure that Neil Olsen has described as "an extreme form of matrix management". Delegates chose a presiding President of the Continental Congress, president to monitor the debate, maintain order, and make sure journals were kept and documents and letters were published and delivered. After the colonies declared their independence in 1776 and united as a quasi-federation to fight for their freedom, the president functioned as head of state (not of the country, but of its central government); Otherwise, the office was "more honorable than powerful". Congress also elected a secretary, scribe, doorman, messenger, and Chaplain. The rules of Congress guaranteed the right to debate and open access to the floor for each delegate. Additionally, to ensure that each state would be on an equal footing with the others, voting on ordinances was done ''en bloc'', with each state having a single vote. Prior to casting its ''wikt:yay, yay'' or ''wikt:nay, nay'' vote, preliminary votes were taken within each state delegation. The majority vote determined vote here was considered the vote of the state on a motion; in cases of a tie the vote for the state was marked as "divided," and thus not counted. Turnover of delegates was high, with an average year-to-year turnover rate of 37% by one calculation,, p. 114 and 39% by session-to-session. Of the 343 serving delegates, only 55% (187 delegates) spent 12 or more months in attendance. Only 25 of the delegates served longer than 35 months. This high rate of turnover was not just a characteristic, it was due to a deliberate policy of Term limits in the United States, term limits. In the Confederation phase of the Congress "no delegate was permitted to serve more than three years in any six". Attendance was variable: while in session, between 54 and 22 delegates were in attendance at any one time, with an average of only 35.5 members attending between 1774 and 1788.


Legacy

There is a long-running debate on how effective the Congress was as an organization. The first critic may have been General
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continenta ...

George Washington
. In an Newburgh Conspiracy, address to his officers, at Newburgh, New York, on March 15, 1783, responding to complaints that Congress had not funded their pay and pensions, he stated that he believed that Congress would do the army "complete justice" and eventually pay the soldiers. "But, like all other large Bodies, where there is a variety of different Interests to reconcile, their deliberations are slow." In addition to their slowness, the lack of coercive power in the Continental Congress was harshly criticized by James Madison when arguing for the need of a United States Constitution, Federal Constitution. His comment in ''Vices of the Political System'' of April 1787 set the conventional wisdom on the historical legacy of the institution for centuries to come: Many commentators take for granted that the leaderless, weak, slow, and small-committee driven, Continental Congress was a failure, largely because after the end of the war the Articles of Confederation no longer suited the needs of a peacetime nation, and the Congress itself, following Madison's recommendations, called for its revision and replacement. Some also suggest that the Congress was inhibited by the formation of contentious partisan alignments based on regional differences. Others claim that Congress was less ideological than event-driven. Others note that the Congress was successful in that the American people "came to accept Congress as their legitimate institution of Government", but the "rather poor governmental record" of the Congress forced the constitutional convention of 1787. Political scientists Calvin Jillson and Rick Wilson in the 1980s accepted the conventional interpretation on the weakness of the Congress due to the lack of coercive power. They explored the role of ''leadership'', or rather the lack of it, in the Continental Congress. Going beyond even Madison's harsh critique, they used the "analytical stance of what has come to be called the new institutionalism" to demonstrate that "the norms, rules, and institutional structures of the Continental Congress" were equally to blame "for the institution's eventual failure", and that the "institutional structure worked against, rather than with, the delegates in tackling the crucial issues of the day." The Historian Richard P. McCormick rendered a more nuanced judgment. He suggested that Madison's "extreme judgment" on the Congress was "motivated no doubt by Madison's overriding desire to create a new central government that would be empowered veto the acts of state legislatures," but that it fails "to take any notice of the fact that while the authority of the Confederation Congress was ambiguous, it was not a nullity". Benjamin Irvin in his social and cultural history of the Continental Congress, praised "the invented traditions by which Congress endeavored to fortify the resistance movement and to make meaning of American independence." But he noted that after the war's end, "Rather than passively adopting the Congress's creations, the American people embraced, rejected, reworked, ridiculed, or simply ignored them as they saw fit." An organizational culture analysis of the Continental Congress by Neil Olsen, looking for the values, norms, and underlying assumptions that drive an organization's decisions, noted that "the leaderless Continental Congress outperformed not only the modern congress run by powerful partisan hierarchies, but modern government and corporate entities, for all their coercive power and vaunted skills as 'leaders'." Looking at their mission as defined by state resolutions and petitions entered into the ''Congressional Journal'' on its first day, it found that on the common issues of the relief of Boston, securing Colonial rights, eventually restoring harmonious relations with Great Britain, and repealing taxes, they overachieved their mission goals, defeated the largest army and navy in the world, and created two new types of republic. Olsen suggests that the Congress, if slow, when judged by its many achievements – not the least being recognizing its flaws, then replacing and terminating itself – was a success.


Timeline

;1774 * September 5:
First Continental Congress The First Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from 12 of the 13 British colonies that became the United States. It met from September 5 to October 26, 1774, at Carpenters' Hall Carpenters' Hall is the official birthplace of the C ...
convenes at
Philadelphia Philadelphia (colloquially known simply as Philly) is the largest city in the Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is ...

Philadelphia
's Carpenter's Hall * October 14: Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress is adopted * October 18: Continental Association is adopted * October 25: First Petition to the King is signed * October 26: Congress adjourns, resolving to reconvene the following May if grievances were not redressed ;1775 * April 19: American Revolutionary War, War begins at the Battles of Lexington and Concord * May 10:
Second Continental Congress The Second Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British c ...
convenes at Philadelphia's * June 14: Congress establishes the
Continental Army The Continental Army was the army of the Thirteen Colonies and the Revolutionary-era United States. It was formed by the Second Continental Congress after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, and was established by a resolution of ...
* June 15: Congress appoints one of its members,
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continenta ...

George Washington
, as commander of the Continental Army * July 1:
King George III George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 173829 January 1820) was King of Great Britain and of Monarchy of Ireland, Ireland from 25 October 1760 until Acts of Union 1800, the union of the two kingdoms on 1 January 1801, after which he wa ...

King George III
addresses Parliament of Great Britain, Parliament, stating they will "put a speedy end" to the rebellion * July 6: Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms is approved * July 8: Second petition to the king (the
Olive Branch Petition 250px, Signature page of the Olive Branch Petition, with John Hancock's prominent signature at the top The Olive Branch Petition was adopted by the Second Continental Congress The Second Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from ...
) is signed and sent to London * August 23: In his Proclamation of Rebellion (officially titled "A Proclamation for Suppressing Rebellion and Sedition"), King George III declares elements of the American colonies in "open and avowed rebellion" and orders officials of the British Empire "to use their utmost endeavours to withstand and suppress such rebellion" * October 13: Congress establishes the Continental Navy * November 10: Congress establishes the Continental Marines ;1776 * January 10: Thomas Paine publishes ''Common Sense (pamphlet), Common Sense'' * June 7: Richard Henry Lee of
Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), '' ...

Virginia
presents a three-part resolution to Congress, calling on Congress to declare independence, form foreign alliances, and prepare a plan of colonial confederation * June 10: Congress votes on June 10 to postpone further discussion of Lee's resolution for three weeks to allow time for the delegates to confer with their state assemblies * June 11: Congress appoints a "Committee of Five",
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were cr ...

Thomas Jefferson
of Virginia,
John Adams John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific stud ...

John Adams
of
Massachusetts Massachusetts (, ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * ...

Massachusetts
,
Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin ( April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simply the Founding Fathers or Founders, were a group of American revolutionary Patriots (also ...

Benjamin Franklin
of
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania ( , elsewhere ; pdc, Pennsilfaani), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie on endorheic basi ...

Pennsylvania
, Roger Sherman of
Connecticut Connecticut () is the southernmost state in the New England region of the United States. As of the 2010 United States census, 2010 Census, it has the highest per-capita income, second-highest level of List of U.S. states and territories by H ...
and Robert R. Livingston (chancellor), Robert R. Livingston of
New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, located in the state of New York * New York (state), a state in the northeastern United States New York may also refer to: Film and television * New ...
, to draft a declaration justifying independence. * June 12: Congress appoints a Committee of Thirteen to draft of a constitution for a union of the states * July 2: Lee Resolution (also known as "The Resolution for Independence"), asserting the independence of the 13 colonies from Great Britain, is adopted * July 4: Final text of the
Declaration of Independence#REDIRECT Declaration of independence {{Redirect category shell, {{R from other capitalisation ...

Declaration of Independence
is adopted * July 12: John Dickinson presents the Committee of Thirteen's draft constitution to Congress * August 2: Delegates sign an engrossed copy of the Declaration of Independence * December 12: Congress adjourns to move to Baltimore, Maryland * December 20: Congress convenes in Baltimore, Maryland, Baltimore at the Henry Fite House ;1777 * February 27: Congress adjourns to return to Philadelphia * March 4: Congress reconvenes at Philadelphia's State House * June 14: Flag Acts (United States), Flag Resolution, defining the design of the Flag of the United States, flag of the United States of America, is adopted * September 18: Congress adjourns in order to move to Lancaster, Pennsylvania * September 27: Congress convenes for one day in Lancaster, at the Court House * September 30: Congress reconvenes at York, Pennsylvania at the Court House * November 15: Final text of the
Articles of Confederation The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was an agreement among the 13 original states of the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America ...
is approved and sent to the states for ratification ;1778 * June 27: Congress adjourns to return to Philadelphia * July 2: Congress reconvenes in Philadelphia, first at College Hall, then at the State House ;1780 * January 15: Congress establishes the Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture ;1781 * March 1: Having been ratified by all 13 states, the Articles of Confederation becomes effective; Continental Congress becomes the Congress of the Confederation * May 26: Proposed plan from Robert Morris (financier), Robert Morris to establish Bank of North America approved by Congress * October 17: Surrender of Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis, Cornwallis at Siege of Yorktown, Yorktown, Virginia * December 31: Bank of North America chartered by Congress ;1783 * June 21: The Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783 forces congress to flee Philadelphia. * June 30: Congress reconvenes in Princeton, New Jersey, first at a house named "Prospect," then Nassau Hall * November 4: Congress adjourns to move to Annapolis, Maryland * November 26: Congress reconvenes at Annapolis, in the Maryland State House, State House * December 23: George Washington's resignation as commander-in-chief, George Washington resigns from the Army ;1784 * January 14: The Treaty of Paris (1783), Treaty of Paris is ratified * May 7: Thomas Jefferson is appointed as a minister to Kingdom of France, France * August 19: Congress adjourns to move to Trenton, New Jersey * November 1: Congress reconvenes at Trenton, at the French Arms Tavern * December 24: Congress adjourns to move to
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...

New York City
;1785 * January 11: Congress reconvenes in New York City, first at Federal Hall#Historic building, City Hall, then at Fraunces Tavern * March 25–28: Mount Vernon Conference, Maryland–Virginia Conference held at Mount Vernon * March 28: Mount Vernon Compact is signed between Maryland and Virginia covering the use of the Potomac River ;1786 * August 29: Shays' Rebellion begins * September 11–14: Annapolis Convention (1786), 1786 Annapolis Convention held; delegates issues a report calling for another meeting in the spring with delegates from all states ;1787 * February 21: Congress calls a constitutional convention "for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation and reporting to Congress and the several legislatures such alterations and provisions therein and when agreed to in Congress and confirmed by the States render the Federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of Government and the preservation of the Union" * May 25: Constitutional Convention (United States), Constitutional Convention convenes in Philadelphia; every state except for Rhode Island sends delegates * July 13: Congress passes the
Northwest Ordinance The Northwest Ordinance (formally An Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States, North-West of the River Ohio and also known as the Ordinance of 1787), enacted July 13, 1787, was an organic act of the Congress of the Con ...
* September 17: Constitutional Convention adjourns after completing work on the United States Constitution * September 28: Congress votes to transmit the proposed Constitution to the 13 states for ratification ;1788 * July 2: Congress President Cyrus Griffin informs Congress that New Hampshire has ratified the Constitution and notes that it is the ninth ratification, thereby allowing for the establishment of the new government * July 8: A committee is formed to examine all ratifications received and to develop a plan for putting the new Constitution into operation. * September 13: Congress certifies that the new constitution has been duly ratified and sets date for first meeting of the Federal government of the United States, new federal government and the United States presidential election, presidential election * October 10: The last session during which the Continental Congress succeeded in achieving a quorum; and passes its last ordinance * November 15: Cyrus Griffin, the 10th president of Congress under the Articles of Confederation, resigns ;1789 * March 2: Last meeting of the Continental Congress, held at Fraunces Tavern, is Adjournment sine die, adjourned ''sine die''; Philip Pell is the only member in attendance * March 4: First session of the 1st United States Congress begins at Federal Hall * April 30:
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continenta ...

George Washington
inaugurated as first President of the United States * July 23:
Charles Thomson Charles Thomson (November 29, 1729 – August 16, 1824) was an Irish-born Patriot leader in Philadelphia Philadelphia, colloquially Philly, is a city in the state of Pennsylvania in the United States. It is the sixth-most populous city in ...
transmits to President Washington his resignation of the office of Secretary of Congress * July 25: In accordance with President Washington's directions, "the books, records, and papers of the late Congress, the Great Seal of the United States, Great Seal of the Federal Union, and the Seal of the Admiralty" are delivered over to Roger Alden, deputy secretary of the new Congress, who had been designated by President Washington as custodian for the time beingBurnett, ''Continental Congress'', 726.


See also

* Confederation Period * List of delegates to the Continental Congress * State cessions * Timeline of drafting and ratification of the United States Constitution * Founding Fathers of the United States


References


Books cited

* * * * *


Further reading

* * Fremont-Barnes, Gregory, and Richard A. Ryerson, eds. ''The Encyclopedia of the American Revolutionary War: A Political, Social, and Military History'' (5 vol. 2006) 1000 entries by 150 experts, covering all topics * * Horgan, Lucille E. ''Forged in War: The Continental Congress and the Origin of Military Supply and Acquisition Policy'' (2002) * Grossman, Mark. ''Encyclopedia of The Continental Congress'' (two volumes, 2015) * Irvin, Benjamin H. ''Clothed in Robes of Sovereignty: The Continental Congress and the People Out of Doors'' (Oxford University Press; 2011) 378 pages; analyzes the ritual and material culture used by the Continental Congress to assert its legitimacy and rally a wary public. * Resch, John P., ed. ''Americans at War: Society, Culture and the Homefront'' vol 1 (2005), articles by scholars


External links


''Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789''
34 volumes published 1904–1937, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
''Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789''
24 volumes, published 1976–2000, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774 to 1789
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. {{Authority control Continental Congress, 1774 establishments in the Thirteen Colonies 1789 disestablishments in the United States Defunct unicameral legislatures Philadelphia in the American Revolution