First Continental Congress
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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 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a key meeting place in the early history of the United States. It is in Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia Philadelphia, colloquially Phi ...
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 the United States and the most populous city in the state of Pennsylvania, with a 2019 estimated population ...

Philadelphia
,
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania ( ) ( pdc, Pennsilfaani), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic, Northeastern United States, Northeastern, and Appalachia, Appalachian regions of the ...

Pennsylvania
, after the British Navy instituted a blockade 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 response to the December 1773
Boston Tea Party The Boston Tea Party was an American Direct action#Violent direct action, political and Mercantilism, mercantile protest by the Sons of Liberty in Boston, Province of Massachusetts Bay, Massachusetts, on December 16, 1773. The target was the ...

Boston Tea Party
. During the opening weeks of the Congress, the delegates conducted a spirited discussion about how the colonies could collectively respond to the British government's coercive actions, and they worked to make a common cause. A plan was proposed to create a Union of Great Britain and the Colonies, but the delegates rejected it. They ultimately agreed in the
Continental Association The Continental Association, often known as the Association, was a detailed system created by America's First Continental Congress The First Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from 12 of the 13 British colonies that became the Uni ...
to impose an economic boycott on British trade, and they drew up a
Petition to the King The Petition to the King was a petition A petition is a request to do something, most commonly addressed to a government official or public entity. Petitions to a deity are a form of prayer called supplication. In the colloquial sense, a petiti ...
pleading for redress of their grievances and repeal of the Intolerable Acts. That appeal had no effect, so the colonies convened the
Second Continental Congress The Second Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies in America which united in the American Revolutionary War. It convened on May 10, 1775, with representatives from 12 of the colonies in Philadelphia, Pennsylva ...
the following May, shortly after the
battles of Lexington and Concord The battles of Lexington and Concord were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War. The battles were fought on April 19, 1775 in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, within th ...
, to organize the defense of the colonies at the outset of the Revolutionary War. The delegates also urged each colony to set up and train its own militia.


Convention

The Congress met from September 5 to October 26, 1774, in
Carpenters' Hall Carpenters' Hall is the official birthplace of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a key meeting place in the early history of the United States. It is in Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia Philadelphia, colloquially Phi ...
in Philadelphia; delegates from 12
British colonies Within the British Empire, a Crown colony or royal colony was a colony In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administ ...

British colonies
participated. They were elected by the people of the various colonies, the colonial legislature, or by the
Committee of Correspondence The committees of correspondence were, prior to the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the Revolutionary War and the American War of Independence, was initiated by delegate ...
of a colony.
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sentiments outweighed Patriot views in
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, and that colony did not join the cause until the following year.
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
was elected as president of the Congress on the opening day, and he served through October 22 when ill health forced him to retire, and
Henry Middleton Henry Middleton (1717 – June 13, 1784) was a planter and public official from South Carolina South Carolina () is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the U ...
was elected in his place for the balance of the session.
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 ...
, leader of the Philadelphia Committee of Correspondence, was selected as the congressional secretary. The rules adopted by the delegates were designed to guard the equality of participants and to promote free-flowing debate. As the deliberations progressed, it became clear that those in attendance were not of one mind concerning why they were there. Conservatives such as
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
,
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 ...
,
John Jay John Jay (December 12, 1745 – May 17, 1829) was an American statesman, patriot, diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of ...

John Jay
, and
Edward Rutledge Edward Rutledge (November 23, 1749 – January 23, 1800) was an American politician and youngest signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence The United States Declaration of Independence is the pronouncement adopted by the Sec ...

Edward Rutledge
believed their task to be forging policies to pressure Parliament to rescind its unreasonable acts. Their ultimate goal was to develop a reasonable solution to the difficulties and bring about reconciliation between the Colonies and Great Britain. Others such as
Patrick Henry Patrick Henry (May 29, 1736June 6, 1799) was an American attorney, planter, politician, and orator best known for his declaration to the Second Virginia Convention (1775): " Give me liberty, or give me death!" A Founding Father, he served as ...

Patrick Henry
,
Roger Sherman Roger Sherman (April 19, 1721 – July 23, 1793) was an early American statesman and lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at lawAttorney at law or attorney-at-law, usually abbreviated in ever ...
,
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
, and
John Adams John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat, writer, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the second president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. Before ...

John Adams
believed their task to be developing a decisive statement of the rights and liberties of the Colonies. Their ultimate goal was to end what they felt to be the abuses of parliamentary authority and to retain their rights, which had been guaranteed under Colonial charters and the English constitution. Roger Sherman denied the legislative authority of Parliament, and Patrick Henry believed that the Congress needed to develop a completely new system of government, independent from Great Britain, for the existing Colonial governments were already dissolved. In contrast to these ideas, Joseph Galloway put forward a " Plan of Union" which suggested that an American legislative body should be formed with some authority, whose consent would be required for imperial measures.


Declaration and Resolves

In the end, the voices of compromise carried the day. Rather than calling for independence, the First Continental Congress passed and signed the
Continental Association The Continental Association, often known as the Association, was a detailed system created by America's First Continental Congress The First Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from 12 of the 13 British colonies that became the Uni ...
in its Declaration and Resolves, which called for a boycott of British goods to take effect in December 1774. After Congress signed on October 20, 1774 embracing non exportation they also planned nonimportation of slaves in beginning December 1, which would have abolished the slave trade in the United States of America 33 years before it actually ended.


Accomplishments

The primary accomplishment of the First Continental Congress was a compact among the colonies to boycott British goods beginning on December 1, 1774, unless parliament should rescind the Intolerable Acts. While delegates convened in the First Continental Congress, fifty-one women in Edenton, North Carolina formed their own association (now referred to as the Edenton Tea Party) in response to the Intolerable Acts that focused on producing goods for the colonies. Additionally, Great Britain's colonies in the West Indies were threatened with a boycott unless they agreed to non-importation of British goods. Imports from Britain dropped by 97 percent in 1775, compared with the previous year. Committees of observation and inspection were to be formed in each Colony to ensure compliance with the boycott. It was further agreed that if the Intolerable Acts were not repealed, the colonies would also cease exports to Britain after September 10, 1775. The House of Assembly, Houses of Assembly of each participating colony approved the proceedings of the Congress, with the exception of Province of New York, New York. The boycott was successfully implemented, but its potential for altering British colonial policy was cut off by the outbreak of hostilities in April 1775. Congress also voted to meet again the following year if their grievances were not addressed satisfactorily. Anticipating that there would be cause to convene a second congress, delegates resolved to send Letters to the inhabitants of Canada, letters of invitation to those colonies that had not joined them in Philadelphia, including: Province of Quebec (1763–91), Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Saint John's Island, Nova Scotia, Georgia, East Florida, and West Florida. Of these, only Georgia would ultimately send delegates to the next Congress.


List of delegates


Gallery


See also

* American Revolutionary War#Prelude to revolution * Founding Fathers of the United States * List of delegates to the Continental Congress * Papers of the Continental Congress


Notes


References


Sources

* Bancroft, George. ''History of the United States of America, from the discovery of the American continent.'' (1854–78), vol 4–1
online edition
* * * Launitz-Schurer, ''Loyal Whigs and Revolutionaries, The making of the revolution in New York, 1765-1776'', 1980, * Ketchum, Richard, ''Divided Loyalties, How the American Revolution came to New York'', 2002, * Miller, John C. ''Origins of the American Revolution'' (1943
online edition
* Puls, Mark, ''Samuel Adams, father of the American Revolution'', 2006, * * Peter Force, ed. ''American Archives,'' 9 vol 1837–1853, major compilation of documents 1774–1776


External links

* * * Image:US-LOC-AmericanMemory-Logo.svg, 44px, left]
Full text of ''Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789''
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{{Authority control 1774 in the Thirteen Colonies Continental Congress, * History of the government of the United States, Continental, first History of Philadelphia Pennsylvania in the American Revolution 1774 in Pennsylvania