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The Second Continental Congress
Continental Congress
was a convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies
Thirteen Colonies
that started meeting in the spring of 1775 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It succeeded the First Continental Congress, which met in Philadelphia
Philadelphia
between September 5, 1774 and October 26, 1774. The Second Congress managed the Colonial war effort and moved incrementally towards independence, adopting the United States Declaration of Independence
Independence
on July 4, 1776. The Congress acted as the de facto national government of what became the United States by raising armies, directing strategy, appointing diplomats, and making formal treaties such as the Olive Branch Petition.[1] The Second Continental Congress
Continental Congress
came together on May 10, 1775, effectively reconvening the First Continental Congress. Many of the 56 delegates who attended the first meeting were in attendance at the second, and the delegates appointed the same president (Peyton Randolph) and secretary (Charles Thomson).[2] Notable new arrivals included Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
and John Hancock
John Hancock
of Massachusetts. Within two weeks, Randolph was summoned back to Virginia
Virginia
to preside over the House of Burgesses; he was replaced in the Virginia
Virginia
delegation by Thomas Jefferson, who arrived several weeks later. Henry Middleton
Henry Middleton
was elected as president to replace Randolph, but he declined. Hancock was elected president on May 24.[3] Delegates from twelve of the Thirteen Colonies
Thirteen Colonies
were present when the Second Continental Congress
Continental Congress
convened. Georgia had not participated in the First Continental Congress
First Continental Congress
and did not initially send delegates to the Second. On May 13, 1775, Lyman Hall
Lyman Hall
was admitted as a delegate from the Parish of St. John's in the Colony of Georgia, not as a delegate from the colony itself.[4] On July 4, 1775, revolutionary Georgians held a Provincial Congress to decide how to respond to the American Revolution, and that congress decided on July 8 to send delegates to the Continental Congress. They arrived on July 20.[5]

Contents

1 History 2 Dates and places of sessions 3 See also 4 References

4.1 Bibliography

5 Further reading 6 External links

History[edit]

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This article is part of a series on the

United States Continental Congress

Predecessors

Albany Congress
Albany Congress
1754 Stamp Act Congress
Stamp Act Congress
1765

1st Continental Congress

Declaration and Resolves Continental Association Petition to the King

2nd Continental Congress

Olive Branch Petition Committee of Secret Correspondence

Necessity of Taking Up Arms

Lee Resolution Declaration of Independence Model Treaty Articles of Confederation Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture

Congress of the Confederation

Bank of North America Land Ordinance of 1784 / of 1785 Northwest Ordinance
Northwest Ordinance
of 1787

Members

List of delegates Presidents of the Continental Congress Secretary of the Continental Congress

United States
United States
portal

v t e

The First Continental Congress
First Continental Congress
had sent entreaties to King George III to stop the Coercive Acts; they had also created the Continental Association to establish a coordinated protest of those acts, putting a boycott on British goods. The Second Continental Congress
Continental Congress
met on May 10, 1775 to plan further responses if the British government had not repealed or modified the acts; however, the American Revolutionary War had already started by that time with the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and the Congress was called upon to take charge of the war effort. For the first few months of the war, the Patriots carried on their struggle in an ad-hoc and uncoordinated manner. They had seized arsenals, driven out royal officials, and besieged the British army in the city of Boston. On June 14, 1775, the Congress voted to create the Continental Army
Continental Army
out of the militia units around Boston and appointed George Washington
George Washington
of Virginia
Virginia
as commanding general.[6] On July 6, 1775, Congress approved a Declaration of Causes outlining the rationale and necessity for taking up arms in the Thirteen Colonies."[7] On July 8, they extended the Olive Branch Petition
Olive Branch Petition
to the British Crown
British Crown
as a final attempt at reconciliation; however, it was received too late to do any good. Silas Deane
Silas Deane
was sent to France as a minister (ambassador) of the Congress, and American ports were reopened in defiance of the British Navigation Acts. The Continental Congress
Continental Congress
had no explicit legal authority to govern,[8] but it assumed all the functions of a national government, such as appointing ambassadors, signing treaties, raising armies, appointing generals, obtaining loans from Europe, issuing paper money (called "Continentals"), and disbursing funds. The Congress had no authority to levy taxes and was required to request money, supplies, and troops from the states to support the war effort. Individual states frequently ignored these requests. Congress was moving towards declaring independence from the British Empire in 1776, but many delegates lacked the authority from their home governments to take such a drastic action. Advocates of independence moved to have reluctant colonial governments revise instructions to their delegations, or even replace those governments which would not authorize independence. On May 10, 1776, Congress passed a resolution recommending that any colony with a government that was not inclined toward independence should form one that was. On May 15, they adopted a more radical preamble to this resolution, drafted by John Adams, which advised throwing off oaths of allegiance and suppressing the authority of the Crown in any colonial government that still derived its authority from the Crown. That same day, the Virginia
Virginia
Convention instructed its delegation in Philadelphia
Philadelphia
to propose a resolution that called for a declaration of independence, the formation of foreign alliances, and a confederation of the states. The resolution of independence was delayed for several weeks, as advocates of independence consolidated support in their home governments.

The Assembly Room in Philadelphia's Independence Hall
Independence Hall
where the Second Continental Congress
Continental Congress
adopted the Declaration of Independence

On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee
Richard Henry Lee
offered a resolution before the Congress declaring the colonies independent. He also urged Congress to resolve "to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances" and to prepare a plan of confederation for the newly independent states.[9] Lee argued that independence was the only way to ensure a foreign alliance, since no European monarchs would deal with America if they remained Britain's colonies. American leaders had rejected the divine right of kings in the New World, but recognized the necessity of proving their credibility in the Old World.[10] Congress formally adopted the resolution of independence, but only after creating three overlapping committees to draft the Declaration, a Model Treaty, and the Articles of Confederation. The Declaration announced the states' entry into the international system; the model treaty was designed to establish amity and commerce with other states; and the Articles of Confederation
Articles of Confederation
established "a firm league" among the thirteen free and independent states. These three things together constituted an international agreement to set up central institutions for conducting vital domestic and foreign affairs.[9]

City Tavern
City Tavern
in Philadelphia, the delegates' favorite place to eat and meet informally[11][12]

Congress finally approved the resolution of independence on July 2, 1776. They next turned their attention to a formal explanation of this decision, the United States
United States
Declaration of Independence
Independence
which was approved on July 4 and published soon thereafter. The Congress moved from Philadelphia
Philadelphia
to Baltimore
Baltimore
in the winter of 1776 to avoid capture by British forces who were advancing on Philadelphia. Henry Fite's tavern was the largest building in Baltimore
Baltimore
Town at the time and provided a comfortable location of sufficient size for Congress to meet. Its site at the western edge of town was beyond easy reach of the British Royal Navy's ships should they try to sail up the harbor and the Patapsco River
Patapsco River
to shell the town. Congress was again forced to flee Philadelphia
Philadelphia
at the end of September 1777, as British troops occupied the city; they moved to York, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
and continued their work. Congress passed the Articles of Confederation
Articles of Confederation
on November 15, 1777, after more than a year of debate, and sent them to the states for ratification. Jefferson's proposal for a Senate to represent the states and a House to represent the people was rejected, but a similar proposal was adopted later in the United States
United States
Constitution. One issue of debate was large states wanting a larger say, nullified by small states who feared tyranny. The small states won and each state had one vote.[13] Congress urged the individual states to pass the Articles as quickly as possible, but it took three and a half years for all the states to ratify them. The State Legislature of Virginia was the first of the Thirteen States to ratify the Articles on December 16, 1777, and the State Legislature of Maryland
Maryland
was the last on February 2, 1781. Dates and places of sessions[edit]

May 10, 1775 – December 12, 1776, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
State House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania December 20, 1776 – February 27, 1777, Henry Fite House, Baltimore, Maryland March 5, 1777 – September 18, 1777, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
State House, Philadelphia September 27, 1777 (one day only), Court House, Lancaster, Pennsylvania September 30, 1777 – June 27, 1778, Court House, York, Pennsylvania July 2, 1778 – July 20, 1778, College Hall, Philadelphia July 23, 1778 – March 1, 1781, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
State House, Philadelphia

See also[edit]

History of the United States
United States
(1776–89) Timeline of United States
United States
revolutionary history (1760–1789) List of delegates to the Continental Congress Presidents of the Continental Congress

References[edit]

Footnotes

^ Cogliano, Revolutionary America, 1763–1815, p. 113 ^ Burnett, Continental Congress, pp. 64–67 ^ Fowler, Baron of Beacon Hill, p. 189 ^ Worthington C. Ford; et al., eds. (1904–1939). Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789. Washington, DC. pp. 2:44–48. CS1 maint: Explicit use of et al. (link) ^ ibid. pp. 2:192–93.  ^ Cogliano, Revolutionary America, 1763–1815, p. 59 ^ Find Documents: Results[permanent dead link] ^ Bancroft, Ch. 34, p. 353 (online) ^ a b The Declaration of Independence
Independence
in World Context, Organization of American Historians, Magazine of History, Volume18, Issue 3, pp. 61–66 (2004) ^ Howard Jones, Crucible of power: a history of American foreign relations to 1913 ^ Staib, Walter. City Tavern
City Tavern
Cookbook: 200 Years of Classic Recipes from America's First Gourmet Restaurant, pp. 5, 11–15, Running Press, Philadelphia, London, 1999. ISBN 0-7624-0529-5. ^ Staib, Walter. City Tavern
City Tavern
Baking & Dessert Cookbook: 200 Years of Authentic American Recipes from Martha Washington's Chocolate Mousse Cake to Thomas Jefferson's Sweet Potato Biscuits, pp. 8–10, 14–15, Running Press, Philadelphia, London, 2003. ISBN 0-7624-1554-1. ^ Miller (1948) ch. 22

Bibliography[edit]

Burnett, Edward Cody (1941). The Continental Congress. New York: Norton.  Fowler, William M., Jr. (1980). The Baron of Beacon Hill: A Biography of John Hancock. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-27619-5. 

Further reading[edit]

Adams, Willi Paul. The First American Constitutions: Republican Ideology and the Making of the State Constitutions in the Revolutionary Era. U. of North Carolina
North Carolina
Press, 1980. ISBN 0-7425-2069-2 Francis D. Cogliano, Revolutionary America, 1763-1815: A Political History. London: 2000. ISBN 0-415-18057-0 Worthington C. Ford, et al. ed. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789. (34 vol., 1904–1937) online edition Henderson, H. James (2002) [1974]. Party Politics in the Continental Congress. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-8191-6525-5.  Peter Force, ed. American Archives 9 vol 1837-1853, major compilation of documents 1774-1776. online edition Kruman, Marc W. Between Authority and Liberty: State Constitution Making in Revolutionary America. U. of North Carolina
North Carolina
Pr., 1997. ISBN 0-8078-4797-6 Maier, Pauline. American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence
Independence
(1998) Miller, John C. Triumph of Freedom, 1775-1783 (1948) ISBN 0-313-20779-8 Montross, Lynn (1970) [1950]. The Reluctant Rebels; the Story of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789. Barnes & Noble. ISBN 0-389-03973-X.  Rakove, Jack N. The Beginnings of National Politics: An Interpretive History of the Continental Congress. Knopf, 1979. ISBN 0-8018-2864-3

External links[edit]

Full text of Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789 Interactive Flash Version of John Trumbull's Declaration of Independence

Preceded by First Continental Congress Legislature of the United States May 10, 1775 – March 1, 1781 Succeeded by Congress of the Confederation

v t e

Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
during the American Revolutionary War

1774

First Continental Congress Articles of Association

1775

Independence
Independence
Hall Second Continental Congress

1776

United States
United States
Declaration of Independence Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
Constitution Washington Crosses the Delaware

1777

Articles of Confederation Philadelphia
Philadelphia
campaign Battle of Brandywine Battle of the Clouds Liberty Bell moved to Allentown Battle of Paoli Battle of Germantown Siege of Fort Mifflin Battle of White Marsh Battle of Matson's Ford Valley Forge

1778

Battle of Crooked Billet Battle of Barren Hill British occupation of Philadelphia
Philadelphia
ends Wyoming Valley battle and massacre

1781

Congress of the Confederation Mutiny of the Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
Line

1783

1783 Mutiny

v t e

Historical documents of the United States

Constitution

Preamble & Articles

Preamble I II III IV V VI VII

Amendments

Ratified

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27

Pending

Congressional Apportionment Titles of Nobility Corwin (State Domestic Institutions) Child Labor

Unsuccessful

Equal Rights District of Columbia Voting Rights

See also

List of Constitutional Amendments Bill of Rights (Amendments 1–10) Reconstruction Amendments
Reconstruction Amendments
(Amendments 13–15) Amendment proposals in Congress Conventions to propose amendments State ratifying conventions

Formation

History Articles of Confederation Mount Vernon Conference Annapolis Convention Philadelphia
Philadelphia
Convention

Virginia
Virginia
Plan New Jersey
New Jersey
Plan Connecticut
Connecticut
Compromise Three-Fifths Compromise Committee of Detail Signing Independence
Independence
Hall Syng inkstand

The Federalist Papers Anti-Federalist Papers Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Compromise Virginia
Virginia
Ratifying Convention Hillsborough Convention Drafting and ratification timeline

Clauses

Appointments Appropriations Assistance of Counsel Bill of credit Case or Controversy Citizenship Commerce Compact Compulsory Process Confrontation Contract Copyright and Patent Double Jeopardy Due Process Equal Protection Establishment Exceptions Excessive Bail Ex post facto Extradition Free Exercise Free Speech Fugitive Slave Full Faith and Credit General Welfare Guarantee Impeachment Import-Export Ineligibility (Emolument) Militia Natural-born citizen Necessary and Proper New States No Religious Test Oath or Affirmation Origination Petition Postal Presentment Privileges and Immunities Privileges or Immunities Recommendation Self-Incrimination Speech or Debate Speedy Trial State of the Union Supremacy Suspension Take Care Takings Taxing and Spending Territorial Title of Nobility Treaty Trial by Jury Vesting Vicinage War Powers List of clauses

Interpretation

Concurrent powers Congressional enforcement Constitutional law Criminal procedure Criminal sentencing Dormant Commerce Clause Enumerated powers Equal footing Executive privilege Incorporation of the Bill of Rights Judicial review Nondelegation doctrine Preemption Saxbe fix Separation of church and state Separation of powers Taxation power Unitary executive theory

Signatories

Convention President

George Washington

New Hampshire

John Langdon Nicholas Gilman

Massachusetts

Nathaniel Gorham Rufus King

Connecticut

William Samuel Johnson Roger Sherman

New York

Alexander Hamilton

New Jersey

William Livingston David Brearley William Paterson Jonathan Dayton

Pennsylvania

Benjamin Franklin Thomas Mifflin Robert Morris George Clymer Thomas Fitzsimons Jared Ingersoll James Wilson Gouverneur Morris

Delaware

George Read Gunning Bedford Jr. John Dickinson Richard Bassett Jacob Broom

Maryland

James McHenry Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Daniel Carroll

Virginia

John Blair James Madison

North Carolina

William Blount Richard Dobbs Spaight Hugh Williamson

South Carolina

John Rutledge Charles Cotesworth Pinckney Charles Pinckney Pierce Butler

Georgia

William Few Abraham Baldwin

Convention Secretary

William Jackson

Display and legacy

National Archives

Charters of Freedom
Charters of Freedom
Rotunda

Independence
Independence
Mall Constitution Day Constitution Gardens National Constitution Center Scene at the Signing of the Constitution (painting) A More Perfect Union (film) Worldwide influence

Declaration of Independence

Primary author

Thomas Jefferson

Signatories

President of Congress

John Hancock
John Hancock
(Massachusetts)

New Hampshire

Josiah Bartlett William Whipple Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts

Samuel Adams John Adams Robert Treat Paine Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island

Stephen Hopkins William Ellery

Connecticut

Roger Sherman Samuel Huntington William Williams Oliver Wolcott

New York

William Floyd Philip Livingston Francis Lewis Lewis Morris

New Jersey

Richard Stockton John Witherspoon Francis Hopkinson John Hart Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania

Robert Morris Benjamin Rush Benjamin Franklin John Morton George Clymer James Smith George Taylor James Wilson George Ross

Delaware

George Read Caesar Rodney Thomas McKean

Maryland

Samuel Chase William Paca Thomas Stone Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia

George Wythe Richard Henry Lee Thomas Jefferson Benjamin Harrison Thomas Nelson Jr. Francis Lightfoot Lee Carter Braxton

North Carolina

William Hooper Joseph Hewes John Penn

South Carolina

Edward Rutledge Thomas Heyward Jr. Thomas Lynch Jr. Arthur Middleton

Georgia

Button Gwinett Lyman Hall George Walton

See also

Virginia
Virginia
Declaration of Rights Lee Resolution Committee of Five Document's history

signing portrait

Second Continental Congress "All men are created equal" "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" "Consent of the governed" Independence
Independence
Hall

Syng inkstand

American Revolution

Articles of Confederation

Signatories

Primary drafter

John Dickinson

New Hampshire

Josiah Bartlett John Wentworth Jr.

Massachusetts

John Hancock Samuel Adams Elbridge Gerry Francis Dana James Lovell Samuel Holten

Rhode Island

William Ellery Henry Marchant John Collins

Connecticut

Roger Sherman Samuel Huntington Oliver Wolcott Titus Hosmer Andrew Adams

New York

James Duane Francis Lewis William Duer Gouverneur Morris

New Jersey

John Witherspoon Nathaniel Scudder

Pennsylvania

Robert Morris Daniel Roberdeau Jonathan Bayard Smith William Clingan Joseph Reed

Delaware

Thomas McKean John Dickinson Nicholas Van Dyke

Maryland

John Hanson Daniel Carroll

Virginia

Richard Henry Lee John Banister Thomas Adams John Harvie Francis Lightfoot Lee

North Carolina

John Penn Cornelius Harnett John Williams

South Carolina

Henry Laurens William Henry Drayton John Mathews Richard Hutson Thomas Heyward Jr.

Georgia

John Walton Edward Telfair Edward Langworthy

See also

Continental Congress Congress of the Confederation American Revolution Perpetual Union

Continental Association

Signatories

President of Congress

Peyton Randolph

New Hampshire

John Sullivan Nathaniel Folsom

Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Bay

Thomas Cushing Samuel Adams John Adams Robert Treat Paine

Rhode Island

Stephen Hopkins Samuel Ward

Connecticut

Eliphalet Dyer Roger Sherman Silas Deane

New York

Isaac Low John Alsop John Jay James Duane Philip Livingston William Floyd Henry Wisner Simon Boerum

New Jersey

James Kinsey William Livingston Stephen Crane Richard Smith John De Hart

Pennsylvania

Joseph Galloway John Dickinson Charles Humphreys Thomas Mifflin Edward Biddle John Morton George Ross

The Lower Counties

Caesar Rodney Thomas McKean George Read

Maryland

Matthew Tilghman Thomas Johnson, Junr William Paca Samuel Chase

Virginia

Richard Henry Lee George Washington Patrick Henry, Junr Richard Bland Benjamin Harrison Edmund Pendleton

North Carolina

William Hooper Joseph Hewes Richard Caswell

South Carolina

Henry Middleton Thomas Lynch Christopher Gadsden John Rutledge Edward Rutledge

See also

Virginia
Virginia
Association First Continental Congress Carpenters' Hall Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress

v t e

Location of the capital of the United States
United States
and predecessors

1774   First Continental Congress

Philadelphia

1775–81   Second Continental Congress

Philadelphia → Baltimore → Lancaster → York → Philadelphia

1781–89   Congress of the Confederation

Philadelphia → Princeton → Annapolis → Trenton → New York City

1789–present   Federal government of the United States

New York City → Philadelphia → Washington, D.C.

v t e

Government of the United States
United States
under the Articles of Confederation

Congresses

1st Continental Congress 2nd Continental Congress The US in Congress Assembled Delegates Committee of the States

Congressional Officers

President Secretary

Civil Offices/Officers

Postmaster General Superintendent of Finance/Agent of the Marine Secretary at War Secretary of Foreign Affairs Court of Appeals

Military

Board of War Continental Army Commander in Chief Continental Navy C

.