First Continenetal Gongres - History

First Continenetal Gongres - History

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First continental Congress Meets 1774

The first Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, from September 5th to October 26th 1774. The Congress's major accomplishment was agreeing to a new non-importation agreement.


A cry went on among the colonies after the implementation of the intolerable Acts by the British, in response to the Boston Tea Party. Once again colonists called to organize a meeting or Congress of all the colonies, modeled on the Stamp Act Congress.

Leaders of the various colonies all agreed that such a meeting was welcome and necessary to coordinate their response to the British actions. The various colonies selected their delegations. The representatives all set out for Philadelphia, the agreed location.

Nowhere was the Congress more welcome than in Massachusetts. On May 25th, 1774, the Massachusetts General Court elected members to the Governor's Council. Governor Hutchison vetoed 12 of the members, including John Adams. The governor then left to England for consultations. The Governor left behind General Gage in charge. Gage promptly adjoined the council, which met anyway.

The council appointed a delegation to the Continental Congress. The delegation consisted of Thomas Cushing, James Bowdoin, Robert Treat Paine, John and Samuel Adams. When Gage heard of their decision, he disbanded the Great and Gnarl Court. Gage wrote Lord Dartmouth, informing him of the plans of the Congress. He wrote: “It is not possible to guess what a body, composed of such heterogeneous matter will determine; but members from hence, I am assured will promote the most haughty and insolent resolves; for their plans has ever been by high-sounding sedition to terrify and intimidate."

On August 10th, John Adams and the delegation set off for Philadelphia. The delegation arrived in Philadelphia twenty days later, after visiting Hartford, New Haven and New York on the way. They began meeting members of the other delegations.

On September 5, 1774 the entire delegation met. All of the colonies, with the exception of Georgia, had sent representatives. The Congress was divided between militant and conservative delegates. The conservative delegates wanted to buy time to allow the British government to come to its senses. The more militant delegates wanted to take immediate action against the British. It was clear, early on, that the conservatives were a minority-- as the hard line opponents to British rule were elected by the Chairman of the Congress, as well as, the secretary. 

The Congress debated various options. In the end, the Congress settled on passing a call for non-Importation and non-Exportation, unless the British repealed the actions they had taken against Massachusetts. The delegates called for the immediate non-importation of good from England, while putting off the non exportation clause for one year. The Congress also agreed to meet again in one year if Britain had not changed its policies.

The accomplishments of the First Continental Congress were modest. None of the delegates were under the illusion that the implementation of the non-importation agreement would change British policies, even if it were possible. Rather, it was the very meeting of the Congress that was important. Delegates from 12 different colonies had assembled. Despite their regional differences the colonist successfully reached an agreement. During one of the early discussions Patrick Henry of Virginia gave a rousing speech in which he stated: "today I am no longer a Virginian, but an American." While state allegiances have not disappeared to this day, the First Continental Congress was an essential milestone in establishing a collective identity for colonists as Americans. The First Continental Congress led, of course, directly to the Second Continental Congress, where momentous events would transpire.

10d. First Continental Congress

Patrick Henry Before the Virginia House of Burgesses
Peter F. Rothermel, 1851' href='images/patrick_henry.jpg'>
What do you do if you fail as a storekeeper and farmer? Become a lawyer! That's what Patrick Henry did. By the time he became a member of the First Continental Congress, Henry was known as a great orator.

Americans were fed up. The "Intolerable Acts" were more than the colonies could stand.

In the summer that followed Parliament's attempt to punish Boston, sentiment for the patriot cause increased dramatically. The printing presses at the Committees of Correspondence were churning out volumes.

There was agreement that this new quandary warranted another intercolonial meeting. It was nearly ten years since the Stamp Act Congress had assembled.

It was time once again for intercolonial action. Thus, on September 5, 1774, the First Continental Congress was convened in Philadelphia.

  • Quartering Act (March 24, 1765): This bill required that Colonial Authorities to furnish barracks and supplies to British troops. In 1766, it was expanded to public houses and unoccupied buildings.
  • Boston Port Bill (June 1, 1774): This bill closed the port of Boston to all colonists until the damages from the Boston Tea Party were paid for.
  • Administration of Justice Act (May 20, 1774): This bill stated that British Officials could not be tried in provincial courts for capital crimes. They would be extradited back to Britain and tried there.
  • Massachusetts Government Act (May 20, 1774): This bill annulled the Charter of the Colonies, giving the British Governor complete control of the town meetings.
  • Quebec Act (May 20, 1774): This bill extended the Canadian borders to cut off the western colonies of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Virginia.

Colonists came together at the First Continental Congress to protest the Intolerable Acts.

This time participation was better. Only Georgia withheld a delegation. The representatives from each colony were often selected by almost arbitrary means, as the election of such representatives was illegal.

Still, the natural leaders of the colonies managed to be selected. Sam and John Adams from Massachusetts were present, as was John Dickinson from Pennsylvania. Virginia selected Richard Henry Lee, George Washington, and Patrick Henry. It took seven weeks for the country's future heroes to agree on a course of action.

First and most obvious, complete nonimportation was resumed. The Congress set up an organization called the Association to ensure compliance in the colonies.

A declaration of colonial rights was drafted and sent to London. Much of the debate revolved around defining the colonies' relationship with mother England.

A plan introduced by Joseph Galloway of Pennsylvania proposed an imperial union with Britain. Under this program, all acts of Parliament would have to be approved by an American assembly to take effect.

Such an arrangement, if accepted by London, might have postponed revolution. But the delegations voted against it &mdash by one vote.

One decision by the Congress often overlooked in importance is its decision to reconvene in May 1775 if their grievances were not addressed. This is a major step in creating an ongoing intercolonial decision making body, unprecedented in colonial history.

When Parliament chose to ignore the Congress, they did indeed reconvene that next May, but by this time boycotts were no longer a major issue. Unfortunately, the Second Continental Congress would be grappling with choices caused by the spilling of blood at Lexington and Concord the previous month.

It was at Carpenters' Hall that America came together politically for the first time on a national level and where the seeds of participatory democracy were sown.


  • April 1, 1789: House of Representatives first achieved a quorum and elected its officers.
  • April 6, 1789: Senate first achieved a quorum and elected its officers.
  • April 6, 1789: The House and Senate, meeting in joint session, counted the Electoral College ballots, then certified that George Washington was unanimously elected President of the United States and John Adams (having received 34 of 69 votes) was elected as Vice President. [1]
  • April 21, 1789: John Adams was inaugurated as the nation's first vice president. [2][3]
  • April 30, 1789: George Washington was inaugurated as the nation's first president at Federal Hall in New York City.
  • January 8, 1790: President Washington gave the first State of the Union Address
  • June 20, 1790: Compromise of 1790: James Madison agreed to not be "strenuous" in opposition to the assumption of state debts by the federal government Alexander Hamilton agreed to support a national capital site in the South.

Session 1 Edit

Held March 4, 1789, through September 29, 1789, at Federal Hall in New York City

  • June 1, 1789: An act to regulate the time and manner of administering certain oaths, ch. 1, 1 Stat.23
  • July 4, 1789: Tariff of 1789, ch. 2, 1 Stat.24
  • July 27, 1789: United States Department of State was established, originally named the Department of Foreign Affairs, ch. 4, 1 Stat.28.
  • July 31, 1789: Regulation of the Collection of Duties on Tonnage and Merchandise, ch.5, 1 Stat.29, which established the United States Customs Service and its ports of entry.
  • August 7, 1789: Department of War was established, ch. 7, 1 Stat.49.
  • September 2, 1789: United States Department of the Treasury was established, ch. 12, 1 Stat.65
  • September 24, 1789: Judiciary Act of 1789, ch. 20, 1 Stat.73, which established the federal judiciary and the office of Attorney General

Session 2 Edit

Held January 4, 1790, through August 12, 1790, at Federal Hall in New York City

  • March 1, 1790: Made provisions for the first Census, ch. 2, 1 Stat.101
  • March 26, 1790: Naturalization Act of 1790, ch. 3, 1 Stat.103
  • April 10, 1790: Patent Act of 1790, ch. 7, 1 Stat.109
  • April 30, 1790: Crimes Act of 1790, ch. 9, 1 Stat.112
  • May 31, 1790: Copyright Act of 1790, ch. 15, 1 Stat.124
  • July 16, 1790: Residence Act, ch. 28, 1 Stat.130, established Washington, D.C. as the seat of government of the United States.
  • July 22, 1790: Indian Intercourse Act of 1790, ch. 33, 1 Stat.137, regulated commerce with the Indian tribes.
  • August 4, 1790: Funding Act of 1790, ch. 34, 1 Stat.138, authorized the "full assumption" of state debts by the federal government.
  • August 4, 1790: Collection of Duties Act, ch.35, 1 Stat.145, among its provisions is Sec. 62, 1 Stat.175, authorizing establishment of the Revenue-Marine, since 1915 the United States Coast Guard.
  • August 10, 1790: Tariff of 1790, ch. 39, 1 Stat.180

Session 3 Edit

Held December 6, 1790, through March 3, 1791, at Congress Hall in Philadelphia

  • February 18, 1791: Admission of Vermont postdated to March 4, ch. 10, 1 Stat.191
  • February 25, 1791: First Bank of the United States, ch. 10, 1 Stat.191
  • March 3, 1791: Tariff of 1791, ch. 15, 1 Stat.199, which triggered the Whiskey Rebellion
  • September 25, 1789: Approved 12 amendments to the United States Constitution establishing specific guarantees of personal freedoms and rights, clear limitations on government power, and submitted them to the state legislatures for ratification. 1 Stat.97:
      has not been ratified and is still pending before the states.
  • Article two was much later ratified on May 7, 1992, as the Twenty-seventh Amendment.
  • Articles three through twelve, known as the "Bill of Rights," were later ratified on December 15, 1791.
    • November 21, 1789: North Carolina became the 12th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution and thereby joined the Union.
    • May 29, 1790: Rhode Island became the 13th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution and thereby joined the Union.

    There were no political parties in this Congress. Members are informally grouped into factions of similar interest, based on an analysis of their voting record. [4]

    Details on changes are shown below in the "Changes in membership" section.

    Senate Edit

    Beginning of the Congress

    During this congress, two Senate seats were added for North Carolina and Rhode Island when each ratified the Constitution.

    House of Representatives Edit

    Beginning of the Congress

    During this congress, five House seats were added for North Carolina and one House seat was added for Rhode Island when they ratified the Constitution.

    Senate Edit

    House of Representatives Edit

    This list is arranged by chamber, then by state. Senators are listed by class, and representatives are listed by district.

    Senate Edit

    Senators were elected by the state legislatures every two years, with one-third beginning new six-year terms with each Congress. Preceding the names in the list below are Senate class numbers, which indicate the cycle of their election. In this Congress, all Senators were newly elected, and Class 1 meant their term ended with this Congress, requiring re-election in 1790 Class 2 meant their term ended with the next Congress, requiring re-election in 1792 and Class 3 meant their term lasted through the next two Congresses, requiring re-election in 1794.

    Connecticut Edit

    Delaware Edit

    Georgia Edit

    Maryland Edit

    Massachusetts Edit

    New Hampshire Edit

    New Jersey Edit

    New York Edit

    North Carolina Edit

    Pennsylvania Edit

    Rhode Island Edit

    South Carolina Edit

    Virginia Edit

    House of Representatives Edit

    The names of members of the House of Representatives are listed by their districts.

    Connecticut Edit

    All representatives were elected statewide on a general ticket.

    Delaware Edit

    Georgia Edit

    Maryland Edit

    Massachusetts Edit

    • 1 . Fisher Ames (P)
    • 2 . Benjamin Goodhue (P)
    • 3 . Elbridge Gerry (A)
    • 4 . Theodore Sedgwick (P)
    • 5 . George Partridge (P), until August 14, 1790, vacant thereafter
    • 6 . George Thatcher (P)
    • 7 . George Leonard (P)
    • 8 . Jonathan Grout (A)

    New Hampshire Edit

    All representatives were elected statewide on a general ticket.

    New Jersey Edit

    All representatives were elected statewide on a general ticket.

    New York Edit

    • 1 . William Floyd (A)
    • 2 . John Laurance (P)
    • 3 . Egbert Benson (P)
    • 4 . John Hathorn (A), from April 23, 1789
    • 5 . Peter Silvester (P), from April 22, 1789
    • 6 . Jeremiah Van Rensselaer (A), from May 9, 1789

    North Carolina Edit

    • 1 . John Baptista Ashe (A), from March 24, 1790
    • 2 . Hugh Williamson (A), from March 19, 1790
    • 3 . Timothy Bloodworth (A), from April 6, 1790
    • 4 . John Steele (P), from April 19, 1790
    • 5 . John Sevier (P), from June 16, 1790

    Pennsylvania Edit

    All representatives were elected statewide on a general ticket.

    • At-large . George Clymer (P)
    • At-large . Thomas Fitzsimons (P)
    • At-large . Thomas Hartley (P)
    • At-large . Daniel Hiester (A)
    • At-large . Frederick Muhlenberg (P)
    • At-large . Peter Muhlenberg (A)
    • At-large . Thomas Scott (P)
    • At-large . Henry Wynkoop (P)

    Rhode Island Edit

    South Carolina Edit

    Virginia Edit

    • 1 . Alexander White (P)
    • 2 . John Brown (A)
    • 3 . Andrew Moore (A)
    • 4 . Richard Bland Lee (P)
    • 5 . James Madison (A)
    • 6 . Isaac Coles (A)
    • 7 . John Page (A)
    • 8 . Josiah Parker (A)
    • 9 . Theodorick Bland (A), until June 1, 1790
        (A), from December 7, 1790
    • There were no political parties in this Congress. Members are informally grouped into factions of similar interest, based on an analysis of their voting record. [4]

      New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island, were the last states to ratify the U.S. Constitution, and because of their late ratification, were unable to send full representation at the beginning of this Congress. Six Senators and nine Representatives were subsequently seated from these states during the sessions as noted.

      Senate Edit

      There was 1 resignation, 1 death, 1 replacement of a temporary appointee, and 6 new seats. The Anti-Administration Senators picked up 1 new seat and the Pro-Administration Senators picked up 5 new seats.

      Vacator Reason for change Successor Date of successor's
      formal installation [s]
      New York (3) New seats State legislature failed to choose Senator until after Congress began. Rufus King (P) July 25, 1789
      New York (1) Philip John Schuyler (P) July 27, 1789
      North Carolina (3) North Carolina ratified the constitution on November 21, 1789. Benjamin Hawkins (P) Elected November 27, 1789
      North Carolina (2) Samuel Johnston (P)
      William Grayson (A) Died March 12, 1790. John Walker (P) Appointed March 31, 1790
      Rhode Island (1) New seats Rhode Island ratified the constitution on May 29, 1790. Theodore Foster (P) Elected June 7, 1790
      Rhode Island (2) Joseph Stanton, Jr. (A)
      John Walker (P) James Monroe was elected to the seat of Senator William Grayson. James Monroe (A) Elected November 9, 1790
      New Jersey (2) William Paterson (P) Resigned November 13, 1790,
      having been elected Governor of New Jersey.
      Philemon Dickinson (P) Elected November 23, 1790

      House of Representatives Edit

      There was 2 resignations, 1 death, and 6 new seats. Anti-Administration members picked up 3 seats and Pro-Administration members picked up 2 seats.

      Continental Congress

      Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.

      Continental Congress, in the period of the American Revolution, the body of delegates who spoke and acted collectively for the people of the colony-states that later became the United States of America. The term most specifically refers to the bodies that met in 1774 and 1775–81 and respectively designated as the First Continental Congress and the Second Continental Congress.

      In the spring of 1774 the British Parliament’s passage of the Intolerable (Coercive) Acts, including the closing of the port of Boston, provoked keen resentment in the colonies. The First Continental Congress, convened in response to the Acts by the colonial Committees of Correspondence, met in Philadelphia on September 5, 1774. Fifty-six deputies represented all the colonies except Georgia. Peyton Randolph of Virginia was unanimously elected president, thus establishing usage of that term as well as “Congress.” Charles Thomson of Pennsylvania was elected secretary and served in that office during the 15-year life of the Congress.

      To provide unity, delegates gave one vote to each state regardless of its size. The First Continental Congress included Patrick Henry, George Washington, John and Samuel Adams, John Jay, and John Dickinson. Meeting in secret session, the body rejected a plan for reconciling British authority with colonial freedom. Instead, it adopted a declaration of personal rights, including life, liberty, property, assembly, and trial by jury. The declaration also denounced taxation without representation and the maintenance of the British army in the colonies without their consent. Parliamentary regulation of American commerce, however, was willingly accepted.

      In October 1774 the Congress petitioned the crown for a redress of grievances accumulated since 1763. In an effort to force compliance, it called for a general boycott of British goods and eventual nonexportation of American products, except rice, to Britain or the British West Indies. Its last act was to set a date for another Congress to meet on May 10, 1775, to consider further steps.

      Before that Second Continental Congress assembled in the Pennsylvania State House, hostilities had already broken out between Americans and British troops at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts. New members of the Second Congress included Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. John Hancock and John Jay were among those who served as president. The Congress “adopted” the New England military forces that had converged upon Boston and appointed Washington commander in chief of the American army on June 15, 1775. It also acted as the provisional government of the 13 colony-states, issuing and borrowing money, establishing a postal service, and creating a navy. Although the Congress for some months maintained that the Americans were struggling for their rights within the British Empire, it gradually cut tie after tie with Britain until separation was complete. On July 2, 1776, with New York abstaining, the Congress “unanimously” resolved that “these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states.” Two days later it solemnly approved this Declaration of Independence. The Congress also prepared the Articles of Confederation, which, after being sanctioned by all the states, became the first U.S. constitution in March 1781.

      The Articles placed Congress on a constitutional basis, legalizing the powers it had exercised since 1775. To underline this distinction, the Congress that met under the Articles of Confederation is often referred to as the Congress of the Confederation, or the Confederation Congress. This Congress continued to function until the new Congress, elected under the present Constitution, met in 1789.

      The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Jeff Wallenfeldt, Manager, Geography and History.

      First Continental Congress

      The First Continental Congress convened in Carpenters&rsquo Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, between September 5 and October 26, 1774. Delegates from twelve of Britain&rsquos thirteen American colonies met to discuss America&rsquos future under growing British aggression. The list of delegates included many prominent colonial leaders, such as Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, and two future presidents of the United States, George Washington and John Adams. Delegates discussed boycotting British goods to establish the rights of Americans and planned for a Second Continental Congress.

      The First Continental Congress was prompted by the Coercive Acts, known in America as the Intolerable Acts, which Parliament passed in early 1774 to reassert its dominance over the American colonies following the Boston Tea Party. The Intolerable Acts, among other changes, closed off the Boston Port and rescinded the Massachusetts Charter, bringing the colony under more direct British control.

      Across North America, colonists rose in solidarity with the people of Massachusetts. Goods arrived in Massachusetts from as far south as Georgia, and by late spring 1774, nine of the colonies called for a continental congress. Virginia&rsquos Committee of Correspondence is largely credited with originating the invitation.

      The colonies elected delegates to the First Continental Congress in various ways. Some delegates were elected through their respective colonial legislatures or committees of correspondence. As for Washington, he was elected with the other Virginia delegates at the First Virginia Convention, which was called in support of Massachusetts following the passage of the Intolerable Acts. Georgia was the only colony that did not send any delegates to the First Continental Congress. Facing a war with neighboring Native American tribes, the colony did not want to jeopardize British assistance.

      When Congress convened on September 5, 1774, Peyton Randolph of Virginia was named President of the First Continental Congress. One of the Congress&rsquos first decisions was to endorse the Suffolk Resolves passed in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. The Suffolk Resolves ordered citizens to not obey the Intolerable Acts, to refuse imported British goods, and to raise a militia. Congress&rsquos early endorsement of the Suffolk Resolves was a clear indication of the mood and spirit in Carpenters&rsquo Hall.

      Furthermore, the delegates promptly began drafting and discussing the Continental Association. This would become their most important policy outcome. The Association called for an end to British imports starting in December 1774 and an end to exporting goods to Britain in September 1775. This policy would be enforced by local and colony-wide committees of inspection. These committees would check ships that arrived in ports, force colonists to sign documents pledging loyalty to the Continental Association, and suppress mob violence. The committees of inspection even enforced frugality, going so far as to end lavish funeral services and parties. Many colonial leaders hoped these efforts would bond the colonies together economically.

      Virginia secured the Continental Association&rsquos delay in ending exports to Britain. Before the Continental Congress, Virginia had passed its own association that delayed ending exports to avoid hurting farmers with a sudden change in policy. The delegates from Virginia showed up to the Continental Congress united, and refused to waiver on the issue of delaying the ban on exports to Britain.

      The idea of using non-importation as leverage was neither new nor unexpected. Prior to the Continental Congress, eight colonies had already endorsed the measure and merchants had been warned against placing any orders with Britain, as a ban on importation was likely to pass. Some colonies had already created their own associations to ban importation and, in some cases, exportation. The Virginia Association had passed at the Virginia Convention with George Washington in attendance.

      Washington&rsquos support of using non-importation as leverage against the British can be traced back as far as 1769 in letters between him and George Mason. When the colonies first started publicly supporting non-importation, Bryan Fairfax, a longtime friend of Washington&rsquos, wrote to him urging him to not support the Continental Association and to instead petition Parliament. Washington dismissed this suggestion, writing &ldquowe have already Petitiond his Majesty in as humble, & dutiful a manner as Subjects could do.&rdquo 1 Washington, like many delegates at the First Continental Congress, no longer saw petitioning as a useful tool in changing Parliament&rsquos ways.

      Many delegates felt that using the Continental Association as leverage would be impractical without explicit demands and a plan of redress. However, Congress struggled to come up with a list of rights, grievances, and demands. Furthermore, to only repeal laws that were unfavorable to the delegates without a list of rights would be a temporary fix to the larger issue of continued British abuse. To address these issues, Congress formed a Grand Committee.

      All debate was stalled for weeks while a statement of American rights was debated at length. Producing this statement required answering constitutional questions that had been asked for over a century. The hardest constitutional question surrounded Britain&rsquos right to regulate trade. Joseph Galloway, a conservative delegate from Pennsylvania, insisted on releasing a statement clarifying Britain&rsquos right to regulate trade in the American colonies. However, other delegates were opposed to giving Britain explicit rights to colonial trade.

      During this debate, Galloway introduced A Plan of Union between the American Colonies and Britain. The Plan of Union called for the creation of a Colonial Parliament that would work hand-in-hand with the British Parliament. The British monarch would appoint a President General and the colonial assemblies would appoint delegates for a three-year term. Galloway&rsquos plan was defeated in a 6-5 vote. Congress put aside the debate over Britain&rsquos right to regulate trade and focused on the Continental Association.

      Congress later returned to the discussion of Congress&rsquos right to regulate trade and settled on the original suggested text by the Grand Committee and included it as Section 4 in the body&rsquos Declaration of Rights and Grievances. Section four states the &ldquothe foundation of English liberty, and of all free government, is a right in the people to participate in their legislative council.&rdquo 2 This allowed for Congress to move forward in their discussion and assert their right to participation in their government, but did not explicitly place limits on Parliament&rsquos regulation of colonial trade.

      The First Continental Congress&rsquos most fateful decision was to call for a Second Continental Congress to meet the following spring. Congress intended to give Britain time to respond to the Continental Association and discuss any developments at the Second Continental Congress. Washington went shopping for muskets and military apparel before leaving Philadelphia for Mount Vernon. Furthermore, he placed an order for a book on military discipline. Though war had not been declared and many delegates were still hoping for redress, there was no doubt that the American colonies and Britain were on the brink of conflict. Many delegates learned of the Battles of Lexington and Concord (April 19, 1775), in route to Philadelphia for the Second Continental Congress.

      Katherine Horan
      George Washington University

      1. &ldquoFrom George Washington to Bryan Fairfax, 20 July 1774,&rdquo Founders Online, National Archives, last modified June 13, 2018, [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series, vol. 10, 21 March 1774?&ndash?15 June 1775, ed. W. W. Abbot and Dorothy Twohig. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1995, pp. 128&ndash131.]


      Ammerman, David. In the Common Cause American Response to the Coercive Acts of 1774. New York: Norton, 1975.

      Ellis, Joseph J. His Excellency: George Washington. New York: First Vintage Books, 2004.

      Irwin, Benjamin. Clothed in Robes of Sovereignty: The Continental Congress and the People Out of Doors. New York: Oxford, 2011.

      Middlekauff, Robert. Washington&rsquos Revolution: The Making of America&rsquos First Leader. New York: Random House, 2015.

      The 12 Colonies Who Attended The First Continental Congress

      • Pennsylvania
      • New York
      • North Carolina
      • South Carolina
      • New Hampshire
      • Virginia
      • Massachusetts
      • Connecticut
      • Maryland
      • Rhode Island
      • Delaware
      • New Jersey

      There were a total of 56 patriotic leaders who participated here from the 12 colonies above.

      The First Congress And Its History

      Some of The Most Important Names Are:

      • George Washington (later the first president of the USA)
      • Patrick Henry
      • Edmund Pendleton
      • Richard Bland
      • Peyton Randolph
      • John Adams
      • John Jay
      • Richard Henry Lee
      • Benjamin Harrison
      • Samuel Adams
      • John Dickinson
      • Henry Middleton
      • Joseph Galloway
      • Edward Rutledge
      • Roger Sherman, etc.

      Patriotic leader Peyton Randolph was elected as the first president of the Continental Congress.

      He served from September 5th to October 22nd, 1774.

      However, later due to ill health, Peyton Randolph had to retire from the president’s seat.

      So, then Henry Middleton elected for balancing and running the meeting till 26th October 1774.

      Although, Randolph arrived back for the Second Continental Congress in 1775.

      Due to his first presidency in Congress, many historians also want to call him the first president of the United States of America.

      However, the nation was still under British rule.

      So, I hope, now you have got your answer on who attended the First Continental Congress.

      What 3 Things Did The First Continental Congress Do?

      The First Continental Congress did so many great things for the 13 colonies.

      Among them, 3 things are considered as the most important.

      1. The First Congress unified the people of the 13 colonies.

      Though, Georgia didn’t participate due to some obligations but emotionally, they also unified via this meeting.

      In simple words, the meeting began the journey towards the formation of the United States of America.

      2. This was the meeting where collectively the colonies decided to impose a heavy economic boycott over British goods’ supply to the colonies.

      This was one of the major initiatives from the colonists’ side, which also got massive success.

      Till 1775, this boycott succeeded in causing heavy economic losses to British businesses.

      According to some sources, it reduced English goods’ imports to the markets by 97 percent.

      3. The third big thing executed by the Continental Congress lead the whole struggle towards the Revolutionary War of Independence.

      In this initiative, the delegates of the Congress decided to set up their own militias for inevitable major armed conflicts against the British Royal army.

      What Is The Importance of The First Continental Congress?

      The First Continental Congress was the very first collective initiative from the American colonists’ side to counter unjust decisions of the British authority.

      There had been many harmful laws that Great Britain had been imposing on colonists for a very long time.

      But they never unified against their decisions like that before.

      Actually, before this meeting happened, the English parliament decided to impose 5 Intolerable Acts on the colonists’ heads.

      Mainly the English Parliament passed the 5 laws to punish colonists for the Boston Tea Party incident.

      Those acts were fully against the interests of the American people.

      Therefore, as an immediate response to the acts, the leaders of the colonies (except Georgia) decided to organize a meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

      The meeting had one main motive and that was to counter British authority’s unjust decisions anyhow.

      With this unification of the colonies, Congress began the journey to the birth of the United States of America.

      What Was The Outcome of The First Continental Congress?

      The results or the outcomes of this Congress seen in three different ways.

      So, the first outcome was the unification of American emotions.

      The meeting helped to unify the emotions of the people of the 13 colonies.

      Though, the colony Georgia unable to participate in the meeting due to some obligations, but emotionally, they had full support to the Congress.

      Now, colonists became able to understand that they were not British citizens, nor Great Britain has any sympathy towards them.

      Therefore, if they wanted to protect their rights, they need to be unified under one flag and within one different nation from Great Britain.

      And yes, as they wondered, the new nation was the United States of America.

      Secondly, the Continental Congress became the first federal government of the 13 colonies.

      We know that the colonies, still were under British rule but for the very first time, colonists found their own unified political organization.

      This new organization worked only for the benefit of colonists but not for Great Britain.

      Therefore, many historians also want to consider it as America’s first federal government.

      The third significant outcome was seen as an economic sanction over the British importing goods to the colonies.

      In response to the 5 Intolerable Acts, the First Continental Congress decided to boycott British goods’ import to the colonies.

      This was one of the most successful outcomes of this meeting.

      Because this action reduced British goods’ import to colonies by 97 percent, till the end of 1775.

      Why Didn’t Georgia Participate In The First Continental Congress?

      In 1774, when the First Continental Congress held in Philadelphia Georgia remained the only colony that didn’t participate in the meeting.

      Its main reason was because at that time the colony was facing a war with some Native American tribes.

      The colony’s leaders were afraid that their participation in the meeting would encourage British authority to provide military support to the Natives.

      And if that happens, then the situation would get difficult for them.

      This was the main reason, why Georgia didn’t participate in the First Continental Congress.

      However, they had full moral support to the meeting.

      Was This Meeting Immediate Cause For The Begining of The Revolutionary War?

      Yes, this meeting was the immediate cause for the beginning of the American Revolutionary War.

      Actually, along with other important decisions, here the leaders of the colonies also decided to set up their own militias for probable armed conflict with British Royal forces.

      As a result, after 5 months on 19th April 1775, the Battles of Lexington and Concord broke out all the dams for the Revolutionary War of independence.


      Alden, John R. The American Revolution. New York: Harper, 1954.

      Burnett, Edmund C. Letters of Members of the Continental Congress. 8 vols. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1921–1936.

      ――――――. The Continental Congress. New York: Macmillan, 1941 Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1975.

      Henderson, H. James. Party Politics in the Continental Congress. New York: McGraw Hill, 1974 Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1987.

      Jensen, Merrill. The Articles of Confederation: An Interpretation of the Social-Constitutional History of the American Revolution, 1774–1781. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1941.

      ――――――. The New Nation: A History of the United States During the Confederation, 1781–1789. New York: Knopf, 1950.

      ――――――. English Historical Documents. Vol. 9: American Colonial Documents to 1776, general editor, David C. Douglas. New York: Oxford University Press, 1955.

      Montross, Lynn. Reluctant Rebels: The Story of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789. New York: Harper, 1950 New York: Barnes and Noble, 1970.

      Nevins, Allan. The American States During and After the Revolution, 1775–1789. New York: Macmillan, 1924 New York: A.M. Kelley, 1969.

      Onuf, Peter S. The Origins of the Federal Republic: Jurisdictional Controversies in the United States, 1775–1787. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983.

      Rakove, Jack N. The Beginnings of National Politics: An Interpretive History of the Continental Congress. New York: Knopf, 1979 Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982.

      Continental Congress

      The Daughters of the American Revolution Continental Congress is a time-honored tradition that has been held in Washington, D.C. as the annual national meeting of the DAR membership since the organization’s founding in 1890. Not to be confused with the United States “Congress,” the DAR national meeting is named after the original Continental Congress which governed the American Colonies during the Revolutionary War.

      National, State and Chapter DAR leaders as well as other members from across the world meet at the DAR National Headquarters for a week during the summer to report on the year’s work, honor outstanding award recipients, plan future initiatives and reconnect with friends. Those in attendance include over 3,000 delegates representing the membership of 190,000 Daughters from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and many international chapters. Since its founding, the DAR has promoted historic preservation, education and patriotism and those objectives are reflected in all of the events of DAR Continental Congress.

      The week-long convention consists of business sessions, committee meetings, social functions, and is topped off with formal evening ceremonies: Opening Night, Education Awards Night and National Defense Night. These evening ceremonies, held in the historic DAR Constitution Hall, mix pomp and circumstance with touching award presentations and musical entertainment.

      In addition to member awards and student essay and scholarship awards, the DAR presents its top national awards at the convention including:

      • DAR Medal of Honor
      • Founders Medals for Patriotism, Education, Heroism, and Youth
      • Americanism Award
      • DAR Media Award
      • Outstanding Veteran-Patient of the Year
      • Outstanding Youth Volunteer of the Year
      • Dr. Anita Newcomb McGee Award for the Army Nurse of the Year
      • Margaret Cochran Corbin Award for distinguished women in military service
      • Outstanding Teacher of American History
      • American History Scholarship Winner
      • DAR Good Citizen of the Year
      • Outstanding Community Service Award
      • DAR Conservation Award

      DAR Members can visit the Members’ only section of the website to learn more detailed information and make arrangements to attend the most anticipated DAR event of the year, DAR Continental Congress.

      Continental Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence

      In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Continental Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims the independence of the United States of America from Great Britain and its king.

      The declaration came 442 days after the first volleys of the American Revolution were fired at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts and marked an ideological expansion of the conflict that would eventually encourage France’s intervention on behalf of the Patriots.

      The first major American opposition to British policy came in 1765 after Parliament passed the Stamp Act, a taxation measure to raise revenues for a standing British army in America. Under the banner of “no taxation without representation,” colonists convened the Stamp Act Congress in October 1765 to vocalize their opposition to the tax.

      With its enactment in November, most colonists called for a boycott of British goods, and some organized attacks on the customhouses and homes of tax collectors. After months of protest in the colonies, Parliament voted to repeal the Stamp Act in March 1766.

      Why did the American Colonies declare independence?

      Most colonists continued to quietly accept British rule until Parliament’s enactment of the Tea Act in 1773, a bill designed to save the faltering East India Company by greatly lowering its tea tax and granting it a monopoly on the American tea trade.

      The low tax allowed the East India Company to undercut even tea smuggled into America by Dutch traders, and many colonists viewed the act as another example of taxation tyranny. In response, militant Patriots in Massachusetts organized the 𠇋oston Tea Party,” which saw British tea valued at some 18,000 pounds dumped into Boston Harbor.

      The British Parliament, outraged by the Boston Tea Party and other blatant acts of destruction of British property, enacted the Coercive Acts, also known as the Intolerable Acts, in 1774. The Coercive Acts closed Boston to merchant shipping, established formal British military rule in Massachusetts, made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in America, and required colonists to quarter British troops.

      The colonists subsequently called the first Continental Congress to consider a united American resistance to the British.

      With the other colonies watching intently, Massachusetts led the resistance to the British, forming a shadow revolutionary government and establishing militias to resist the increasing British military presence across the colony.

      In April 1775, Thomas Gage, the British governor of Massachusetts, ordered British troops to march to Concord, Massachusetts, where a Patriot arsenal was known to be located. On April 19, 1775, the British regulars encountered a group of American militiamen at Lexington, and the first shots of the American Revolution were fired.

      Initially, both the Americans and the British saw the conflict as a kind of civil war within the British Empire: To King George III it was a colonial rebellion, and to the Americans it was a struggle for their rights as British citizens.

      However, Parliament remained unwilling to negotiate with the American rebels and instead purchased German mercenaries to help the British army crush the rebellion. In response to Britain’s continued opposition to reform, the Continental Congress began to pass measures abolishing British authority in the colonies.

      How did the American Colonies declare independence?

      In January 1776, Thomas Paine published 𠇌ommon Sense,” an influential political pamphlet that convincingly argued for American independence and sold more than 500,000 copies in a few months. In the spring of 1776, support for independence swept the colonies, the Continental Congress called for states to form their own governments, and a five-man committee was assigned to draft a declaration.

      The Declaration of Independence was largely the work of Virginian Thomas Jefferson. In justifying American independence, Jefferson drew generously from the political philosophy of John Locke, an advocate of natural rights, and from the work of other English theorists.

      The first section features the famous lines, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The second part presents a long list of grievances that provided the rationale for rebellion.

      When did American colonies declare independence?

      On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted to approve a Virginia motion calling for separation from Britain. The dramatic words of this resolution were added to the closing of the Declaration of Independence. Two days later, on July 4, the declaration was formally adopted by 12 colonies after minor revision. New York approved it on July 19. On August 2, the declaration was signed.

      The Revolutionary War would last for five more years. Yet to come were the Patriot triumphs at Saratoga, the bitter winter at Valley Forge, the intervention of the French, and the final victory at Yorktown in 1781. In 1783, with the signing of the Treaty of Paris with Britain, the United States formally became a free and independent nation.

      Watch the video: The First Continental Congress. Road to the Revolution (May 2022).