Continental Congress - Adams State University

In Congress Assembled
Debating and Deciding in an
Evolving Context, 1775-1776
First Continenal Congress
• Met from Sept. 5 to October 26, 1774, in Carpenter’s Hall
• 55 delegates attended at one time or another, with Peyton Randolph
and, then, Henry Middleton presiding.
• Galloway’s Plan of Union—Failed 6 to 5
• Suffolk Resolves 1. boycott British imports, curtail exports, and
refuse to use British products; 2. ignore the punitive measures
taken against Massachusetts since the Boston Tea Party; 3. support
a colonial government in Massachusetts free of royal authority until
the Intolerable Acts were repealed; 4. urge the colonies to raise
militia of their own.
• Continental Association—passed October 20.
• Called for a 2d Continental Congress to meet on May 10, 1775
Continental Association
• " To obtain redress of these grievances (specified in a preamble),
which threaten destruction to the lives, liberty, and property of his
majesty's subjects, in North America, we are of opinion, that a nonimportant, non-consumption, and non-exportation agreement,
faithfully adhered to, will prove the most speedy, effectual, and
peaceable measure: and, therefore, we do, for ourselves, and the
inhabitants of the several colonies, whom we represent, firmly agree
and associate, under the sacred ties of virtue, honour and love of
our country.”
• Grievances: the deprivation of the right to a jury trial; the prosecution
in England for crimes committed in America; and the various
penalizing acts specifically targeted upon the citizens of Boston and
the Massachusetts Bay Colony
• King is still the father of his people and the assembled delegates,
with a few exceptions, such as Patrick Henry, were still loyal
Worcester Declaration of
in the wee hours of the morning of September 6, 1774, seven months
before the first shots were fired at Concord and Lexington . . . 4,622
militiamen from 37 Worcester County towns in Massachusetts marched to
Main Street in the town of Worcester, determined to shut down the
courthouse before the new Crown-controlled courts could open to sit for a
new session.
“… you are to consider the people of this province absolved, on their part, from
the obligation therein contained [the 1691 Massachusetts charter], and to all
intents and purposes reduced to a state of nature; and you are to exert yourself
in devising ways and means to raise from the dissolution of the old constitution,
as from the ashes of the Phenix, a new form, wherein all officers shall be
dependent on the suffrages of the people, whatever unfavorable constructions
our enemies may put upon such procedure.” Instructions to Timothy Bigelow of
Oct. 4, 1774.
The Tyranny of Events
• Paul Revere’s Ride
• Battles at Lexington Green and Concord’s
North Bridge, April 19, 1775. British losses
73 KIA, 174 wounded, 26 missing.
The first of four engravings by Amos Doolittle from 1775. Doolittle visited the battle
sites and interviewed soldiers and witnesses. Contains controversial elements,
possibly inaccuracies. Fire from the militia may have occurred but is not depicted.
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled;
Here once the embattled farmers stood;
And fired the shot heard round the world.
The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps,
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream that seaward creeps.
On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone,
That memory may their deeds redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
O Thou who made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free, -Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raised to them and Thee.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
2d Continental Congress
• Met May 10, 1775, through March 1, 1781.
• It would Declare Independence, serve as
the defacto government of the nascent
United States, create the Continental
Army, and draft the Articles of
• 65 members from 13 colonies
• When it first met, however, its membership
was divided on course of action.