First Continental Congress
|The First Continental Congress|
United States of America
|Established||September 5, 1774|
|Disbanded||Sometime around May 10, 1775|
|Preceded by||Stamp Act Congress|
|Succeeded by||Second Continental Congress|
|Seats||56 from 12 colonies (Georgia elected not to send representatives)|
The First Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from twelve colonies (not including Georgia) that met on September 5, 1774, at Carpenters' Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, early in the American Revolution. It was called in response to the passage of the Coercive Acts (also known as Intolerable Acts by the Colonial Americans) by the British Parliament. The Intolerable Acts had punished Boston for the Boston Tea Party.
The Congress was attended by 56 members appointed by the legislatures of twelve of the Thirteen Colonies, the exception being the Province of Georgia, which was hoping for British assistance with Indian problems on its frontier.
The Congress also called for another Continental Congress in the event that their petition was unsuccessful in halting enforcement of the Intolerable Acts. Their appeal to the Crown had no effect, and so the Second Continental Congress was convened the following year to organize the defense of the colonies at the onset of the American Revolutionary War. The delegates also urged each colony to set up and train its own militia.
The Congress met from September 5 to October 26, 1774 Peyton Randolph presided over the proceedings; Henry Middleton took over as President of the Congress for the last few days, from October 22 to October 26. Charles Thomson, leader of Philadelphia Committee of Correspondence, was selected to be Secretary of the Continental Congress.
Patrick Henry argued that the presence of the British fleet and army in America showed that the colonial governments, as they had been established, had been dissolved, and that the American colonies were in a "state of nature," and so argued for the establishment of a new independent government. Pennsylvania delegate Joseph Galloway sought reconciliation with Britain. He put forth a "Plan of Union", which suggested an American legislative body be formed, with some authority, and whose consent would be required for imperial measures. John Jay, Edward Rutledge, and other conservatives supported Galloway's plan. Galloway would later join the Loyalists.
The Congress had two primary accomplishments. The first was a compact among the colonies to boycott British goods beginning on December 1, 1774. The West Indies were threatened with a boycott unless the islands 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 for enforcement of the Association. All of the colonial Houses of Assembly approved the proceedings of the congress with the exception of New York and Georgia.
If the "Intolerable Acts" were not repealed, the colonies would also cease exports to Britain after September 10, 1775. The boycott was successfully implemented, but its potential for altering British colonial policy was cut off by the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The colonists were forced to quarter British soldiers, and feed them.
The second accomplishment of the Congress was to provide for a Second Continental Congress to meet on May 10, 1775. In addition to the colonies which had sent delegates to the First Continental Congress, the Congress resolved on October 21, 1774 to send letters of invitation to Quebec, Saint John's Island (now Prince Edward Island), Nova Scotia, Georgia, East Florida, and West Florida. However, letters appear to have been sent only to Quebec (three letters in all). None of these other colonies sent delegates to the opening of the second Congress, though a delegation from Georgia arrived the following July.
List of delegates 
See also 
- List of delegates to the Continental and Confederation congresses
- Papers of the Continental Congress
- Timeline of United States revolutionary history (1760–1789)
- Ferling, John. (2003). A Leap in the Dark. Oxford University Press. p. 112.
- Risjord, Norman K. (2002). Jefferson's America, 1760-1815. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 114.
- Greene, Evarts Boutell (1922). The Foundations of American Nationality. American Book Company. p. 434.
- "Notes of Debates in the Continental Congress, 6 September 1774". Diary of John Adams, Volume 2. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
- Miller, Marion Mills (1913). Great Debates in American Hist: From the Debates in the British Parliament on the Colonial Stamp. Current Literature Pub. Co. p. 91.
- Kramnick, Isaac (ed); Thomas Paine (1982). Common Sense. Penguin Classics. p. 21.
- Ketchum, pg. 262
- Launitz-Schurer pg. 144
- Worthington C. Ford, et al., Library of Congress (United States), ed. (1774 (printed 1901)). Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. p. 101. Retrieved Feb. 7, 2010.
- Worthington C. Ford, et al. (ed.). Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789. pp. 2:192–193.
- Bancroft, George. History of the United States of America, from the discovery of the American continent. (1854–78), vol 4-10 online edition
- Burnett, Edmund C. (1975) . The Continental Congress. Greenwood Publishing. ISBN 0-8371-8386-3.
- Henderson, H. James (2002) . Party Politics in the Continental Congress. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-8191-6525-5.
- Launitz-Schurer, Loyal Whigs and Revolutionaries, The making of the revolution in New York, 1765-1776, 1980, ISBN 0-8147-4994-1
- Ketchum, Richard, Divided Loyalties, How the American Revolution came to New York, 2002, ISBN 0-8050-6120-7
- Miller, John C. Origins of the American Revolution (1943) online edition
- Puls, Mark, Samuel Adams, father of the American Revolution, 2006, ISBN 1-4039-7582-5
- Montross, Lynn (1970) . The Reluctant Rebels; the Story of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789. Barnes & Noble. ISBN 0-389-03973-X.
- Primary sources
- Peter Force, ed. American Archives, 9 vol 1837-1853, major compilation of documents 1774-1776. online edition
- Full text of Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789
- Papers of the Continental Congress (Digitized Original Documents)
Stamp Act Congress
|Legislature of the United States
September 5, 1774 to October 26, 1774
the Second Continental Congress