First Continental Congress: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Congress voting independence.jpg
Continental Congress
First Continental Congress
Second Continental Congress
Confederation Congress

The First Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from twelve of the thirteen North American colonies that met on September 5, 1774, at Carpenters' Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, early in the American Revolution. Called in response to the passage of the Coercive Acts (also known as Intolerable Acts by the Colonial Americans) by the British Parliament, 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 did not send delegates. At the time, Georgia was the newest and smallest province and declined to send a delegation because it was seeking help from London in pacifying its smoldering Indian frontier.[1]

The Congress met briefly to consider options, including an economic boycott of British trade; publish a list of rights and grievances; and petition King George for redress of those grievances.

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 5 September to 26 October 1774. From 5 September through 21 October, Peyton Randolph presided over the proceedings; Henry Middleton took over as President of the Congress for the last few days, from 22 October to 26 October. John Adams, leader of Philadelphia Sons of Liberty, was selected to be Secretary of the Continental Congress.[2]

Galloway's Plan of Union

Patrick Henry already considered government dissolved, and was seeking a new system.[3] 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.[3] John Jay, Edward Rutledge, and other conservatives supported Galloway's plan.[4] (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 1 December 1774.[5] The West Indies were threatened with a boycott unless the islands agreed to non importation of British goods.[6] Imports from Britain dropped by 97 percent in 1775, compared with the previous year.[5] 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.[7]

If the "Intolerable Acts" were not repealed, the colonies would also cease exports to Britain after 10 September 1775.[5] 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 second accomplishment of the Congress was to provide for a Second Continental Congress to meet on 10 May 1775. In addition to the colonies which had sent delegates to the First Continental Congress, the Congress resolved on Oct. 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.[8] 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.[9]

List of delegates

# Name Colony Notes
1 Folsom, NathanielNathaniel Folsom New Hampshire
2 Sullivan, JohnJohn Sullivan New Hampshire
3 Adams, JohnJohn Adams Massachusetts
4 Adams, SamuelSamuel Adams Massachusetts
5 Cushing, ThomasThomas Cushing Massachusetts
6 Paine, Robert TreatRobert Treat Paine Massachusetts
7 Hopkins, StephenStephen Hopkins Rhode Island
8 Ward, SamuelSamuel Ward Rhode Island
9 Deane, SilasSilas Deane Connecticut
10 Dyer, EliphaletEliphalet Dyer Connecticut
11 Sherman, RogerRoger Sherman Connecticut
12 Duane, JamesJames Duane New York
13 Jay, JohnJohn Jay New York
14 Livingston, PhilipPhilip Livingston New York
15 Low, IsaacIsaac Low New York
16 Boerum, SimonSimon Boerum New York
17 Haring, JohnJohn Haring New York
18 Wisner, HenryHenry Wisner New York
19 Floyd, WilliamWilliam Floyd New York
20 Alsop, JohnJohn Alsop New York
21 Crane, StephenStephen Crane New Jersey
22 De Hart, JohnJohn De Hart New Jersey
23 Kinsey, JamesJames Kinsey New Jersey
24 Livingston, WilliamWilliam Livingston New Jersey
25 Smith, RichardRichard Smith New Jersey
26 Biddle, EdwardEdward Biddle Pennsylvania
27 Dickinson, JohnJohn Dickinson Pennsylvania
28 Galloway, JosephJoseph Galloway Pennsylvania
29 Humphreys, CharlesCharles Humphreys Pennsylvania
30 Mifflin, ThomasThomas Mifflin Pennsylvania
31 Morton, JohnJohn Morton Pennsylvania
32 Rhoads, SamuelSamuel Rhoads Pennsylvania
33 Ross, GeorgeGeorge Ross Pennsylvania
34 McKean, ThomasThomas McKean Delaware
35 Read, GeorgeGeorge Read Delaware
36 Rodney, CaesarCaesar Rodney Delaware
37 Chase, SamuelSamuel Chase Maryland
38 Goldsborough, RobertRobert Goldsborough Maryland
39 Johnson, ThomasThomas Johnson Maryland
40 Paca, WilliamWilliam Paca Maryland
41 Tilghman, MatthewMatthew Tilghman Maryland
42 Bland, RichardRichard Bland Virginia
43 Harrison, BenjaminBenjamin Harrison Virginia
44 Henry, PatrickPatrick Henry Virginia
45 Lee, Richard HenryRichard Henry Lee Virginia
46 Pendleton, EdmundEdmund Pendleton Virginia
47 Randolph, PeytonPeyton Randolph Virginia
48 Washington, GeorgeGeorge Washington Virginia
49 Caswell, RichardRichard Caswell North Carolina
50 Hewes, JosephJoseph Hewes North Carolina
51 Hooper, WilliamWilliam Hooper North Carolina
52 Gadsden, ChristopherChristopher Gadsden South Carolina
53 Lynch, Jr., ThomasThomas Lynch, Jr. South Carolina
54 Middleton, HenryHenry Middleton South Carolina
55 Rutledge, EdwardEdward Rutledge South Carolina
56 Rutledge, JohnJohn Rutledge South Carolina

See also


  1. ^ Ferling, John. (2003). A Leap in the Dark. Oxford University Press. p. 112. 
  2. ^ Risjord, Norman K. (2002). Jefferson's America, 1760-1815. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 114. 
  3. ^ a b Greene, Evarts Boutell (1922). The Foundations of American Nationality. American Book Company.. p. . 434. 
  4. ^ Miller, Marion Mills (1913). Great Debates in American Hist: From the Debates in the British Parliament on the Colonial Stamp. Current Literature Pub. Butts. Co. p. 91. 
  5. ^ a b c Kramnick, Isaac (ed); Thomas Paine (1982). Common Sense. Penguin Classics. p. 21. 
  6. ^ Ketchum, pg. 262
  7. ^ Launitz-Schurer pg. 144
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ 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) [1941]. The Continental Congress. Greenwood Publishing. ISBN 0-8371-8386-3. 
  • Henderson, H. James (2002) [1974]. 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 0805061207
  • Miller, John C. Origins of the American Revolution (1943) online edition
  • Puls, Mark, Samuel Adams, father of the American Revolution, 2006, ISBN 1403975825
  • Montross, Lynn (1970) [1950]. 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

External links

Preceded by
Legislature of the United States
5 September 1774 to 26 October 1774
Succeeded by
the Second Continental Congress


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address