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The Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that became the governing body of the United Statesmarker during the American Revolution. The Congress met from 1774 to 1789 in three incarnations.

First Continental Congress

The First Continental Congress, which met briefly in Philadelphiamarker in 1774, consisted of fifty-six delegates from twelve of the Thirteen Colonies that would become the United States. Convened in response to the Coercive Acts passed by the British Parliament in 1774, the delegates organized an economic boycott of Great Britainmarker in protest and petitioned the king for a redress of grievances.

Second Continental Congress

By the time the Second Continental Congress met on May 10, 1775 in Philadelphiamarker, shooting in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) had begun. Moderates in the Congress still hoped that the colonies could be reconciled with Great Britain, but a movement towards independence steadily gained ground. Congress established the Continental Army (June 1775), coordinated the war effort, issued a Declaration of Independence in July 1776, and designed a new government in the Articles of Confederation, which were ratified in 1781.

Confederation Congress

The ratification of the Articles of Confederation gave the Congress a new name: the Congress of the Confederation, which met from 1781 to 1789. The Confederation Congress helped guide the United States through the final stages of the war, but in peacetime the Congress declined in importance. Under the Articles, the Confederation Congress had little power to compel the individual states to comply with its decisions. Increasingly, delegates elected to the Congress declined to serve, the leading men in each state preferred to serve in state government, and the Congress had difficulty establishing a quorum. When the Articles were replaced by the United States Constitution, the Confederation Congress was superseded by the United States Congress.

Timeline

1774
1775
1776
1777
  • February 27: Congress adjourns to return to Philadelphia.
  • March 4: Congress reconvenes at Philadelphia’s State House.
  • September 18: Congress adjourns in order to move to Lancaster, Pennsylvaniamarker.
  • September 27: Congress convenes for one day in Lancaster, at the Court House.
  • September 30: Congress reconvenes at York, Pennsylvaniamarker at the Court House.
  • November 15: Congress issues the Articles of Confederation to the states for approval
1778
  • June 27: Congress adjourns to return to Philadelphia.
  • July 2: Congress reconvenes in Philadelphia, first at College Hall, then at the State House.
1781
  • March 1: Articles of Confederation go into effect, Congress becomes the Congress of the Confederation.
1783
  • June 21: Congress adjourns to move to Princeton, New Jersey.
  • June 30: Congress reconvenes in Princeton, New Jerseymarker, first at a house named “Prospect,” then Nassau Hallmarker.
  • November 4: Congress adjourns to move to Annapolis, Marylandmarker.
  • November 26: Congress reconvenes at Annapolis, in the State House.
1784
1785
January 11: Congress reconvenes in New York City, first at City Hall, then at Fraunces Tavernmarker.
1787
1788
  • July 2: New Hampshiremarker became the ninth state to ratify the US Constitution, thereby allowing for the creation of the new government.
  • July 8: Continental Congress puts the new Constitution into effect by announcing the dates for the elections and the assembly of the new Congress.
  • October 10: The last session during which the Continental Congress succeeded in achieving a quorum.
1789


See also



Notes

  1. Burnett, Continental Congress, 726.


References

  • Burnett, Edward Cody. The Continental Congress. New York: Norton, 1941.
  • Henderson, H. James. Party Politics in the Continental Congress. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1974. ISBN 0070281432.
  • Rakove, Jack N. The Beginnings of National Politics: An Interpretive History of the Continental Congress. New York: Knopf, 1979. ISBN 0801828643


Further reading

  • Smith, Paul H., ed. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 volumes. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congressmarker, 1976–1998.


External links




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