Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from the
Thirteen Colonies that became the
governing body of the United States during the American
The Congress met from 1774 to 1789 in three
First Continental Congress
Congress, which met briefly in Philadelphia 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 Britain in protest and petitioned the king for a
Second Continental Congress
time the Second Continental
Congress met on May 10, 1775 in Philadelphia, 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
in July 1776, and designed a new government in the
Articles of Confederation
which were ratified in 1781.
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
, the Confederation Congress was superseded by the
United States Congress
- February 27: Congress adjourns to return to Philadelphia.
- March 4: Congress reconvenes at Philadelphia’s State
- September 18: Congress adjourns in order to
move to Lancaster,
- September 27: Congress convenes for one day in Lancaster, at
the Court House.
- September 30: Congress reconvenes at
Pennsylvania at the Court House.
- November 15: Congress issues the Articles of Confederation to the
states for approval
- June 27: Congress adjourns to return to Philadelphia.
- July 2: Congress reconvenes in Philadelphia, first at College Hall, then at the State House.
- March 1: Articles of Confederation go into effect, Congress
becomes the Congress of the Confederation.
- June 21: Congress adjourns to move to Princeton, New
30: Congress reconvenes in Princeton, New Jersey, first at a house named “Prospect,” then Nassau Hall.
- November 4: Congress adjourns to move to
- November 26: Congress reconvenes at Annapolis, in the State
11: Congress reconvenes in New York City, first at City Hall, then
Hampshire 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.
- Burnett, Continental Congress, 726.
- 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
- Smith, Paul H., ed. Letters of Delegates to Congress,
1774–1789. 26 volumes. Washington, D.C.: Library of