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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' Hallmarker in Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarker, 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.

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. Charles Thomson, leader of Philadelphia Sons of Liberty, was selected to be Secretary of the Continental Congress.

Galloway's Plan of Union

Patrick Henry already considered government dissolved, and was seeking a new system. 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 1 December 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.

If the "Intolerable Acts" were not repealed, the colonies would also cease exports to Britain after 10 September 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 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, letters of invitation were sent to Quebec (three letters), Saint John's Islandmarker, Nova Scotiamarker, Georgia, East Florida, and West Florida. None of these sent delegates to the opening of the second Congress, though a delegation from Georgia arrived the following July.

List of delegates

# Name Colony Notes
1 New Hampshire
2 New Hampshire
3 Massachusetts
4 Massachusetts
5 Massachusetts
6 Massachusetts
7 Rhode Island
8 Rhode Island
9 Connecticut
10 Connecticut
11 Connecticut
12 New York
13 New York
14 New York
15 New York
16 New York
17 New York
18 New York
19 New York
20 New York
21 New Jersey
22 New Jersey
23 New Jersey
24 New Jersey
25 New Jersey
26 Pennsylvania
27 Pennsylvania
28 Pennsylvania
29 Pennsylvania
30 Pennsylvania
31 Pennsylvania
32 Pennsylvania
33 Pennsylvania
34 Delaware
35 Delaware
36 Delaware
37 Maryland
38 Maryland
39 Maryland
40 Maryland
41 Maryland
42 Virginia
43 Virginia
44 Virginia
45 Virginia
46 Virginia
47 Virginia
48 Virginia
49 North Carolina
50 North Carolina
51 North Carolina
52 South Carolina
53 South Carolina
54 South Carolina
55 South Carolina
56 South Carolina

See also


  1. Ketchum, pg. 262
  2. Launitz-Schurer pg. 144


  • Bancroft, George. History of the United States of America, from the discovery of the American continent. (1854-78), vol 4-10 online edition
  • 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

Primary sources
  • Peter Force, ed. American Archives, 9 vol 1837-1853, major compilation of documents 1774-1776. online edition

External links

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