In the summer that followed Parliament’s attempt to punish Boston with the Intolerable Acts, sentiment for the patriot cause increased dramatically.
There was an agreement that this new situation warranted another intercolonial meeting. It was nearly ten years since the Stamp Act Congress had assembled. The First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia in September 1774.
Sam and John Adams from Massachusetts were present, as well as John Dickinson from Pennsylvania. Virginia had Richard Henry Lee, George Washington, and Patrick Henry. It took seven weeks for these future heroes to agree on a course of action.
Complete nonimportation was resumed. The Congress set up an organization called the Association to ensure compliance in the colonies. A declaration of colonial right was drafted and sent to London.
A plan introduced by Joseph Galloway of Pennsylvania proposed an imperial union with Britain, where all acts of Parliament would have to be approved by an American assembly. This may have postponed the revolution, but the delegations voted against it.
One decision by the Congress often overlooked in importance is its decision to reconvene in May 1775 if their grievances were not addressed.
When Parliament chose to ignore the Congress, they reconvene the next May. By this time boycotts were no longer a major issue. The Second Continental Congress would be grappling with choices following the spilling of blood at Lexington and Concord the previous month.
It was at Carpenter’s Hall that America came together politically for the first time on a national level and where the seeds of participatory democracy were sown.
Source: First Continental Congress #1
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