The Second Continental Congress: On May 10, 1775, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia. Thomas Jefferson took his seat. Delegates from Virginia included George Washington. The Congress approved a plan to raise and send troops to Boston. Jefferson was asked to write a statement explaining the colonists’ reasons for declaring war. George Washington was appointed as commander in chief of the armies of Congress. Two weeks later Washington began to create an army of volunteers. The British realized that the colonies were serious about the war.
In July, the Second Continental Congress approved two resolutions to send to Great Britain. They included the Olive Branch Petition addressed to King George. The second resolution was the “Declaration of Causes and Necessities for Taking Up Arms.” In this resolution Jefferson wrote, “Our attachment to no nation on earth should supplant our attachment to liberty.” The resolution stated that the colonists would fight to resist British’s harsh treatment. However, they still hoped to keep peace between the countries.
King George Answers: In August 1775, King George rejected the Olive Branch Petition. The Second Continental Congress responded, they voted to form a navy and find foreign aid to help pay for war. In April 1776, they closed ports to British ships. They funded a Continental army.
Revolution: On June 7th 1776, Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee presented an important resolution to Congress. “These united colonies are and of right ought to be, free and independent states;” John Adams seconded the Lee Resolution but only seven colonies voted for it.
The delegates continued to argue over the Lee Resolution. Like Thomas Jefferson, John Adams was for independence. Jefferson wrote that Adams spoke “with a power of thought and expression that moved us from our seats.”
Source: Jefferson and the beginning of the American Revolution #2
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