Second Continental Congress

Things had taken a turn for the worse. Lexington and Concord had changed everything. The professional imperial army was attempting to arrest patriot leaders, and minutemen had been killed in their defense. In May 1775, with Redcoats once again storming Boston, the Second Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia.

The questions and concerns were different this time. The chief concern was how would the colonists meet the military threat of the British? It was agreed that a Continental Army would be created. The Congress commissioned George Washington of Virginia to be the supreme commander, and it authorized the printing of money to pay for supplies. Congress appointed a committee to conduct relations with foreign governments. The Congress had become a full-fledged governing body.

Still, in May 1775, the majority of delegates were not seeking independence from Britain. That July Congress approved the Olive Branch Petition, a direct appeal to the King for a peaceful resolution, while declaring loyalty to the Crown. The King refused to receive this petition and instead declared the colonies to be in a state of rebellion. King George ordered the hiring of Hessian mercenaries to bring the colonists under control.

As the seasons changed and hostilities continued, cries for independence grew stronger. The men in Philadelphia were now wanted for treason. They continued to govern and hope that all would end well. For them, the summer of 1776 brought the point of no return—formal declaration of independence.

Source: Second Continental Congress
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