Frequently asked questions about the purpose, proceedings, accomplishments, and outcome of the First Continental Congress, which was held in Philadelphia in 1774 to oppose the Coercive Acts and resulted in the Continental Association and the Declaration of Resolves.
What was the First Continental Congress?
The First Continental Congress was a meeting of 56 delegates from 12 of the 13 colonies. They met to discuss a unified response from the colonies over the passage of the Intolerable Acts.
When did the First Continental Congress convene?
The First Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia’s Carpenter’s Hall on September 5, 1774.
What is the cause of the First Continental Congress?
The Coercive Acts, also known as the Intolerable Acts, were five laws passed by the British Parliament in 1774, which prompted the calling of the First Continental Congress. Those five laws were:
What options did the First Continental Congress consider?
The Congress originally leaned toward endorsing a plan presented by Pennsylvania’s Joseph Galloway. The Galloway Plan urged the creation of an American parliament to work with the British Parliament in governing the colonies.
Before the Galloway Plan was endorsed, Paul Revere presented the Suffolk Resolves. The Suffolk Resolves, drafted at a meeting in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, was much more radical than the Galloway Plan. It proposed, among other things, establishing a free state of Massachusetts until Parliament repealed the Coercive Acts, boycotting trade with Great Britain, and arming the local militia in Massachusetts.
Congress chose to support the Suffolk Resolves over the Galloway Plan.
What was the official response of the First Continental Congress to the Intolerable Acts?
The First Continental Congress drafted the Declaration of Rights and Grievances, also known as the Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress, on October 14, 1774. Congress addressed and sent this document to King George instead of Parliament to demonstrate colonial loyalty to the Crown.
What were some actions taken by the First Continental Congress?
Congress established a pact called the Continental Association and called for a total cessation of trade with Great Britain to become effective on December 1, 1774, unless Parliament rescinded the Intolerable Acts. The Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress stated, “To these grievous acts and measures, Americans cannot submit, but in hopes their fellow subjects in Great-Britain will, on a revision of them, restore us to that state, in which both countries found happiness and prosperity, we have for the present, only resolved to pursue the following peaceable measures: 1. To enter into a non-importation, non-consumption, and non-exportation agreement or association. 2. To prepare an address to the people of Great-Britain, and a memorial to the inhabitants of British America: and 3. To prepare a loyal address to his majesty, agreeable to resolutions already entered into.”
How did Britain respond to the actions taken by the First Continental Congress?
On March 30, 1775, Parliament passed the New England Restraining Act, which prohibited the New England colonies from trading with any country other than Great Britain. The act also New England fishermen access to the waters off Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.
Why did the First Continental Congress succeed?
The delegates to the First Continental Congress joined together to debate several key concepts regarding their opposition to the Coercive Acts. By the time the debates were finished, Congress succeeded by agreeing with four key accomplishments:
- It adopted the Suffolk Resolves and ordered them to be sent to newspapers throughout the colonies to be printed and distributed.
- It created the Continental Association and the Articles of Association in order to enforce a trade boycott against Britain.
- It approved the Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress, which were sent to King George III.
- It agreed to reconvene in the spring of 1775 if the Coercive Acts were not repealed by Britain.
Why did the First Continental Congress fail?
First, it did not create a unified response from the colonies, since Georgia did not send delegates.
Second, the British response to the actions of the First Continental Congress made war nearly inevitable.