Portrait of Peyton Randolph.

Peyton Randolph was the first President of the First Continental Congress.

First Continental Congress

September 5, 1774–October 26, 1774 — American Revolution

Frequently Asked Questions About First Continental Congress

Answers to common questions that people ask about the First Continental Congress.

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 It proposed, among other things, establishing a free state of Massachusetts until Parliament repealed the Coercive Acts, boycotting trade with Great Britain, and arming the local militia in Massachusetts.

The 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?

The 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and called for a total cessation of trade with Great Britain to become effective on December 1, 1774, unless Parliament rescinded the Intolerable Acts.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 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.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title First Continental Congress Frequently Asked Questions
  • Coverage September 5, 1774–October 26, 1774
  • Author
  • Keywords First Continental Congress, American Revolution
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date April 20, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update February 11, 2021
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