First Continental Congress
In 1774 the thirteen English colonies in America stood up in indignation. They were screaming to their homeland to listen to their cries and let their words have weight. England went beyond ignoring them. They began to implement various taxes that were meant to hit the upstart colonies where it hurt the most, the pocket book and their pride. The colonies reacted by having a little fun at a party in Boston (Boston Tea Party). This carousing did not meet with approval in England. In fact, the parent country threw out even more acts and taxes as a form of punishment. Historically, we call these punitive measures the Intolerable Acts.
These acts called for the closing of Boston harbor until all the tea was paid for that went over the edge of the ships and into the harbor. They also changed the government of Massachusetts and placed it directly under the Royal Crown, gave governors the authority to place British soldiers in any building though it did stress unoccupied, allowed judges to move Royal courts to other colonies, and expanded the boundaries of the Canada colony. To many this might not seem all that big of an issue, but to these colonies it spoke volumes. England was in control and wanted these “children” to realize that. They did, and they reacted. It wasn't pretty.
The 1st Continental Congress was convened in response to these acts. Twelve of the colonies elected representatives to meet in Philadelphia that fall. Georgia was the only one of the original thirteen colonies to not participate in this first gathering. They were the youngest of the colonies and politically needed England’s help. To bite the hands that fed them didn't seem prudent. Though they condemned the acts, Georgia decided to play it cool and wait till their immediate needs were met before vocally announcing their feelings.
Let's Just Talk
This meeting was not to declare independence from England. It was not to cause trouble or rebel. It was meant to unify the colonies for the first time and have the Crown hear their voice. Their hope was to get England’s attention and finally be heard.
The 1st Continental Congress resulted in unification of the colonies, the boycotting of English products, and the plan to meet again in the spring of 1775 if their voice was not heard. The unification of the colonies was a big step toward what was to come the next year. Before this they were thirteen separate “countries” with each of them doing their own thing and vying to stand on their own merits. This was the first time they acknowledged that banding together would be more powerful than standing alone.
The Beginning of Something Big
This was the first glance at what was to become the United States of America.
The people of the New World were banding together and becoming one voice. No longer were they different entities fighting against each other. They were one. They were paving the way for the American Revolution. All of this because they wanted to know that their voices mattered.
Adams, John – Massachusetts
Adams, Samuel – Massachusetts
Alsop, John – New York
Biddle, Edward – Pennsylvania
Bland, Richard – Virginia
Boerum, Simon – New York
Caswell, Richard – North Carolina
Chase, Samuel – Maryland
Crane, Stephen – New Jersey
Cushing, Thomas – Massachusetts
Deane, Silas – Connecticut
De Hart, John – New Jersey
Dickinson, John – Pennsylvania
Duane, James – New York
Dyer – Eliphalet – Connecticut
Floyd, William – New York
Folsom, Nathaniel – New Hampshire
Gadsden, Christopher – South Carolina
Galloway, Joseph – Pennsylvania
Goldsborough, Robert – Maryland
Haring, John – New York
Harrison, Benjamin – Virginia
Henry, Patrick – Virginia
Hewes, Joseph – North Carolina
Hooper, William – North Carolina
Hopkins, Stephen – Rhode Island
Humphreys, Charles – Pennsylvania
Jay, John – New York
Johnson, Thomas – Maryland
Kinsey, James – New Jersey
Lee, Richard Henry – Virginia
Livingston, Philip – New York
Livingston, William – New Jersey
Low, Isaac – New York
Lynch, Thomas Jr – South Carolina
McKean, Thomas – Delaware
Middleton, Henry – South Carolina
Mifflin, Thomas – Pennsylvania
Morton, John – Pennsylvania
Paca, William – Maryland
Paine, Robert Treat – Massachusetts
Pendleton, Edmund – Virginia
Randolph, Peyton – Virginia
Read, George – Delaware
Rhoads, Samuel – Pennsylvania
Rodney, Caesar – Delaware
Ross, George – Pennsylvania
Rutledge, Edward – South Carolina
Rutledge, John – South Carolina
Sherman, Roger – Connecticut
Smith, Richard – New Jersey
Sullivan, John – New Hampshire
Tilghman, Matthew – Maryland
Ward, Samuel – Rhode Island
Washington, George – Virginia
Wisner, Henry – New York
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