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First Continental Congress

Updated on January 22, 2016
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Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

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.

The 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.

Let's Huddle

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.

John Adams
John Adams

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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    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 22 months ago from Wisconsin

      Thank you. I think too many things get missed and forgotten.

    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Cygnet Brown 22 months ago from Springfield, Missouri

      I love the stories of the American Revolution! You did a very good job explaining the First Continental Congress.