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The First And Second Continental Congress

2353 words - 10 pages

The First and Second Continental Congress

Dr. Robert Young
May 22, 2014

From 1774 to 1789, the first Continental Congress served as the single government of the original 13 American colonies and later to become the United States of America. It was comprised of delegates from the colonies which met in 1774 to the reaction of the Coercive Acts which were a series of measures imposed by the British government on the colonies in response to their resistance to the new taxes imposed by the British. The American dream is built upon a foundation of struggles and gains, along with more struggles. A look back to early American history provides one with a timeline that ...view middle of the document...

As one can imagine, the American colonist viewed this as the British attempt to curtail their quest for independence. When hearing a discussion of the First Continental Congress, many believe that the members, elected by the people, by the colonial legislatures, or by the committees of correspondence of the respective colonies , convened to fight for independence. Independence was not the issue at this meeting, rather the members in Congress sought to “right the wrongs” that the colonies had endured. Along with that redemption, the members of the First Continental Congress sought to gain a voice in London, something they were denied of. One cannot truly grasp the magnitude of this Continental Congress until we look at the prominent figures in attendance during this time. There were 55 delegates in Carpenter’s Hall but perhaps the most prominent figures include, “George Washington, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, John Jay and John Dickinson.” The delegates were mainly those of high social standing and many made their living in the fields of “trade, farming and law.” Communication between the colonies was very minimal, therefore many delegates were meeting for the first time and all would have different opinions and issues. Members of the First Continental Congress did not suffer from lack of communication, as “The first few weeks were consumed in discussion and debate. The colonies had always, up to this time, acted as independent entities.” With that many delegates had to overcome distrust and learn to work as a whole body rather than individuals with different agendas. The agenda at the First Continental Congress was not completely clear in the eyes of the delegates. Leadership, during this time, was crucial and once this issue was resolved, three main objectives became clear. “The congress had three objectives: to compose a statement of colonial rights, to identify British parliaments violation of those rights, and to provide a plan that would convince Britain to restore those rights.” The members of the First Continental Congress, now underway, began conducting affairs with a proposal by Joseph Galloway. Joseph Galloway, a Pennsylvanian conservative, proposed what he called a Plan of Union. The plan became popular to most members “as it proposed a popularly elected Grand Council which would represent the interests of the colonies as a whole, and would be a continental equivalent to the English Parliament.” To mimic the English Crown, Galloway proposed the position of the President General; in this position the President General would have the authority to rule in America just like the King of England. Another important aspect of this Plan of Union was that each body would have a veto over one another in matters relating to the colonies. It is said that debate between the conservatives and radicals reached a peak during this time. Galloway’s plan seemed destined to pass through the First Continental Congress until...

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