The First Continental Congress

Carpenter's Hall In 1774, the first members of the Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia. They came overland from the other colonies journeying by horse and wagon (a three week trip from Massachusetts). Several of the delegates, including John and Samuel Adams, stopped first at the City Tavern. After some wrangling, the delegates decided on Carpenter's Hall as their meeting place.

Initially, the purpose of the Congress was not seperation from the Crown, but rather how to address perceived grievances, including excessive taxes. Things heated up, however, with the arrival of Paul Revere from Boston, bearing a document called the Suffolk Resolves. Responding to increasing harassment and regulations by the British, the Massachusetts colonials called for a complete boycott of British goods and the creation of local militias. The Congress adopted the resolution, which some saw as tanamount to a declaration of war against England.

At the time, Philadelphia was the largest and most sophisticated of all cities in the colonies. Second only in size to London in the British Empire, the delegates spent their leisure time exploring and being entertained throughout the city.

The Congress ended with the creation of a document called the Declaration of Rights and Grievances.This and other petitions directly to the King himself, were a final attempt at avoiding conflict and inevitable war. At the end of deliberations, delegates were mixed in opinions as to how Britian would react to their demands.

In England, King George III refused this attempt at reconciliation. He declared the Americans in rebellion, and prepared British forces to come to America to quell this perceived uprising against the Crown. The seeds for war were sown, and the march toward independence had begun.


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