First Continental Congress• Met on September 5, 1774 – Delegates from 12 colonies – Boycott British goods and signed a petition to end Intolerable Acts • Also set up Second Continental Congress in case the petition had no effect
Second Continental Congress• Met on May 10, 1775, delegates from 12 colonies• Extended Olive Branch petition to England to attempt to stop an all out war
Olive Branch Petition• Pledged American loyalty to the king and asked the king to stop further conflict – It was rejected by England• The king responded with the Proclamation of Rebellion declaring the colonies in a state of rebellion and urged the British forces to “use their utmost endeavours to withstand and suppress such a rebellion” – Sent following the Battle of Bunker Hill
Second Continental Congress• Congress took charge of the war effort – Created Continental Army – Put George Washington in charge of it• Wrote Declaration of Causes explaining why the colonies had gone to war• Acted as the federal government during the war
Second Continental Congress• Prepared to declare independence from Great Britain• The First Continental Congress met to force the king to repeal acts the colonists disagreed with• The Second C.C. planned to separate completely from Great Britain and form an independent nation – No longer believed British Parliament had any sovereignty over the colonies
Forming a New Nation• Thomas Paine urged the colonists to seek independence and forge a republic• As the war continued, the desire and support for independence increased
Declaration of Independence• Congress first drafted a Preamble to explain the purpose of their declaration – John Adams wrote the preamble• Then, on June 11, 1776, Congress appointed a “Committee of Five”, consisting of John Adams of Mass, Benjamin Franklin of Penn, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert R. Livingston of NY, and Roger Sherman of Conn, to draft a declaration
Declaration of Independence• Voted on the declaration on July , 1776• 12 colonies voted (NY did not have authority to vote)• Sent for publication July 4, 1776
America’s Desire for Independence• Independent mindset can be attributed to the geographic distance from Great Britain, the colonists’ ability to have their own government, and influences from the Enlightenment, but other factors created a want for independence – Colonies had an active political culture • Ambitious men were involved in politics • Most widespread suffrage in the world; few British men could vote, but most white American men were eligible • Colonies were also very diverse; no one group ran the political show
America’s Desire for Independence• The American political culture was available to varying economic, social, religious, and ethnic groups including merchants, landlords, farmers, and artisans – Overall interest in republicanism
The Declaration of Independence• Analysis of Preamble• What did the writer’s seek?• Influences from Enlightenment? – Thomas Paine and John Locke• Are we living up to the Founding Father’s expectations?
Compare/ContrastFirst Continental Congress vs. Second Continental Congress
Comparing Perspectives• NPR interview on the British Perspective on the war• Read and discuss
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