The First and Second Continental Congresses

The First and Second Continental Congresses were the first real move the American colonies made to creating greater unity and independence from Britain. The First Congress was organised by Sam Adams in 1774 where all the colonies except Georgia attended. They debated the coercive acts and passed the “Articles of Association” which was a universal prohibition of trade with Britain.  It also passed the Suffolk resolves, denounced the Coercive Acts and created non-importation agreements. The Second Continental Congress also established the Continental Army which was to fight in the revolutionary war against the British. George Washington was declared the Commander in Chief of the army. They began to act as a revolutionary government, by not only drawing loans from foreign countries to fund the war effort but also through practical means by issuing currency and creating a postal service. The Second Congress passed the Olive Branch petition which was drafted by John Dickinson. This relayed mixed message to King as it pledged loyalty but also claimed autonomy and undermined the authority of the British Parliament.  It also issued the document ‘Declaration on the Causes and Necessities for taking up arms’ which justified the war. They voted to sign the ‘Declaration of Independence’, in 1776.