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The First Continental Congress - Research Paper Example

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The First Continental Congress Instructor name Date The First Continental Congress, convened in Philadelphia on September 5, 1774, was the initial effort by the 13 colonies to organize. The meeting was called to discuss grievances against the British government…
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The First Continental Congress
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Download file to see previous pages Each colony sent representatives to the Congress except Georgia which did not want to jeopardize the aid of British troops which were needed in that colony to help fend off Indian attacks. These representatives were not of one mind, however. The historically significant meeting of 54 men which included George Washington, John Adams and Patrick Henry were divided in purpose. Some delegates such as John Adam’s cousin Samuel Adams favored democratizing the colonies though were not yet suggesting forming their own country, at least not publically. Others insisted resolving the issues with Britain were the only sensible way and the meeting’s only intention. The convening of the First Continental Congress was meant to unite the colonies and gain the attention of the Mother Country and in that, its goal was accomplished. The colonists had considered themselves British citizens for the approximately century and a half they had been in America and likely would have continued this loyalty to country if the British Parliament and King George III had not restricted trade, increased taxation and permitted Colonies seats in House of Commons. Britain and France were engaged in costly battles both in Europe and America. Desperate to raise funds to pay back debts caused by continued military endeavors, Britain passed the Sugar Act on April 5, 1774 which not only levied a tax on American sugar but prohibited the importation of rum and French wine. The Stamp Act followed the next year requiring stamps to be purchased to sell many common products such as newspapers and playing cards. Stamps are still required today on liquor and cigarettes. Britain justified the tax claiming it was to pay for the protection provided its soldiers to protect citizens from Indian raids, a reason that did fell on deaf ears. Since 1770 the majority of colonists had been against British soldiers occupying America. On March 5th of that year tensions between soldiers and citizens reached its peak when soldiers fired shots into a taunting mob throwing ice-balls and sharp oyster shells at them. The event is popularly known as the Boston Massacre, an incident that might have escalated into all-out war at that time if not for John Adams. He successfully defended the British soldiers against a backdrop of a mob-mentality existing in Boston and spreading through Massachusetts along with the other colonies. (“American Revolution,” (2012). Following the Boston Massacre, Parliament abolished the Townshend tax which ended the taxes on just about everything except tea which led to another historical event. In December, 1773, colonists disguised as Indians boarded several English ships anchored in Boston Harbor. They tossed 342containers of tea into the sea to protest the tax and British occupation. George Washington, a member of the Virginia House, was concerned this overreaction to a three pence tax would cause the British, known for their ruthless tactics, to retaliate. Samuel Adams, leader of the Sons of Liberty, was “convinced that the tea duty had to be stopped at all costs and that their symbolic action had aroused America from its slumber.” (Chorlton, 2011 p. 34). Unlike Washington, they were happy because it forced American colonists to take sides. In May of 1774, Parliament passed the Massachusetts Government Act which nullified the Colony’s Charter and made town meetings illegal. The Administration of Justice Act soon followed. It allowed for British ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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