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    2nd_semester_Continental Congress

    charradi myriam

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    Registration date : 2006-11-23

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    2nd_semester_Continental Congress

    Post by charradi myriam on Sun Apr 08, 2007 12:57 am

    The first national legislative assembly in the United States, existing from 1774 to 1789.

    During its fifteen-year existence, the Continental Congress served as the chief legislative and executive body of the federal government. Although hobbled by provisions such as an inability to raise funds directly through taxation, it nevertheless created a viable, if sometimes ineffective, national union during the earliest years of the United States. The Continental Congress passed the Declaration of Independence and other lasting measures, and it set important precedents for the government instituted under the Constitution in 1789. Some of the most important figures of early American history were members of the Continental Congress, including John Adams, Samuel Adams, Samuel Chase, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Patrick Henry, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington.

    The First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia between September 5 and October 26, 1774. Although it was officially called simply the Congress, contemporaries referred to it as the Continental Congress in order to distinguish it from the various state congresses. Fifty-six delegates from twelve colonies (Georgia did not participate) assembled in an attempt to unite the colonies and restore rights and liberties that had been curtailed by Great Britain. The Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Rights, agreements regarding common policies toward Britain, and a resolution that it would meet again the following year if its grievances were not settled.

    When Britain rebuffed their demands, the colonists assembled the Second Continental Congress in May of 1775, again in Philadelphia. Fighting between Britain and Massachusetts at the Battles of Lexington and Concord had already occurred, and the Continental Congress voted to back Massachusetts. It appointed George Washington as commander in chief of colonial armed forces. With this decision, Congress undertook a vital role directing the Revolutionary War.

    As the war continued, colonial opinion began to move toward permanent separation from Great Britain. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, which announced the formation of the United States of America as a new nation. In succeeding months, the Congress drafted the Articles of Confederation, the new country's first constitution. The Congress approved the Articles on November 15, 1777, but the states did not ratify them until 1781.

    The Articles of Confederation
    , was the first governing document, or constitution, of the United States of America. It was written in summer 1776 and adopted by the Second Continental Congress on November 15, 1777, after a year of debate. In practice it served as the de facto system of government used by the Congress ("the United States in Congress assembled") until it became de jure by final ratification on March 1, 1781. At that point Congress became Congress of the Confederation. The Articles set the rules for operations of the United States. The confederation was capable of making war, negotiating diplomatic agreements, and resolving issues regarding the western territories; it could print money and borrow inside and outside the US. One major weakness was it lacked taxing authority; it had to request funds from the states. A second weakness was one-state, one-vote. The larger states were expected to contribute more but had only one vote. As Benjamin Franklin complained, "Let the smaller Colonies give equal money and men, and then have an equal vote. But if they have an equal vote without bearing equal burthens, a confederation upon such iniquitous principles will never last long."[1] The Articles created a weak national government designed to manage the American Revolutionary War. When the war ended in 1783, its many inadequacies became glaringly obvious, and national leaders such as George Washington and Alexander Hamilton called for a new charter. The Articles were replaced by the much stronger United States.

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