X beginnings of the First Continental Congress

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X Beginnings of the First Continental Congress

  1. Committees of Correspondence = groups formed throughout the colonies as a means of coordinating action against Great Britain

1) Ex: Sons of Liberty

2) call went out for delegates from each colony to meet & discuss their common concerns

3) 56 delegates - every colony EXCEPT GEORGIA met in PHILADELPHIA = FIRST


B) The First Continental Congress

1) lasted about 7 weeks

2) discussions = difficult b/c each colony had its own needs and viewpoints

3) Massachusetts & Virginia spoke up the most!

4) Paul Revere: (Boston silversmith) arrived w/a set of resolutions passed at a meeting in


aa) Suffolk Resolves:

(1) called the Coercive Acts “the attempts of a wicked administration to enslave


(2) also demanded the return of constitutional government and an end to trade

w/Great Britain and its West Indian colonies

5) NOT ALL delegates shared this view

6) Compromise = Middle Ground was reached:

aa) MOST of the views were approved

bb) Massachusetts’ plan for arming and training a militia was accepted

C) The Continental Congress Takes a Stand

1) The congress based its final position on the colonists’ NATURAL RIGHTS

aa) John Locke = came up w/this term

bb) all governments are based on a social compact,or agreement, between the people and

the rulers. In return for the government protecting their lives, property, and

rights, the people give up some of their freedoms
2) Appeal to King George III

aa) delegates sent a document to King George III demanding that the rights of the

colonists be restored.

bb) peaceful at first

cc) said Parliament could make laws about trade

dd) BUT, it approved a BAN ON TRADE with GREAT BRITAIN until the COERCIVE


ee) delegates vowed to hold another meeting if King George did not meet their demands

by the following year

D) King George III’s Response

1) some members of Parliament = sympathetic to the colonists

2) others = wanted them punished

3) George refused AND decided to use force against the colonists!

XI Moving Toward a Crisis

  1. Many people spoke for and against Great Britain and the British troops

  1. Edmund Burke: a writer who made several speeches asking for compromise

  2. William Pitt: wanted British troops w/drawn from America

B) The Colonists Take Arms

1) winter of 1774-1775 = rebellions were uprising

2) tensions built between the British soldiers and the colonists

3) militia drilled on village greens and began to be called MINUTEMEN

C) A Warning for the Minutemen

1) 1775 – American spies heard that the British were making plans against the militia

2) British General Thomas Gage was supposedly sending soldiers to take the militia’s supply

of guns and gunpowder stored in Concord, a few miles from Boston

aa) - Gage - ordered to arrest two colonial leadersSamuel Adams and Boston

merchant John Hancock

D) Battles at Lexington and Concord

1) 1775: 2 battles between British & colonial soldiers took place in Massachusetts at Lexington

& Concord.
2) Until this, MOST COLONISTS still CONSIDERED themselves BRITISH.

3) These battles changed many colonists’ minds.
E) One if by Land and Two if by Sea

1) APRIL 18, 1775 –

2) American spy network in Boston waited to discover the route the British soldiers would take

3) PLAN of action was clear: Boston’s North Church would serve as the signal tower

aa) Dr. Joseph Warren planned to flash one light from the church bell tower if the British

were approaching by land

bb) two lights if approaching by sea
F) The British Were Spotted

1) Dr. Warren spotted British troops

2) signaled the two waiting riders –

aa) William Dawes and Paul Revere

bb) immediately jumped on their horses and galloped to Lexington w/the urgent news that

the “redcoats” were coming!


1) 700 British soldiers marched toward Concord and reached Lexington (a town on the way

to Concord) soon after dawn on April 19

2) 70 minutemen armed w/muskets & pitchforks were waiting for them on Lexington Green

3) No one knows who fired the first shot!

aa) According to one account, a British officer rode onto the green and called out to the

militia: “Disperse, ye rebels!”

bb) someone fired a shot, then more shots were fired

cc) 8 colonists fell dead; 10 were wounded

dd) one British soldier was wounded

4) Redcoats continued on to Concord

aa) burned what little gunpowder the colonists hadn’t used

5) fighting ended by noon

aa) Colonists had proven their strength

bb) British had been forced to turn back toward Boston

cc) Minutemen nearby had been called to arms, hiding behind stone walls and trees, firing at

the British

dd) BRITISH CASUALTIES: three times that of the Americans!!!

Show School House Rock : “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World”


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