Second Continental Congress

The Second Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that united in support of the American Revolutionary War. The Congress was creating a new country it first named "United Colonies" and in 1776 renamed "United States of America." It convened in Philadelphia on May 10, 1775, with representatives from 12 of the colonies. This came shortly after the Battles of Lexington and Concord and was in succession to the First Continental Congress which met from September 5 to October 26, 1774. The Second Congress functioned as a de facto national government at the outset of the Revolutionary War by raising armies, directing strategy, appointing diplomats, and writing petitions such as the Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms and the Olive Branch Petition. [1] All thirteen colonies were represented by the time the Congress adopted the Lee Resolution which declared independence from Britain on July 2, 1776, and the congress agreed to the Declaration of Independence two days later.

Second Continental Congress
Part of the American Revolution
Type
Type
History
EstablishedMay 10, 1775 (1775-05-10)
DisbandedMarch 1, 1781 (1781-03-01)
Preceded byFirst Continental Congress
Succeeded byCongress of the Confederation
Leadership
Secretary
SeatsVariable; ~60
Meeting place
Assembly Room, Pennsylvania State House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Under exigent circumstance also met at:
Henry Fite House, Baltimore, Maryland;
Court House, Lancaster, Pennsylvania;
Court House, York, Pennsylvania;
College Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Afterward, Congress functioned as the provisional government of the United States of America through March 1, 1781. During this period, its achievements included: Successfully managing the war effort; drafting the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, the first U.S. constitution; securing diplomatic recognition and support from foreign nations, and resolving state land claims west of the Appalachian Mountains.

Many of the delegates who attended the Second Congress had also attended the First. They again elected Peyton Randolph as President of the Congress and Charles Thomson as secretary.[2] Notable new arrivals included Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and John Hancock of Massachusetts. Within two weeks, Randolph was summoned back to Virginia to preside over the House of Burgesses; Hancock succeeded him as president, and Thomas Jefferson replaced him in the Virginia delegation.[3] The number of participating colonies also grew, as Georgia endorsed the Congress in July 1775 and adopted the continental ban on trade with Britain.[4]


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