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The Second Continental Congress. The Second Continental Congress. Even after the battles of Lexington and Concord, most colonists still did not favor independence. At the same time, many were ready to use force, if necessary, to defend their rights against the British.

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The Second Continental Congress


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the second continental congress1
The Second Continental Congress
  • Even after the battles of Lexington and Concord, most colonists still did not favor independence.
  • At the same time, many were ready to use force, if necessary, to defend their rights against the British.
  • The Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, in May 1775.
the second continental congress2
The Second Continental Congress
  • The Congress chose George Washington as the commander of the newly formed Continental army.
  • Took steps to pay for its army by printing paper money.
  • Starting to act like a government...
petitioning the king
Petitioning the King
  • Even months after Lexington and Concord, many delegates at the Second Continental Congress hoped that peace could be restored between Britain and the American colonies.
  • Two resolutions passed in July showed the uncertainty of the Congress.
  • The first resolution was the Olive Branch Petition sent to King George III.
    • Stated that colonists were loyal to the King.
    • Asked the King to stop all the fighting (between Colonies and Britain) so disputes could be solved peacefully.
petitioning the king1
Petitioning the King
  • The next day, the Congress passed a tougher statement called the “Declaration of the Causes and Necessities of Taking Up Arms.”
  • Written in part by Thomas Jefferson, the document stated that the colonists were ready to “die freemen rather than to live as slaves.”
  • The effort to make peace failed.
petitioning the king2
Petitioning the King
  • King George III did not bother to answer the Olive Branch Petition.
  • Instead, he declared the colonies were “in open… rebellion.” Parliament, meanwhile, voted to send 20,000 soldiers to the colonies to end the revolt.
patriots against loyalists
Patriots Against Loyalists
  • By 1775, a split was developing in the American colonies.
  • Colonists who favored independence – Patriots
  • Colonists still loyal to Britain and the King – Loyalists
  • From 1774 to 1775 Patriots began to take control of local governments.
  • Loyalists included wealthy families, leading merchants and landowners and Government officials put in place by the British Crown (King George III).
  • They feared that a rebellion would lead to a change in government and they would lose their property.
lord dunmore s declaration
Lord Dunmore’s Declaration

“I do require every person capable to bearing arms to resort to His Majesty’s standard, or be looked upon as traitors to His Majesty’s Crown and government, and [be subject to] penalty… such as [loss] or life, confiscation of lands, etc. And I do hereby further declare all indentured servants, slaves, or others [in service to rebels] free that are able and willing to bear arms, they joining His Majesty’s troops as soon as may be…”

– Proclamation of Lord Dunmore, Governor of Virginia November 1775