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Second Continental Congress. The Second Continental Congress was a body of representatives appointed by the legislatures of several British North American colonies which met from May 10, 1775, to March 1, 1781

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Second Continental Congress

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second continental congress
Second Continental Congress
  • The Second Continental Congress was a body of representatives appointed by the legislatures of several British North American colonies which met from May 10, 1775, to March 1, 1781
  • By the time the Second Continental Congress met, the American Revolutionary War had already started with the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775.
  • Thus, the Second Continental Congress found itself in the unenviable position of being the decision-making body of a military alliance at war with a far more powerful enemy.
one last try
One Last Try
  • The Congress created the Continental Army
  • They extended the Olive Branch Petition to the crown as an attempt at reconciliation.
  • King George III refused to receive it, issuing instead the Proclamation of Rebellion, requiring action against the "traitors".
thomas paine and common sense
Thomas Paine and Common Sense
  • In January 1776, Thomas Paine published Common Sense
  • He attacked the strongest bond tying tying America to Britain – the King
  • He pointed out the advantages of freedom from British rule and commercial restrictions
  • The book divided Americans into either Patriots or Loyalists
  • Beginning in April of 1776, the colonies advised their delegates to vote for independence
  • On June 7th, Richard Henry Lee introduced a brief “Resolution of Independence”
  • On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted Lee’s resolution “that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states.”
the declaration of independence
The Declaration of Independence
  • The Official Declaration of Independence was agreed upon on July 4th, 1776
  • Its purpose was to justify the Revolution, state that the colonies were independent and to express the nation’s principles
  • The rest is history!
financing the war
Financing the War
  • Britain's war against the Americans, French and Spanish cost about £100 million
  • Heavy spending brought France to the verge of bankruptcy and revolution, while the British had relatively little difficulty financing their war
britain is split
Britain is Split
  • On February 6, 1778, a Treaty of Amity and Commerce and a Treaty of Alliance were signed between the United States and France
  • William Pitt spoke out in Parliament urging Britain to make peace in American, and unite with America against France
  • Other British politicians who had previously sympathized with colonial grievances now turned against the American rebels for allying with British International rival and enemy
more trouble for britain
More Trouble for Britain
  • Later Spain (in 1779) and the Dutch (1780) became allies of the French, leaving the British Empire to fight a global war alone without major allies, and requiring it to slip through a combined blockade of the Atlantic.
  • The American theater thus became only one front in Britain's war. The British were forced to withdraw troops from continental America to reinforce the valuable sugar-producing Caribbean colonies, which were considered more important.
  • The British army under Cornwallis marched to Yorktown, Virigina where they expected to be rescued by a British Fleet
  • The fleet came but so did a much larger French Fleet
  • Cornwallis was trapped and on October, 1781 after a siege, the British surrendered their second invading army of the war
  • Many in Britain wanted to fight on but much of the support for the war in Britain was waning.
  • America finally finds its freedom on September 3rd, 1783 with the Treaty of Paris