The First Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia's Carpenters Hall on September 5, 1774. The idea of such a meeting was advanced a year earlier by Benjamin Franklin, but failed to gain much support until after the Port of Boston was closed in response to the Boston Tea Party.
The first order of business was consideration of Pennsylvania conservative Joseph Galloway's plan of union, which urged creation of an American parliament to act in concert with the existing British body. On matters relating to America, each was to have veto power over the other's actions. Galloway was attempting to reconcile the simmering differences held by England and America. Opinion on this proposal was sharply divided.
Before the Galloway proposal could be decided, Paul Revere rode into town bearing the Suffolk Resolves, which were a series of political statements that had been forwarded to Philadelphia by a number of Boston-area communities.
Up to this point it had all started out as our forefathers had all of the taxation with out representation they could handle. Much like today’s political situation concerning the Health Care Act of today which in colonial times meant more unwanted taxes. There had been some minor skirmishes back and forth but never a really organized stand against the British.
Fighting really began in the Revolutionary War in April 1775 at the battle of Lexington and Concord in what were then the British American colonies. Shortly after this engagement was the now famous Battle of Bunker Hill, which was a tactical victory for the British, but an extremely costly one due to the amount of casualties the untrained colonists using skills of cover and concealment which were learned from fighting the Indians consequently caused large numbers of causalities on Great Britain's professional army.
The resolution was debated again until July 2.
July 2? But isn't July 4 celebrated as Independence Day?
Yes and here's why.
The Congress voted for independence from Great Britain on July 2, 1776. But, the final version of Thomas Jefferson's draft of the Declaration of Independence wasn't approved until July 4. Therefore, July 4 is celebrated as Independence Day.
Other Declaration of Independence facts:
· According to Harvard history professor David Armitage, the final approved copy of the declaration was sent to a nearby printing press owned by John Dunlap. Two-hundred copies were made, distributed to colonial cities, newspapers and one was sent directly to George Washington. Twenty-five exist today. George Washington had it read to his assembled troops on July 9th in New York, while they awaited the combined British fleet and army. This historical copy now resides in the Libary of Congress. His personal copy of the constitution was recently purchased at auction by the Mt Vernon Ladies Association Library for a price in excess of 9 nine million dollars.
· After a public reading of the declaration, a statue of King George was torn down in New York City, melted, and manufactured into musket balls.
· Historian Julian Boyd pointed out there isn't a single document that can technically be regarded as the original Declaration of Independence. Historians know of at least five legitimately signed "original" copies.
· Copies of the declaration were not published in British newspapers until mid-August 1776.
· The signers of the declaration were not listed for public view until January 18, 1777.
· John Hancock's famous signature in the center of the document measures approximately five-inches long. When he signed the document Hancock stated he wanted his signature to be large enough that King George could read it without his spectacles.
· There is actually writing on the back of the declaration. It reads, "Original Declaration of Independence, dated 4th July, 1776," and is on the bottom of the parchment and upside down.
· Some historians believe the original document was not officially signed by all of the Congressional delegates until at least August 2, 1776. This remains in dispute today.
The Declaration of Independence remains one of the most important and iconic documents that served as a springboard for a novel idea: a free and independent nation governed by its own citizens.