|Created||October 20, 1774|
|Date effective||December 1, 1774|
|Signatories||Edward Rutledge, George Ross, Caesar Rodney, Thomas McKean, George Read, Matthew Tilghman, Thomas Johnson, William Paca, John Morton, Samuel Chase, Richard Henry Lee, George Washington, Patrick Henry, Richard Bland, Benjamin Harrison V, Edmund Pendleton, John Dickinson, Charles Humphreys, Thomas Mifflin, Edward Biddle, John Rutledge, Christopher Gadsden, Thomas Lynch, Henry Middleton, Richard Caswell, Peyton Randolph, John Sullivan, Nathaniel Folsom, Thomas Cushing, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Stephen Hopkins, Samuel Ward, Eliphalet Dyer, Roger Sherman, Silas Deane, Isaac Low, John Alsop, John Jay, James Duane, Philip Livingston, William Floyd, Henry Wisner, Simon Boerum, James Kinsey, Robert Treat Paine, William Livingston, Stephen Crane, Richard Smith, John De Hart, Joseph Galloway, Joseph Hewes, William Hooper|
|Continental Association at Wikisource|
The Continental Association, also known as the Articles of Association or simply the Association, was an agreement among the American colonies adopted by the First Continental Congress on October 20, 1774. It called for a trade boycott against British merchants by the colonies. Congress hoped that placing economic sanctions on British imports and exports would pressure Parliament into addressing the colonies' grievances, in particular, by repealing what were referred to as the Intolerable Acts. 
The Congress adopted a "non-importation, non-consumption, non-exportation" agreement as a peaceful means of settling the colonies' disputes with Great Britain. The agreement, which had been suggested by Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee  based on the 1769 Virginia Association initiated by George Washington and written by George Mason, opened with a pledge of loyalty to King George III of Britain, and went on to outline a series of actions opening with a ban on British imports that would begin December 1, 1774. Trade between the colonies and Britain subsequently fell sharply. The British soon responded with the New England Restraining Act which escalated their own economic sanctions. The outbreak of the American Revolutionary War in April 1775 superseded the need to boycott British goods.
A significant effect of the agreement was that it exhibited the colonies' collective will to act together in their common interests. Abraham Lincoln, in his first inaugural address in 1861, credited the origin of the union which would become the United States to the adoption of the Continental Association. The Union actually may have begun slightly earlier with the First Continental Congress's opening session on September 5, 1774, and from that date on, the colonies acted in accord on a series of agreements leading up to the Congress's closing session seven weeks later.  One of the last of these agreements, the most visible symbol of political unity among the colonies up to that time, was the adoption of the Continental Association. 
Parliament passed the Coercive Acts in 1774 to restructure the colonial administration of the Thirteen Colonies and to punish the Province of Massachusetts for the Boston Tea Party. A First Continental Congress was convened at Carpenters' Hall in Philadelphia on September 5, 1774, to coordinate a response to the Intolerable Acts (also known as the Coercive Acts). Twelve colonies were represented at the First Continental Congress Congress, which included George Washington, John Adams, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry and future Chief Justice John Jay. Peyton Randolph was unanimously elected as its president, and Charles Thomson elected secretary. A plan of reconciliation was proposed, but was roundly rejected for concern that Parliament would see the proposal as a colonial acknowledgment that it had the right to regulate colonial trade and impose taxes.  
Many Americans saw the Coercive Acts as a violation of the British Constitution and a threat to the liberties of all Thirteen Colonies, not just Massachusetts, and they turned to economic boycotts to protest the oppressive legislation, which involved the "non-importation", "nonexportation", or "non-consumption" of British goods.  
On May 13, 1774, the Boston Town Meeting passed a resolution, with Samuel Adams acting as moderator, which called for an economic boycott in response to the Boston Port Act, one of the Coercive Acts. The resolution said:
That it is the opinion of this town, that if the other, Colonies come, into a joint resolution to stop all importation from Great Britain, and exportations to Great Britain, and every part of the West Indies, till the Act for blocking up this harbour be repealed, the same will prove the salvation of North America and her liberties. On the other hand, if they continue their exports and imports, there is high reason to fear that fraud, power, and the most odious oppression, will rise triumphant over right, justice, social happiness, and freedom. 
Paul Revere often served as messenger, and he carried the Boston resolutions to New York and Philadelphia.  Adams also promoted the boycott through existing colonial committees of correspondence, which enabled leaders of each colony to keep in touch.
One of the first actions of the Congress was the endorsement of the Suffolk Resolves, which called for an embargo on British trade and urged each of the colonies to organize militias.  The delegates subsequently drew up a Declaration and Resolves that included the Continental Association, which was approved on October 20, 1774. Based on the earlier Virginia Association, the Association signified the growing cooperation between the colonies. Opening with a profession of allegiance to the king, the document then charged Parliament and lower British officials for creating "a ruinous system of colony administration" rather than blaming the king. The Association alleged that this system was "evidently calculated for enslaving these colonies,  and, with them, the British Empire." Twelve colonies joined at once; Georgia joined a year later. 
Signed copies of the Articles were sent to the King to present to both houses of Parliament, where they remained for some time mixed in with other letters and documents sent from America. 
The articles of the Continental Association imposed an immediate ban on British tea, and a ban beginning on December 1, 1774, on importing or consuming any goods from Britain, Ireland, and the British West Indies. It also threatened an export ban on any products from the Thirteen Colonies to Britain, Ireland, or the West Indies, to be enacted only if the Intolerable Acts were not repealed by September 10, 1775. The Articles stated that the export ban was being suspended until this date because of the "earnest desire we have not to injure our fellow-subjects in Great-Britain, Ireland, or the West-Indies." All American merchants were to direct their agents abroad to also comply with these restrictions, as would all ship owners. Additionally, article 2 placed a ban on all ships engaged in the slave trade. 
The Association set forth policies by which the colonists would endure the scarcity of goods. Merchants were restricted from price gouging. Local committees of inspection were to be established in the Thirteen Colonies which would monitor compliance. Any individual observed to violate the pledges in the Articles would be condemned in print and ostracised in society "as the enemies of American liberty." Colonies would also cease all trade and dealings with any other colony that failed to comply with the bans.
The colonies also pledged that they would "encourage frugality, economy, and industry, and promote agriculture, arts and the manufactures of this country, especially that of wool; and will discountenance and discourage every species of extravagance and dissipation", such as gambling, stage plays, and other frivolous entertainment. It set forth specific instructions on frugal funeral observations, pledging that no one "will go into any further mourning-dress, than a black crepe or ribbon on the arm or hat, for gentlemen, and a black ribbon and necklace for ladies, and we will discontinue the giving of gloves and scarves at funerals."
The Continental Association was signed by 53 of the 56 members of the First Continental Congress. 
The Lower Counties (Delaware)
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The Continental Association went into effect on December 1, 1774. Compliance with (and support for) the established boycott was largely enforced through local enforcement committees. By mid-1775, a large majority of Virginia's 61 counties had set up their own enforcement committees. Nearly all other colonies saw similar levels of success in upholding the boycott, with the notable exception of Georgia, where Governor James Wright emphasized the need for British protection from Native Americans. 
The use of public pressure was an overwhelmingly effective tactic in enforcing support for the boycott. Those who went against the boycott or even simply criticized the Association would often find their names slandered in newspapers and town gossip, often forcing those targeted to cave to pressure and publicly apologize. The threat of more direct action also played a role in forcing merchants to comply, with one merchant in Annapolis, Maryland, choosing to burn his own ship full of imported tea rather than attempt to sell it. When enforcement could not be guaranteed, some counties enacted price ceilings to discourage smuggling. 
Georgia waited a year but the other Thirteen Colonies quickly established local enforcement committees; the restrictions were dutifully enforced in the others, and trade with Britain plummeted.  Breen states that by early 1775 the local committees of safety, "increasingly functioned as a revolutionary government" and British officials no longer were in control. 
According to Christopher Gould, The Continental Association forced colonials to publicly take sides: Patriots signed and Loyalists did not. In South Carolina Patriots dominated in Charleston and coastal areas; Loyalists were most numerous in the backcountry. The Continental Association took charge of the boycotts and led to new governmental organizations that supervised Revolutionary activities. The South Carolina boycott made an exception for rice—it could still be exported but a fraction of sales went to purchase indigo from planters. Gould argues that the plan amounted to price stabilization and a commodity exchange program. 
The King acted by securing an election and buying enough seats at £2500 to control the new Parliament. It then responded by passing the New England Restraining Act which prohibited the northeastern colonies from trading with anyone but Britain and the British West Indies, and they barred colonial ships from the North Atlantic fishing areas. These punitive measures were later extended to most of the other colonies, as well. Britain did not yield to American demands but instead tried to tighten its grip, and the conflict escalated to war. However, the long-term success of the Association was in its effective direction of collective action among the colonies and expression of their common interests. 
In his first inaugural address in 1861, President Abraham Lincoln traced the origin of the union of the states to the Continental Association of 1774:
Descending from these general principles, we find the proposition that in legal contemplation the Union is perpetual confirmed by the history of the Union itself. The Union is much older than the Constitution. It was formed, in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1774. It was matured and continued by the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It was further matured, and the faith of all the then thirteen States expressly plighted and engaged that it should be perpetual, by the Articles of Confederation in 1778. And finally, in 1787, one of the declared objects for ordaining and establishing the Constitution was "to form a more perfect Union." 
The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies, the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Founded in the 17th and 18th centuries, they began fighting the American Revolutionary War in April 1775 and formed the United States of America by declaring full independence in July 1776. Just prior to declaring independence, the Thirteen Colonies in their traditional groupings were: New England ; Middle ; Southern. The Thirteen Colonies came to have very similar political, constitutional, and legal systems, dominated by Protestant English-speakers. The first of these colonies was Virginia Colony in 1607, a Southern colony. While all these colonies needed to become economically viable, the founding of the New England colonies, as well as the colonies of Maryland and Pennsylvania, were substantially motivated by their founders' concerns related to the practice of religion. The other colonies were founded for business and economic expansion. The Middle Colonies were established on an earlier Dutch colony, New Netherland. All the Thirteen Colonies were part of Britain's possessions in the New World, which also included territory in Canada, Florida, and the Caribbean.
The Continental Congress was a series of legislative bodies, with some executive function, for thirteen of Britain's colonies in North America, and the newly declared United States just before, during, and after the American Revolutionary War. The term "Continental Congress" most specifically refers to the First and Second Congresses of 1774–1781 and, at the time, was also used to refer to the Congress of the Confederation of 1781–1789, which operated as the first national government of the United States until being replaced under the Constitution of the United States. Thus, the term covers the three congressional bodies of the Thirteen Colonies and the new United States that met between 1774 and 1789.
The Navigation Acts, or more broadly the Acts of Trade and Navigation, were a long series of English laws that developed, promoted, and regulated English ships, shipping, trade, and commerce between other countries and with its own colonies. The laws also regulated England's fisheries and restricted foreigners' participation in its colonial trade. While based on earlier precedents, they were first enacted in 1651 under the Commonwealth.
The Intolerable Acts were a series of punitive laws passed by the British Parliament in 1774 after the Boston Tea Party. The laws aimed to punish Massachusetts colonists for their defiance in the Tea Party protest of the Tea Act, a tax measure enacted by Parliament in May 1773. In Great Britain, these laws were referred to as the Coercive Acts. They were a key development leading to the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War in April 1775.
The Quartering Acts were two or more Acts of British Parliament requiring local governments of Britain's North American colonies to provide the British soldiers with housing and food. Each of the Quartering Acts was an amendment to the Mutiny Act and required annual renewal by Parliament. They were originally intended as a response to issues that arose during the French and Indian War and soon became a source of tensions between the inhabitants of the Thirteen Colonies and the government in London. These tensions would later lead toward the American Revolution.
The Boston Port Act, also called the Trade Act 1774, was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain which became law on March 31, 1774, and took effect on June 1, 1774. It was one of five measures that were enacted during the spring of 1774 to punish Boston for the December 16, 1773, Boston Tea Party.
The Second Continental Congress was a late-18th-century meeting of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that united in support of the American Revolutionary War. The Congress created a new country it first named the United Colonies and, in 1776, renamed the United States of America. It convened in Philadelphia, then the federal capital, on May 10, 1775, with representatives from 12 of the 13 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. 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.
The Townshend Acts or Townshend Duties, were a series of British acts of Parliament passed during 1767 and 1768 introducing a series of taxes and regulations to fund administration of the British colonies in America. They are named after the Chancellor of the Exchequer who proposed the program. Historians vary slightly as to which acts they include under the heading "Townshend Acts", but five are often listed:
The Suffolk Resolves was a declaration made on September 9, 1774, by the leaders of Suffolk County, Massachusetts. The declaration rejected the Massachusetts Government Act and resulted in a boycott of imported goods from Britain unless the Intolerable Acts were repealed. The Resolves were recognized by statesman Edmund Burke as a major development in colonial animosity leading to adoption of the United States Declaration of Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1776, and he urged British conciliation with the American colonies, to little effect. The First Continental Congress endorsed the Resolves on September 17, 1774, and passed the similarly themed Continental Association on October 20, 1774.
In the American Revolution, committees of correspondence, committees of inspection, and committees of safety were different local committees of Patriots that became a shadow government; they took control of the Thirteen Colonies away from royal officials, who became increasingly helpless.
The First Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from 12 of the 13 British colonies that became the United States. It met from September 5 to October 26, 1774, at Carpenters' Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after the British Navy instituted a blockade of Boston Harbor and the Parliament of Great Britain passed the punitive Intolerable Acts in response to the December 1773 Boston Tea Party. During the opening weeks of the Congress, the delegates conducted a spirited discussion about how the colonies could collectively respond to the British government's coercive actions, and they worked to make a common cause.
The Restraining Acts of early 1775 were two Acts passed by the Parliament of Great Britain, which limited colonial trade in response to both increasing and spreading civil disobedience in Massachusetts and New England, and similar trade restrictions instituted by elected colonial representatives. With time the foment would spread to most of its American Colonies. The first restraining act, known variously as the New England Trade And Fisheries Act, the New England Restraining Act, or the Trade Act 1775, limited the export and import of any goods to and from only Great Britain, Ireland, and the British West Indies; it also prohibited the New England colonies from fishing in the waters off Newfoundland and most of America's Atlantic coast, without special permissions and documentation, and imposed stiff penalties on both perpetrators and administrators if violations occurred. Previously legal or finessed trade between the colonies themselves or with other nations was prohibited, and enforced by naval blockade, effective July 1, 1775. The second restraining act, known also as the Trade Act 1775, similarly limited the export or import of any goods by way of only Great Britain, Ireland, and the British West Indies for most colonies south of New England; it was passed shortly after the first, upon receiving news in April that the colonial's trade boycott had spread widely among other colonies. Only New York, Delaware, North Carolina and Georgia would escape these restraints on trade, but only for a few months.
The Non-consumption agreements were a part of a family of agreements, including the non-importation and non-exportation agreements addressed by American colonists in the 1774 Declarations and Resolves of the First Continental Congress. These agreements later served as the basis for the Non-Importation Act, and subsequent Embargo of 1807 that was passed by the United States Congress in 1806 in an attempt to establish American nautical neutrality during the Napoleonic Wars between France and Britain.
The Molasses Act of 1733 was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain that imposed a tax of six pence per gallon on imports of molasses from non-British colonies. Parliament created the act largely at the insistence of large plantation owners in the British West Indies. The Act was passed not to raise revenue but to regulate trade by making British products cheaper than those from the French West Indies. The Act greatly affected the significant colonial molasses trade.
The Boston Tea Party was an American political and mercantile protest by the Sons of Liberty in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 16, 1773. The target was the Tea Act of May 10, 1773, which allowed the British East India Company to sell tea from China in American colonies without paying taxes apart from those imposed by the Townshend Acts. The Sons of Liberty strongly opposed the taxes in the Townshend Act as a violation of their rights. Protesters, some disguised as Indigenous Americans, destroyed an entire shipment of tea sent by the East India Company.
The Fairfax Resolves were a set of resolutions adopted by a committee in Fairfax County in the colony of Virginia on July 18, 1774, in the early stages of the American Revolution. Written at the behest of George Washington and others, they were authored primarily by George Mason. The resolutions rejected the British Parliament's claim of supreme authority over the American colonies. More than thirty counties in Virginia passed similar resolutions in 1774, "but the Fairfax Resolves were the most detailed, the most influential, and the most radical."
The Provincial Congresses were extra-legal legislative bodies established in ten of the Thirteen Colonies early in the American Revolution. Some were referred to as congresses while others used different terms for a similar type body. These bodies were generally renamed or replaced with other bodies when the provinces declared themselves states.
The Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress, was a statement adopted by the First Continental Congress on October 14, 1774, in response to the Intolerable Acts passed by the British Parliament. The Declaration outlined colonial objections to the Intolerable Acts, listed a colonial bill of rights, and provided a detailed list of grievances. It was similar to the Declaration of Rights and Grievances, passed by the Stamp Act Congress a decade earlier.
The Petition to the King was a petition sent to King George III by the First Continental Congress in 1774, calling for the repeal of the Intolerable Acts. The King's rejection of the Petition, was one of the causes of the later United States Declaration of Independence and American Revolutionary War. The Continental Congress had hoped to resolve conflict without a war.
The American Revolutionary War inflicted great financial costs on all of the combatants, including the United States, France, Spain and the Kingdom of Great Britain. France and Great Britain spent 1.3 billion livres and 250 million pounds, respectively. The United States spent $400 million in wages for its troops. Spain increased its military spending from 454 million reales in 1778 to over 700 million reales in 1781.
The full text of Continental Association at Wikisource