|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|
The Continental Association, also known as the Articles of Association or simply the Association, was a detailed system created by America's First Continental Congress in October, 1774, calling for a Thirteen Colonies trade boycott with Great Britain. Congress hoped that placing severe economic sanctions on British imports and exports would pressure Parliament into addressing the colonies' grievances, in particular repealing the Intolerable Acts, without severing allegiance.
The boycott began on December 1, 1774, and exhibited the colonies' collective will and ability to act towards their common interests. Trade between the colonies and Britain fell sharply, and the British responded with the New England Restraining Act and escalated their own economic sanctions. The outbreak of the American Revolutionary War in April, 1775, superseded the need to boycott British goods.
Abraham Lincoln, in his first inaugural address in 1861, credited the origin of the United States to the Continental Association, and its 53 original signers are considered Founding Fathers of the United States by the Journal of the American Revolution.
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 Gaspee Affair and the Boston Tea Party. 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. The word boycott had not yet been coined, and the Americans referred to their economic protests as "non-importation", "nonexportation", or "non-consumption".
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 the colonial committees of correspondence, through which leaders of each colony kept in touch. The First Continental Congress was convened at Carpenters' Hall in Philadelphia on September 5, 1774, to coordinate a response to the Coercive Acts. Twelve colonies were represented at the Congress.
On October 20, 1774, Congress created the Association, based on the earlier Virginia Association, which signified the increasing cooperation among the colonies. The Association opened with a profession of allegiance to the king, and they blamed Parliament and lower British officials for "a ruinous system of colony administration" rather than blaming the king directly. The Association alleged that this system was "evidently calculated for enslaving these colonies, and, with them, the British Empire."
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."
These 53 delegates signed the Association in Congress. Many local signings also took place.
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.
Only one of the Thirteen Colonies failed to establish local enforcement committees; the restrictions were dutifully enforced in the others, and trade with Britain plummeted. Parliament 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.
The outbreak of open fighting between the Americans and British soldiers in April 1775 rendered moot any attempt to indirectly change British policies. In this regard, the Association failed to determine events in the way that it was designed. 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.
President Abraham Lincoln traced the origin of the United States back to the Continental Association of 1774 in his first inaugural address in 1861:
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 or 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.
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 Revolution. The term "Continental Congress" most specifically refers to the First and Second Congresses of 1774–1781 and may also 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 Intolerable Acts were punitive laws passed by the British Parliament in 1774 after the Boston Tea Party. The laws were meant to punish the Massachusetts colonists for their defiance in the Tea Party protest in reaction to changes in taxation by the British Government. In Great Britain, these laws were referred to as the Coercive Acts.
The Second Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies in America that united in the American Revolutionary War. It convened on May 10, 1775, with representatives from 12 of the colonies in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, shortly after the Battles of Lexington and Concord, succeeding the First Continental Congress which met in Philadelphia 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, refers to a series of British acts of Parliament passed during 1767 and 1768 relating to 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:
Nathaniel Folsom was an American merchant and statesman. He was a delegate for New Hampshire in the Continental Congress in 1774 and 1777 to 1780, signing the Continental Association. He served as major general of the New Hampshire Militia during the American Revolutionary War and is a Founding Father of the United States.
The Tea Act 1773 was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain. The principal objective was to reduce the massive amount of tea held by the financially troubled British East India Company in its London warehouses and to help the struggling company survive. A related objective was to undercut the price of illegal tea, smuggled into Britain's North American colonies. This was supposed to convince the colonists to purchase Company tea on which the Townshend duties were paid, thus implicitly agreeing to accept Parliament's right of taxation. Smuggled tea was a large issue for Britain and the East India company, since approximately 86% of all the tea in America at the time was smuggled Dutch tea.
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.
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 Parliament 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 (c.10), 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 as the Trade Act 1775 (c.18), 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 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 American Indians, 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 Conciliatory Resolution was a resolution passed by the British Parliament in an attempt to reach a peaceful settlement with the Thirteen Colonies immediately prior to the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War.
The Petition to the King was a petition sent to King George III by the First Continental Congress in 1774, calling for repeal of the Intolerable Acts.
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 Augusta Resolves was a statement adopted on February 22, 1775 by six representatives of Augusta County, Colony of Virginia, in the early stages of the American Revolution. The resolves expressed support for Congress' resistance to the Intolerable Acts, issued in 1774 by the British Parliament, and a commitment to risk 'lives and fortune' in preservation of natural rights.
The First North Carolina Provincial Congress was the first of five extra-legal unicameral bodies that met beginning in the summer of 1774. They were modeled after the colonial lower house. These congresses created a government structure, issued bills of credit to pay for the movement, and organized an army for defense, in preparation for the state of North Carolina. This First Congress met in New Bern from August 25 to August 27, 1774. John Harvey served as president. These Provincial congresses paved the way for the first meeting of the North Carolina General Assembly on April 7, 1777 in New Bern, North Carolina.
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