The Fifth Virginia Convention was a meeting of the Patriot legislature of Virginia held in Williamsburg from May 6 to July 5, 1776. This Convention declared Virginia an independent state and produced its first constitution and the Virginia Declaration of Rights.
Patriots were those colonists of the Thirteen Colonies who rejected British rule during the American Revolution and declared the United States of America as an independent nation in July 1776. Their decision was based on the political philosophy of republicanism as expressed by spokesmen such as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Thomas Paine. They were opposed by the Loyalists who supported continued British rule.
A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority to make laws for a political entity such as a country or city. Legislatures form important parts of most governments; in the separation of powers model, they are often contrasted with the executive and judicial branches of government.
The Colony of Virginia, chartered in 1606 and settled in 1607, was the first enduring English colony in North America, following failed proprietary attempts at settlement on Newfoundland by Sir Humphrey Gilbert in 1583, and the subsequent further south Roanoke Island by Sir Walter Raleigh in the late 1580s.
|History of Virginia|
The previous Fourth Virginia Convention had also taken place in Williamsburg, in December 1775. George Washington had been appointed in Philadelphia from the First Continental Congress as commander of Continental troops surrounding Boston, and Virginia patriots defeated an advancing British expeditionary force at the Battle of Great Bridge southeast of Norfolk.
The Fourth Virginia Convention was a meeting of the Patriot legislature of Virginia held in Williamsburg in December 1775.
George Washington was an American political leader, military general, statesman, and Founding Father who also served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. He led Patriot forces to victory in the nation's War of Independence, and he presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 which established the new federal government. He has been called the "Father of His Country" for his manifold leadership in the formative days of the new nation.
The First Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from twelve of the Thirteen Colonies who met from September 5 to October 26, 1774, at Carpenters' Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, early in the American Revolution. It was called in response to the Intolerable Acts passed by the British Parliament, which the British referred to as the Coercive Acts, with which the British intended to punish Massachusetts for the Boston Tea Party.
The newly elected delegates to the Fifth Virginia Convention re-elected Edmund Pendleton as its president on his return from Philadelphia as presiding officer of the First Continental Congress. The membership could be thought of as belonging to one of three groups: radicals from western Virginia, who had agitated for independence from Britain even before 1775; philosophers of the American Enlightenment; and wealthy planters, largely from the east. A malapportionment of delegates granted disproportionate influence to this latter group.
Edmund Pendleton was a Virginia planter, politician, lawyer and judge. He served in the Virginia legislature before and during the American Revolutionary War, rising to the position of Speaker. Pendleton attended the First Continental Congress as one of Virginia's delegates alongside George Washington and Patrick Henry, and led the conventions both wherein Virginia declared independence (1776) and adopted the U.S. Constitution (1788). Unlike his sometime political rival Henry, Pendleton was a moderate who initially hoped for reconciliation, rather than revolt. With Thomas Jefferson and George Wythe, Pendleton revised Virginia's legal code after the break with Britain. To contemporaries, Pendleton may have distinguished himself most as a judge, particularly in the appellate roles in which he spent his final 25 years, including leadership of what is now known as the Supreme Court of Virginia. On hearing of his death, Congress agreed to wear badges of mourning for 30 days and expressed "their regret that another star is fallen from the splendid constellation of virtue and talents which guided the people of the United States, in their struggle for independence".
The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called simply Great Britain, was a sovereign state in western Europe from 1 May 1707 to 31 December 1800. The state came into being following the Treaty of Union in 1706, ratified by the Acts of Union 1707, which united the kingdoms of England and Scotland to form a single kingdom encompassing the whole island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, with the exception of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The unitary state was governed by a single parliament and government that was based in Westminster. The former kingdoms had been in personal union since James VI of Scotland became King of England and King of Ireland in 1603 following the death of Elizabeth I, bringing about the "Union of the Crowns". After the accession of George I to the throne of Great Britain in 1714, the kingdom was in a personal union with the Electorate of Hanover.
The American Enlightenment was a period of intellectual ferment in the thirteen American colonies in the 17th to 18th century, which led to the American Revolution, and the creation of the United States of America. The American Enlightenment was influenced by the 17th-century European Enlightenment and its own native American philosophy. According to James MacGregor Burns, the spirit of the American Enlightenment was to give Enlightenment ideals a practical, useful form in the life of the nation and its people.
George Wythe was the first American law professor, a noted classics scholar, and a Virginia judge. The first of the seven Virginia signatories of the United States Declaration of Independence, Wythe served as one of Virginia's representatives to the Continental Congress and the Philadelphia Convention. Wythe taught and was a mentor to Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, Henry Clay and other men who became American leaders.
George Mason IV was an American planter, politician and delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787, one of three delegates who refused to sign the Constitution. His writings, including substantial portions of the Fairfax Resolves of 1774, the Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776, and his Objections to this Constitution of Government (1787) in opposition to ratification, have exercised a significant influence on American political thought and events. The Virginia Declaration of Rights, which Mason principally authored, served as a basis for the United States Bill of Rights, of which he has been deemed the father.
Thomas Jefferson was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. Previously, he had served as the second vice president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. The principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights motivating American colonists to break from the Kingdom of Great Britain and form a new nation; he produced formative documents and decisions at both the state and national level.
The Convention sat from May 6 to July 5, 1776, meeting at the Capitol in Williamsburg. It elected Edmund Pendleton its presiding officer after his return as president of the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia. There were three parties in the Fifth Convention. The first was mainly made up of wealthy planters, who sought to continue their hold on local government as it had grown up during colonial Virginia's history. These included Robert Carter Nicholas Sr. who opposed the Declaration of Independence from King George. It dominated the convention by a malapportionment that lent an advantage to the slaveholding east. One historian maintained that this party ensured the continuation of slavery at a time when other states began gradual emancipation.It ensured the continued self-perpetuating gentry rule of county government with a franchise limited by property requirements underpinning the republican form of state government. The second party was made up of the intellectuals of the Enlightenment: lawyers, physicians and "aspiring young men". These included the older generation of George Mason, George Wythe, Edmund Pendleton, and the younger Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. The third party was a minority of young men mainly from western Virginia. This party was led by Patrick Henry and included "radicals" who had supported independence earlier than 1775.
Williamsburg is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia, United States. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population was 14,068. In 2014, the population was estimated to be 14,691. Located on the Virginia Peninsula, Williamsburg is in the northern part of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area. It is bordered by James City County and York County.
Robert Carter Nicholas was an American lawyer and political figure. He served in the Virginia House of Burgesses, the General Assembly, and the Court of Appeals, predecessor of the Supreme Court of Virginia.
Patrick Henry was an American attorney, planter, and orator best known for his declaration to the Second Virginia Convention (1775): "Give me liberty, or give me death!" A Founding Father, he served as the first and sixth post-colonial Governor of Virginia, from 1776 to 1779 and from 1784 to 1786.
On May 15, the Convention declared that the government of Virginia as "formerly exercised" by King George in Parliament was "totally dissolved" in light of the King's repeated injuries and his "abandoning the helm of government and declaring us out of his allegiance and protection".The Convention adopted a set of three resolutions: one calling for a declaration of rights for Virginia, one calling for the establishment of a republican constitution, and a third calling for federal relations with whichever other colonies would have them and alliances with whichever foreign countries would have them. It also instructed its delegates to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia to declare independence. Virginia's congressional delegation was thus the only one under unconditional positive instructions to declare independence; Virginia was already independent of Parliament as the "fourth realm" of British Empire, but its convention did not want their state, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, to "hang separately." According to James Madison's correspondence for that day, Williamsburg residents marked the occasion by taking down the Union Jack from over the colonial capitol and running up a continental union flag, keeping the Union Jack of the British Empire in the canton and adding the thirteen red and white stripes of the self-governing British East India Company.
Philadelphia, sometimes known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with a 2017 census-estimated population of 1,580,863. Since 1854, the city has been coterminous with Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.
James Madison Jr. was an American statesman, lawyer, diplomat, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the fourth president of the United States from 1809 to 1817. He is hailed as the "Father of the Constitution" for his pivotal role in drafting and promoting the United States Constitution and the United States Bill of Rights. He also co-wrote The Federalist Papers, co-founded the Democratic-Republican Party, and served as the fifth United States Secretary of State from 1801 to 1809.
On June 7, Richard Henry Lee, one of Virginia's delegates to Congress, carried out the instructions to propose independence in the language the convention had commanded him to use: that "these colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states." The resolution was followed in Congress by the adoption of the American Declaration of Independence, which reflected its ideas.
The convention amended, and on June 12 adopted, George Mason's Declaration of Rights, a precursor to the United States Bill of Rights. On June 29, the convention approved the first Constitution of Virginia. The convention chose Patrick Henry as the first governor of the new Commonwealth of Virginia, and he was inaugurated on June 29, 1776. Thus, Virginia had a functioning republican constitution before July 4, 1776.
The delegates to the Virginia Convention of 1776 – elected in 1776 (One hundred and thirty-two members, two from each county, and one each from the Boroughs of Jamestown, Williamsburg, Norfolk, and the College of William and Mary)
|Albemarle||George Gilmer||for Thomas Jefferson|
|West Augusta||John Harvie|
|West Augusta||Charles Simms|
|Caroline||Hon. Edmund Pendleton||Presiding officer|
|Charles City||William Acrill|
|Charles City||Samuel Harwood||for Benjamin Harrison|
|Chesterfield||Hon. Paul Carrington|
|Elizabeth City||Wilson Miles Cary|
|Elizabeth City||Henry King|
|Fairfax||John West, Jr.|
|Fairfax||George Mason||Bill of Rights|
|Goochland||Thomas M. Randolph|
|Isle of Wight||John S. Wills|
|Isle of Wight||Charles Fulgham|
|James City||Robert C. Nicholas|
|James City||William Norvell|
|King and Queen||George Brook|
|King and Queen||William Lyne|
|King George||William Fitzhugh|
|King George||Joseph Jones|
|King William||William Aylett|
|King William||Richard Squire Taylor|
|New Kent||William Clayton|
|New Kent||Bartholomew Dandridge|
|Northampton||Nathaniel L. Savage|
|Orange||James Madison, Jr.|
|Prince Edward||William Watts|
|Prince Edward||William Booker|
|Prince George||Richard Bland|
|Prince George||Peter Poythress|
|Prince William||Henry Lee|
|Prince William||Cuthbert Bullitt|
|Princess Anne||William Robinson|
|Princess Anne||John Thoroughgood|
|Stafford||Thomas Ludwell Lee|
|Warwick||Hon. Richard Cary|
|Westmoreland||John A. Washington||for Richard Henry Lee|
|York||Thomas Nelson, Jr.||William Digges|
|Williamsburg||Edmund Randolph||for George Wythe|
|Norfolk Borough||William Roscow Wilson Curle|
|College of William and Mary||John Blair|
Peyton Randolph was a planter and public official from the Colony of Virginia. He served as Speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses, president of Virginia Conventions, and the first President of the Continental Congress.
The Continental Congress, also known as the Philadelphia Congress, was a convention of delegates called together from the Thirteen Colonies. It became the governing body of the United States during the American Revolution. The Congress met from 1774 to 1789 in three incarnations. The first call for a convention was made over issues of the blockade and the Intolerable Acts penalizing the Province of Massachusetts Bay. In 1774 Benjamin Franklin convinced the colonial delegates to the Congress to form a representative body. Much of what is known today comes from the yearly log books printed by the Continental Congress called Resolutions, Acts and Orders of Congress, which gives a day-to-day description of debates and issues.
Benjamin Harrison V, from Charles City County, Virginia, was an American planter and merchant, a revolutionary leader and a Founding Father of the United States. He received his higher education at the College of William and Mary. Harrison was a representative to the Virginia House of Burgesses for Surry County, Virginia, and Charles City County. He was a Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1777 and, during the Second Continental Congress, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Harrison served as Virginia's fifth governor from 1781 to 1784. His direct descendants include two U.S. Presidents—his son William Henry Harrison Sr. and great-grandson President Benjamin Harrison.
The House of Burgesses was the elected representative element of the Virginia General Assembly, the legislative body of the Colony of Virginia. With the creation of the House of Burgesses in 1642, the General Assembly, which had been established in 1619, became a bicameral institution.
Edmund Jennings Randolph was an American attorney and politician. He was the seventh Governor of Virginia, and as a delegate from Virginia, attended the Constitutional Convention, helping to create a national constitution. He was the second Secretary of State, and the first United States Attorney General during George Washington's presidency.
The Second Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that started meeting in the spring of 1775 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It succeeded the First Continental Congress, which met in Philadelphia between September 5, 1774, and October 26, 1774. The Second Congress managed the Colonial war effort and moved incrementally towards independence. It eventually adopted the Lee Resolution which established the new country on July 2, 1776, and it agreed to the United States Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The Congress acted as the de facto national government of the United States by raising armies, directing strategy, appointing diplomats, and making formal treaties such as the Olive Branch Petition.
The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simply the Founding Fathers, were a group of philosophers, politicians, and writers who led the American Revolution against the Kingdom of Great Britain. Most were descendants of colonists settled in the Thirteen Colonies in North America.
The Lee Resolution was the formal assertion passed by the Second Continental Congress on July 2, 1776 which declared the establishment of a new country of United Colonies as independent from the British Empire, creating what became the United States of America. News of this act was published that evening in the Pennsylvania Evening Post and the next day in the Pennsylvania Gazette. The text of the document formally announcing this action was the Declaration of Independence, approved two days later on July 4, 1776, which is celebrated as Independence Day.
Independence National Historical Park is a United States National Park in Philadelphia that preserves several sites associated with the American Revolution and the nation's founding history. Administered by the National Park Service, the 55-acre (22 ha) park comprises much of Philadelphia's most-visited historic district. The park has been nicknamed "America's most historic square mile" because of its abundance of historic landmarks, and the park sites are located within the Old City and Society Hill neighborhoods of Philadelphia.
The Virginia Conventions have been the assemblies of delegates elected for the purpose of establishing constitutions of fundamental law for the Commonwealth of Virginia superior to General Assembly legislation. Their constitutions and subsequent amendments span four centuries across the territory of modern-day Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky.
The Virginia Ratifying Convention was a convention of 168 delegates from Virginia who met in 1788 to ratify or reject the United States Constitution, which had been drafted at the Philadelphia Convention the previous year.
The New York Provincial Congress (1775–1777) was an organization formed by colonists in 1775, during the American Revolution, as a pro-American alternative to the more conservative New York General Assembly, and as a replacement for the Committee of One Hundred. The Fourth Provincial Congress, resolving itself as the Convention of Representatives of the State of New York, adopted the first Constitution of the State of New York on April 20, 1777.
The Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1829–1830 was a constitutional convention for the state of Virginia, held in Richmond from October 5, 1829 to January 15, 1830.
Albert G. Pendleton was a nineteenth-century American politician from Virginia. Pendleton served multiple terms in the Virginia House of Delegates and was elected to the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1850.
The Virginia gubernatorial election of 1776 was the first gubernatorial election of the newly independent Commonwealth of Virginia. It was held on June 29, 1776, forty-five days after the adoption of the Lee Resolution by the Fifth Virginia Convention asserting the independence of the United Colonies from Great Britain. The election was conducted under the provisions of the Constitution of Virginia, which had been adopted by the convention the same day and went into effect immediately. Patrick Henry, a leading advocate for independence who had served as a delegate to the First Continental Congress, was elected governor by a majority vote, defeating Thomas Nelson, Jr. and John Page.