Galloway's Plan of Union

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GALLOWAY'S PLAN OF UNION. In September 1774, as the First Continental Congress debated various means of coercing Parliament toward accepting colonial sovereignty, Joseph Galloway, a Pennsylvania delegate and prominent supporter of reconciliation with Britain, devised a plan to avert the escalating crisis. Galloway rejected natural law as a basis for colonial rights, claims against Parliament, or independence. He looked instead to written and common law and sought a new imperial constitution to protect the colonies' best interests.

Galloway presented his plan to the Congress on 28 September 1774. In it, he called for the establishment of an American legislature that would govern both imperial affairs in America and relations between individual colonies. The legislature would function as a branch of the British Parliament, and legislation passed by the American house would require Parliament's approval. The plan also recommended appointment, by the king and a grand council of the colonial assemblies, of a president-general to oversee the legislature. Galloway's plan for limited colonial sovereignty within unified British institutions found support among moderate delegates led by James Duane, John Jay, and John Rutledge. But the plan failed to address the crux of colonial grievances: excessive parliamentary power. Opponents of the plan, led by Patrick Henry and Richard Henry Lee, therefore assailed it as a ruse to secure England's dominance over colonial affairs. Delegates rejected the plan by a margin of one vote. Following his defeat, Galloway became an outspoken critic of the Continental Congress and popular political leaders and eventually became a Loyalist during the Revolution.


Boyd, Julian P. Anglo-American Union: Joseph Galloway's Plans to Preserve the British Empire, 1774–1788. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1941.

Galloway, Joseph. "Proposed Union between Great Britain and Colonies." In Documents of the American Revolution, 1770–1783. Eight transcripts. Edited by K. G. Davies. Shannon: Irish University Press, 1975. Text of Galloway's Plan (1774).