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Olive Branch Petition


OLIVE BRANCH PETITION. In May 1775 John Jay and John Dickinson moved in the Second Continental Congress for a humble petition to George III, which, when adopted on 5 July 1775, became known as the Olive Branch Petition. A fundamentally conservative document, it acknowledged the colonists' duty as loyal subjects of the king but asked for cessation of hostilities in order to schedule negotiations in which they could air their grievances. Dickinson, its primary author, meant the petition, even if it failed in its primary purpose to appease the king and his ministers, to fire the colonists' morale with proof that they were truly fighting an unjust system. Delivered by Arthur Lee and Richard Penn to the court in London, the very existence of the petition so infuriated George III that he refused to read it.


Flower, Milton E. John Dickinson: Conservative Revolutionary. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1983.

Jacobson, David E. John Dickinson and the Revolution in Pennsylvania, 1764–1776. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1965.

Margaret D.Sankey

See alsoRevolution, American: Diplomatic Aspects .

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