Suffolk Resolves

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SUFFOLK RESOLVES. In defiance of the ban on town meetings, delegates from the towns of Suffolk County, Massachusetts (including Boston), met at private homes in Dedham on 6 September 1774 and in Milton on 9 September to plan resistance against the Coercive Acts. A committee, headed by Joseph Warren, was charged with drawing up an address to Governor Thomas Gage and resolves to send to the Continental Congress. Warren, the primary author, argued that liberties guaranteed by the British constitution and the laws of nature applied equally to Britons on the home island and in the colonies, and could not be thrown aside because of the "arbitrary will of a licentious minister." Thus, the convention recommended measures that included calling a provincial congress; withholding public funds from the treasury; nonintercourse with Britain, Ireland, and the West Indies; and raising a defensive militia. All these measures were intended to pressure Parliament into repealing the Coercive Acts. The resolves asserted the colonists' loyalty to George III and did not mention independence. Paul Revere carried the resolves to the Continental Congress, which rallied to support Massachusetts, unanimously endorsing the resolves on 17 September. The Suffolk Resolves laid out a clear ideological justification for resistance and a plan of action for the Continental Congress to follow.


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Brown, Richard D. Revolutionary Politics in Massachusetts: The Boston Committee of Correspondence and the Towns, 1772–1774. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1970.

Ford, Worthington C., et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1904–1937. (Volume 1 contains the full text of the Suffolk Resolves and the address to Governor Gage. Available on-line through the Library of Congress at

Maier, Pauline. From Resistance to Revolution: Colonial Radicals and the Development of American Opposition to Britain, 1765–1776. New York: Knopf, 1972.

Morgan, Edmund S. The Birth of the Republic, 1763–1789. 3d ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.

Aaron J.Palmer

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Suffolk Resolves

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