Albany Convention and Plan

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Albany Convention and Plan

ALBANY CONVENTION AND PLAN. At the request of British authorities, delegates from seven colonies (New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire) convened at Albany, New York, from 19 June to 10 July 1754, to concert measures to defend the northern frontier, and especially to make a show of unity to counter French pressure on the Iroquois. The delegates agreed on a plan of union based on a model drawn up by Benjamin Franklin in 1751 and subsequently modified by Thomas Hutchinson. All colonies except Georgia and Nova Scotia were to be united under a president-general appointed and paid by the crown. Each colony would elect between two and seven representatives to a grand council, depending on how much each contributed to the general treasury. The grand council would act as a unicameral assembly, but its power to legislate was subject to the approval of both the president-general and the crown. The president-general and grand council were to have jurisdiction over Indian affairs, including new land purchases outside existing colonial boundaries. Neither the British government nor any individual colony found this plan of union acceptable. The rejection of the plan reinforced the idea that the colonies were incapable of acting together against a common enemy, but the convention did establish a precedent for later extra-institutional gatherings like the Stamp Act Congress and the first Continental Congress. The plan itself was a point of departure for later schemes for confederation.

SEE ALSO Franklin, Benjamin; Hutchinson, Thomas.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Shannon, Timothy J. Indians and Colonists at the Crossroads of Empire: The Albany Congress of 1754. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press for the New York State Historical Association, 2000.

                               revised by Harold E. Selesky

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