Skip to main content

Continental Congress, First

Continental Congress, First

The First Continental Congress was a meeting held by men representing England's thirteen colonies in America in 1774. At that time, the English government was imposing increasing control over the American colonies with unpopular laws, such as taxes on imports and requirements that English soldiers in America be housed in colonists' homes if necessary.

England's unpopular laws stirred discontent among colonists, and tensions rose. Many colonists felt England was taking away colonial rights and liberties. Of particular concern was the fact that the colonists had no representation in the British Parliament that was imposing the laws. Massachusetts alone faced a series of punitive laws imposed by England after protesting colonists dumped British tea into Boston's harbor in December 1773 in what became known as the Boston Tea Party . Punishment of Massachusetts raised concerns in the other colonies for the well-being of their own communities.

To address these issues, the colonists called a convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania . From September 5 to October 26, 1774, fifty-six delegates from twelve of the thirteen colonies assembled at the First Continental Congress to discuss their troubles. Only Georgia did not elect or send delegates.

The delegates' primary intention was to unite in calling for a change in England's policies toward the colonies. In carefully worded resolutions, the delegates asked England to repeal, or withdraw, a series of policies and laws reaching as far back as 1763. To punctuate the sincerity of their position, the delegates resolved to ban imports from Great Britain and to stop exports from the colonies if their grievances were not redressed by September 1775.

Finally, during the course of the convention, the delegates produced a series of declarations and addresses to King George III (1738–1820), to the people of Great Britain, and to the American colonists in hopes of gaining support for their position. Before adjourning, the delegates planned to convene a Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia in May 1775. (See Continental Congress, Second .)

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Continental Congress, First." U*X*L Encyclopedia of U.S. History. . 25 May. 2019 <>.

"Continental Congress, First." U*X*L Encyclopedia of U.S. History. . (May 25, 2019).

"Continental Congress, First." U*X*L Encyclopedia of U.S. History. . Retrieved May 25, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.