The Second Continental Congress was a pivotal moment in American history, as the delegates gathered to discuss the ongoing conflict with Great Britain and make important decisions about the future of the colonies. One of the key outcomes of the Second Continental Congress was the adoption of several significant agreements that helped shape the course of the revolution and establish the foundations of a new nation.
Here are some of the most important agreements made during the Second Continental Congress:
1. Declaration of Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms: This document, drafted by Thomas Jefferson and John Dickinson, explained why the colonies were taking up arms against the British and outlined the reasons why they believed they had the right to do so. It was adopted on July 6, 1775, and helped galvanize support for the revolution.
2. Olive Branch Petition: Despite the adoption of the Declaration of Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms, many of the delegates at the Second Continental Congress still hoped for a peaceful resolution to the conflict with Great Britain. To that end, they drafted the Olive Branch Petition, which was a plea to King George III to reconcile with the colonies. However, the petition was rejected by the king, and this rejection helped cement the delegates` resolve to continue fighting for independence.
3. Declaration of Independence: Perhaps the most famous agreement made during the Second Continental Congress was the Declaration of Independence, which was adopted on July 4, 1776. This document, also drafted by Thomas Jefferson, declared the colonies` independence from Great Britain and listed the reasons why they believed they had the right to break away.
4. Articles of Confederation: Before the adoption of the Constitution, the United States was governed by the Articles of Confederation, which were drafted and adopted during the Second Continental Congress. The Articles established a loose confederation of states with a weak central government, and they were in effect from 1781 until the Constitution was ratified in 1789.
5. Treaty of Alliance with France: As the war dragged on, the colonies sought foreign assistance in their fight against Great Britain. In 1778, the Second Continental Congress signed a Treaty of Alliance with France, which promised French military and financial assistance in exchange for American support in the French war against Britain.
These agreements made during the Second Continental Congress set the foundation for the American Revolution and the establishment of the United States as a sovereign nation. They show the determination of the early American leaders to fight for independence and build a new country based on principles of freedom and democracy.