What Was the Long-Term Purpose of the Albany Congress in 1754?

The long-term goal of the Albany Congress of 1754 was to build a strong resistance against the French in North America by unifying the colonies and gaining support from one of the most influential American-Indian tribes. As the French and Indian War loomed, the British government urged the colonies to adopt a centralized government and secure a treaty with the Iroquois Confederation in preparation for a French invasion.

From June 19 to July 11, 150 tribal representatives met with delegates from seven colonies: Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. The colonial delegates supplied the Iroquois representatives with gifts and agreed to develop an Indian-affairs policy that would address tribal grievances and regulate westward expansion. The British hoped to sway the Iroquois Confederation away from siding with the French, who already had alliances with other American-Indian tribes.

The delegates drafted the Albany Plan, a proposal describing how matters of government would be administered if the colonies formed a political union. In the plan, the colonial governments would each appoint a grand council that would operate alongside a British-appointed president-general. This unified government would have the power to declare war, make peace treaties, raise an army, issue taxes and pass new legislation. The Albany Plan was initially approved at the conference, but it was rejected by colonial governments, because they feared centralization would limit their individual powers.