What Was the Olive Branch Petition?


Quick Answer

The Olive Branch Petition was an attempt by the American colonists, many of whom were still loyal to the Crown, to avoid the Revolutionary War with England. Addressed to King George III, the document underscored the American colonist's desire to resolve their tax and trade conflicts with England peacefully, through diplomatic negotiations, rather than war and violence.

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Full Answer

Adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 5, 1775, the Olive Branch Petition arrived in London, accompanied by colonial representatives Richard Penn and Arthur Lee, on August 21, 1775. However, as the king considered the document to have originated from an illegal assembly of rebels, he refused to read the petition. In fact, on August 23, the king increased hostilities, issuing the "Proclamation for Suppressing Rebellion and Sedition," a call for the British Army and loyal colonists to fight the revolutionaries. Though King George III never read the Olive Branch Petition, the proclamation constituted a negative response to its requests for negotiation.

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