What was the outcome of the Second Continental Congress?


Quick Answer

Outcomes of the Second Continental Congress included the formation of the Continental Army with George Washington as its commanding officer and the drafting and signing of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. The Continental Congress became the de facto government until the Constitution replaced it with the U.S. Congress.

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Full Answer

The Second Continental Congress convened in May 1775 due to Great Britain's failure to resolve the differences presented by the First Continental Congress. Because the Revolutionary War had already begun, soon after Congress convened, it commissioned George Washington as the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. To justify the raising and financing of the army, it issued the Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms. Next, Congress sent the Olive Branch Petition to King George III of Britain, an appeal to peacefully resolve differences between the colonists and the crown. The king rejected the document. For over a year the Continental Congress maintained the army, issued currency and negotiated with foreign governments, although it had no formal sanction for such broad powers by the colonial authorities. In July 1776, the Congress formally approved the Declaration of Independence.

After independence was declared, Congress negotiated alliances with France and other European powers to secure support and loans. In 1777, it passed the Articles of Confederation, which the states took three years to approve. When the Articles of Confederation were ratified in 1781, the Second Continental Congress became the Confederation Congress, although the members remained the same.

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