What Was the Purpose of the First Continental Congress?

The purpose of the First Continental Congress was to address how the colonists would deal with what the colonies coined the “Intolerable Acts.” When the British Parliament passed the Intolerable Acts to punish the colonies, the colonists needed a means to communicate their displeasure with England, so they convened the First Continental Congress.

In 1774, the Intolerable Acts were passed by England in response to the Boston Tea Party. The Boston Tea Party began when a group of colonists dressed up as Mohawk Indians poured British tea from the British East India Company into Boston Harbor. This was seen as an act of rebellion against the British government. The British parliament responded by closing Boston Harbor until the colonists agreed to pay for the tea they had wasted. The Boston Port Act was part of the Intolerable Acts.

The First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia on Sept. 5, 1774. All the colonies sent delegates except Georgia. Although the First Continental Congress was primarily used to address the colonies’ grievances against Great Britain, some colonies also wanted the Congress to reconcile with Britain. At this point, war was already looming on the horizon, and neither the colonies nor Britain was willing to concede anything.

The First Continental Congress decided that if Britain did not repeal the Intolerable Acts by Dec. 1, 1774, the colonies would boycott all British goods. The Congress then drafted a letter addressed to King George III outlining the colonists’ complaints. The Congress agreed to meet again for the Second Continental Congress, to be held on May 10, 1775.