Hire a tutor

What was the role of the Second Continental Congress in the American Revolution?

The Second Continental Congress played a pivotal role in the American Revolution, primarily by organising the colonies for war and declaring independence from Britain.

The Second Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that began meeting in the spring of 1775 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It succeeded the First Continental Congress, which had met in the autumn of 1774, and took on a much more significant role in the wake of the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The Congress acted as the de facto national government at a time when the Thirteen Colonies were in the throes of a full-scale war for independence from Britain.

One of the most significant actions of the Second Continental Congress was the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. This document, primarily drafted by Thomas Jefferson, formally announced the colonies' break from British rule. It articulated the principles of individual liberty and government by consent of the governed, which would later form the foundation of the United States Constitution.

In addition to declaring independence, the Second Continental Congress also took on the task of managing the Revolutionary War. It established a Continental Army, appointing George Washington as its commander-in-chief. The Congress also authorised the issuance of paper money to finance the war effort, negotiated treaties of alliance and trade, and sent diplomats abroad to seek recognition and support.

Furthermore, the Congress drafted the Articles of Confederation, the first constitution of the United States, which was ratified in 1781. This document established a "firm league of friendship" among the states, granting limited powers to the central government and reserving the rest for the states. However, the weaknesses of the Articles soon became apparent, leading to their replacement by the U.S. Constitution in 1789.

In conclusion, the Second Continental Congress was instrumental in the American Revolution. It served as the colonies' wartime government, declared their independence, managed the war effort, and laid the groundwork for the new nation's constitution. Its actions and decisions shaped the course of the Revolution and the future of the United States.

Study and Practice for Free

Trusted by 100,000+ Students Worldwide

Achieve Top Grades in your Exams with our Free Resources.

Practice Questions, Study Notes, and Past Exam Papers for all Subjects!

Need help from an expert?

4.92/5 based on480 reviews

The world’s top online tutoring provider trusted by students, parents, and schools globally.

Related History a-level Answers

    Read All Answers
    Loading...