Second Continental Congress

Continental CongressCongressSecond
The Second Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that started meeting in the spring of 1775 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It succeeded the First Continental Congress, which met in Philadelphia between September 5, 1774, and October 26, 1774. The Second Congress managed the Colonial war effort and moved incrementally towards independence. It eventually adopted the Lee Resolution which established the new country on July 2, 1776, and it agreed to the United States Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

George Washington

WashingtonGeneral WashingtonPresident Washington
Samuel Adams and John Adams passed over John Hancock in nominating Washington as commander in chief, and he was unanimously elected the next day.{{sfnm|Taylor|2016|pp=132–133}|Ellis|2004|1pp=67–68|Chernow|2010|2p=185–186|Fitzpatrick|1936|3p=514}} Washington was considered an incisive leader who kept his "ambition in check." Washington appeared before Congress in uniform and gave an acceptance speech, declining a salary, though he was later reimbursed expenses.

American Philosophical Society

Transactions of the American Philosophical SocietyPhilosophical SocietyThe American Philosophical Society
Early members included George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, James McHenry, Thomas Paine, David Rittenhouse, Nicholas Biddle, Owen Biddle, Benjamin Rush, James Madison, Michael Hillegas, John Marshall, and John Andrews. The society also recruited members from other countries, including Alexander von Humboldt, the Marquis de Lafayette, Baron von Steuben, Tadeusz Kościuszko, and Princess Dashkova. By 1746 the society had lapsed into inactivity.

Constitutional Convention (United States)

Constitutional ConventionPhiladelphia Convention1787 Constitutional Convention
As Thomas Jefferson in Paris semi-seriously wrote to John Adams in London, "It really is an assembly of demigods." Delegates used two streams of intellectual tradition, and any one delegate could be found using both or a mixture depending on the subject under discussion: foreign affairs, the economy, national government, or federal relationships among the states. ''Did not sign the final draft of the U.S. Constitution. Randolph, Mason, and Gerry were the only three present in Philadelphia at the time who refused to sign.'' Several prominent Founders are notable for not participating in the Constitutional Convention. Thomas Jefferson was abroad, serving as the minister to France.

Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette

LafayetteMarquis de LafayetteGeneral Lafayette
Thomas Jefferson Letter, 30 November 1813 From the Collections at the Library of Congress.

Congress of the Confederation

CongressConfederation CongressContinental Congress
The Congress of the Confederation initially met at the Old Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall), in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (March 1, 1781 to June 21, 1783). – It then met at Nassau Hall, in Princeton, New Jersey (June 30, 1783 to November 4, 1783), – at the Maryland State House, in Annapolis, Maryland (November 26, 1783 to August 19, 1784), – at the French Arms Tavern, in Trenton, New Jersey (November 1, 1784 to December 24, 1784), – and the City Hall of New York (later known as Federal Hall), and in New York City, New York (January 11, 1785 to Autumn 1788).

American Revolution

RevolutionRevolutionary WarRevolutionary
The Founding Fathers were strong advocates of republican values, particularly Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, George Washington, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton, which required men to put civic duty ahead of their personal desires. Men had a civic duty to be prepared and willing to fight for the rights and liberties of their countrymen. John Adams wrote to Mercy Otis Warren in 1776, agreeing with some classical Greek and Roman thinkers in that "Public Virtue cannot exist without private, and public Virtue is the only Foundation of Republics."

President of the United States

PresidentU.S. Presidentpresidential
In July 1776, during the American Revolutionary War, the Thirteen Colonies, acting jointly through the Second Continental Congress, declared themselves to be 13 independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. Recognizing the necessity of closely coordinating their efforts against the British, the Continental Congress simultaneously began the process of drafting a constitution that would bind the states together. There were long debates on a number of issues, including representation and voting, and the exact powers to be given the central government.

Independence National Historical Park

Independence MallIndependence Hall areaIndependence Mall area
On June 11, Congress appointed the "Committee of Five," consisting of John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert R. Livingston of New York, and Roger Sherman of Connecticut, to draft an official declaration of independence. Congress unanimously adopted its final version of the Declaration on July 4, marking the formation of the United States of America. Historians believe that the Old State House Bell, now known as the Liberty Bell, was one of the bells rung to mark the reading of the Declaration on July 8.

Market Street (Philadelphia)

Market StreetMarket StreetsMarket East
Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence in a boarding house (the Graff or Declaration House) once located at the Seventh Street intersection. The mansion of Robert Morris, financier of the American Revolution, was located near Sixth and Market Streets. This house, known as the President's House, was used by George Washington and John Adams as their residence during their terms as President. (The house was more or less on the site of the northern part of the modern-day Liberty Bell Center.) Around 1795 Theophilus Cazenove lived at Market Street.

George Mason

George Mason IVaddressedMason
He also wrote a constitution for the state; Thomas Jefferson and others sought to have the convention adopt their ideas, but they found that Mason's version could not be stopped. During the American Revolutionary War, Mason was a member of the powerful House of Delegates of the Virginia General Assembly but, to the irritation of Washington and others, he refused to serve in the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, citing health and family commitments. Mason was in 1787 named one of his state's delegates to the Constitutional Convention and traveled to Philadelphia, his only lengthy trip outside Virginia.

United States Capitol

CapitolU.S. CapitolCapitol Building
After adopting the Articles of Confederation in York, Pennsylvania, the Congress of the Confederation was formed and convened in Philadelphia from March 1781 until June 1783, when a mob of angry soldiers converged upon Independence Hall, demanding payment for their service during the American Revolutionary War. Congress requested that John Dickinson, the Governor of Pennsylvania, call up the militia to defend Congress from attacks by the protesters. In what became known as the Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783, Dickinson sympathized with the protesters and refused to remove them from Philadelphia.

Residence Act

Residence Act of 1790from December 1790 to November 1800Potomac residence issue
Congress passed the Residence Act as part of a compromise brokered among James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton. Madison and Jefferson favored a southerly site for the capital on the Potomac River, but they lacked a majority to pass the measure through Congress. Meanwhile, Hamilton was pushing for Congress to pass the Assumption Bill, to allow the Federal government to assume debts accumulated by the states during the American Revolutionary War.

Syng inkstand

The Syng inkstand is a silver inkstand used during the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the United States Constitution in 1787. It is one of four objects (besides paper documents) still existing that were present during the Constitutional Convention, along with Independence Hall itself, the Liberty Bell, and the chair that George Washington sat in as the Constitutional Convention's presiding officer. The inkstand was made by Philip Syng in 1752 for the provincial assembly of Pennsylvania.

History of the United States Constitution

ratificationratification of the United States ConstitutionConstitutional Convention
John Adams famously estimated as many as one-third of those resident in the original thirteen colonies were patriots. Scholars such as Gordon Wood describe how Americans were caught up in the Revolutionary fervor and excitement of creating governments, societies, a new nation on the face of the earth by rational choice as Thomas Paine declared in Common Sense. Republican government and personal liberty for "the people" were to overspread the New World continents and to last forever, a gift to posterity. These goals were influenced by Enlightenment philosophy.

Declaration of Independence (Trumbull)

Declaration of IndependenceDeclaration of Independence'' (Trumbull)famous painting
Samuel Adams. 8. George Clinton. 9. William Paca. 10. Samuel Chase. 11. Lewis Morris. 12. William Floyd. 13. Arthur Middleton. 14. Thomas Heyward, Jr. 15. Charles Carroll. 16. George Walton. 23. Stephen Hopkins (wearing a hat). 24. William Ellery. 25. George Clymer. 17. Robert Morris (first on the left at the table). 18. Thomas Willing. 19. Benjamin Rush. 20. Elbridge Gerry. 21. Robert Treat Paine. 22. Abraham Clark. 26. William Hooper. 27. Joseph Hewes. 28. James Wilson. 29. Francis Hopkinson. 30. John Adams. 31. Roger Sherman. 32. Robert R. Livingston. 33. Thomas Jefferson. 34. Benjamin Franklin. 35. Richard Stockton. 36. Francis Lewis. 37. John Witherspoon. 38. Samuel Huntington. 39.

Robert Morris (financier)

Robert MorrisMorrisMr. Morris
After the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, he helped procure arms and ammunition for the revolutionary cause, and in late 1775 he was chosen as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress. As a member of Congress, he served on the Secret Committee of Trade, which handled the procurement of supplies, the Committee of Correspondence, which handled foreign affairs, and the Marine Committee, which oversaw the Continental Navy. Morris was a leading member of Congress until he resigned in 1778.

James McHenry

Secretary of War, James McHenry
To replace McHenry, Adams first considered John Marshall, but when Pickering's departure left a vacancy in the office of Secretary of State, Adams named Marshall to that post. To succeed McHenry, Adams named Samuel Dexter. When Pickering refused to resign, Adams dismissed him. During the election of 1800, McHenry goaded Hamilton into releasing his indictment against the President, which questioned Adams's loyalty and patriotism, sparking public quarrels over the major candidates and eventually paving the way for Thomas Jefferson to be elected as the next President.

John Adams (miniseries)

John AdamsminiseriesUnnecessary War
While rhetorically impressive in the film, the climactic final words of that speech, "Liberty will reign in America," appear to be a dramatic invention, not a passage Adams is known to have ever spoken or written. In the opening scene, the final meeting site of the First Continental Congress is incorrectly shown as the Pennsylvania State House (now known as Independence Hall). In fact, the First Continental Congress was held in Carpenters' Hall, located approximately 250 yd east of the state house, along Chestnut Street. Carpenters' Hall was and still is privately owned by The Carpenters' Company of the City and County of Philadelphia.

A More Perfect Union (film)

A More Perfect UnionA More Perfect Union'' (film)A More Perfect Union: America Becomes a Nation
John Dickinson. Roderick Cook ... Nathaniel Gorham. Derryl Yeager ... Alexander Hamilton. James Arrington ... Gouverneur Morris. Steve Anderson ... Elbridge Gerry. Dick Cheatham ... Williams. Richard Dutcher ... Charles Pinckney. Bruce Eaton ... Richard Henry Lee. Vince O'Neil ... John Langdon. Marvin Payne ... Rufus King. Scott Wilkinson ... Thomas Jefferson.

Supreme Court of the United States

Supreme CourtUnited States Supreme CourtU.S. Supreme Court
When Philadelphia became the capital, the Court met briefly in Independence Hall before settling in Old City Hall from 1791 until 1800. After the government moved to Washington, D.C., the Court occupied various spaces in the United States Capitol building until 1935, when it moved into its own purpose-built home. The four-story building was designed by Cass Gilbert in a classical style sympathetic to the surrounding buildings of the Capitol and Library of Congress, and is clad in marble. The building includes the courtroom, justices' chambers, an extensive law library, various meeting spaces, and auxiliary services including a gymnasium.

United States Postmaster General

Postmaster GeneralU.S. Postmaster GeneralPostmaster-General
The office, in one form or another, is older than both the United States Constitution and the United States Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin was appointed by the Continental Congress as the first Postmaster General in 1775, serving just over 15 months. Until 1971, the postmaster general was the head of the Post Office Department (or simply "Post Office" until the 1820s). During that era, the postmaster general was appointed by the President of the United States, with the advice and consent of the United States Senate. From 1829 to 1971, the postmaster general was a member of the President's Cabinet.