George Washington

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1774 Sep 5 - Oct 26

First Continental Congress

Carpenters' Hall, Chestnut Str

Washington played a central role before and during the American Revolution. His distrust of the British military had begun when he was passed over for promotion into the Regular Army. Opposed to taxes imposed by the British Parliament on the Colonies without proper representation, he and other colonists were also angered by the Royal Proclamation of 1763 which banned American settlement west of the Allegheny Mountains and protected the British fur trade.


Washington believed the Stamp Act of 1765 was an "Act of Oppression", and he celebrated its repeal the following year. In March 1766, Parliament passed the Declaratory Act asserting that Parliamentary law superseded colonial law. In the late 1760s, the interference of the British Crown in American lucrative western land speculation spurred on the American Revolution. Washington himself was a prosperous land speculator, and in 1767, he encouraged "adventures" to acquire backcountry western lands. Washington helped lead widespread protests against the Townshend Acts passed by Parliament in 1767, and he introduced a proposal in May 1769 drafted by George Mason which called Virginians to boycott British goods; the Acts were mostly repealed in 1770.


Parliament sought to punish Massachusetts colonists for their role in the Boston Tea Party in 1774 by passing the Coercive Acts, which Washington referred to as "an invasion of our rights and privileges". He said Americans must not submit to acts of tyranny since "custom and use shall make us as tame and abject slaves, as the blacks we rule over with such arbitrary sway". That July, he and George Mason drafted a list of resolutions for the Fairfax County committee which Washington chaired, and the committee adopted the Fairfax Resolves calling for a Continental Congress, and an end to the slave trade. On August 1, Washington attended the First Virginia Convention, where he was selected as a delegate to the First Continental Congress, September 5 to October 26, 1774, which he also attended. As tensions rose in 1774, he helped train county militias in Virginia and organized enforcement of the Continental Association boycott of British goods instituted by the Congress.


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