Saturday, October 25, 2014

“We, the people”….ummm

Here’s an historical tidbit about the First Continental Congress that you won’t find in the Wikipedia article on it.

All but one of the 56 delegates were rich—well-connected, ambitious and rich. They were anything but a cross-section of the people in the British colonies who, in 1774, were getting cranked up to rebel against King George III.

The First Continental Congress was convened in September 1774 by 12 of the 13 colonies (Georgia sat out) to consider American responses to the British Intolerable Acts, which were intended to punish the people of Boston and Massachusetts after a little ruckus known as the Boston Tea Party.

In his 2002 biography of the Marquis de Lafayette, author Harlow Unger points out that the delegates were “the most privileged, illustrious men.”

Delegate Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, a failure in business before he turned to politics, was the oddball.

His fellow delegates included 12 prosperous farmers/planters, 30 lawyers, 11 merchants, one builder and one wharf owner.

For example, delegate George Washington of Virginia “owned sixty thousand acres and was arguably the richest planter in the south.”

This Revolutionary War sidebar has a familiar ring….

Harlow Giles Unger, Lafayette (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2002), 218.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014

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