America’s Four United Republics:
Before identifying the Continental Congress junctures in the evolution of the United States and its democracies, we should first consider the term “republic” in its 18th-Century American context. One of the most important works on the classification of political systems during the 18th Century was Baron de Montesquieu ’s work; The Spirit of Laws (1748). Montesquieu defined three kinds of government: republican, monarchical, and despotic. Regarding a confederation republic he averred:
Students and Teachers of US History this is a video of Stanley and Christopher Klos presenting America's Four United Republics Curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. The December 2015 video was an impromptu capture by a member of the audience of Penn students, professors and guests that numbered about 200.
America's Four United Republics
- First United American Republic: United Colonies of America: Thirteen British Colonies United in Congress  (September 4th, 1774 to July 1st, 1776) was founded by 12 colonies under the First Continental Congress and expired under the Second Continental Congress; 
- Second United American Republic: The United States of America: Thirteen Independent States United in Congress(July 2nd, 1776 to February 28th, 1781) was founded by 12 states in the Second Continental Congress and expired with the ratification of the Articles of Confederation;
- Third United American Republic: The United States of America: A Not Quite Perpetual Union (March 1st, 1781 to March 3rd, 1789) was founded by 13 States with the Articles of Confederation’s enactment and expired with the ratification of the U.S. Constitution of 178Constitution of 1787;
- Fourth United American Republic: The United States of America: We the People(March 4, 1789 to Present) was formed by 11 states with the United States Constitution of 1787’s enactment and still exists today.
Although City Tavern did not host a quorum of colonies, the tavern was the site of the first caucus of congressional delegates on September 1, 1774. The discussions at this tavern meeting were significant as the decision was made, with 25 to 30 delegates present, that the members would wait until September 5th, for the additional delegates to arrive before proceeding to business. Specifically it was agreed that the Delegates would meet "Monday next" at 10 am at City Tavern to discuss where to conduct their first meeting.
Delegate Robert Treat Paine wrote in his diary on September 1, 1774:
6 o'Clock the Members of the Congress that were in Town met at City Tavern & adjourned to Monday next.Delegate Samuel Ward recorded in his diary on September 1, 1774:
The Delegates from N. Jersies & two from Province of N York arrived, conversed with many Delegates & at Evening had a Meeting at the New Tavern & took a List of those present, in all twenty five.Silas Deane wrote to Elizabeth Deane on September 1, 1774:
The Delegates from Virginia, Maryland, the Lower Counties, & New York, are not arrived. We spent this Day in visiting Those that are in Town, & find them in high Spirits particularly the Gentlemen from the Jersies, and South Carolina. In the Evening We met to the Number of about Thirty drank a Dish of Coffee together talked over a few preliminaries, & agreed to wait for the Gentlemen not arrived untill Monday Next, before We proceeded to Business.As decided at City Tavern on September 1st, 1774, deputies representing eleven colonies assembled at 10 am at the tavern. According to Delegate James Duane:
The Members of the Congress met at Smith's [Sic City] Tavern. The Speaker of the Pensylvania Assembly having offerd the Congress the use of the State house; & the Carpenters the use of their Hall, It was agreed to take a View of each. We proceeded to the Carpenter's hall. Mr .Lynch proposed the Question whether as that was in all respects Suitable it ought not to be fixed upon without further Enquiry.
I observed that if the State house was equally convenient it ought to be preferred being a provincial & the Carpenter's Hall a private House. And besides as it was tenderd by the Speaker it seemed to be a piece of respect which was due to him, at least to enquire whether the State House was not equally convenient. The Question was however called for; & a great Majority fixed upon the Carpenters hall.John Adams wrote of the event in his diary:
Monday. At ten the delegates all met at the City Tavern, and walked to the Carpenters' Hall, where they took a view of the room, and of the chamber where is an excellent library; there is also a long entry where gentlemen may walk, and a convenient chamber opposite to the library. The general cry was, that this was a good room, and the question was put, whether we were satisfied with this room ? and it passed in the affirmative. A very few were for the negative, and they were chiefly from Pennsylvania and New York. 
National Collegiate Honor’s Council Partners in the Park Independence Hall Class of 2017 students at Carpenters' Hall with the docent holding a Virginia Three Pound Note signed by the first President of the United Colonies Continental Congress Peyton Randolph AND a 1776 Autograph Letter Signed by Cyrus Griffin the last President of the United States in Congress Assembled. Carly is holding an original 1774 printing of the Articles of Association passed in this hall, which named the Continental Congress. – For more information visit our National Park and NCHC Partners in the Park Class of 2017 website
The Names of the Members were then called over; After which Mr Lynch proposed that we shoud elect a President or Chairman and named Mr Peyton Randolph Speaker of the Assembly of Virginia, who was unanimously approvd & placed in the Chair. A Question was then put what Title the Convention should assume & it was agred that it should be called the Congress. Another Question was put what shoud be the Stile of Mr Randolph & it was agreed that he should be called the President.Congress next considered the election of a Secretary and Delegate Lynch put forth the name of Charles Thompson.
Charles Thomson an orphan at 10 established himself through hard work as a Philadelphia merchant and intellectual in the 1750’s. He became embroiled in colonial politics 1760’s aligning himself with the more liberal colonists into the 1770’s which was quite unusual for a businessman. His conservative peers campaigned hard against his election as a delegate from Pennsylvania to the Continental Congress and were successful. His benefactor, Benjamin Franklin, was a strong supporter for his congressional appointment and despite being then known as the “Samuel Adams of Philadelphia” Thomson was elected unanimously to be the Secretary of the Continental Congress.
The next point was to fix on a Clerk or Secretary. Mr Thompson was proposed by Mr Lynch.Mr. Jay observed that he had Authority to say that one of the members of the Congress was willing to accept the Office & he conceived the preference was due to him [him being James Duane]. To which it was answered that such an appointment would deprive the Congress of a Member as he would be too much incumberd by the Duties of a Clerk to attend to the Trust for which he was chosen. The Objection being thought Reasonable Mr Thompson was appointed by the Stile of Secretary of the Congress.Thompson would serve in this position in both the Colonial & U.S. Continental Congress and the United States in Congress Assembled for nearly 15 years.
By his political connections, his long tenure of office, and his executive and legislative functions, Thomson influenced the course of congressional and Revolutionary affairs. “Secretary” was the title given to British to their executive department heads and Thomson was Secretary in that sense and not in sense of a record keeper or file clerk.
|November 9th, 1775 United Colonies Continental Congress Pledge of Secrecy - Historic.us Collection|
First Continental Congress – Image courtesy of the Klos Yavneh Collection.
- U.C. Continental Congress measures provoked British Regulars to march out of Boston, attempting the capture of hidden military supplies. In early expeditions, the British were not opposed, found nothing, and returned to Boston. On April 19th, 1775, however, shots were fired during the British advancement on Lexington and Concord, launching the first military engagement of the Revolutionary War;
- On May 10th, 1775, Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold seize Fort Ticonderoga in New York;
- On June 15th, 1775, the U.C. Continental Congress appoints George Washington commander-in-chief of the Continental Army;
- On July 6th, 1775 the U.C. Continental Congress approves a United Colonies of North America Declaration … Setting Forth the Causes and Necessity of Their Taking Up Arms against Great Britain; On June 17th, 1775, the Battle of Breed's Hill forces the retreat of the Colonial Minutemen;
- On June 22nd, 1775, the U.C. Continental Congress issues two million dollars in continental currency to fund the war effort;
- On July 21st, 1775, the U.C. Continental Congress considers Benjamin Franklin’s Articles of Confederation as a possible constitution for the United Colonies of North America;
- On November 13th, 1775, Major General Richard Montgomery occupies Montreal Canada;
- On December 31st, 1775, General Montgomery is killed in the Battle for Quebec City and American troops retreat from Canada;
- On March 17th, 1776. The Continental Army led by General Washington forces the British to evacuate Boston;
Continental Congress of the United States Presidents
July 2, 1776 to February 28, 1781
March 1, 1781 to March 3, 1789
March 1, 1781
July 6, 1781
July 9, 1781
July 10, 1781
November 4, 1781
November 5, 1781
November 3, 1782
November 4, 1782
November 2, 1783
November 3, 1783
June 3, 1784
November 30, 1784
November 22, 1785
November 23, 1785
June 5, 1786
June 6, 1786
February 1, 1787
February 2, 1787
January 21, 1788
January 22, 1788
January 21, 1789
D-Democratic Party, F-Federalist Party, I-Independent, R-Republican Party, R* Republican Party of Jefferson & W-Whig Party
(1881 - 1881)
*Confederate States of America