Betsy Ross Flag - Network Design

Protocols of Liberty: Communication, Innovation, and teh American Revolution [Book Banner from Title Page Image] Betsy Ross Flag - Network Design
William Warner [Author Name]
The University of Chicago Press [Publisher Name]
Overview [Link]
Introduction [Link]
Chapter 1 [Link]
Chapter 2 [Link]
Chapter 3 [Link]
Chapter 4 [Link]
Chapter 5 [Link]
Chapter 6 [Link]
Conclusion [Link]


“A Chain of Freedom Has Been Formed”: The First Continental Congress Develops into the Hub of an Intercolonial Network

The Whig political mobilization described in the previous chapter, which were widely reported in the newspapers, created authority for the Congress even before it had met. Few underestimated the difficulty of its two explicit tasks: supporting Boston during its trial and framing a trade embargo to coerce Britain to rescind the Coercive Acts. This chapter describes the delicate balance needed to do both of these in such a way that it might restore harmony to the empire. While the First Congress authorized the formation of committees in every town and county to enforce a trade embargo against Britain, it also framed a series of conciliatory addresses to justify this action. By exercising effective authority over Whigs throughout the colonies, Congress emerged as the de facto hub of a distributed American Whig network. The authority and power that the First Congress had won dismayed British officials on both sides of the Atlantic.


"Join or Die": the Problem of Uniting the Colonies
Titlepage of a London edition of the Journal of the Continental Congress

Title Page of a London edition of the Journal of the Continental Congress

The members of the First Continental Congress knew that the precarious authority to which they laid claim would depend upon whether Whigs throughout the colonies approved or rejected the actions they had undertaken. That is why such care was taken to document what they had done in their six weeks of secret sessions. The "Journal of the Proceedings of the CONGRESS" gathers together, in one authoritative printing, several different items: 1) the written instructions brought by each of the delegates to the Congress from the committees and assemblies that had designated them; 2) selective entries from the private Journal of the Congress, which was kept by its Secretary, Charles Thomson; and, finally, 3) the most important public communications of the Congress. After King George makes public the "address" made to him by the Congress, it is appended, as "The Petition to the King." Here is a title page of a London reprint of one of the editions published in Philadelphia by William and Thomas Bradford.
Title Page of the Journal of the Continental Congress
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