What actions did the Second Continental Congress take in response to the outbreak of war with Britain ?

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Second Continental Congress followed the First Continental Congress and was made up of thirteen colonies. Georgia did not participate in the First Continental Congress, which was convened to address punitive legislations passed by the British parliament aimed at punishing the colonists for the Boston Tea Party. The Second Continental Congress was convened for purposes of addressing the American Revolution, and Georgia resolved to participate as a colony by sending delegates.

The Second Continental Congress was convened to deliberate on the defense of the colonies. The meeting resolved that each colony should establish a militia to defend the territory in the event that grievances presented by the First Congress were not addressed. After the outbreak of the war, the militias were later organized into the Continental Army to improve the coordination of the war effort. George Washington was appointed as the Commanding General of the Army. 

The Continental Congress assumed all responsibilities of a legitimate government. Additionally, Congress recommended radical changes to any colonial government that was not in support of independence. The meetings also resolved to make arrangements for foreign trade and participation in the international system as an independent entity.

mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Second Continental Congress took several actions after battles were fought at Lexington and Concord in April 1775. The Second Continental Congress met in May and authorized various actions to occur.

One thing they did was to take actions that a government would normally perform. They formed an army. They placed George Washington in charge of it. They authorized money to be printed. They began meeting with the Native Americans as well as other countries. A post office was established. These are things a government would normally do.

The Second Continental Congress also informed Britain that we really didn’t want to go to war with them. We sent what was called the Olive Branch Petition to Great Britain. In this document, we said we wanted to remain at peace with them. We indicated that we wanted the unpopular laws to be canceled. Great Britain rejected this petition.

The Second Continental Congress also authorized a committee to write a declaration of our freedom from Great Britain. This document, called the Declaration of Independence, was formally adopted on July 4, 1776. We now said we were free from British rule. The Revolutionary War would be fought to determine if we would get our freedom from Great Britain.

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