The Middle Colonies

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What are some unique things about Philadelphia's history?

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Some unique things about Philadelphia history in the seventeenth and eighteenth century are the following:

1) The first and second Continental Congresses convened in Philadelphia. The Continental Congress served as the government of the thirteen colonies from 1774 to 1789. The first Continental Congress convened in response to England's Coercive Acts. Delegates of this Congress decided to stop importing British goods. They also threatened to end all trade with England if the Coercive Acts were allowed to stand. Meanwhile, the Revolutionary War began during the Second Continental Congress. A month after the Second Congress, the Continental Army (the military arm of the thirteen colonies) was created, and George Washington was named its commander-in-chief.

2) The first protests against slavery in the colonies began in Philadelphia. In 1688, four Quakers drafted the Germantown Quaker Petition. Today, Germantown is part of Philadelphia. The Germantown petition constituted the first American document to agitate for the abolition of slavery. At the time of its writing, the contents were so controversial that Quaker officials refused to institute any major changes within its body. So, the Germantown Quaker Petition was largely forgotten. It surfaced again in 1844, however, when it became a major catalyst for the abolition movement in America.

3) Benjamin Franklin (in collaboration with Dr. Thomas Bond) opened the first hospital in the United States in Philadelphia. The name of the institution was the Pennsylvania Hospital. During the Revolutionary War, the hospital treated both British and American soldiers.

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