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  • Major Gen. James Wadsworth (1730 - 1817)
    James Wadsworth (July 8, 1730 – September 22, 1816) was an American lawyer from Durham, Connecticut. Initially a brigadier general of the Connecticut militia during the Revolutionary War, after ...
  • Honorable Thomas Smith, Esq (1745 - 1809)
    Delegate from Pennsylvania; born near Cruden, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in 1745; pursued preparatory studies; attended the University of Edinburgh, Scotland; immigrated to the United States and settled ...
  • Francis Lightfoot Lee, Signer of the "Declaration of Independence" (1734 - 1797)
    Francis Lightfoot Lee Virginia 1734-1797 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Signed: Declaration of Independence Frank Lee, as he was known to those c...
  • James Pintard Searle (1733 - 1797)
    Born in NYC Lived in Hampstead, New York with his mother and step father Rev. Robert Jenney Worked with his older brother John in his Wine Trade business out of Funchal, Madeira Became prominent busine...
  • Colonel Timothy Matlack, Scribe of the "Declaration of Independence" (1736 - 1829)
    scribe to Thomas Jefferson. His is the hand that wrote The Declaration of Independence. Timothy Matlack was born in Haddonfield, New Jersey, to Martha Burr and Timothy Matlack, a Quaker merchant an...


The Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that became the governing body of the United States during the American Revolution. The Congress met from 1774 to 1789 in three incarnations. The leader, moderator or presiding member was not officially given the title of President until the Articles of Confederation were ratified.

The First Continental Congress This met in Philadelphia on September 4, 1774. All colonies but Georgia were represented. Each colony had equal voting power. The Congress adopted a Declaration of Rights on October 14, 1774, and claimed that each colonial assembly had the right to make laws governing everything except foreign trade.

The Second Continental Congress This met in Philadelphia on May 10, 1775, not quite a month after the battles at Lexington and Concord. This body adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 2, 1776, after which it drew up the Articles of Confederation. These were the operating basis for government during the Revolution, but due to significant disagreements over the boundaries between the states they were not fully ratified until February, 1781.

The Congress of the Confederation The Articles of Confederation were in force from March 1, 1781, until the Constitution (ratified on June 21, 1788 by the ninth state, New Hampshire, giving the required 2/3 majority) went into effect on March 4, 1789.

George Washington took office as the first President of the United States on April 30, 1789, thus ending the role of President of the Continental Congress.

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Presidents of the Continental Congress

  1. Peyton Randolph
  2. Henry Middleton
  3. Peyton Randolph
  4. John Hancock
  5. Henry Laurens
  6. John Jay
  7. Samuel Huntington
  8. Thomas McKean
  9. John Hanson
  10. Elias Boudinot
  11. Thomas Mifflin
  12. Richard Henry Lee
  13. John Hancock
  14. Nathaniel Gorham
  15. Arthur St. Clair
  16. Cyrus Griffin


For a complete list of the 342 attending delegates and the 90 delegates who were elected but did not attend, visit these sites:

  1. Benjamin Franklin
  2. Alexander Hamilton
  3. Edmund Pendleton