29 Aug 2009

Sample Essay: Declaration and Resolves of the First Continetal Congress

The first continental congress took place in Philadelphia in September 1774. All the colonies apart from Philadelphia were represented. The American colonist delegates presented many grievances against the British government.

The four major grievances the colonists expressed against the colonial government according to Anderson et al (1950) were that Parliament was unfair in its taxation policies on the colonists. This was because the colonists were being taxed but not represented in Parliament. The second grievance was that the standing armies Parliament had instituted were a burden to the states, especially when there were no wars going on. The third grievance against the British parliament according to Anderson (p.95) was that the British Parliament” Had broken up their assemblies, treated their petitions with contempt and passed laws which were unfair, illegal and destructive of colonial rights.” The fourth grievance was that the colonialist had oppressed the populations and did not give them freedom to operate in various spheres of their lives such as in property ownership, life and liberty.

According to Cornell University Law School (n.d) the bill of rights was instituted as a reaction to the oppression of the citizens by the British. The bill of rights guaranteed each citizen the freedom of life, liberty and property. It also guaranteed the people’s right to associate and interact with whoever they chose as long as they were peaceful. People also had the freedom of religion and “to petition the government for a redress of grievances”.

According to U.S. Constitution Online (2007) Congress was given the powers to collect taxes but restrictions placed to the methods taxation and use of government funds. The constitution stated that Congress could not withdraw money from the treasury “But in consequence of appropriations made by law.” Congress also had to give an account to the electorate as to how it used national resources. Congress has to use the taxes for the welfare of the whole State.

The constitution provided for checks and balances within its three arms to help prevent over concentration of power on one person or institution. To prevent arbitrary passing of bills, or legislations, a bill was to be supported by two thirds of the Congress before being passed on to the president for assent. If the president rejected it, it could be accepted if it got a majority vote when re-passed again in parliament. The Judiciary also checks the powers of the legislature and executive.

The constitution guaranteed “every state in this union a Republican form of government”. This was to enhance democracy and avoid dictatorship as witnessed in case of the British monarchy.

The government was to be in charge of taking care of the army and providing for its resources.

In conclusion, the constitution and the bill of rights safeguards against the abuse of power by any institution or person and protects the rights of each and every American citizen. With some of the article and amendments especially made as a reaction to the abusive British monarchial system of ruling.


Anderson, R. Howard et al. (1950). The Making of Modern America. Houghton Mifflin Company: Massachusetts.

Cornell university law school.(n.d) United States Constitution. Last Accessed 29 April 2007. http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.table.html#articleiv

The U.S Constitution Online. (2007)The United States Constitution. Last Accessed 29 April 2007. http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#A4Sec1

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