During the two Decades from 1754 to 1775, the American colonies moved from division to unity. The accomplishments of the Albany Congress, the Stamp Act Congress, and the First Continental Congress caused this change. The Albany Congress was held in 1754. It was a meeting of representatives from various colonies in response to the war between Britain and France. The main plan was to form a colonial defense and gain the support of the Iroquois Confederacy. They also debated an intercolonial government. Ben Franklin and Thomas Hutchinson were the authors of the Albany Plan. They proposed an elected assembly would plan for a common defense paid for by taxes levied by congress. Although the plan did not pass, because the colonies were not ready to share their powers to tax with each other, it did put the idea of a unified nation in the minds of the colonists.
The Stamp Act Congress was held in New York City in1765. Delegates from 9 American Colonies gathered to respond to the Stamp Act Parliament passed. The Stamp Act taxed commercial or legal documents, licenses, newspapers, permits, pamphlets and even playing cards. It was not a heavy tax but if they let Parliament pass this tax, they would only have more in the future. “No taxation without representation” basically means the English colonies did not want to be taxed without their consent.
The First Continental Congress met in 1774 in Philadelphia to protest Britain’s Intolerable Acts (Coercive Acts): 1. Boston Ports would be closed until compensation was met to the East India Tea Company for the Boston Tea Party.
2. The Colonial Charter was annulled and they replaced colonial officials with royal officials and they banned town meetings.
3. Royal Officers would not be tried in colonial courts.
4. They legalized quartering of troops in public buildings and private homes.
5. They established a government in Quebec and gave them the territory claimed by colonists North of the Ohio River.
Twelve of the colonies were present at the meeting (not Georgia.) They urged the colonies to form militias. They formed the Continental Association to boycott British goods. They also voted to reconvene the following spring if Britain would not redress American grievances. After this meeting, the majority of the colonies were in unity.