Reasons For The Failure Of The Second Continental Congress

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When the Second Continental Congress met in May of 1775, the fabled clash at Lexington and Concord had already occurred. While another year would pass before the colonies formally declared independence from Great Britain, the delegates to the Second Continental Congress agreed in June of 1775 to begin the process of raising a Continental Army. Before this point, the idea of a standing army had been a distinctly British feature. Colonists viewed standing armies as hostile, tyrannical, and a threat to the very concept of liberty. While the colonies recognized the need to construct a regimented fighting force in order to have even the smallest chance of victory against the British, they were cautious in bestowing power to the army and, likewise, …show more content…

Perhaps the most egregious example of Congress’s inefficiency was the winter of 1777 that the army spent in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. During this winter encampment, the Continental Army experienced serious supply deficiencies, causing the soldiers and their horses to suffer and starve in the brutal cold. Despite the urgency of the situation, the Continental Congress was unable to organize the transportation of food, clothing, and munitions to the enfeebled troops. This grievous structural failure served to emphasize the weakness of the Continental Congress and the need for a stronger, more unified system of government for the new nation. Those who worked in close conjunction with the Continental Congress or who held leadership positions in the army saw firsthand the detriments of a disorganized and fragmented government and learned most directly the need for a united national authority. If the colonists were to defeat Great Britain and form a functioning country, they would have to overcome their deep-seated suspicion of political leadership and be willing to place power and trust in a federal administration. In this way, the Continental Congress’s struggle to organize and provide for the military revealed to Americans the increasing significance of governmental …show more content…

Women, too, expressed intense patriotic devotion that was striking in its ardor and efficiency. The all-encompassing nature of the revolutionary conflict allowed women to take part in a political life that had, throughout prior generations, barred them from entry. However, with the onset of the war against Great Britain, Americans realized that in order to obtain victory against the crown, the entire citizenry, not just half of it, needed to put forth its utmost effort. One of the main ways in which women aided the revolutionary cause was through wartime production. Oftentimes, women met at their minister’s home to participate in “spinning bees,” during which they would weave cloth to make garments for the undersupplied soldiers of the Continental Army. These “spinning bees” demonstrated the competency of American women and their ability to support the nation, as Ray Raphael, author of A People’s History of the American Revolution, describes, “without departing from traditional concepts of femininity.” Female participation in the revolution, however, did not only involve stereotypical “women’s work,” such as caring for the household in the men’s absence and making textiles for the military. A significant number of women, in particular those of lower social rank, initiated political protests and public riots. In A People’s History of the American Revolution,

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