Why Did The Second Continental Congress Adopt The Olive Branch Petition?
|Short & Quick Answer:
There were two main reasons why did the Second Continental Congress adopt and choose to send the Olive Branch Petition to the British authority.
So, what were they?
Let’s find them out below.
1. To Avoid Probable Armed Confrontations Against English Royal Forces
Of course, you know, the very first reason for sending Olive Branch Petition was none other but to interrupt the war situation between Great Britain and the 13 North American colonies.
The Olive Branch Petition was the last attempt from the American colonists’ side to avoid that crisis.
Although, sending the Petition didn’t mean that they were afraid of fighting against the English. This proposal was like showing respect & loyalty to their mother country.
The Petition was all about sending a proposal to the British King George III and the Parliament to withdraw the 5 Intolerable acts of 1774. Otherwise, the war would be inevitable.
2. To Ensure Loyalists That They Tried Till The Very End For Peace Negotiation
Its second reason was to ensure the loyalists and other American people, who still believed in British rule in the 13 colonies and wanted to come to a proper settlement with them.
The leaders leading the Continental Congress tried to ensure these loyalists and common people that they had tried till the end to resolve the tensions with the British.
The Second Continental Congress adopted this historic Petition on July 5th, 1775. They sent it on July 8th, 1775.
However, they got no significant result from it.
King George III refused to read and accept it. Even going one step further, he declared colonists traitors.
Although, in some cases, the Petition didn’t make any sense because Congress already authorized the invasion of British Canada’s Quebec province a week earlier.
Did Congress’ Leaders Want A Peace Negotiation With Britain?
This is quite an interesting fact, just a week before Continental Congress granted the invasion of British Canada’s Quebec province.
Therefore, it looks like the Petition was nothing but just a way to show the loyalists that they tried till the end for a discussion with England.
Looking at this, it seems like most of the American leaders had no interest to make settlements with King George III and Parliament.
Now, if they wanted something, it was only freedom for the 13 colonies.
Which Group of Leaders Mainly Initiated The Olive Branch Petition?
Usually, there were two groups among the American colonists- Patriots and Loyalists.
But, do you know what, there was another group of colonists? They were Patriots, although they didn’t want Britishers to leave the 13 colonies.
Yes, this group of patriots was afraid that the full independence of the 13 colonies would provoke other imperial European powers to invade their homeland.
They believed in solving the tension through proper diplomatic negotiation, instead of independence.
Some of the influential names of this group were John Dickinson, John Jay, Benjamin Franklin, John Rutledge, etc.
They played the main role in drafting the Petition.
Even leaders like John Dickinson were so concerned about his belief that he even didn’t sign the Declaration of Independence.
What Would Happen If King George Accepted Their Proposal?
If King George had accepted the proposal of the colonists, it would never have been a war.
And again, if the war would not happen, the 13 colonies would never have become independent.
It was also likely that if George had accepted their proposal, he would have to abolish all laws of the Intolerable Acts.
Because without it, colonists’ would never have calmed down. But this would have been a major defeat for the British.
But finally, whatever, nothing happened like this. King George III rejected the proposal & it fueled the Revolutionary War. As a result, it led the 13 colonies towards independence.