Britain responded to the Boston Tea Party in 1774 by passing several laws that became known in America as the Intolerable Acts.  One law closed Boston Harbor until Bostonians paid for the destroyed tea.  Another law restricted the activities of the Massachusetts legislature and gave added powers to the post of governor of Massachusetts.  Those powers in effect made him a dictator.  The American colonists were very angered by these forceful acts.   In response to these actions and laws, the colonist banded together to fight back.  Several committees of colonists called for a convention of delegates from the colonies to organize resistance to the Intolerable Acts.  The convention was later to be called the Continental Congress.

The First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia from Sept. 5 to Oct. 26, 1774, to protest the Intolerable Acts.  Representatives attended from all the colonies except Georgia.  The leaders included Samuel Adams and John Adams of Massachusetts and George Washington and Patrick Henry of Virginia.  The Congress voted to cut off colonial trade with Great Britain unless Parliament abolished the Intolerable Acts.  It approved resolutions advising the colonies to begin training their citizens for war.   They also attempted to define America's rights, place limits on Parliament's power, and agree on tactics for resisting the aggressive acts of the English Government.  lt also set up the Contintental Association to enforce an embargo against England.  By the time the first meeting of the Continental Congress ended, hostilities had begun  between Britain and the colonies.