On September 5, 1774, the first Congress in the United States met in Philadelphia to consider its reaction to the British government’s restraints on trade and representative government after the Boston Tea Party raid.
The group of colonial luminaries didn’t meet in what is now called Independence Hall. Instead, delegates selected by colonial legislatures met next door in a building called Carpenters’ Hall, which had just been constructed. The Pennsylvania State House (which we now call Independence Hall) was already occupied by the Pennsylvania provincial assembly.
The delegates gathered on the morning of September 5 at Philadelphia’s City Tavern, near Benjamin Franklin’s home. Franklin had remained in England and he would deliver a petition from the First Congress to King George III in late 1774. The group then walked over to Carpenters’ Hall to inspect the meeting room.
“They took a view of the room, and of the chamber where is an excellent library… The general cry was, that this was a good room, and the question was put, whether we were satisfied with this room? and it passed in the affirmative,” said John Adams.
In all, 56 delegates from 12 colonies came to Philadelphia for the meeting to address the Coercive or Intolerable Acts. The laws were meant as punishment for the activities of the Boston Tea Party, but they affected all of the 13 colonies.