The Olive Branch Petition

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After our class debate about the colonists’ ideas concerning separation, I began to wonder what were the final avenues taken to try to avert the Revolutionary War. To find a source pertinent to my interest and fitting for our assignment, I searched the “historymatters.gmu.edu” site using the key words “Revolutionary War primary document.” The search provided several documents, such as Washington’s papers at the Library of Congress, Martha Ballard’s diary, as well as a few others. None of the documents in my original search were specific enough to my interests in the days leading up to the American Revolution. I then narrowed my search to documents written in 1775 and found a link in The University of Georgia Tech’s American history documents database to The Olive Branch Petition. In July 1775, The Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia to discuss possible courses of action following the most recent battle with Britain at Bunker Hill. Members of the Congress disagreed about what steps to take in dissolving the confrontation with Parliament and King George III. Separatists, such as John Adams, were fed up with decades of British colonization and were ready for sovereignty, even if at the price of war. Yet Congressional moderates garnered enough support to attempt one last-ditch effort to stop further bloodshed and end the conflict amicably. The Congress decided to write yet another letter, send it to London, and hope the king would be receptive. They called the letter The Olive Branch Petition. The Olive Branch Petition professed colonial loyalty to his majesty in a final appeal for peaceful reconciliation with Britain. Fighting with the British had already started with the Battles of Concord, Lexington, and Bunker Hi... ... middle of paper ... ...arliament, caused the colonies to become more and more independent throughout the eighteenth century. Yet the colonists wanted to exhaust every remedy to their grievances before resorting to war. Declaring independence was never going to be a swift process, as each colony progressed at a different rate. Nonetheless, forming a colonial army at the same time as attempting to negotiate peaceful conciliation with the British was not at first a popular decision, yet to many the benefits outweighed the possible losses. In the end, the rejection of the Olive branch represented a watershed in the evolution of a national identity that was completely independent of a British identity, for its dismissal stiffened the patriots’ resolve toward independence and paved the way for the penning of a much more famous letter to the king, the Declaration of Independence.
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