Committee of correspondence

The committees of correspondence were shadow governments organized by the Patriot leaders of the Thirteen Colonies on the eve of the American Revolution. They coordinated responses to Britain and shared their plans; by 1773 they had emerged as shadow governments, superseding the colonial legislature and royal officials. The Maryland Committee of Correspondence was instrumental in setting up the First Continental Congress, which met in Philadelphia, PA. These served an important role in the Revolution, by disseminating the colonial interpretation of British actions between the colonies and to foreign governments. The committees of correspondence rallied opposition on common causes and established plans for collective action, and so the group of committees was the beginning of what later became a formal political union among the colonies.

A total of about 7,000 to 8,000 Patriots served on these committees at the colonial and local levels, comprising most of the leadership in their communities—the Loyalists were excluded. The committees became the leaders of the American resistance to British actions, and largely determined the war effort at the state and local level. When Congress decided to boycott British products, the colonial and local Committees took charge, examining merchant records and publishing the names of merchants who attempted to defy the boycott by importing British goods.

The Committees promoted patriotism and home manufacturing, advising Americans to avoid luxuries, and lead a more simple life. The Committees gradually extended their power over many aspects of American public life. They set up espionage networks to identify disloyal elements, displaced the royal officials, and helped topple the entire Imperial system in each colony. In late 1774 and early 1775, they supervised the elections of provincial conventions, which took over the actual operation of colonial government.

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American History

Political History

The Colonial Period (1513-1775)

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