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"The Association &c."

The Association &c.

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Bankrupt Britain and Save America!
During the summer of 1774, colonists debate the merits of the Solemn League and Covenant, a proposal offered by the Boston Committee of Correspondence to cease all trade with the mother country. While not necessarily opposed to the idea of a boycott, leaders in other colonies (and other Massachusetts towns) hesitate to follow Boston's lead. The precise terms of resistance, they argue, should be formulated among, agreed to, and followed by all. Congress first visits the issues of nonimportation, nonexportation, and nonconsumption in late September. The discussion centers on logistics and on the particular interests of individual provinces. On 26 October, the Congress approves a series of measures known as the "Continental Association." Unlike earlier commercial resistance schemes, the Association lays out a plan for unified, enforceable colonial engagement. The delegates are confident that their plan will have a significant impact on Britain's economy, but will it provide them the political leverage they seek?

Questions to Consider

1. According to the first resolve, what will happen on 1 December 1774?

2. What actions pertaining to the slave trade are outlined in the agreement?

3. According to the fourth resolve, what charge is being made? What reasons are given? What happens on 10 September 1775? Under what conditions?

4. What animal is particularly important to the success of the Association? For what reason?

5. Rephrase Resolve 8 in your own words. Why is Congress proposing the measures outlined this resolve?

6. How does the Congress propose to enforce the Association? (See Resolves 11, 12, and 14 for hints.)

7. What must happen in order for Congress to disband the Association?

Further Exploration

8. Imagine that your best friend and his family, who are loyalist merchants, have decided not to abide by the Association and will continue importing and selling British goods. Write a letter to your friend explaining your thoughts on the issue. Will you persuade him to uphold the Association? Will you support his family's decision to continue importing goods?

9. Delegates representing South Carolina refuse to sign the Association unless their staple crop (rice) is exempt from the nonexportation pact. Imagine that you are a delegate at the Congress. Prepare a brief statement arguing either for or against South Carolina's position. Should its crop be exempt? If so, should other colonies be allowed to exempt products too? Is it essential that South Carolina's demands be met? Why or why not?