At the meeting of the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduced a resolution that “these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states.”
Delegates from several states met to reform commercial regulations of the United States in the Annapolis Convention of 1786. They recommended that another convention be called to shape changes in the federal government; the resulting Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia in 1787.
The basic document by which the United States is governed, the US Constitution was ratified when the ninth state, New Hampshire, voted in favor of the document on June 21, 1788. Drafted at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, the Constitution divided governmental powers between the national and state governments in a system known as federalism. It also divided the national government into three independent branches.
The First Continental Congress was the unified body of colonial delegates that met in September 1774 to determine the colonial response to Parliament’s passage of the Intolerable Acts (or Coercive Acts). All the colonies except Georgia were represented in the First Continental Congress. Fifty-six delegates met in Philadelphia. The meeting adopted the Suffolk Resolves, sent its “Declaration of Rights and Grievances” to King George III, and agreed to meet again in a Second Continental Congress in May 1775.
A major labor organization in the 1880s, the Knights of Labor was founded in 1869 by an organization of garment workers in Philadelphia. Its membership was open to all workers, including African Americans and women. The Knights promoted cooperation and believed that workers were entitled “the full enjoyment of the wealth they create.”
Benjamin Franklin (1705–1790) was one of America’s first renaissance men—his career included work as a statesman, scientist, writer, printer, and diplomat. Born in Boston, Franklin eventually settled in Philadelphia. He published Poor Richard’s Almanack for twenty-five years and later wrote an autobiography that is still in print. His inventions, such as the bifocal lens and the Franklin stove, as well as his investigations into the properties of lightning, earned him international recognition. Widely popular in...