While the First Continental Congress had been held in a spirit of accommodation within the English political system, battles had been fought and blood shed by the time the second Congress met in Philadelphia on May 10, 1775. New delegates included Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Hancock. This Congress organized an independent government to unite the colonies in the war effort. The army was organized and George Washington was named Commander in Chief.
Having received no results from its appeals to King George III, the Congress decided to break completely with the Mother Country. On July 4, 1776, it adopted the Declaration of Independence. It continued to operate until March 1, 1781, when a new Congress authorized by the Articles of Confederation took over.