COMMITTEES OF CORRESPONDENCE
Prior to the discontented nature of the relationship between the original colonies and Great Britain, there was very little communication amongst the colonies themselves. But once legislation and overall power over the colonies became more prevalent, times began to change quickly, and the desire to communicate and share ideas between high level members of each colony became more intensified. Committees of Correspondence became this first method of communication between the original colonies. This became popular in the decade prior to the American Revolution.
Writing was a key component of society at this point in American history. An endless amount of written work was emerging throughout the colonies, whether that be through major publications, letters, editorials, or pamphlets. People cared about the relationship between the colonies and the motherland, but the volumes mostly remained within the city, town, or colony that it was written. The desire for communication first came about in 1764, when citizens of Boston acted on their distaste of the new customs enforcement and prohibition of American currency by the British leadership. This is when Boston created the first Committee of Correspondence, in which they wrote to other colonies in America to promote and persuade them to join Massachusetts in a united opposition to these enforcements that certainly didn’t keep any of the colonies’ best interest in mind. The second committee that was created was in New York, who wanted to notify the colonies of their resistance to the Stamp Act, which they felt was unlawfully taxing the American people. This instance was different however, as it created the first in person meeting to discuss terms and a plan of action. The Stamp Act congress met in New York City, with nine of the colonies sending representatives. Although nothing amounted from the meeting, it was a crucial step in creating a unification system amongst the colonies.
When March of 1773 came around, many of the colonies had gotten on board with the creation of committees in order to communicate amongst each other. It was made official at this time however, when the Virginia House of Burgesses proposed that all of the colonies put in place a committee specifically designed for intercolonial correspondence. In the past, the committees were created for specific topics and problems to be brought up in discussions, but this was meant for overall messages and announcements between the group. By the same time in 1774, nearly all of the colonies had joined and a sense of solidarity was certainly created by these methods. Common grievances would be discussed, but more importantly, common responses and decisions on how to handle the grievances were agreed upon.
The reason why these Committees of Correspondence were important was because they created an example for the Continental Congresses which would be the most crucial non-military organizations throughout the Revolutionary War. It was also important because the example was followed by cities and towns who wanted to communicate about smaller and more local topics amongst themselves. Unification is revered as a major key in terms of the colonies ability to win the Revolutionary War, and the committees and Correspondence played a major role in creating the conjoined nature of the patriots.