Peyton Randolph Dies – 10/22/1775

History |

Former president of the Continental Congress Peyton Randolph’s years of battling over poor health issues tragically comes to an end at age 54 and dies on October 22nd, 1775.

Randolph was born into an influential and prominent Virginia family in 1721 and would eventually go to London to study law after graduating the William and Mary College. Once finished with studying abroad, he returned back to the colonies and eventually started a private practice that would be a stepping-stone to becoming Virginia’s attorney general. Randolph was voted in to Virginia’s official legislative body in 1754 known as the House of Burgesses. Unfortunately, he found himself at odds with his profession as colonies began to voice out being in favor of breaking away from British control and in 1766; he decided to step down as the attorney general since it was a conflict of interest between serving the citizens of Virginia in the legislative body and those of the British crown.

Free from having to serve the needs of the British, Randolph went on with his work supporting the platform of freedom from the Crown’s control by ruling over Virginia’s Committee of Correspondence. Their purpose was to spread a dialogue with other colonies to create a resistance that is united against British government during May of 1773 to August of 1774. Only a month later, as a result of the British declaration of the Intolerable Acts, the first Continental Congress was born in Philadelphia. During their first meeting, the Continental Congress had colonists talking about how to bring forth a joint resistance in order to oppose the British control in America.

History was made on September 5th, 1774 as a unanimous vote declared that Peyton Randolph would become the first president of the Continental Congress. However, it would be a short personal victory as a month later he would resign his position in order to be present at a meeting with the House of Burgesses in Virginia; yet, would remain as an influential and powerful person within the Congress. Randolph would continue to be a part of the political system as in May of 1775; he went back to Congress where he again was elected to be president; however, due to his failing health he had no choice but to step down as president merely one month after his election.

Despite his failing health, Randolph continued to push on where he was able to briefly return to Congress in September of 1775. Sadly, only one month later; Peyton Randolph could not fight any longer and died in Philadelphia. Tragically, he did not live long enough to see America achieve its victory of breaking away from British rule and finally securing independence; a dream that he worked hard for most of his adult life to become a reality.

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