Carpenters' Hall

The Birthplace of Pennsylvania


In May 1776, the Second Continental Congress asked each colony to free itself from British rule. In the eloquent words of Congress, colonies were "to adopt such Government as shall in the opinion of the Representatives of the People best conduce to the happiness and safety of the Constituents in particular, and America in general."

Pennsylvania's Tory delegates objected and voted with their feet by forcing the Assembly to adjourn for lack of a quorum. Independence-minded delegates had a simple solution — scrap the old Assembly and elect a new one by popular vote.

A total of 103 delegates from ten counties and the City of Philadelphia convened a Provincial Conference in Carpenters' Hall June 18. They were on a tight schedule, but since they were of one mind they worked quickly. Delegates began by pronouncing the current government "not competent to the exigencies of our Affairs" and proceeded to draft the Declaration of Independence for Pennsylvania, which was forwarded to the Second Continental Congress. The Provincial Conference proceeded to set elections for a new Assembly, authorize a militia of 6,000 for defense and call for a constitutional convention to meet as soon as possible. Within a month the Constitutional Convention met and produced one of the new nation's most progressive constitutions, adopted by an equally new Pennsylvania Assembly in September 1776.


Carpenters' Hall, 320 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Open free to the public daily, except Mondays (and Tuesdays in Jan. and Feb.), from 10am-4pm

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Copyright 1999-2016 by the Independence Hall Association,
a nonprofit organization in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, founded in 1942.
Publishing electronically as On the Internet since July 4, 1995.