Talk:Olive Branch Petition

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Introductory sentence[edit]

The introductory sentence, "etition, drafted on July 5th, 1775, was a letter to King George III, that was shipped and put on a boat on July 8th, 1775", contains language which is confusing. Was the petition both "shipped" and "put on a boat" during the course of its journey, or is this merely a semantic oversight? The act of "shipping" during that period would be considered the same as the present-day expression to "put on a "boat." Although by both time's standands a boat and a ship are two very different vessels and as such could explain the authors simultaneous use of both expressions in reference to the delivery of the document. Clarification of such would be appreciated. 14:08, 20 February 2008 (UTC)([TIRSDAG])

Probably should include a link here, though googling for it turns up dozens of copies. (If a link is included here, it should preferably be one that's easy to read. The first google hit as of today, for example, uses a smaller-than-normal font and brown text, which is significantly harder to read than, say, a Wikipedia page.)


"The Crown had decided to teach the rebellious colonies—who had recently gone so far as to capture Fort Ticonderoga—a lesson." Smells of bias.

Well, maybe he was retaliating. Or the person that was using this used it as a metaphor-thing. My teacher pretty much said the same thing as that when she taught us this stuff.

There is a statement in the entry on the Olive Branch petition which says that Dickinson made specific recommendations (having to do with free trade and levying taxes) as to how the King should appease the colonists, . This is at least misleading as no such statement is made in the Petition itself. Perhaps Dickinson made this suggestion elsewhere, but I am unaware of it. (talk) 06:13, 18 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I came here to point out the same passage. I hadn't even read the petition when I first came to this article (I've just read it through now), but that sentence immediately leapt out as unlikely because it claims that Dickinson suggests reducing Americans' tax burden to the level in Great Britain. This is obvious nonsense, since the colonists were of course far more lightly taxed than the population of Britain (indeed, were among the most lightly taxed populations in the world); their problem wasn't with the level of taxation, but rather that the taxes were imposed by Parliament rather than their own provincial legislatures. The only actual steps the petition asks for, so far as I can see, are the establishment of a lasting settlement ("concord") between Britain and the colonies that's not inconsistent with British national dignity, and the repeal of the Intolerable Acts. Seeing as how such a statement has apparently stood for thirteen years, I'm going to replace it. Binabik80 (talk) 16:24, 19 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Unfortunately his petition was undermined by a confiscated letter of John Adams. It is POV to say that this was fortunate or unfortunate. It was unfortunate for those who desired reconciliation, fortunate for those who wanted independence. It should be sufficient to say that the confiscation of this letter undermined the petition, without judging whether this is a good or bad thing.

Date clarification request[edit]

Wikisource: Olive Branch Petition(in External links) and other sources show an adoption date of July 8 while other sources show July 5. Can someone confirm the date and make an appropriate correction in either location.--☾Loriendrew☽ (talk) 23:01, 13 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Loriendrew: The Second Continental Congress approved the Olive Branch Petition on July 5, 1775, and sent it to England on July 8. The July 8 date on the document is the day Congress shipped it to England. See [1] and [2] for July 5, and [3] for July 8. Seattle (talk) 12:29, 18 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Avoiding the POV of the congress[edit]

In this edit comment, @Dilidor: takes issue with my attempt to represent the facts. Can anyone seriously contend that the people of the 13 colonies were unanimous in considering the Second Continental Congress to be their representatives? If that were the case, there would have been no Loyalists and the revolution would have been much quicker. Does Dilidor think the voice of the encyclopedia should endorse the terminology used by that one faction in the dispute? If not, what constructive wording can they suggest, rather than blindly reverting? LeadSongDog come howl! 19:26, 2 August 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Secondly, is there any objection to improving the citation, which was also undone in the same edit? The website is clearly not a complete nor a reliable representation of the source text, the detailed history of which is fully available at [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], et. seq. LeadSongDog come howl! 20:25, 2 August 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]


@LeadSongDog: The Continental Congress was an elected body which represented the majority of the citizens in their districts. Of course there were dissenters and people of different viewpoints! That's how democracy works. But your edit is loaded: "the Thirteen Colonies ... which that Congress said it represented"; it hints that the Congress was misrepresenting itself in some way, as though they were in power by force but justifying that force by pretending to represent the people's will. That is what I strongly object to. The Congress existed because the majority of the voters elected them, and in that sense they did legitimately represent those people. —Dilidor (talk) 10:12, 3 August 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Dilidor: Sort of. They were elected, but by the provincial assemblies or legislatures, not by the people. The point, though, is that the Congress itself was an extralegal (or North`s government would have to say illegal) assembly. According to the extant British law it would have been tantamount to high treason for Parliament to acknowledge either the Union or the Congress as representative without passing an authorizing bill through Parliament (both the Commons and the Lords) to obtain Royal Assent. Neither North`s government nor George III was in a tenable position to do so, especially so soon after the Bill of Rights 1689. Both were principally concerned with the domestic (unwritten) constitutional issue: peace between the Crown and the Parliament had to be maintained. See Andrew O'Shaughnessy's The Men Who Lost America for a fresh perspective. LeadSongDog come howl! 16:07, 3 August 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@LeadSongDog: Yes, well.... this is why it's called the American Revolution—the Americans were reaching the point where they no longer cared what Parliament or King George thought about the matter. The Continental Congress were convening in absolute defiance of King George with the clear recognition that their lives were forfeit if they did not gain independence—and in these things they did, indeed, represent the majority of American citizens. —Dilidor (talk) 16:33, 3 August 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Dilidor: At that time there was no such thing as an American citizen. That came much later. Even the literal text of the Petition acknowledges the sovereignty of the King. The grievance it expressed was against North's government (the "Ministry" as they put it). The tragedy was that, by fighting before grieving, the militants had ensured the passage of the Proclamation of Rebellion which would preclude any possibility of the King ever officially reading that petition or any other representation from the (so-declared) rebels until it was far too late for peace. Adams & co did an end-run on Dickinson's moderates. LeadSongDog come howl! 17:17, 3 August 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

July 5 or July 8, and what followed what?[edit]

Please fix the dates - the 6 July declaration on taking up arms cannot follow a 8 July petition. --CopperKettle 11:50, 20 January 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Olive Branch was written on July 5; the Declaration of Causes was written on July 6. Olive Branch was signed on July 8. Hope that clarifies. —Dilidor (talk) 11:05, 24 January 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Better source[edit]

Consider OL 5214379M for a more balanced source. LeadSongDog come howl! 15:11, 8 July 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Not a useful article![edit]

This article only part-way answers the questions a reader would consult an encyclopedia for. Fortunately, a WikiSource link is provided to supply the actual petition. But due to the archaic style of that document, few people could recite, in say 5 minutes, what it actually asks for.

What is needed is an article paragraph, "Contents", between "Drafting" and "Reception", that describes the contents of the Petition, point-by-point.

In fact, many of the points mentioned in the Petition, in this day, require references to explain what the Continental Congress meant and what the actual grievance was.

This shouldn't be that difficult. (talk) 02:31, 1 April 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Great! Have at it, then. —Dilidor (talk) 12:30, 1 April 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]