From: Alic [email@example.com]
Dear Mr. Mikalac:
Thank you for your recent inquiry concerning the use of the phrase Continental Congress, which has been referred to ALIC: Archives Library Information Center. Strictly speaking, the Second Continental Congress ceased existence on March 2, 1781, when it became "The United States in Congress Assembled." However, several works, including Montross' _Reluctant Rebels_ did not bother to make the split in his discussion on Congress, and I can only surmise that the authors of the original print publication on which the web site is based elected to follow in that vein. Much of the above information comes from the entry on the Continental Congress in Boatner's _Encyclopedia of the American Revolution_.
I hope that this information is of use to you. Once again, thank you for your interest in the National Archives and Records Administration.
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The Articles of Confederation became effective on 3/1/1781. On 3/2/1781, the Continental Congress became the "United States in Congress Assembled". The "Continental Congress" ceased to exist on that date.
The Constitution became effective on 3/4/1789 and in the Constitution the legislative branch is called, "Congress of the United States".
Therefore, we seem to have 3 different congresses:
If my assumptions are correct, why do the authors of the Founding Fathers' biographies keep referring to the "Continental Congress" during the period including the constitutional convention? At that time, 1787, the "Congress" was not the "Continental Congress", which no longer existed, but the "Articles of Confederated Congress" ("The United States in Congress Assembled"), which might be abbreviated to the "Confederation Congress".
Thanks you for your reply and explanation.
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