Committees of correspondence first emerged in the 18th century and were intended for American colonies to maintain the lines of communication before the Revolutionary War. For example, in 1772, Boston created the first committee of correspondence to facilitate the opposition to Britain’s stiffening the enforcement of customs and the ban on American paper money.


The initial committees of correspondence emerged in the decade before the American Revolution, at the time when relationships with Great Britain were deteriorating, and it was essential for colonies to stay connected. The earliest committees began writing to colonies to facilitate the increased opposition toward Britain’s stiffening of American customs and paper money.

Following Boston’s example, New York also created a committee to keep other colonies informed of the actions targeted at the resistance of the Stamp Act. The colonies sent representatives to New York City to hold the act in Congress. 1772 is the date associated with committees of correspondence when a Boston Committee of Correspondence was created.

It was intended foster communication with all of the province’s towns as well as the rest of the world regarding the announcement that Massachusetts’s judges and the governor would start being paid. This meant that the paid officials would be accountable to the Crown instead of the colonial legislature. Because of such a change, Boston established a chain of communication through committees of correspondence in the colonies during the 1770s.

Committees of correspondence
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The emergence of committees as agencies was attributed to Samuel Adams, who secured its appointment at a Boston town meeting, as seen in the  Essentially, committees in each colony warned and informed voters of the common threats that they may be facing. The dissemination of information was crucial; however, it was done through sophisticated means.

For example, the news was usually transferred in hand-written letters and carries by couriers on horseback, which majorly decreased the speed of information dissemination. The committees’ of correspondence significance was attributed to their responsibility of ensuring that the news aligned with the news of their parent governmental entities on specific issues and was given to appropriate actors.

In 1773, the Virginia House of Burgesses established legislative standing committees that would facilitate intercolonial correspondence, with Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson being their members. The example of Virginia was followed by eight other colonies, with the committees’ of correspondence purpose linked to the promotion of unity.

One of the most significant accomplishments of the committees was attributed to the summoning of the First Continental Congress in September 1774, and most of the delegates belonged to committees.

The committees operated as shadow governments and superseded the legislature of colonies as well as royal officials. The plans for collective actions against Great Britain’s rule over the colonies, as well as the intentions to create a formal political union were imperative for the successful functioning of the committees.

To conclude, the committees of correspondence definition is associated with the opposition to colonial leadership and the resistance to British actions. Committees of correspondence formed collaborative groups and encouraged patriotism among its members as well as home manufacturing and were against the population indulging in luxuries. Their role in fostering an American spirit in society cannot be doubted, and the events of the American Revolution that followed the creation of committees is evidence of that.