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Fairfax Resolves

The Fairfax Resolves was a set of British Parliament's claim of supreme authority over the American colonies. More than thirty counties in Virginia passed similar resolutions in 1774, "but the Fairfax Resolves were the most detailed, the most influential, and the most radical."[1]


  • Background and drafting 1
  • Text summary and effect 2
  • Signatories 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6

Background and drafting

After Parliament passed the Mount Vernon home on July 17, and perhaps revised the resolutions. The following day in Alexandria, the Fairfax Resolves were endorsed in a meeting of freeholders chaired by Washington.

Text summary and effect

In the Resolves, the freeholders expressed a desire to remain subjects of the British Empire, but they insisted that "we will use every means which Heaven hath given us to prevent our becoming its slaves."

The short document provided the following:

  • a concise summary of American constitutional concerns on such issues as taxation, representation, judicial power, military matters and the colonial economy
  • a proposal for the creation of a nonimportation effort to be levied against British goods
  • a call for a general congress of the colonies to convene for the purpose of preserving the Americans' rights as Englishmen
  • a condemnation of the practice of importing slaves as an "unnatural trade"; its termination was urged

The Resolves directed Washington and Broadwater to present the resolutions to the Virginia Convention.

The Fairfax Resolves, like the many other similar resolutions passed in county meetings throughout the colonies, summarized the feelings of many colonists in mid-1774 — a conviction that their constitutional rights were being violated by British policies. The Resolves also marked a step forward in inter-colonial cooperation as more Americans began to realize that a threat against one colony was a threat against all. Finally, political rivalries in Virginia were muted to some degree, allowing such figures as Washington and Mason to work productively with the more radical Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee and others.

The non-importation protest called for in the Resolves influenced, with some modifications, the Virginia Association, which in turn provided the pattern for the Continental Association.[4]


  • Robert Adam
  • Charles Alexander
  • Philip Alexander
  • Charles Broadwater
  • William Brown
  • John Carlyle
  • Martin Cockburne
  • Townsend Dade, Jr.
  • John Dalton
  • George Gilpton
  • Henry Gunnell
  • Robert Hanson Harrison
  • William Hartshorne
  • James Kirk
  • Thomas Lewis
  • George Mason
  • Lee Massey
  • Edward Payne
  • William Payne
  • Thomas Pollard
  • William Ramsay
  • William Rumney
  • Thomas Triplett
  • George Washington, Esq.
  • John West


  1. ^ Broadwater, George Mason, 67.
  2. ^ Broadwater, George Mason, 65.
  3. ^ Broadwater, George Mason, 66.
  4. ^ Ammerman, Common Cause, 86.

Further reading

  • Ammerman, David. In the Common Cause: American Response to the Coercive Acts of 1774. New York: Norton, 1974.
  • Broadwater, Jeff. George Mason: Forgotten Founder. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006.

External links

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