History group sets course for Continental Congress Center

A fledgling organization devoted to the history of the Continental Congress — and creating a permanent home in Annapolis for examining that period in American history — took steps last week toward its goal.

The Annapolis Continental Congress Society announced that it will hold its second festival Sept. 14-18 in the city, according to Mark Croatti, director of the organization. The first festival was held last year.

In addition, a 16-member board of directors of the National Continental Congress Center Founders' Association has been formed with the goal of finding a permanent home for the organization.

The group is considering Annapolis because it is where the Treaty of Paris, a proclamation that formally ended the American Revolution, was ratified on Jan. 14, 1784.

In addition, the years when the traveling government under the Articles of Confederation was in Annapolis are considered a bridge between the Revolution and the creation of the Constitution.

Croatti, who has taught history and politics at the Naval Academy and American University, among other colleges, said that while some historians see the loosely joined government under the Articles of Confederation as a failure, there are significant achievements that occurred during that period, and some of the issues raised — such as federal spending and war powers — remain relevant today.

Plans for the September festival include displaying original documents, recently acquired by three Annapolis brothers, that were signed by each of the presidents of the Continental Congress between 1774 and 1789. Samuel, Stephen and George Brown acquired the documents, Croatti said.

Last year's festival included book signings, lectures, a traveling exhibit of historical documents — some of them rare — events for children and walking tours.

While the group seeks a permanent home, the organization will meet in the Maryland Inn, where reproductions of the documents are expected to be on display soon, Croatti said.

Newly named board members of the Annapolis Continental Congress Society include Annapolis Alderman Ian Pfeiffer; Maggie Melson, St. John's College special project director; and Robert Clark, president and chief executive officer of Historic Annapolis, as well as others, some of whom are involved in local historical study.

The organization's next community event is a celebration of Thomas Jefferson Day on May 7, from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Treaty of Paris Restaurant at the Maryland Inn, 16 State Circle, Annapolis. A speaker from the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., will discuss Jefferson's appointment as minister to France in 1784, and U.S.-French relations then and today.

For more information on the society, email mark.annapolisccs@hotmail.com or go to http://www.annapolisccs.org.



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