The Imperial Crisis and Resistance to Britain and the War for Independence
Proclamation Line of 1763 <ul><li>The Treaty of Paris, which ended the French and Indian War, ended French colonization in North America. </li></ul><ul><li>The British colonies in America were, at that point, limited to the Eastern Seaboard. With the war ended, many colonists wanted to move west into the formerly French lands in the Ohio River Valley. </li></ul><ul><li>This presented a problem however as the British wanted to protect the Native populations from European encroachment. </li></ul><ul><li>On 7 October 1763, King George III issued a royal proclamation limiting colonial development to areas east of the Appalachian Mountains. </li></ul><ul><li>This became known as the “Proclamation Line” and was a major point of contention between the British government and the colonists. </li></ul>Proclamation Line of 1763
The Paxton Boys <ul><li>The Paxton Boys were a group of primarily Scotch and Irish immigrants farming in Western Pennsylvania. </li></ul><ul><li>They believed that the government had become too dominated by Eastern trading interests and had been too lenient on the Native American population. </li></ul><ul><li>In December 1763, the Paxton Boys took out their frustrations on a peaceful village of Conestoga Indians near Lancaster, Pennsylvania. </li></ul><ul><li>An unknown number of Conestoga were killed in the attack and the survivors fled to Philadelphia chased by 600-1000 Paxton Boys. </li></ul><ul><li>As Philadelphia possessed no real military defenses since the end of the French and Indian War, it was feared that the Paxton Boys would take the city. </li></ul><ul><li>Benjamin Franklin met the Paxton Boys on the road to Philadelphia and talked them into going home. </li></ul><ul><li>Before leaving, the Paxton Boys outlined their grievances in a document entitled Remonstrances of the Distressed and Bleeding Frontier which they delivered to the colonial government in Philadelphia. </li></ul><ul><li>Most provocatively, the Paxton Boys demanded the right to drive all Native Americans from Pennsylvania. </li></ul>Citizens of Philadelphia rally to defend against Paxton Boys. Engraving circa 1764.
The Philosophy of Rebellion: British Taxation and American Reaction <ul><li>Seven years of war with France had nearly bankrupted England. </li></ul><ul><li>This forced the British to turn to their American colonies as a means to raise revenue. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1765, Parliament imposed the Stamp Act which levied a tax on all printed material. </li></ul><ul><li>Americans were furious at the new tax. Riots erupted in Boston and New York. On 14 August 1765, rioters destroyed the Boston home of Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>By the time the tax was to take effect, violence had forced all of the Stamp Act commissioners to flee the colonies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>On 7 October 1765, American colonists met at the Stamp Act Congress to articulate their grievances with Great Britain. </li></ul>Contemporary engraving of colonist protesting the Stamp Act.
The Boston Massacre or the King Street Riot <ul><li>Following the Stamp Act riots, the English stationed soldiers in major American cities to restore calm. </li></ul><ul><li>On 5 March 1770 British soldiers were involved in an altercation with colonists in Boston. In the resulting melee, the soldiers fired into the crowd, killing five colonists and wounding six. </li></ul><ul><li>The soldiers and their commanding officer were charged with murder but, after a vigorous defense by John Adams, which focused on inconstancies in the eyewitness testimony, all but two were acquitted. </li></ul><ul><li>Following the incident, Boston silversmith Paul Revere created an engraving heavily stilted toward the American perspective. </li></ul>Revere’s Engraving of the Boston Massacre
Internal vs. External Taxes <ul><li>The American colonists had long maintained that England was free to impose external, or indirect taxes, on the colonies but, as Americans did not have representation in Parliament, England could not levy internal, or direct taxes, on the colonists. In other words, the colonists believed that England could impose taxes through trade regulation on the entire British Empire but could not directly tax the colonists or their economic activity. </li></ul><ul><li>Although few in England understood the distinction, in 1767 Parliament acquiesced to colonial demands and enacted the Townshend Duties which shifted the form of colonial taxation to import and export duties. </li></ul><ul><li>The American colonists however were evidently no longer satisfied with this distinction and reacted to the Townshend Duties with the same sorts of violence that surrounded the Stamp Act. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1770, British Prime Minister Lord North again gave into the colonists and repealed all of the Townshend Duties except the tax on tea. Americans responded with a boycott of English tea. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The tea tax was the most profitable of the Townshend Duties and served as a price support for the British East India Tea Company. Maintaining the tea tax also allowed North to claim that he had not given into the colonists entirely. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In 1773, Parliament passed the Tea Act which allowed the struggling East India Tea Company to sell 18 million pounds of surplus tea at a discount in the colonies. </li></ul><ul><li>American colonists saw the Tea Act as an attempt to break the boycott through offering a steeply discounted price and reacted violently. </li></ul>
The Boston Tea Party <ul><li>In December 1773 colonists prevented British East India Tea Company ships from docking in Boston. </li></ul><ul><li>For two weeks Governor Hutchinson negotiated fruitlessly with the colonists to allow the ships to pass. </li></ul><ul><li>On the night of 16 December 1773, American colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians boarded the ships and, over the course of three hours, dumped 342 cases of tea into Boston Harbor. </li></ul><ul><li>Although British troops were stationed near by, they did not intervene for fear of provoking a larger incident. </li></ul>The Boston Tea Party
The Intolerable Acts: A Prelude to War <ul><li>In 1774, The British responded to the Boston Tea Party with five pieces of legislation designed to punish the American colonists. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Boston Port Act closed the port of Boston to all commercial shipping and crippled the city’s maritime economy. (31 March 1774) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Massachusetts Government Act abolished that colony’s colonial government. (20 May 1774) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Administration of Justice Act exempted British colonial officials from colonial courts. (20 May 1774) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Quartering Act required the colonists to pay for the upkeep of British soldiers sent to restore calm. (2 June 1774) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Quebec Act allowed the territory recently gained from France to retain its structure of government and its Catholic faith in a Protestant country. (22 June 1774) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>These bills were collectively referred to as the Intolerable Acts within the colonies and served as the final act before the revolution. </li></ul>