The Triangle Trade was a system of shipping goods
and slaves between Africa, England, and the 13
The Great Awakening
Religion was a major part of
people’s lives in the early
American Colonies. In the
mid-1700s a religious movement
known as the Great Awakening
swept over the 13 colonies.
Religious leaders, such as
Jonathan Edwards and George
Whitefield, traveled, preaching to
thousands of followers that
Americans needed a spiritual and
moral rebirth. The Great
Awakening helped to religiously
unify the 13 colonies.
In the 1600s, the British government
passed as series of Navigation Acts.
These acts stated that the13
colonies (belonged to England) could
trade only with the mother country
(England). Around the 1750s,
England began to strictly enforce the
Navigation Acts which upset many
colonists, particularly the colonies
whose economy depended on trade
French and Indian War
Between 1754 and 1763, Britain and France
fought the French and Indian War.
The French and the English were competing for
land and trading rights in a territory called thee
Ohio Valley, just west of Pennsylvania. Each
nation saw this territory as vital in its effort to
increase its own power and wealth while also
limiting the strength of its rival.
The English victory in the war decided the
colonial fate of North America. The war left
England broke. To gain more money the British
government started taxing the colonists.
In addition, to keep colonists from starting a war
with the Native Americans in the Ohio Valley
the English created the Proclamation of 1763.
Proclamation of 1763
The Proclamation of 1763 prohibited
colonists from settling west of the
Appalachian Mountains, particularly in
the new Ohio Valley. This
proclamation was in response to
conflict between Native Americans
England created the Proclamation
Line to stop movement of colonists.
This measure was intended to halt
wars but by instead greatly angered
The stamp act was a special tax put on all
paper goods in 1765. The taxed items
carried the stamp, which gave it the name
After the French and Indian War, England’s
government needed a way to raise money
to pay for the expensive war. England felt
that since the war benefited the colonies,
that the colonists should pay for it.
Since the colonies already had a long
history to self-government, they were not
about to pay a tax to the English
government that they had no say in. In
response, colonists refused to pay it,
boycotted the goods with the tax and even
tarred & feathered tax collectors. England
eventually repealed (took away) the Stamp
In 1773, after several attempts to get
money out of the colonies through taxes,
England passed the Tea Act.
England’s East India Company was in
financial trouble. In order to help the
company out, England passed the Tea
Act which said the 13 colonies could buy
tea only from the East India Company.
Even though the Tea Act made tea
cheaper for the 13 colonies, the colonists
were furious that they could only buy tea
from one company. Many colonists
boycotted (refused to buy) the tea.
The Boston Tea Party
The famous protest called the Boston Tea
Party occurred in 1773.
The Tea Act elicited many responses from
the colonists from boycotts to refusing to
allow the tea off the ships.
Members of the Sons of Liberty in Boston, a
colonial protest group led by Samuel
Adams, boarded British Tea ships disguised
as American Indians and dumped the tea
into the harbor.
Thousands of dollars in tea were destroyed.
King George and the Parliament of England
were so upset with the colonists’ actions
that they made a series of laws called the
Coercive Acts to punish the 13 colonies.
The Intolerable Acts
(a.k.a. Coercive Acts)
In 1773, the Parliament of England passed the
Coercive Acts, but the colonists referred to
them as the Intolerable Acts.
After the Boston Tea party, King George and
Parliament wanted to punish the colonies by
closing Boston Harbor, the cities life line for
food and trading. The acts also temporarily
ended Town Meetings in New England.
The Coercive Acts were so hurtful to the
colonies, especially New England, that colonists
considered them intolerable.
Eventually fighting broke between colonial
militias and the British soldiers at the battles of
Lexington and Concord. Also, because of their
anger, the colonies joined together to help
Boston and formed the 1st Continental Congress
and later the 2nd Continental Congress.
The 1st Continental Congress
First Political Cartoon of the Colonies
It urged the colonies to join together to fight
Second Continental Congress
In the early summer of 1776,
representatives (from the 13 colonies) met
in Philadelphia to discuss the upcoming war
The Continental Congress was called
together to unify the colonies against the
oppressive Parliament and the King of
England. The individual colonies realized
that unless they joined together, they would
not be able to win a war against England.
While at the 2nd Continental Congress, many
members wanted to create a statement to
the King informing him of their reasons for
breaking away from England. This
statement was written by Thomas Jefferson
and called the Declaration of Independence.
The writing of the Declaration of Independence
General George Washington
The Declaration of
In 1776, at the 2nd Continental Congress,
the colonies decided to create a statement
to the King of England.
Most members of the Continental Congress
felt a Declaration of Independence was
important to justify the fighting that had
already begun between the colonies and
England. Thomas Jefferson, the main writer
of the Declaration of Independence, used
the writings of John Locke to justify the
reasons for declaring independence.
Once the Declaration was signed and
approved, the colonies officially had decided
to break away from England and form their
own country. Today it serves as one of the
most important foundational documents for
the United States of America.
The Declaration of Independence