The French and Indian War left Great Britain with new territories and new problems. The British government was hesitant to allowcolonists to move west into the newly won lands because they were going to be hard to defend from the Native Americans. Also, the colonists tended to buy British goods when they were still on the coast. Britain could also make sure to control the furtrade if they decided who got to go where in the newly won territory past the Appalachian Mountains.10,000 British redcoats would be sent from Great Britain to help keep control over the new territories.
After the French and Indian War, the British government found itself in debt. Wars are expensive and armies cost money to maintain.Both the King and the Parliament felt that the colonists should help pay off the war debt since the troops that were sent to help the colonists.Former prime minister William Pitt had decided that the British would pay the war debts, but now prime minister George Greenville decided otherwise.
Some colonists smuggled goods into the colonies to avoid paying taxes.Since the taxes were unpopular in thecolonies, smugglers were usually not penalized even if they were caught. Eventually prime minister Greenville would force smugglers to be tried in vice-admiralty courts, which aremilitary courts that do not have juries.The Parliament also allowed for writs of assistance to be issued, which gavecustoms officers to search for smuggled goods.
In response to smuggling, Parliament passed the Sugar Act in 1764. This act lowered the import tax onmolasses, which is a by-product of sugar. Greenville hoped that lowering the tax on sugar would cause less smuggling. Smugglers who were caught also hadtheir goods taken from them instead of being tried in court.
As more and more acts of Parliament were passed, the colonists began to become more and more angry.They felt that their rights were being violated. Laws on smuggling, writs of assistance to search homes, and courts without juries were not things that British citizens were supposed to have thrust upon them.
The Stamp Act was passed in 1765. This tax was placed on all paper products, such as newspapers, wills, contracts, playing cards, etc. All printed material had to have a stamp on it to make it legal. This tax was levied, or put on the colonists directly. It was also done without any consent or permission by the colonies, because they were not represented in Parliament. The colonists were upset because they had no say in these new taxes. They hoped that they could be represented in Parliament, the British government.Reminding the King that they too were loyal subjects, the colonists expected to be treated like everyone else.They said the King had no right to tax them if he would not allow them a say in how they were to be taxed.
The colonies were even more angered by the Stamp Act.Virginia passed a resolution, or a formal opinion that only the colonial governments could tax their citizens.People began to protest more angrily. In Boston, the Sons of Liberty formed under Samuel Adams. The protesters burned effigies of tax collectors to show their unhappiness.People began to refuse to buy British goods in protest of the Stamp Act.Many merchants had nonimportation agreements to not buy or sell British goods.British merchants began to lose fortunes, and the Stamp Act was quickly repealed. With its repeal however, the Parliament decided it did indeed have the right to directly tax the colonies.
In 1767, the Parliament passed more laws known as the Townshend Acts. These laws taxed things like paper, glass, and tea. They also taxed them when they were imported into the country. The colonists were again angered and more boycotts were formed.Women organized into the Daughters of Liberty, and urged people to use whatever materials they had as opposed to using imported British goods.
Section 2-Essential QuestionHow did the colonists react to Britishpolicies?
Boston was the epicenter of dissent to the British government.After enough complaining and protesting, the British government sent troops to occupy major colonial towns.The soldiers that were stationed in towns were not friendly, underpaid, and competed for work with people when they were not on duty.
On March 5, 1770, citizens of Boston were killed in what has since been called the Boston Massacre.A British sentry, or guard, was being harassed by a crowd. He eventually called for therest of the guard to join him. The crowd grew larger and more angry. They began to hurl things at the redcoats.Eventually shots rang out and five colonists lay dead. Among them was a young man named Crispus Attucks, who was an African American.
Men like Sam Adams wasted no time portraying the incident as a “Bloody Massacre.” Pictures of the massacre were used as propaganda to stir up the colonists tosupport people like Adams and the Sons of Liberty. Adams may have exaggerated parts of the story and pictures he helped to spread to the people. Committees of correspondence began toform to send their grievances or problems to the British government. More and more colonists were boycottingBritish goods, and the Townshend Acts were repealed, except for the tea tax.
The Tea Act in 1773 gave the sale and trade of tea to the British East India Company. They had a monopoly on selling tea to the colonists. Merchants who had sold tea before were now cut out of the trade. People began to boycott British tea andwould not let the British ships unload their cargo of tea when they arrived.Some ships were raided by the Boston Sons of Liberty in December of 1773. Dressed as Mohawk Indians, the Sons ofLiberty snuck on board and threw chests of tea over the sides of the ships.This became known as the Boston Tea Party.
When King George III heard of the Boston Tea Party, he decided to crack down on the colonies. The Coercive Acts were passed to punish the people of Massachusetts.Boston Harbor was closed, cutting the city off from food and supplies. Town meetings were banned and Bostonians had to allow British soldiers to be quartered (housed) in their homes.Finally the Quebec Act took away the colonists’ claims to western lands and gave them to the Canadian colony of Quebec. The colonists renamed the Coercive Acts the Intolerable Acts.
What brought about the clashbetween American colonists andBritish soldiers at Lexington andConcord?
King George III and the Parliament realized that colonies were slipping out of their grasp. They decided to crack down and punish those who were stepping out of line. The Coercive Acts were passed in 1774. These acts punished those who were rebelling in Massachusetts.These acts closed the harbor in Boston, banned town meetings, forced Bostonians to take care of and house soldiers in their homes, and maintained a standing army in peacetime. These acts became known as the Intolerable Acts by the colonists.
The Colonies decided it wastime to work together to deal with the problems they had with the British. In September of 1774, delegates met in Philadelphia to discuss theplans for all the colonies. Thegroup would be known as the Continental Congress. Among the men who met atthe Continental Congress wereJohn Adams, John Jay, Richard Henry Lee, and George Washington.
The Congress decided to send Parliament a message askingthem to repeal the acts that had been enacted against them. The American colonies alsodecided to boycott Great Britain.No one could buy or sell anything to or from the British. The Congress also decided to authorize the formation ofcolonial militias, groups of citizen soldiers.
Since New England (especially Massachusetts) was the center of dissent with Great Britain, many thought that any fighting would begin there.The militia trained frequently, and certain special groups of militia became known as minutemen, because they could be ready to fight in a moment’s notice.
King George III decided in early 1775 that the New England colonies were in rebellion and decided more troops would be sent to the colonies.General Thomas Gage was in command of the British troops sent to New England. He was also directed to capture the weapons and powder of the Massachusetts militia.
People began to keep a closer eyeon the movements of General Gage and his troops. On April 18, 1775, Dr. Joseph Warren spotted troops forminglines and marching out of Boston. Warren alerted Paul Revere, who was a member of the Sons of Liberty. Revere rode out of Boston to the neighboring towns shouting “The Redcoats are coming!” The colonial militias would be ready for the British when they arrived in the morning.
70 minutemen waited for theBritish at Lexington, a town outside of Boston. They were led by Captain JohnParker, who formed his men on the common, armed with their muskets.A shot was fired and the two sides skirmished, killing 8 militia. No one is sure who fired the first shot, but it has become known asthe “Shot heard ‘round the world.”
After dispersing the militia atLexington, the British moved on to take the guns and powder away from the Massachusetts militia in Concord. By the time they had arrived, most of the supplieswere already moved somewhere else. The remaining supplies weredestroyed, but more militia were able to force the British to turn back toward Boston.Along the way, militia fired uponthe British marching on the road. They managed to kill and would about 250 British soldiers.
After Lexington and Concord, Benedict Arnold, who was a Captain in the Connecticut militia, was authorized to take 400 men and capture Ft. Ticonderoga.Ft. Ticonderoga was on Lake Champlain. It was located in a spot that allowed access to the Hudson River and New York.
20,000 volunteers wereassembled into an army around Boston.The British and the Continental forces were now waiting for each other to make a move. About 1200 militiamen underColonel William Prescott set upfortifications around Boston on Bunker Hill and Breed’s Hill.
The British decided they had to remove the militiafrom the hills so that they wouldn’t have the high ground.The British fixed their bayonets to the front of their muskets, and began to charge up the hills. Captain Prescott and his men didn’t have a lot of ammunition, so in order to save it and make itcount, he ordered his men “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” Three charges were led up the hills by the British and were all repelled. The militia ran out of ammunition and had to retreat, but they killed or wounded over 1000 British.The British won a tactical victory, but the colonists won a strategic victory.
After Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill, colonists were faced with a choice. Colonists who continued to support Great Britain were known as Loyalists. Patriots supported the colonists fighting to end British rule. They would support the independence of the colonies.Depending on the side they chose, patriots and loyalists would help that side during the Revolutionary War.
In 1775, the Second Continental Congress met for the first time.Among the delegates were John and Sam Adams, Patrick Henry, George Washington, Richard Henry Lee, Ben Franklin, John Hancock, and Thomas Jefferson.
The Second Continental Congress governed the colonies once hostilities with Great Britain broke out. It also: •Printed Money •Set up a Post Office with Ben Franklin in charge. •Formed committees to communicate with Native Americans. •Set up the Continental Army, with George Washington in command. •John Hancock was elected president of the Congress.
The Second Continental Congress decided to try toappeal to the King and to try to convince him to try to repeal the Intolerable Acts. The Olive Branch Petition was sent to the King and was then returned back to the colonists.The King threatened that the planning and meeting of the Continental Congress should stop because they were leading the colonists down the wrong path. People who continued to try to rebel were told that they would be hung.At the same time the Olive Branch Petition was sent tothe King, George Washington was taking command ofthe Continental Army that was in and around Boston.King George sent 30,000 hired Hessian mercenaries to fight alongside the British in the colonies.
The Patriots attacked and capturedMontreal, Canada. They were led by Brigadier General Richard Montgomery. A similar attack by Montgomery and Benedict Arnold on Quebec failed. General Washington had beguntraining the militia around Bostonshortly after the Battle of Bunker Hill.By early 1776, Washington and hisContinental Army formed aroundBoston and began to fire cannons into it.The British, led by General Howe, quickly retreated out of the city.
By 1776, more and more people were supporting complete independence from Great Britain.In January, 1776, author Thomas Paine wrote a pamphlet called Common Sense.In it, Paine argued for complete independence from Great Britain.
The Continental Congress continued to debate on whether or not they should declare themselves independent states. The idea was proposed by RichardHenry Lee of Virginia after his colonial government approved of the idea.As the debate continued a committee was formed to draft a document to read to the people in case theCongress did vote for independence. John Adams led the committee, and Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin were both members of it.
Adams asked Thomas Jefferson to write the first draft of what would become the Declaration of Independence.Jefferson used many ideas of English philosopher John Locke, some of which were: •That people had the right to life, liberty, and property.•Governments existed to protect the rights of the people.•A government that did not protect the rights of the people could be overthrown.
The Declaration was presented to the Continental Congress and approved on July 4, 1776. The vote for independence was on July 2, 1776. Twelve of thirteen states agreed to independence, with New York abstaining. John Hancock was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence.
The Declaration of Independence can be broken up into 4 sections: 1. The Preamble- Explains why the colonies are doing what they are doing. 2. The rights of the people.3. The complaints against Great Britain and King George III. 4. The actual declaration of the independence of the colonies and the formation of the United States of America.