Events Leading Up To The American Revolution

Essay, Research Paper

With the research that I have done, I have come up with the following information

on the events leading to the American Revolution.

After the French-Indian War the British Government decided to reap greater

benefits from the colonies. The colonies were pressed with greater taxes without any

representation in Britain. This eventually lead to the Boston Tea Party. In retaliation the

British passed what are now considered the Intolerable (or Coercive Acts) to bring the

colonies to the heal of the King.

The Intolerable (or Coercive Acts)

*Quartering Act: Effective March 24, 1765

This bill required that colonial authorities to furnish barracks and supplies

to British troops. In 1766, it was expanded to public houses and

unoccupied buildings.

*Stamp Act: Effective March 24, 1765

This bill raised revenue in the American colonies. The bill require that all

legal documents, licenses, commercial contracts, newspapers, pamphlets,

and playing cards to have a tax stamp on them. This act was already in

place in Great Britain and just extended itself into the colonies. It was put

in place to raise money to cut the costs of keeping the military troops in the

colonies. It was undebated in Britain, but it brought much opposition

among the colonists, who said that it was because they had no

representation in Parliament, and that they couldn?t be taxed without

having some voice in the matters. Colonial businessmen stopped importing

British goods until Britain would repeal the act. Most of the colonists

refused to use the stamps on business papers and courts would not use

them on official documents. Since it was opposed by the British business

community the act was repealed by the British Parliament on March 4,

1766, after Benjamin Franklin, Pennsylvania?s representative in London,

spoke on behalf of the American colonists. It?s repeal was followed by the

Declaratory Act which gave the British Government the right to legally tax

the colonists by any acts they wanted.

*Boston Port Act: Effective June 1, 1774

This bill closed the port of Boston to all colonists until, the damages from

the Boston Tea Party were paid for. The bill also moved the seat of

government of the Massachusetts Bay Colony from Boston to Salem.

Most of the colonists were upset and showed sorrow for the town by

setting, the day that the bill went into effect, aside as a day of fasting and of

prayer. To make sure that this act was enforced correctly British troops

were sent to Boston, along with enough boats to blockade the port.

however there where towns in New England that sent grain and other types

of food to Boston.

*Administration of Justice Act: Effective May 20, 1774

This bill stated that British Officials could not be tried in provincial courts

for capital crimes. They would be extradited back to Britain and tried

there. This effectively gave the British free reign to do whatever they

wished, because no justice would be served while they were still in the


*Massachusetts Government Act: Effective May 20, 1774

This bill effectively annulled the charter of the colonies, giving the British

Governor complete control of the town meetings, and taking control out of

the hands of the colonists.

*Quebec Act: Effective May 20, 1774

This bill extended the Canadian borders to cut off The Western Colonies of

Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Virginia. Although this was not passed as

one of the Intolerable Acts it is considered to be one of them because it

stopped forward progress of the colonies and took some of their land.


*Sugar & Molasses Act: Smuggling trade flourished for many decades,

while the British government made few attempts to enforce the Molasses

Act. In 1764, realizing they had massive losses of potential revenue, the

new prime minister of Britain, George Grenville, started a policy of strict

enforcement of the customs laws, and later that year the Molasses Act was

replaced by the Sugar Act. The provisions of this new act raised the tax on

sugar and lowered the tax on molasses; added a tax to Madeira wine; and

imposed a difficult bonding procedure to be applied to all shipped

merchandise. The Sugar Act was generally enforced although its tax was

eventually lowered.

*Townshend Acts: This bill was passed by Parliament in 1767, affecting

the Thirteen Original Colonies The first part of the bill suspended the New

York Assembly, penalizing it for not complying with a law, that was

enacted two years beforehand. That reprimanded the colonies to house

the British troops in the New World. The second part called the Revenue

Act made customs taxes on colonial imports of glass, red, and white lead,

paints, paper, and tea. A later act appointed commissioners in the colonies

to head the custom service and to make sure the taxes were collected.

These acts were overwhelmingly unpopular in the colonies. Because a

colonist published an article that criticized the Townshend Acts the King

dissolved the Massachusetts legislature in 1768.

*The Boston Massacre: The Boston Massacre occurred on March 5,1770,

between British troops and a group of citizens from Boston. The British

troops were housed in the town to stop demonstrations against the

Townshend Acts. Because of constant criticism by the citizens, a squad of

British soldiers, who were also hit by rockets thrown during a

demonstration, fired shots into the crowd, killing five men. The eight

soldiers along with their commanding officer were on trial for murder.

Incidentally, they were defended by John Adams, who would later become

president of the U.S., and Josiah Quincy. Two of the eight soldiers were

found guilty of manslaughter, but claimed benefit of clergy, and were

branded on the thumb instead. The others, including the officer, were

acquitted. The ?Massacre,? as it was called, was exploited by Samuel

Adams to help gather more anti-British support.

*The Boston Tea Party: On May 10, 1773, Parliament allowed the East

India Tea Co. to Export a half a million pounds of tea to the American

colonies for the purpose of selling it without imposing upon the company

the usual duties and tariffs. It was their intention to try to save the corrupt

and mismanaged company from bankruptcy. The effect was that the

company could undersell any other tea available in the colonies, including

smuggled tea. The disruption to American commerce was unacceptable to

many, including Sam Adams. On November 27, 1773, three ships loaded

with tea, from the East India Tea Co., landed at Boston and were

prevented from unloading their cargo. Fearing that the tea would be seized

for failure to pay customs duties, and eventually become available for sale,

Adams and the Boston Whigs arranged a solution. On the night of

December 16, 1773, a group of colonists, thinly disquised as Mohawk

Indians, snuck aboard the ships and dumped 342 chests of tea into Boston

Harbor. The sabotage was denounced by Boston?s less radical population,

and applauded by those more radical. England?s response was the passing

of the Intolerable Acts.


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and Winston, Inc., 1993 p. 412-416.

Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 97 Encyclopedia. (c) 1993-1996 Microsoft Corporation.

South Western. Student Handbook vol. 1 & 2. MacMillan Publishing Co., 1989.

Western Printing. The Golden Book Encyclopedia, Book 1. Golden Press, Inc., 1959.


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