Leading to the Revolution
1763 – Fr/Ind. War ends, Pontiac’s Rebellion, Proclamation 1763 1764 – Sugar Act, Currency Act 1765 – Stamp Act, Sons of Liberty formed 1766 – Grenville replaced by Rockingham as PM, Stamp Act repealed, Declaratory Act 1767 – Townshend Acts (taxes on British paper, paint, lead, glass, tea) 1770 – Townshend duties repealed (except tea), Boston Massacre 1772 – Gaspee Affair, Committees of Correspondence formed 1773 – Tea Act, Boston Tea Party 1774 – Coercive/Intolerable Acts, Quebec Act, 1st Continental Congress 1775 – Battles of Lexington and Concord, 2nd Continental Congress 1776 – Paine's Common Sense, Declaration of Independence
Albany Plan (1754)
Envisioned by Benjamin Franklin
Initially to convince Mohawk Indians (from Iroquois Confederation) to stay with British colonies against French in looming French and Indian War
First stab at a united colonial government
Plan would have been empowered to collect taxes and raise a military.
Delegations from Maryland, Penn., NY, Conn., RI, Mass., and New Hampshire attended Congress.
Plan didn't succeed
Colonists didn't want to cede power to control and tax themselves
British worried that united colonists would be too strong.
French and Indian War (Part of Seven Years War) (1754-1763)
French + Indian allies vs. Britain and colonists (and some Indians)
French wanted to protect fur trade and control Ohio Valley region, built fortified outposts
English colonists wanted to expand west into Ohio Valley
Britain wins war, French abandon New France
Canada goes to Britain,
Louisiana split at Mississippi between British and Spanish
French keep sugar islands in West Indies
Spanish cede Spanish Florida to British
Pontiac's Rebellion (1763)
English victory = trouble for Native Americans
Indians had been able to use French and English disputes to their advantage
By giving allegiance to the Europeans in return for land, goods and the right to be left alone.
Indians particularly disliked English
Because English expansionism more disruptive too their way of life than French
French has sent few colonists and many of those were fur trappers who didn’t settle permanently.
After war, English raised price of goods sold to Native Americans (because they had monopoly)
And stopped paying rent on their western forts.
In response, Ottawa war chief Pontiac rallied group of tribes in Ohio valley
And attacked colonial outposts (Pontiac’s uprising)
British used smallpox-infected blankets to help defeat Ottawa
Proclamation Line (1763)
In response to Pontiac’s Rebellion
British forbade colonial settlement west of rivers running through Appalachians
And forced settlers who had already moved there to return to the east
Colonists angry because they believed they had fought war for territory
British drew line to try to prevent a costly war between Indians and colonists (British in debt)
Proclamation marks end of period of "salutary neglect"
First in series of restrictions imposed on colonists by British Parliament
British had accrued a great debt because of Seven Years War
New King, George III, and his Prime Minister, George Grenville, felt colonists should help pay expenses of empire (at the time, colonists paid lower taxes than those living in Britain)
Colonists believed they had contributed to war by providing soldiers
Sugar Act (1764)
New duty (tax on imports) to stop molasses smugglers
Molasses or sugar was used to make rum which was traded for slaves
Navigation Acts were part of mercantilism (colonies exist to serve mother country)
Molasses Act of 1733 put high tariff on molasses imported from French West Indies (sugar from French West Indies was cheaper than sugar from British West Indies)
Act was intended to protect British trade - not raise revenue income
Molasses Act was regularly violated because it was cheaper to bribe customs officials and avoid conviction in trials judged by a jury of peers.
Also because of "salutary neglect," Britain didn't heavily enforce trade laws.
John Hancock made his fortune from smuggling French molasses
Molasses was used to make rum which was traded for slaves
Sugar Act lowered duty on molasses (from 6 p. to 3 p. per gallon) but strictly enforced smuggling laws.
Merchants and their allies objected
Brought up issue of "no taxation without representation" (see below)
Violators of Sugar Act were tried in "vice-admiralty courts"
Vice-admiralty courts were overseen by a single, British-appointed judge
Without deliberation of jury
Colonists complained that their rights as British citizens to have jury-trial were being violated.
Writs of Assistance
Warrants issued by British government permitting custom officials to enter any ship or building to search for smuggled goods
James Otis, a Bostonian lawyer
Said "writs of assistance" violated colonists' rights as British citizens
The Fourth Amendment in the U.S. Constitution
"No illegal searches and seizures"
Was included in reaction to the British violations.
Currency Act (1764)
Ban on paper money as legal tender from New England to the rest of the American colonies.
Colonists would have to use gold or silver coin (which were in short supply)
Quartering Act (1765)
Required colonial governments to feed and house the soldiers from Britain.
Britain needed to give veterans jobs after Seven Years War rather than absorb them too quickly into the British workplace
Soldiers were to be given:
Housing in inns, livery stables, ale houses and, if necessary, in uninhabited houses, barns and other buildings.
Food, alcohol, candles, vinegar, salt, bedding, cooking utensils
Presence of soldiers heightened tensions.
Sought off-hour employment competing with colonists for jobs.
Most colonies circumvented the Act
Act was was allowed to expire in 1767 (reinstated in Intolerable Act)
3rd Amendment of the Constitution (Bill of Rights) (Ratified 1791):
"No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law."
Regulator Movement (1765-1771)
Uprising in North Carolina
In the 1760s there was pressure on the back country settles with the influx of immigrants from the east (especially Scots-Irish immigrants)
They also suffered an economic depression because of droughts
The population shift caused an imbalance between wealthy and poorer Carolinian
Citizens took up arms against colonial officials
Stamp Act (1765)
Required stamps to be bought and placed on documents
diplomas, newspapers, land titles, playing cards, liquor licences, marriage and birth certificates and other printed items.
Already used in England
Unlike tax on trade, this was a direct tax on colonists.
Income to be used, in part, to cover costs of British troops in America
Violators to be tried in vice-admiralty courts (see above)
Loud vocal opposition
In editorials and pamphlets (because newspapers taxed)
In bars (because of cost of liquor licenses)
“No taxation without representation”
Colonists did not elect members to Parliament so, they felt, they did not have a vote on taxes.
Colonists believed only colonist represents in local assemblies, and not Britain's Parliament, had right to tax them.
Virtual v. Actual Representation
Britain's government argued that Members of Parliament (MPs) represented all British subjects and had a right to enact taxes on the colonies.
Colonists argued that there were no actual representatives of the colonists in Parliament
Colonists at this point did NOT advocate secession
Didn’t want representation – just right to collect own taxes.
Stamp Act Congress (1765)
Representatives from 9 colonies met in New York City (before, was uncoordinated response)
Pamphlet by James Otis “Rights of British Colonies Asserted and Proved”
Laid out colonists argument against the taxes, bestseller
Congress issued Stamp Act Resolves (drafted by Patrick Henry)
Protesting loss of British rights and liberties (like right to trial by jury)
Challenged constitutionality of Stamp and Sugar acts because no actual colonial representation in Parliament.
Patrick Henry also compared George III to tyrannical former British king, Charles I (who had been beheaded) = statement was considered treasonous.
Sons of liberty (Stamp Act riots) (1765)
Secret groups of well-organized Patriots
Mostly from Boston and New York City
Sometimes took law into their own hands
Enforced nonimportation agreements
Sometimes by tarring and feathering violators
Harassed stamp collectors and unpopular officials
By ransacking their homes (example, home of Gov. Thomas Hutchinson)
Confiscating their money
Hanging effigies (models/dolls) of stamp agents on "liberty poles"
Action of the mobs prevented tax collectors to do their jobs
1766 Stamp Act was repealed.
Declaratory Act (1766)
George III replaced Prime Minister Grenville (colonists hated him) with Lord Rockingham who opposed Stamp Act
Rockingham repealed Stamp Act
But linked repeal to passage of Declaratory Act
Which asserted the British government's right to tax and legislate in all cases anywhere in colonies
Intellectual source of complaints
English Common Law and 1215 Magna Carta (1215)
John Locke - wrote that individuals have "natural rights," among them, "life, liberty, property"
Montesquieu - said separation of power in government prevented arbitrary rule
English Bill of Rights (1689)
Signed by English monarchs William and Mary after Glorious Revolution
British Whigs - who denounced political corruption
Townshend Act (1767)
Rockingham replaced by William Pitt (who was ill)
Real power went to Charles Townshend (head of treasury) who drafted Townshend Acts.
Who drafted Townshend Acts
Townshend thought colonists wouldn't object if Britain taxed imports (like Molasses Act) but he was wrong
Taxed goods imported directly from Britain (no mercantile justification)
Glass, lead, paper, paint and tea imported into colonies
Some of tax collected set aside for payment of tax collectors
Meant Colonial assemblies could no longer withhold government officials' wages to get their way
Created more vice-admiralty courts and new government offices to enforce Crown’s will
Also gave customs officers new powers to arrest smugglers
Suspended NY legislature
Because it had refused to comply with law requiring colonist to supply British troops
Re-instituted writs of assistance
License giving British power to search any place suspected of hiding smuggled goods
Colonial resistance more effective with each tax
Reaction to Townshend Acts
Massachusetts Assembly sent letter
Massachusetts Circular Letter
Written by Sam Adams 1768
Sent to all other assemblies asking them to protest new measures in unison
Crown ordered assemblies not to discuss Massachusetts letter (all would talk)
Rallies, boycotts and support of “commoners”
Merchants in Boston, NY and Philly boycotted British goods
Women replaced British imports with “American” products (homespun)
Non-importation and non-consumption of British imports (to hurt Britain's export market)
Result of resistance
1769 colonial imports declined sharply.
Sam Adams and James Otis led resistance in VA
Washington, Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson
Parliament dissolved colonial assemblies
Boston massacre (Mar. 1770)
Anger over soldiers presence in Boston turned violent
Mob pelted group of soldiers with rock-filled snowballs
Boston Massacre = 5 colonist killed (including African Crispus Attucks)
John Adams defended the soldiers in court
To uphold the tradition of fair trial to all accused.
Gaspee Affair (Jun. 1772)
HMS Gaspee was a British customs schooner
Enforced the Navigation Acts near Rhode Island
Jun. 9, the Gaspee began chasing Rhode Island smugglers and ran aground.
Colonists rejoiced and 8 men boarded the ship and burned it to the water line.
The arson was seen as an act of rebellion.
British led an investigation (Gaspee Commission)
But no one turned over the culprits
Committee of Correspondence (1772)
To communicate with other colonies about British activities
To convince more citizens to take interest in the conflict.
Tea Act (1773)
The British East India Company
The Company managed India for the British until the Indians rebelled in 1857 (Sepoy Rebellion resulting in British Raj)
Rich Britons also had stock in the company
Including a number of members of parliament (MPs).
To save the company from bankruptcy, the British government tried to unload East India Company tea on the colonists.
British PM Lord North granted British East India Tea Company a monopoly on tea trade in colonies + share of duties collected on tea sales
Tea was cheaper tea for the colonists (even cheaper than untaxed illegal Dutch tea)
But Parliament had also included another small tax on tea imports.
Boston Tea Party (1773)
In Boston, colonists refused to allow ships to unload cargo
The Royal Governor refused to allowed the ships to leave harbor
Dec. 16, 1773 group of Sons of Liberty members disguised as Mohawk Indians (so not identified and fun) boarded ship and dumped cargo into Boston Harbor (10,000 pounds).
Coercive Act/Intolerable Acts (1774)
Response to Boston Tea Party
Boston Port Act
British government closed Boston port to all but essential trade (food, firewood) until tea paid for
New Quartering Act
The old Quartering Act expired
Soldiers were to be housed in unoccupied buildings
The governor had the authority to enforce the arrangements.
All British officials charged with crimes (including murder) would be tried in England or another colony for trial
Massachusetts Government Act
Tightened English control over Massachusetts government and its courts.
Ended the colony's 1691 charter making it a crown colony
Substituted a military government under Gen. Thomas Gage (British commander of the North American forces)
No town meetings without approval
British had hoped the Acts would scare other colonists - instead it galvanized them to act as a group ("the cause of Massachusetts is the cause of all of us")
Convinced many that semi-autonomy over
Prompted colonists to join together in the First Continental Congress
Quebec Act (1774)
Granted greater liberties to Catholics in Canada
Majority of citizens in Canada were Catholic
Because it was a French colony until French and Indian War.
Colonists didn't trust Catholics
Extended boundaries of Quebec Territory
Impeding westward expansion of colonists
Quebec Act restored French civil law
No local legislature
Colonists feared British would impose a similar system in the rest of the colonies.
First Continental Congress (Sept. 5 - Oct. 26, 1774)
Joseph Galloway (conservative, PA)
Richard Henry Lee and Patrick Henry (radicals from VA)
To list American grievances
Develop strategy for addressing those grievances
Formulate colonial position on proper relationship between royal govt. and colonial govt.
List of laws colonists wanted repealed
Agreed to impose boycott on British goods until grievances redressed.
Agreed to form a Continental Association
Towns set up committees of observation to enforce boycott
Major step toward independence
Supplanted British-sanctioned assemblies in many colonies
Suffolk Resolves (Sept. 9, 1774) text
Declaration by leaders of Suffolk County Massachusetts
Reaffirmed allegiance to George III
Said Coercive Acts were
A "gross infraction on our rights," unconstitutional and an "attempt by a wicked administration to enslave America."
Therefore Massachusetts did not have to obey any part of the acts.
Suggested that counties of Massachusetts boycott all importation and consumption of British goods (incl. other British colonies) until Intolerable Acts repealed
Endorsed by Continental Congress.
Concord and Lexington
British underestimated strength of movement
They believed if they arrested ringleaders and confiscated arsenals, violence averted
Troops sent to Concord, Mass. Apr. 1775
Had to pass through Lexington where confronted small colonial militia (minutemen)
Someone fired shot
"Shot heard around world" (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Battle of Lexington – minutemen 18 casualties (inc. 8 dead)
More minutemen waiting for British at Concord
Militia inflicted many casualties on British “redcoats” forcing them to retreat back to Boston.
Breed and Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775
British defeated colonists in Breed's Hill (sometimes called "Bunker Hill")
But suffered losses at hands of Americans
Loyalists and Patriots
Loyal to Crown,
Government officials, Anglican priests, merchant’s dependent on trade with England, many religious and ethnic minorities who feared persecution
Many slaves believed chances for liberty were better with British (See Lord Dunmore's Emancipation Proclamation offering freedom to slaves who joined British in War of Independence)
White Protestant property holders and gentry
Rest of population
Hoped conflict between Britain and colonists would blow over.
Quakers of Pennsylvania were pacifists.
Second Continental Congress (May 10, 1775 -Mar. 1, 1781)
Met in Philadelphia (moved to York in 1777)
Weeks after Lexington and Concord
Same day as American capture of Ft. Ticonderoga
Headed by John Hancock
Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson
Conservatives: Led by John Dickinson
Radicals: John Adams, Sam Adams, Richard Henry Lee
Established Continental Army (Jun. 1775) led by George Washington (a well-liked Southerner - chosen to strengthen support in areas in South with loyalists)
Olive Branch Petition (Jul 1775) (see below)
Create government offices to supervise policy
John Dickinson and the Olive Branch Petition
John Dickinson believed colonists should reconcile with Britain
Used Olive Branch Petition
Adopted by Continental Congress July 5, 1775
As last ditch effort to avoid armed conflict
As siege of Boston continued
Colonies still loyal to king
Asked George III to call off hostilities until situation could be worked out peacefully.
Radical delegates convinced Congress to order attack on British troops in Quebec hoping the attack would convince French in Quebec to rebel.
Americans captured Montreal but French didn’t rebel
Convinced British officials that no hope for reconciliation
King George III refused to look at Olive Branch Petition
He was not interested in the proposal since he considered colonists in open rebellion (boycotts, attacks on royal officials, resistance at Lexington and Concord)
George issued Proclamation for suppressing Rebellion and Sedition, stating that the colonies were now “open and avowed enemies”
With no compromise likely, the Continental Congress increasingly began to act like an independent government.
Thomas Paine's "Common Sense," Jan. 1776
Outlined arguments in favor of colonial independence and republicanism over monarchy (he called King George III "Royal Brute of Britain")
Hereditary monarchy is outdated institution ("any child or idiot" could fill the post)
Island shouldn't rule a continent
Americans should be committed to fighting battles in Europe
Bigger success than James Otis’s Rights of British Colonies Asserted and Provided.
Paine’s pamphlet (written in plain language) sold more than 100,000 copies in first 3 months, despite the fact that most of the colonies 2 million people couldn't read (higher literacy in New England because of Puritan legacy of teaching children to read the Bible)
Said "'Tis time to part."
Convinced colonists to fight for independence, not reconciliation
Richard Henry Lee
Lee was Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress
Presented Virginia's resolution to the Continental Congress;
"Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states...absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved."
Loyalists and moderates left Congress, Patriots took over
Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
Commissioned to Thomas Jefferson
Based on the philosophy of John Locke of government
Enumerates colonies’ grievances against the King of England (George III)
Also includes principles that the government has the responsibility to protect individual freedoms and rights ("life, liberty and pursuit of happiness")
Signed July 4, 1776 by John Hancock, who was the president of the Second Continental Congress, and others