Lead-up to the Revolution

Key Dates, Events, and Ideas to Remember

The View from the British Side

With the passage of the Sugar Act (1764) and the Stamp Act (1765) the British began to levy what they believed to be a fair share of colonial responsibility for the defense and upkeep of the colonies. Additionally, the Currency Act (1764) banned colonial currency and notes of credit that were unregulated and of exceptionally questionable value.

The View from the Colonies

The colonists had grown used to the British passing laws and taxes but not enforcing either (salutary neglect). Additionally, by 1776, the colonists had over 150 years of experience at self-government (e.g. House of Burgesses - 1619, Mayflower Compact - 1620). Lastly, the colonists felt that Parliament could only tax and regulate trade because the colonies were not directly represented in Parliament (e.g. Sam Adams and James Otis - "No taxation without representation").

Some Key Events

Between 1763 and 1776, the colonists changed their appeals from that of loyal British citizens to those based on unalienable or natural rights.

The radicalization of the average colonist was in part based upon a series of events that utilized collective colonial response and action against the British.

Collaboration. The Stamp Act Congress (1765), the Non Importation Agreements (1768), aid to a beleaguered Boston (1774-75), and the calling of the First Continental Congress (1774) and the Second Continental Congress (1775) brought unity to an eventual colonial cause of revolution.


The Enlightenment. The ideas of John Locke (natural rights theory - pictured) and Roseau

( social contract theory - not pictured) became paramount in colonial demands by 1776. Gone were petitions and remonstrances of loyal British citizens. Replacing the petitions were the ideas of the Enlightenment ("...life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness").

Declaration of Independence

Linked is the Declaration of Independence. The phone number is for Valley High School. No