Colonists' Path to Freedom
By Alex Grisham
The Very Beginning
It all started when the colonists supported the British and defeated the French in the French and Indian War. Under the Treaty of Paris, Britain gained more land in America, which meant the Colonies obtained the land.
The Sugar Act
Following the French and Indian War, Britain was in extreme debt and needed to pay it off. As a start, they began taxing the American Colonies and the products being imported. Parliament implemented the Sugar Act first, which required colonists to pay extra for products with sugar in it. As a result, the colonists simply boycotted the taxed products and forced Parliament to repeal the Act.
The Stamp Act
Parliament soon started taxing colonists on paper products under the Stamp Act. Once again, this simply angered the colonists who began to boycott the products. When these boycotts started effecting the people of Britain and the British economy, Parliament once again gave in and repealed the Act to save themselves.
Declaratory Act and Townshend Acts
Immediately after the Stamp Act was repealed, Parliament implemented the Declaratory Act. This Act simply was Parliament stating their unquestionable right to rule the Colonies and the Colonies had no say in the rulings of Parliament. Most of the colonists accepted this Act because it created a temporary peace between the two groups. However, Charles Townshend soon broke that when he was able to persuade Parliament to start taxing the colonists once again. The colonists responded to this action by re-implementing their tactic of non-importation and once again forced the British to feel the importance of the Colonies in their economy. Soon, this Act was repealed by Parliament too, but they kept the tax on a staple of the Colonies: tea.
Parliament Begins to Act
Parliament tried to show their power to the people of the Colonies by having British troops patrol and suppress any rebellions or rebellious acts in the Colonies. One of the cities the British were deployed to was the city of Boston, Massachusetts. This was a city that had been leading the rebellious acts and had Colonial leaders spread throughout the city so it was a tactically important city to the British. However, one day, guards protecting the Customs House in Boston disobeyed an order and accidentally fired at a group of colonists; five colonists were killed in this accident and the Colonies grew even more angry at the British.
The Final Straw
When the Colonies succeeded in getting the Townshend Acts repealed, Parliament kept the tax on tea. Tea was a daily product used in the Colonies, so when Parliament lowered the tax on tea, they figured the Colonies would be happy. However, the colonists saw through the veil of cheaper tea. They realized that if they accepted the lower taxed tea, Parliament would think the colonists were agreeing to being taxed. So when the tea started arriving in the colonial harbors, ships were threatened, ransacked, and in one case, burned. However, the final straw for Parliament came from the city of Boston. A group of patriotic radicals disguised themselves as Indians and boarded a British ship that was filled with tea. Once on the ship, they broke open all 342 chests of tea and dumped its contents into the Boston Harbor. When Parliament heard of what had happened in Boston, they implemented the Intolerable Acts. These Acts targeted Boston for their rebellious acts and this was the final straw for both the British and the Americans. Soon after, the American Revolution began.