Causes of the American Revolution
Eva Dwelle 1763-1776
The Navigation Acts were laws from the king that were supposed to restrict colonial trade so that England got more money. Some rules the colonies had to follow when trading were that they could only use English or American ships to trade, and certain products could only be traded between England and the colonies. The colonists never really liked the laws, but when the King passed the Sugar Act in 1733, they became very annoyed with them. The Sugar Act taxed sugar and various other home goods, and the rum distillers had to buy more expensive sugar. The most significant impact of the Navigation Acts was the colonies stopping their manufacturing, and the colonists' resentment toward Britsin grew.
The Proclamation of 1763
The Proclamation of 1763 was written after the end of the French and Indian War. King George III issued it to try to keep peace with the Native Americans. The Proclamation allowed the Indians the rights to their land, as well as restricting the colonists from settling anywhere west of the Appalachian Mountains. This made the colonists angry with the King, and some of them ignored the Proclamation altogether and settled the land anyway.
The Stamp Act
The Stamp Act was another proclamation that taxed any and all paper products. It was created to keep raising money to pay off Britain's debt from the French and Indian War. Samuel Adams and the Committees of Correspondence protested the Stamp Act by boycotting. Samuel Adams also created the Sons of Liberty to protest British policies, using propaganda or sometimes violence. The Stamp Act Congress was a group of nine colonies' representatives who met to discuss what to do about the Stamp Act. They sent a letter to King George III, asking him to repeal the act. He did, but established the Declaratory Act.
In response to the Stamp Act protests, Britain sent over more troops and passed the Quartering Act. The Quartering Act said that colonists had to house, feed, and clothe any British soldiers that wanted to stay with them. The soldiers also had writs of assistance, which were blank search warrants that allowed them to enter and search any house at any time. This was the colonists' first major issue with the Quartering Act. The second was that housing, feeding, and clothing all of the soldiers was expensive.
The Townshend Acts were passed in 1767, requiring the colonists to pay taxes on imported tea, cloth, paper, glass, and other household items. Many colonists again boycotted some of these goods to protest the taxes. The Daughters of Liberty made cloth for some of the colonists, so they didn't have to buy British cloth. Even though the Townshend Acts were finally repealed in 1770, Britain still taxed tea so the colonists knew Britain still had more power. The Sons of Liberty still violently attacked tax collectors, British officials, and their homes.
On March 5, 1770, the tension between colonists and British soldiers exploded. There was a colonist, arguing with a soldier. More colonists gathered to watch the excitement. They began attacking the soldier as well. More soldiers arrived, and the riot grew wilder and wilder. Soon, the soldiers began firing into the crowd of angry colonists. Five colonists were killed that night, and Samuel Adams with the Sons of Liberty used this 'massacre' as propaganda to turn the public even more against the soldiers. John Adams later decided to represent these soldiers in court.
Tea Act and Boston Tea Party
In 1773, the British parliament created the Tea Act. This act said that the colonies could only buy tea from the British East India Company. The Tea Act brought the price of tea down significantly, but the colonists were still annoyed that they had to pay import taxes to Britain. On December 16, 1773, the Sons of Liberty dressed up as Native Americans. As a protest to the Tea Act, they boarded several ships full of British tea, and dumped 342 tea crates in to the water.
The Acts called the 'Coercive Acts' by the British and 'Intolerable Acts' by the colonies were laws passed by Parliament in 1774. They were written to stop the colonists from planning more protests against the taxes. The four laws enforced by the Intolerable Acts were:all trade between Boston and Britain was halted, no more town meetings were allowed, Britain had control of Massachusetts colony, and the Quartering Act was strengthened. Since Boston's port was closed, they couldn't trade with any of the other colonies either. All of the colonies were greatly effected by this. The other colonies sent in goods to help Boston, and all of the colonies began to feel even more rebellious.