Causes of the American Revolution

1763-1776

Causes of the American Revolution

The American Revolution was a long war between England and their colonies in America from 1775 to 1783. Some social causes of the American Revolution include the Quartering Act, the Coercive Acts, and the Boston Massacre. Economic policies enforced by Britain were the Stamp Act, Townshend Act, and the Tea Act. The American colonists were completely justified for Independence from England. King George treated them like the country's slaves, and the colonists almost never agreed with an English policy. Their disconnection with the mother land (both socially and physically) mixed with the colonists will to govern themselves made for perfect reasoning for Independence.
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Navigation Acts

The Navigation Acts were passed in order to make the colonists conduct trade with England only, so King George would benefit more. This is an example of mercantilism. With these acts came new rules for the colonists. They stated that trade with colonies could only be done with English or Colonial ships. Another rule said that any trade the colonists wanted to conduct with nations not apart of the empire had to go through England first. Then, Parliament passed the Sugar Act, which forced the colonies to buy their sugar from the British West Indies only versus the French East Indies. These acts ultimately stifled manufacturing in the thirteen colonies, and added more tension between the colonies and the mother county.

The Proclamation of 1763

The Proclamation of 1763 was signed after the French and Indian War in 1763. King George issued this proclamation to keep colonists from settling west of the Appalachian Mountains because he wanted to avoid another costly war with the natives and he acknowledged their ownership of the land. This made the colonists angry because they wanted to move west and didn't want soldiers living among them.

The Stamp Act

The Stamp Act was one of many taxes on the colonies, but this one was on all paper goods. England found themselves in heavy debt after the French and Indian War, so they taxed their American colonists with the Stamp Act. A group called the Committees of Correspondence and Samuel Adams began to boycott the British goods. Samuel Adams eventually created his own group called the Sons of Liberty, who protested the British policies and got a message across about how the felt about England and King George. The colonies gathered at the Stamp Act Congress and discussed their displeasure with the mother country and how they believed only colonial governments should tax the colonists. In response, King George passed the Declaratory Act, which mainly stated that Parliament had control and authority over colonial legislature.

Quartering Act

For King George, the Declaratory Act wasn't enough protest for the colonies angry protests. So, England passed the Quartering Act, which sent even more British soldiers, or "redcoats" to the city of Boston. The Quartering Act forced the colonists to house and feed the soldiers in Boston. This caused lots of anger within the colonists for multiple reasons. The first was that they were uncomfortable with crowds of soldiers showing up at their houses with writs of assistance, which were essentially blank search warrants.. The other issue was how expensive it was to buy enough food and to pay for the hospitality of the soldiers.

Townshend Acts

The next tax placed on the colonists was enforced in the Townshend Acts, a document that placed a tax on items such as glass, paper, and imported tea. A group called the Daughters of Liberty helped boycott these goods in protest by sewing their own cloth. Eventually the Acts were repealed, but England continued the tax on tea because it was so popular. Then, the Sons of Liberty joined in on the protests by attacking the homes of British officials and tax collectors as well.

The Boston Massacre

On March 5th, 1770, a large crowd grew around a colonist arguing with a British soldier. More soldiers showed up as the angry crowd continued to shout and throw snowballs at the soldiers. Then, a soldier shot into the mob and more shots followed killing five colonists. The news spread like a forest fire through the colonies as Samuel Adams used the event as propaganda by calling it massacre though only five people died. Sam's cousin, John Adams, defended the soldiers in court to show that everyone deserved a fair trial even though he was also a patriot.

Tea Act & The Boston Tea Party

The Tea Act was another law passed by Parliament that gave the British East India Company a monopoly over the colonists, meaning this was the only company the colonists were allowed to get their tea from. Even though this tea was cheaper, it made the colonists angry because they did not want to pay import taxed to England. Then, the Sons of Liberty disguised themselves as Native Americans, went on board tea ships, and threw 342 crates of the tea overboard into the Boston Harbor.

Coercive Acts (Intolerable Acts)

Officially called the Coercive Acts, many colonists just called them the Intolerable Acts because they disagreed with them so much. These acts enforced some new laws, but these four were the most significant. The first two halted trade from Boston to Britain, and prohibited town meetings. The next one said that Britain had complete control of the colony, and the last strengthened the Quartering Act (see Quartering Act). At this point, the colonies had united together more than ever and all colonies supported Boston now that trade was also disallowed between Boston and other colonies. As colonies continued to protest England's power and be taxed without representation, Revolutionary spirit became distinct within the thirteen colonies.