Causes of the American Revolution
Causes of the American Revolution
The American Revolution was a time in history when the 13 American colonies, especially in Boston, protested and rebelled against their British rule. Some causes of the Revolution were how England kept on trying to get money out of the colonies. For example, after the French and Indian War, they taxed the colonists a lot. This angered colonists because they were taxing them on their war debt, instead of dealing with it and paying it off themselves. Another cause that came after the French and Indian War was the Proclamation Line of 1763. This was when King George III stopped the colonists from settling west of the Appalchian mountains, even though they'd just won the right to that land. This was meant to avoid conflict and war with the Native Americans, but the colonists were still angry. Some social causes that united the colonies against the British were the Quartering Act, the Boston Massacre, the Coercive Acts, and many more things that the colonists all thought were unfair. I think that the colonists were justified in claiming their independence, because England didn't really care about the well-being of the colonists, they just wanted to rule over them and get money. They had lots of unfair acts, and I think that all the colonies were capable of ruling over themselves fairly.
The Navigation Acts (1650-1700s)
The Navigation Acts were created to try to put the theory of mercantilism into actual practice. This law restricted trade in the colonies to ensure that England received as much wealth and money as possible. Trade with the colonies could only be conducted with English or colonial ships. Some items, like sugar, tobacco, and indigo could only be shipped within the empire. Things that were going to be traded outside of the empire had to go to England first. The colonists never really liked this act, but became especially angry about the Sugar Act of 1733. This law placed a duty on the importation of sugar from the French West Indies, which forced American rum distillers to buy more expensive sugar from the British West Indies. In 1764, Parliament also passed the Currency Act, which assumed control over the colonial currency system. This cut off gold and silver mines, and the only currency the colonists could get was through trade, regulated by the British. All of these acts put together just made all of the colonies resent England more.
Proclamation of 1763
The Proclamation of 1763 was a British law that was created after England won the French and Indian War. It prohibited colonial settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains, in order to avoid conflict and costly wars with the natives in that area. The American Indians had wanted British soldiers to leave that area, the Ohio River Valley, and an Ottawa chief named Pontiac led the Indians in a war against the British, called Pontiac's Rebellion. The British ended up defeating the Indians, but there was still very high tension. This is when King George III issued the proclamation. Even though the Proclamation of 1763 was made to avoid bad things, colonists didn't listen and were still angry. They wanted to settle on that land, and they also didn't want any British soldiers to live among them.
The Stamp Act (1765)
Parliament passed the Stamp Act in 1765, which taxed anything printed on paper. It required colonists to buy a stamp or seal for all paper products. This was just another way for Parliament to try to raise funds for the colonies and continue to pay the debt for the French and Indian War. Colonists were very upset and resented British rule even more. Samuel Adams began the Committees of Correspondence, groups from all over the colonies that protested British taxes. One of their popular methods was the boycott, where people refused to buy certain goods in protest. Lots of colonial women made substitutes for the boycotted goods. Also, Samuel Adams helped form the Sons of Liberty in Boston, which were secret societies of men who protested the British, sometimes using violence to get their point across. In 1765, a congress of nine colonies sent a request to King George III to repeal the act. Benjamin Franklin told Parliament that repealing the act would stop the protests and a possible revolution. All of this worked, and in the end King George III did end up repealing the Stamp Act. Even though colonists still had many issues with Parliament, they were very happy about their victory.
The Quartering Act (1765)
Due to the previous Stamp Act protests, the British sent over even more troops to keep order in the colonies. They also passed the Quartering Act, which allowed the British soldiers to live in colonists' homes. They had to house, feed, and supply them with whatever they needed. Colonists had two major issues with the Quartering Act. The first one was that some soldiers did not have search warrants, or writs of assistance. Colonists thought that they had lost their sense of rights over their property, and were invading their privacy. The other issue that colonists had were that housing the soldiers was very expensive. This angered the colonists a lot, and once again, increased tension between the colonies and England.
The Townshend Acts (1767)
The Townshend Acts were passed by Parliament in 1767. It put taxes on imported tea, glass, paper, and other items, in order to pay for the rising military costs from the Quartering Act. Once again, colonists boycotted the British goods, and a group of women called the Daughters of Liberty made their own cloth as a replacement of buying British cloth. Also once again, the protests worked and by 1770, Parliament repealed most of the taxes. However, they still left the tax on tea, just to show that they still had the power to tax. Colonists continued to grow angry towards the British, and the Sons of Liberty continued to use violence in protest. This included attacking the homes of British officials and colonial tax collectors.
The Boston Massacre (1770)
Colonists continued to grow angry as Britain send more soldiers to Boston when colonists resisted taxes. On March 5, 1770, a crowd was gathered around an angry colonist arguing with a British soldier. The other colonists began to join in, shouting insults and throwing snowballs at the soldier. More soldiers arrived, and the mob grew more intense and louder. Shots were fired, and resulted in five colonists being killed. Samuel Adams and the Committees of Correspondence shared their ideas with people, using the incident as propaganda, one-sided information used to influence public opinions. However, Samuel Adam's cousin, John Adams, decided to represent the soldiers in the trial, to demonstrate that colonists value the right to a trial by jury for all citizens.
The Tea Act (1773)
The Tea Act, passed in 1773, gave the British East India Company a monopoly over the American tea trade. It was the only company allowed to sell tea to the colonies. The price of the tea was actually much cheaper, but the colonists were still upset that they were being forced to pay import taxes to Britain. To protest and avoid these taxes, colonial merchants refused to unload the tea from the British ships or to sell the tea in the colonies. The Daughters of Liberty also made their own tea to help with the boycotts.
The Boston Tea Party (1773)
The Boston Tea Party occurred on December 16, 1773. To protest the Tea Act, a tax on British tea, some of the Sons of Liberty illegally boarded the ships with the tea on it, disguised as American Indians. Then, they dumped 342 crates of British tea into the Boston Harbor. It made the British government furious. The Boston Tea Party ended up being a very significant event in American history, and a key part of the lead-up to the American Revolution, as one of the biggest protests against any of the British taxes.
The Coercive/Intolerable Acts (1774)
The British were extremely upset about the Boston Tea Party, and British Prime Minister Lord North convinced Parliament to pass the Coercive Acts in 1774. The colonists called these laws the Intolerable Acts instead though, because they were so harsh and terrible. These acts were supposed to make the colonists pay for the tea they ruined during the Boston Tea Party, and also to keep them from planning other attacks. The Coercive Acts stopped all of the trade between Boston and Britain, didn't allow town meetings, gave Britain full control of the colony, and strengthened the Quartering Act. The port of Boston was closed, which also stopped the trading of goods between the colonies and this greatly impacted the economies of all the colonies. Luckily, other colonies decided to help out Boston and support them by bringing them goods. It also sparked a revolutionary spirit through the colonies.
1st Continental Congress (1774)
The 1st Continental Congress was when representatives from all of the 13 colonies met in Philadelphia. There, they sent Parliament a list of grievances, kind of like a list of complaints and unfair causes of protest, and asked for peace. However, King George III refused. This meeting and refusal was one of the final events that led up to the American Revolution.