American Revolution A.P. U.S. History Mr. Krueger
Revolutionary Movement • 1st movement towards revolution came from the gentry (rich) who resented the Parliament’s efforts to control colonial life • Leaders asked ordinary citizens to get involved: • Riots • Petitions • Soldiers • Information was distributed through newspapers, sermons, and pamphlets • They were involved: with the exception of the Civil War, more Americans died in the Revolution (proportionate to population)
An Expectant Society • Colonists of the 1760’s did not anticipate independence • They enjoyed a time of optimism and nationalism • Young population continued to grow (60% were less than 21 years old) • Many of the Americans were not even alive when the roots of the Revolution began • Colony comparison: • Southern colonies enjoyed great wealth – large capital investment in slaves and exports for a world market • Middle colonies – increased exports • New England – lacked the ability to export large quantities
Roots of the Imperial Crisis • 1760 – George III at 22 years of age becomes King of England • Not well educated and weak politically • Destroyed the government structure of George II • He was unqualified and lasted a short time • Few qualified leaders followed George III and showed indifference toward the American Colonies • Any information was long in coming from the colonies (4 weeks) so rumors became true accounts
Imperial Crisis Continued • Parliamentary sovereignty – the English viewed Parliament as the dominant figure, the colonist did not share that feeling • Sharing sovereignty made no sense to the English ruling class • Thomas Hutchinson – royal governor of Massachusetts – stated there is no middle ground between Parliament and the dependent colonies • Discussion point “It is impossible there should be two independent legislatures in one and the same state”
No Taxation without Representation • Americans questioned their need to maintain the supremacy of Parliament • 1763 – Colonists defended the power of the assembly • The Massachusetts assembly has the same power as the House of Commons in England • No Taxation without Representation became the issue • Parliament felt the colonists were represented • John Adams: stated an assembly should mirror its constituents. He felt members of Parliament could not think like Americans, so they could not represent them.
Connecticut Assembly • No law can be or abrogated without the consent of the people, by their representatives.
Politics of Virtue • The colonists had a strong moral component • This was not understood by Parliament or American Loyalists • The reason could involve their strong beliefs (Great Awakening) • American political beliefs were borrowed from English writers • Example: John Locke – Two Treatises of Government • He felt all people possessed natural and inalienable rights • Deserved the right of life, liberty, and property • Stated that agreements must have the consent of the people
Politics of Virtue • Commonwealth tradition • John Trenchard – Thomas Gordon (political opponents) • Felt power was dangerous, and it would destroy liberty unless countered by virtue • What does this mean? • Theme of revolutionary political writing: • Public Virtue – sacrifice of self interest to the public good
Politics of Virtue • 1760’s – Would the colonists continue their opposition to taxation and standing armies • Opposition in Connecticut described Britain's leaders as pimps and parasites • Colonial newspapers spread the ideas through the colonies • The white males of the northern colonies were literate • Colonists now could monitor events in large cities a great distance away, this drew Americans together
Eroding the Bonds of Empire • The Seven Years War created a huge debt for Britain • George III planned to keep a large standing army in the colonies to protect them from Native Americans (not so), and preserve order in Quebec and Florida • Creates more debt • English citizens heavily taxed • On the frontier troops were thin • This was shown when Native Americans (Ottowas, Miamis, Creeks) proposed to stop western expansion • Neolin (spiritual leader) got Pontiac an Ottowa warrior to commit to the cause.
Eroding the Bonds of Empire • The Pontiac Uprising killed several thousand western settlers on the Virginia – Pennsylvania frontier • Proved that the British could not protect the colonies • The colonists intended to settle west of the Appalachians, but the Proclamation of 1763 forbid land grants west of that point • George Grenville was assigned to the debt problem, he wanted colonists to contribute to the debt. This gave rise to English Policies. • What were some of the policies we discussed earlier?
English Policy • The Sugar Act redefined the relationship between Great Britain and America • Parliament expected the colonies to generate revenue • Colonial Reaction: • It taxed them in a manner inconsistent with their rights and privileges as British subjects • Deprived them of their right to levy taxes themselves • Most reaction was from the upper class who had a stake in commerce
Birth of Popular Politics • Stamp Act was expected to generate major revenue – it would validate documents • Colonel Isaac Barre stated the colonists were the Sons of Liberty and wouldn’t go down without a fight. • This fell on deaf ears • In VA’s House of Burgesses Patrick Henry voiced a strong opinion against the Stamp Act • Collections were illegal, unconstitutional, and unjust and will destroy American Liberty • This resolution didn’t pass • The opposition to Henry within the House accused him of treason • Newspapers throughout the colonies reported the Virginia Resolves (Henry’s opinion against Stamp Act) • In some colonies it was reported that all the resolutions had passed – raises the alarm bell for royal governors
Popular Politics • Nine colonies sent representatives to New York (1765) to meet as the Stamp Act Congress • Provides opportunity for leaders from different colonies to meet • Petitions drafted, discussed the idea that taxes shouldn’t be issued without consent • Resistance to Stamp Act spread across social classes • It taxed: Deeds, Marriage Licenses, Playing Cards • In Boston they burned the effigy of Andrew Oliver (tax collector), and when he didn’t resign they burned his office • Nov. 1, 1765 – tax collectors resigned in most parts – stamps stopped being sold
Popular Politics • The Sons of Liberty coerced colonial merchants to boycott British goods until the Stamp Act was repealed • Also threatened to tar and feather • Many joined the boycott • Boston Newspaper stated – Save your money to save your country • Women contributed in the colonies • Altered clothing style • Homespun clothing • Shunned imported items that were taxed • They were discriminated against – no voting, no civil office
British Reaction • George III did not like Grenville, replaced him with Lord Rockingham who feared public speaking • Urged the repeal of the Stamp Act, but Grenville a member of Parliament thought otherwise • William Pit (war hero from 7 years war) and B. Franklin supported Rockingham • Stamp Act Repealed, but to maintain strength the Declaratory Act was issued – gave Parliament supreme power over the colonies • British merchants unhappy about repeal of Stamp Act – said colonies best watch out. • The Stamp Act Crisis had weakened colonial respect for Parliament, the authority of Royal Governors, custom collectors, and military personnel
British Reaction • Rockingham gave way to William Pit (Earl of Chatham) – but was old and had gout so was often away from Parliamentary decisions • His chancellor – Charles Townshend made decisions • Townshend Revenue Acts taxed paper, glass, paint, lead, and tea. Established the American Board of Customs • Regarded as more taxation without representation – colonists were getting better at protesting • Sons of Liberty led boycotts against British goods
92 • The Massachusetts House of Representatives drafted the Circular Letter • Attacked the Townshend Acts • Viewed as Treason by Lord Hillsborough • His demands were voted down (92 to 17) • Circular Letters now became the cause for many colonies • The Massachusetts Royal Governor dissolved the house • Colonists wore the number 92 as a symbol of Patriotism and nationalism • Troops were sent in – Result – Boston Massacre
Aftermath • Lord North becomes new chancellor after Townshend dies – ends the Townshend Acts, but keeps tax on tea to demonstrate British control • Loyalist Americans emerge – results in an end to the boycotts, but debt continues to rise • Thomas Hutchinson becomes governor – he was American, but a Loyalist • 1773 Parliament passed the Tea Act – pulls British East India Company out of Bankruptcy • Problem – Tax collected in American Harbors • Undercuts colonial merchants dealing with the Dutch for tea. • Hutchinson does not allow the boycotts of tea to continue, British ships fill Boston Harbor. • Boston Tea Party
Decisions for Independence • Coercive Acts follow Boston Tea Party • Closed Port of Boston • Quartering Act • Committees of Correspondence – shadow government agencies led by the Patriots against the British • September 5th, 1774 – 1st Continental Congress • 12 of the 13 Colonies • Diverse views • Tried to reason with George III – no compromise • Shot heard around the world – war begins
Second Continental Congress • May 1775 • Formed Continental Army • G. Washington as Leader • Purchased Military supplies, issued paper money to pay for war • Did not declare independence • Dec. 1775 – Parliament passes Prohibitory Act – War on American Commerce • Thomas Paine met with B. Franklin in England – came back to the colonies
Thomas Paine and Independence • Wrote “Common Sense” an essay telling Americans to declare independence • Referred to George III as a royal brute • It was a democratic manifesto • Convinced commoners to break with Britain • Europe, not England, is America’s parent country • July 2, 1776 Congress voted for Independence • 12 states voted (12-0) • Thomas Jefferson drafts a formal declaration, accepted two days later • Much of the declaration consisted of grievances against George III