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  2. #2The road to Independence (1750-1781)

  3. The road to independence • In 1754 the colonists still considered themselves English subjects • Very few could have imagined circumstances under which they would leave the British Empire • The events that led from almost universal loyalty to rebellion are frequently tested on the AP U.S. History Exam • Here is what you need to know:

  4. Albany Plan of Union • 1754 – representatives from seven colonies met in Albany, NY to consider the Albany Plan of Union, developed by Benjamin Franklin • The plan provided for an intercolonial government and a system for collecting taxes for the colonies’ defense • The plan was rejected because the colonists did not want to relinquish control of their right to tax themselves, nor were they prepared to unite under a single colonial legislature. • Franklin's frustrations was well publicized in one of the first American political cartoons – “Join or Die”

  5. The Seven Years War (1754-1763) • AKA the French and Indian War • Colonists called the French and Indian War because that’s who they were fighting • Start of war – English settlers moved into the Ohio Valley, the French tried to stop them by building fortified outposts at strategic entry spots • French were trying to protect their profitable fur trade • George Washington led a contingent on a French outpost and was defeated badly. • 1756 England officially declared war on France • Native Americans allied with the French

  6. The Seven Years war (1754-1763) • Seven Years War – England declared war in 1756 (so it was officially fought in England for 7 years) • When the war was over (England won) England became was the undisputed power of the continent • The treaty gave England control of Canada and almost everything east of the Mississippi Valley • The French only kept two sugar islands, underscoring the impact of mercantilism since the French prioritized two small but highly profitable islands over the large landmass of Canada • During the war many Americans served in the English army and anti-British sentiment grew

  7. The Seven Years war (1754-1763) • English victory spelled trouble for Native Americans • French sent few colonists, many of whom were fur trappers who did not settle anywhere permanently, so the Natives liked French travelers over English settlers • After the war, the English raised the price of goods, ceased paying rent on western forts • In response, Ottawa war chief Pontiac rallied a group of tribes in the Ohio valley and attacked colonial outposts. These are known as PONTIAC’S REBELLION • Proclamation of 1763 – issued in response of the initial attacks, forbidding settlement west of the rivers in the Appalachians

  8. The Sugar Act, the Currency Act, and the Stamp Act • One result of the Seven Years War was that in financing the war the British government had run up a huge debt • New king, King George III, and his prime minister, George Grenville, felt that colonists should help pay that debt • After all, the colonies are beneficiaries of the war • Colonists felt that they provided soldiers, that fulfills their obligation • Parliament imposed the Stamp Act (1764) – established a number of new duties on the colonies • Prior to this there was little colonial resistance to British Rule, there were benefits of being part of the Empire, so most Americans accepted regulations (ex: Navigation Acts) • Colonists felt that Parliament was overstepping its authority

  9. The Sugar Act, the Currency Act, and the Stamp Act • Currency Act – forbade the colonies to issue paper money • Sugar Act, Currency Act, and Proclamation of 1763 caused a great deal of discontent in the colonies • These acts signaled a clear end to Britain’s long-standing policy of SALUTARY NEGLECT • STAMP ACT – Three problems with it • tax specifically aimed at raising revenue. The colonies tradition of self-taxation was being unjustly taken by Parliament • Broad-based tax, covering all legal documents and licenses. It effected everyone, particular literates (lawyers, etc) • Tax on goods produced within the colonies

  10. The Sugar Act, the Currency Act, and the Stamp Act • Reaction to the Stamp Act • “No taxation without representation” became a rallying cry of the Revolution • Because the colonists did not elect members to Parliament, they were not obliged to pay taxes. • British arguments were represented with VIRTUAL REPRESENTATION – stated that members of Parliament represented all British subjects regardless of who elected them • What the colonists wanted was the right to determine their own taxes

  11. The Sugar Act, the Currency Act, and the Stamp Act • Reaction to the Stamp Act • Patrick Henry (VA) drafted the Virginia Stamp Act Resolve, protesting the tax and asserting the colonists right to a large measure of self-government • “Sons of Liberty” – protest groups formed throughout the colonies • So effective that none of the Crown’s duty collectors was willing to perform his job • In 1766 Parliament repealed the Stamp Act • George III replaced Prime Minister Grenville (whom colonists hated) with Lord Rockingham (who opposed the Stamp Act) • Declaratory Act – passed after Stamp Act was repealed; asserted the British government’s right to tax legislate in all cases anywhere in the colonies • Although the colonists won the battle over the Stamp Act, they had not yet gained any ground in the war of principles over Parliament’s powers in the colonies

  12. The Townshend Acts • Rockingham was PM for two years; replaced by William Pitt • Pitt was ill, and the dominant figure in colonial affairs was the minister of the exchequer, Charles Townshend • Townshend drafted the Townshend Acts • Taxed goods imported directly from Britain (first such tax ever in the colonies) • Some of the tax collected was set aside for the payment of tax collectors, meaning that colonial assemblies could no longer withhold government officials wages in order to get their way • Created even more vice-admiralty courts and several new government offices to enforce the Crown’s will in the colonies • Suspended the New York legislature because it had refused to comply with a law requiring the colonist to supply British troops • These acts instituted a writs of assistance, licenses that gave the British the power to search any place they suspected of hiding smuggled goods

  13. The Townshend Acts • The colonists got better at protesting with each new tax, and their reaction to the Townshend Acts was their strongest yet • The Massachusetts Assembly sent a letter (The Massachusetts Circular Letter, written by Samuel Adams, 1768), to all other assemblies asking that they protest the new measures in unison • Colonists held numerous rallies and boycotts, and for the first time sought the support of “commoners” (previously such protests were confined to the aristocratic classes) making their rallies larger and more intimidating • After two years, Parliament repealed the Townshend duties (except the duty on tea)

  14. The Townshend Acts • As part of the Townshend Acts, the British stationed a large number of troops in Boston, and they remained even after the duties were repealed • They were intended to keep the peace, but heightened tension • Soldiers sought off-hour employment, competing with colonists for jobs • Numerous confrontations resulted, the most famous being March 5th, 1770 – THE BOSTON MASSACRE • John Adams defended the soldiers in court, helping establish a tradition of giving a fair trial to all who are accused

  15. The Calm and then the Storm • 1772: British implemented part of the Townshend Acts that provided for colonial administrators to be paid from customs revenues (instead of colonial legislatures) • The colonists responded by created COMMITTEES OF CORRESPONDENCE; created to trade ideas and inform one another of the political mood throughout the colonies • Also, the committees worked to convince more citizens to take an active interest in the conflict • The British then granted the East India Company a monopoly on the tea trade, and a portion of the duties to be collected on tea sales • Boston: colonists refused to allow ships to unload their cargo, governor refused to allow them to leave the harbor • 12/6/1773: Sons of Liberty, poorly disguised as Mohawks, boarded a ship and dumped its cargo into the Boston Harbor – BOSTON TEA PARTY!

  16. The Calm and then the Storm • English responded with a number of punitive measures, known collectively as the COERCIVE ACTS (AKA “The Intolerable Acts”) • Closed Boston Harbor to all but essential trade • Declared it would remain closed until the spilled tea was paid for • Tightened English control over the Massachusetts government and its courts • Required civilians to house British soldiers • The Coercive Acts convinced many colonists that their days of semi-autonomy were over and the future held further encroachments on their liberties by the Crown • To make matters worse, the Quebec Act was also passed • Granted greater liberties to Catholics, whom the Protestant colonial majority distrusted • Extended the boundaries of the Quebec territory, thus further impeding westward expansion

  17. The Calm and then the Storm • FIRST CONTINENTAL CONGRESS: colonists met to discuss their grievances • All colonies sent delegates except Georgia • Convened in late 1774 • Goals of the Congress • Enumerate American grievances • Develop a strategy for addressing those grievances • Formulate a colonial position on the proper relationship between the royal government and the colonial government • Came up with a list of laws they wanted repealed and agreed to impose a boycott on British goods until their grievances were addressed

  18. The Shot Heard ‘Round The World • British underestimated the strength of the growing pro-revolutionary movement • Mistakenly believed if they arrested the ringleaders and confiscated arsenals, violence could be averted • English dispatched troops to confiscate weapons in Concord, MA in April 1775 • The troops first had to pass through Lexington, where they confronted a small colonial militia, called “minutemen” • “minutemen”: they could be ready to fight in a minute’s notice • Someone (probably a minuteman) fired a shot, which drew British to return fire. • Battle of Lexington: 8 minutemen dead • British proceeded to Concord, where a much larger contingent of minutemen awaited them

  19. The Shot Heard ‘Round The World • Battle of Concord: The Massachusetts militia inflicted numerous casualties on the British “redcoats” and forced them to retreat • Battle of Concord is sometimes referred to as the “shot heard ‘round the world” because it showed that a contingent of colonial farmers could repel the army of the world’s largest empire, which was monumental • The two sides dug in around Boston, but during the next year only one major battle was fought. The two sides regrouped and planned their next move

  20. The Shot Heard ‘Round The World • The period provided a time to rally citizens to the cause of independence, not all were convinced • Loyalists: people that remained loyal to the Crown • Government officials • Anglicans (members of the Church of England) • Merchants dependent on trade with England • Religious and ethnic minorities who feared persecution from the rebels • Slaves believed their chances for liberty were better in British hands • Royal governor of Virginia offered to free slaves that escaped and joined the British army

  21. The Shot Heard ‘Round The World • Colonists against the idea of war • Due to the slaves thoughts toward the British, slave insurrections increased, dampening some Southerners’ enthusiasm for revolution • The patriots were mostly white Protestant property holders, especially in New England, where Puritans had a long shown antagonism toward Anglicans. • Much of the rest of the population hoped this would all blow over • The Quakers from PA were pacifists and wanted to avoid war

  22. The Shot Heard ‘Round The World • The Second Continental Congress: convened weeks after the battles of Lexington and Concord • Congress prepared for war by establishing a Continental Army, printing money, and creating government offices to supervise policy. • George Washington was chosen to lead the army • He was well liked and a southerner (VA), bolstering support in an area (the south) with many loyalists • The Olive Branch Petition: adopted July 5th, 1775, a last ditch attempt to avoid armed conflict • King George wasn’t interested in the proposal because he felt the colonists were in open rebellion (boycotts, attacks on officials, resistance at Lexington and Concord • Worth noting: just one year before we declared independence, the colonial leaders were trying to reconcile with their mother country

  23. Thomas Paine’s Common Sense • The rebels were looking for a masterpiece of propaganda that would rally colonists to their cause. They got it with Common Sense • Common Sense: a pamphlet published in January of 1776 by an English printer named Thomas Paine • Advocated colonial independence • Encouraged republicanism over monarchy • Sold 100,000 copies in its first three months to a population of 2 million, many of whom couldn’t read • Common Sense is a primary source on my webpage!

  24. The Declaration of Independence • June 1776, Congress commissioned Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence • The Declaration of Independence • Enumerates the colonies’ grievances against the Crown • Articulates the principle of individual liberty and the government’s fundamental responsibility to serve the people • Despite it’s flaws (pertained to only white, propertied men) it remains a work of enormous power • With the Declaration signed on July 4th, 1776, the Revolutionary War became a war for independence

  25. The Revolutionary War • Facts about the war (you should know a few) • The Continental Army (as opposed to local militias) had trouble recruiting good soldiers • Eventually Congress recruited blacks, up to 5,000 fought • Most were granted freedom after the war • The FRANCO-AMERICAN ALLIANCE, negotiated by Ben Franklin in 1778, brought the French into the war on the side of the colonists, after the Battle of Saratoga. This was hardly surprising due to the lingering resentment from the Seven Years War (French and Indian War) • The colonists ultimately won a war of attrition, similar to the U.S. in Vietnam two centuries later, the British were outlasted and ultimately forced to abandon an unpopular war on foreign soil • After several years of fighting, the British surrendered at Yorktown in Oct. of 1781 • The TREATY OF PARIS, signed in 1783, granted the U.S. independence and generous territorial rights