Chapter 4.1 and 4.2 Steps Leading to the Revolution
Great Britain’s Acts The colonists are angry with all those acts that taxed them and told them what they could and could not do. Some of those acts also infringed on their rights like due process. Great Britain also started dissolving colonial assemblies in places like Massachusetts and Virginia. The colonists felt like they had no control over their money, their political affairs, or their own lives. Great Britain seemed to be trying to take all their money, telling them everything they could and could not do, and did not seem to care about the colonists’ wants or needs, Great Britain just seemed to care about the people in Great Britain.
Boston Massacre Late 1760s- violence abounds in Boston as a result of the Townshend Acts. 4,000 British troops are dispatched in 1768 to keep the peace. There were only about 20,000 colonists in Boston. The colonists dislike the ‘Lobster Back Scoundrels’ because these soldiers are quartered in their houses, take their jobs, and are enforcing the Townshend Acts and other Parliamentary Acts.
Down with the Lobster Backs! A merchant and British sentry get into a squabble, and the British sentry hits the merchant in the cheek with the butt of his musket. Colonists start hurling rocks, snowballs, ice, (and possibly other things) at the sentry. Captain Preston and some of his men go to help the sentry, and the colonists ‘egg on’ these lobster backs to fire on them. A wooden club is thrown at a British soldier and knocks him to the ground, and “FIRE!” is shouted. 3 Colonists are killed instantly and 2 die later for a total of 5 colonists dying. 6 others are wounded.
Boston Massacre March 5, 1770 Crispus Attucks – a former African slave and half Native American man is the first to die. He is also known as Michael Johnson. John Adams defended the British soldiers, and there was not a single Bostonian on the jury. 9 British soldiers are charged – Captain Preston and 6 others are acquitted. 2 are charged with manslaughter.
Effects of Boston Massacre It’s used as anti-British propaganda – those blood thirsty killers attacking innocent colonists! The Townshend Acts are rescinded (besides a tax on tea). The troops in Boston are stationed elsewhere.
Britain Never Learns The taxes from 1764-1770 led to violent protests, pamphlets, fiery speeches, colonial assemblies rejecting the taxes, customs’ officials being tarred and feathered, and the Boston Massacre. Great Britain repealed some of the acts that caused the most hostility, but it starts more taxes in 1772. Hmmm, Good Idea?
The Gaspee Affair The Gaspee is a customs ship that is stationed off the coast of Rhode Island that patrols the waters for Colonial smugglers. The Gaspee commander would search ships without warrants and steal food from the colonists – so when the Gaspee ran aground, they burned the ship in 1772. The British are outraged.
The Colonists Stand Together The British decide to take these arson suspects to England to try them in court, and Rhode Island protests saying they are deprived of being tried by a jury of their peers. Rhode Island asks the other colonies for their help and support against the British. 1773- Thomas Jefferson’s idea for a committee of correspondence led to the colonies communicating and unifying, which shaped their public opinion so that they can resist the British together.
Benjamin Franklin’s Join or Die Remember way back when there was the French and Indian War on the horizons, and Benjamin Franklin proposed the Albany Plan of Union? He drew that political cartoon to help get his point across that the colonies need to join together back in 1754. We finally see the colonies joining together after the Gaspee Affair in 1773.
Not So Sweet Tea Lord North becomes Prime Minister in 1770, and he makes some mistakes early on. 1773- He decides to help the British East India Company get out of debt. The British East India Company started out as a Joint-Stock Company that later ruled over India as if it was the government – it later became a monopoly for sending tea to the colonies. The British East India Company was in debt because of management corruption, wars in India, and the Bengal Famine 1769-1773.
Not So Sweet Tea It didn’t help matters any that the Tea Taxes led to colonists smuggling cheap Dutch Tea or just not using Tea. The Stamp Act led to colonists using sage and sassafras instead of Tea until the Stamp Act was repealed. The Townshend Acts also taxed tea, and when the Townshend Acts were repealed- the tax on tea was the only one that remained.
Tea Act of 1773 So the British East India Company had over 17 million pounds of tea in stock that hasn’t been sold. The Tea Act of 1773 was passed so that only the Townshend tea tax remained, but all the other taxes on tea were refunded to the BEIC for the cost of transporting tea. Now British Tea is cheaper than smuggled Dutch tea.
Tea Act of 1773 Besides the situation with taxes, the act allowed for the BEIC to sell directly to shopkeepers and bypass the merchant middlemen. Of course the merchants are outraged because they are losing income and power, and this might be the first instance of Great Britain kicking them out of business.
Committees of Correspondence 1773- The committees of correspondence alert the colonies that a shipment of 1,253 tea chests is on the way to Boston, New York, Charles Town, and Philadelphia. The colonies decide that they cannot allow for the tea to land. Hmm, Okay? Well if these colonists actually bought the tea that was still taxed according to the Townshend Acts, then it would acknowledge Parliament has the right to tax them. If the colonists don’t buy the tea, then Parliament’s right seems to hold no more weight.
New York, Philadelphia, and Charles Town The shipments of tea reached the Harbors for the New York and Philadelphia – the colonists “politely” forced the BEIC ship to return back to India with its cargo. Charles Town – The colonists seize the tea, store it in a warehouse, and they only use it 3 years later to sell it to help the Revolutionary cause.
Boston in Turmoil 7, 000 people meet together and discuss what to do with the Tea ships that just arrived. Sam Adams is the leader of the meeting. They decide that they want the ships to leave without paying duties for the fact that the ships have arrived in the harbor. The Customs House and Royal Governor Hutchinson, however, will not allow the ships to leave unless a duty is paid.
The Boston Tea Party Well…we aren’t going to pay the duties and they won’t let us send these ships back to India without duties being paid… Let’s destroy the cargo then. It is debated how much influence Adams had in the Boston Tea Party starting because some sources say the people walked out on him during the meeting. Adams himself says the Tea Party was not the work of a mob. He is a staunch defender of the Tea Party and helps to publicize it though.
The Boston Tea Party 150 Bostonians take action. Some of them are dressed as Mohawk Native Americans – supposedly. The Sons of Liberty involved board the three Tea Ships that arrived in the harbor (a fourth ship was destroyed in a storm) – and they dump 342 chests of tea into the harbor. IT TAKES THREE HOURS TO DUMP THE TEA.
How Did They Pull It Off The ships were being “protected” by the Governor’s Cadet Corps – but they did not attack the colonists. They did not want another Boston Massacre on their hands. It is even said that some of the ships’ crews helped unload the tea. Were these Tea Dumpers sent to trial?
No Trial by Tea The Tea Dumpers were not sent to trial. Governor Hutchinson himself said the jury would have most likely been composed of the ‘Mohawks’ and their friends – so no point. The suspects are also not sent to London or the vice admiralty courts either – the crown and parliament will exact revenge in other ways.
Whose Cup of Tea Sam Adams and the Sons of Liberty support the Tea Party of course, as do the merchants who vehemently hate the taxes. Some merchants sympathize with the British because they imagine it as if it was their cargo that was lost. Benjamin Franklin is disgusted with the act and thinks that Boston should pay double the amount of the cost of the cargo-90,000 Pound Sterling to Britain.
Parliament Brings Down the Hammer In response to the Boston Tea Party, Parliament passes the Coercive Acts in 1774. These Coercive Acts are passed so as to punish Massachusetts and make the colonies submit to British authority.
Coercive Acts Boston’s port is shut down and is no longer a commercial center until they pay for the destroyed tea. Council members, judges, and sheriffs will be appointed by the Royal Governor of Massachusetts instead of elected. Banned almost all town meetings. British soldiers and officials can now be tried in England instead of the colonies. Local colonial officials need to provide shelter to British soldiers, even in private homes when there is a disturbance.
Coercive Acts To make sure Massachusetts were held under the thumb of the Coercive Acts, 2,000 British soldiers are sent to the New England region. General Thomas Gage is now the governor of Massachusetts.
Why the Colonists Are Upset The Coercive Acts meant English rights and rules are infringed, bended, or broken Trial by jury of one’s peers Right to not have to quarter soldiers King raising army in peacetime with Parliament’s consent (colonists wanted their Colonial Assemblies to give consent)
The Intolerable Acts 1774, the Coercive Acts are passed a month ago and Parliament comes out swinging again. The Quebec Act said that Quebec would be run by a royally appointed governor and council. Quebec was expanded to include Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin. There was no elected assembly. Parliament seems like it is out to get colonial assemblies. The colonists start calling the Quebec Act and Coercive Acts the Intolerable Acts.
The Colonists Take Action The British troops arrive in Boston in 1774 to enforce the Coercive Acts. Virginia’s Royal Governor dissolved the House of Burgesses and the burgesses want to end trade with Great Britain and have each colony send delegates to a colonial congress so that they can decide how to deal with the British. Patrick Henry declares at this meeting – “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
Joining Together Joining together wasn’t a new idea, the committees of correspondence helped join the colonies together already. The committees also finally coordinate a plan for this colonial congress, and on September 5th, 1774-the First Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia.
First Continental Congress 55 Delegates from 12 Colonies meet together. Florida, Georgia, Nova Scotia, and Canada do not attend. The delegates oppose the Intolerable Acts, but some want to compromise and others want to go to war over them. Pennsylvania's Galloway proposes a faux Albany Plan of Union, but the other delegates argue it would not protect their rights.
Declaration of Rights and Grievances The British suspended Massachusetts’ assembly and town meetings – and the Congress responds with the Declaration of Rights and Grievances. The delegates asserted they were loyal to King George III, that they detested the Coercive Acts, and that they were forming a nonimportation association (Continental Association) to boycott British goods on the town and county level. The delegates will meet again if necessary May 1775 for a Second Continental Congress.