Before we go to the 1st continental congress • I want focus on one of the other intolerable acts • The Massachusetts Government Act • And its role in the start of the revolution
If we treat American patriots as innocent victims • i.e. the attack by well armed British regulars on a few militiamen at Lexington and Concord • We suppress their revolutionary might • Nation came into being because people stood up for themselves and their own best interests
Revolution did not begin with the shot heard ‘round the world.” • Started more than half a year earlier • When thousands of angry patriots overthrew British authority throughout Massachusetts • Except in Boston
Massachusetts Government Act dictated people could no longer • come together in town meetings without permission from Governor • discuss any thing not approved by the Governor • Meet more than once a year
in addition • People’s elected representatives no longer determine the Council • upper house of the legislature • Elected representatives could no longer approve or remove • judges, juries, or justices of the peace • local officials who could put people in jail or take away their property
Citizens of Massachusetts were deprived of the power of their votes • Massachusetts Government Act affected not only • the 5 percent of the populace in Boston • but the 95 percent in towns and villages across the province. • People would not and did not allow it
Due to take effect August 1 , 1774 • first court scheduled to sit in Berkshire County • Court never met • When Crown-appointed officials showed up for work on August 16 • Found themselves shut out of the courthouse by 1,500 committed patriots.
In direct violation of the new law • people continued with their chosen meetings. • Governor Gage arrested seven men in Salem for calling a town meeting • 3,000 farmers marched on the jail & set them free • By early October 1774 • more than half a year before the “shot heard round the world” • American patriots seized all political and military authority outside Boston
How to defend Revolution against British army • October 1774 • five months before Lexington • Patriots from Massachusetts formed representative body • The Provincial Congress • assumed the basic functions of government. • Foremost among its duties • collect taxes and prepare for war.
December 1774 • four months before Lexington • patriots in Hampshire made first offensive move of the war • 400 militiamen stormed Fort William and Mary in Portsmouth
Patriots • took down the king’s colors • carried away one hundred barrels of gunpowder • Following day • 1,000 patriots marched again on the fort • removing all the muskets and sixteen cannon.
Armed attack on a British fortress • an act war, not merely a prelude to war • February 1775 • two months before Lexington, • British intelligence reported that 15,000 “Minute Men” were “all properly armed” • With thirty-eight field pieces and a considerable supply of gunpowder
During the preceding decade, patriots had • written petitions • staged boycotts • burnt effigies • this was something new. • In late summer and early fall of 1774 patriots did not simply protest government • they overthrew it
But first… • Reminder • 1st section of Portfolio due on Thursday • Thursday Feb 18th • This should include everything up to, and including, Chapter 5 Asserting Independence of Kierber • Please make it clear which documents and questions you are answering
Chap. 1: Bonds of Empire • “The Revolution Ode” • How did the author of “Ode” describe James II. How did this poet envision the king's ideal relationship to his subjects? • He wrote that James II reigned… • Why was the anti-French and anti-Catholic rhetoric so appealing to the colonists in 1760? • The author suggests that Anglican Protestantism… • “Of the Constitution of England”
Boston gets all credit for calling this meeting • first continental congress • In actuality both • Rhode Island and Virginia • put out calls about a week before Boston did
Fifty-five delegates from 12 colonies heeded the call of the Massachusetts Assembly for a Continental Congress. • Held in Carpenter Hall Philadelphia
Leading political figures, lawyers, merchants, and planters Attended Philadelphia Congress Massachusetts delegation included both Samuel Adams and his younger cousin John
New York sent John Jay Pennsylvania John Dickinson and the conservative Joseph Galloway Virginia Richard Henry Lee, Patrick Henry, and George Washington.
Most had never met before • Became chief architects of the new nation • Congressmen faced three tasks when they convened • The first two were explicit: • Defining American grievances • Developing a plan resistance. • Third • outlining a theory of their constitutional relationship with Great Britain • less clear cut and proved troublesome.
The most radical • like Lee of Virginia • Argued that colonists owed allegiance only to George III • That Parliament was nothing more than a local legislature • for Great Britain • with no authority over the colonies.
The conservatives – Joseph Galloway and his allies • Proposed a formal plan of union • Required Parliament and a new American legislature to consent jointly to all laws pertaining to the colonies • After heated debate, delegates narrowly rejected Galloway’s proposal • They were not prepared to accept the radicals’ position either
Back in Massachusetts • Suffolk County Convention of the Committees of Correspondence • September 6, 1774, • Joseph Warren introduced the first draft of the Suffolk Resolves • edited and approved three days later • Attacked Coercive Acts also made several specific demands
1. Boycott British imports, curtail exports, and refuse to use British products; • 2. Pay "no obedience" to the Massachusetts Government Act or the Boston Port Bill; • 3. Demand resignations from those appointed to positions under the Massachusetts Government Act; • 4. Refuse payment of taxes until the Massachusetts Government Act was repealed; • 5. Support a colonial government in Massachusetts free of royal authority until the Intolerable Acts were repealed • 6. Urge the colonies to raise militia of their own people.
September 16, 1774 • Resolves delivered to Philadelphia by • Paul Revere • compromise position worked out by John Adams • Crucial clause that Adams drafted in the Congress’s Declaration of Rights and Grievances read in part • ”From the necessity of the case, and a regard to the mutual interest of both countries, we cheerfully consent to the operation of such acts of the British parliament, as are bona fide, restrained to the regulation of our external commerce.”
Notice the key phrases. • “Bona fide, restrained to the regulation of our external commerce” • made it clear they would continue to resist taxes in disguise, like the Townsend duties • “From the necessity of the case” • declared that Americans would obey Parliament when in the best interest of both countries
Such language • Which only a few years before would have been regarded as irredeemably radical • easily and comfortably presented, and accepted, in the fall of 1774. • Americans had come a long way since first hesitant protests against the Sugar Act ten years earlier
With constitutional issue resolved • delegates readily agreed on the laws they wanted repealed • Planned to implement an economic boycott while petitioning the king for relief • To enforce Continental Association • Congress recommended election of • committees of observation and inspection in every American locality
“committeemen” became local leaders of resistance • seven to eight thousand in the colonies as a whole • officially charged only with overseeing implementation of the boycott • Over next six months became de facto governments
They examined merchants’ records • published the names of those who continued to import British manufactures • promoted home manufactures • Thus committees gradually extended their authority over many aspects of American life
They attempted to identify opponents of American resistance • developed elaborate spy networks • investigating reports of dissident remarks and activities • Suspected dissenters were first urged to support the colonial cause • if they failed to do so the committees • had them watched • restricted their movements • or tried to force them to leave the area
People engaging in casual political exchanges with friends one day • charged with “treasonable conversation” the next • One Massachusetts man called before local committee for maligning the Congress as • “a Pack or Parcell of Fools” that was “as tyrannical as Lord North and ought to be opposed & resisted.” • he refused to recant • committee ordered him watched
Those who dissented more openly received harsher treatment • e.g. Reverend John Agnew of VA • Agnew, insisted on warning his congregation of “the danger of rebellion.” • rejected the committee’s summons • Was officially ostracized by its order
Millers would not grind his corn • Doctors would not treat his sick wife and children • committee tried to intimidate him • sent armed men to his church to beat drums and drill during services • When that failed • patriots nailed shut the church’s doors and windows
Finally Agnew and his oldest son fled • but the persecution of his wife and younger children continued • His wife was, she later recalled, “daily insulted and robbed . . . [and] searched under various pretense.”
Late 1774 and early 1775 provincial conventions • Approved Continental Association • Elected delegates to the Second Continental Congress (scheduled for May) • Organized militia units, and gathered arms and ammunition
In short during six months preceding the battles at Lexington and Concord • Independence was being won at the local level • Without formal acknowledgement • and for the most part without bloodshed • Not many Americans fully realized what was happening. • Majority still proclaimed their loyalty to Great Britain and denied that they sought to leave the empire
“The New England Governments are in a State of Rebellion, blows must decide whether they are to be subject to this Country or independent” King George III
Gage took over as governor of Massachusetts in May 1774 • had both civil powers of provincial governor and military powers of his command • Radical leaders knew the time was coming when they must either surrender or raise resistance to a new level
Gage’s plan • Remove powder, remove ability to rebel • September 1st 1774 Gage dispatched a group of soldier to confiscate 250 barrels of powder from Cambridge MA
Response to seizure in Cambridge • almost overwhelming. • Rumors swirled through New England • Militia from as far away as Connecticut marched to Boston’s aid • About 4000 men gathered • They were prepared to fight
Tensions rising in Boston and elsewhere • Radicals began to expand their information networks • When the troops did anything out of the ordinary word went to Joseph Warren
Joseph Warren • Graduated from Harvard in 1759 • Practiced medicine in Boston. • Member of the Provincial Congress in 1774, • Served as president • Drafted the Suffolk Resolves • Chairman of the Provincial Committee of Safety. Intelligence • Commissioned second major-general in 1775 • but served as a volunteer in the battle at Bunker Hill in which he was killed
Warren forwarded news to the committee of safety in Concord • Jan 1775 • Lord North sent orders to Gage to send troop to Concord • “Destroy Arms and capture Adams and Hancock”
Gage organized two groups • One, regular army, under Colonel Francis Smith • Light infantry led by Major John Pitcairn
The shortest way to Concord from Boston was across Back Bay • Boats to carry the troops hauled out of the water and repaired • April 16 were rowed to the men-of-war swinging at anchor in the Charles River. • There they lay ready to use.
Joseph Warren heard of these preparations almost immediately. • no way to conceal the repair of the small boats and their collection in the bay. • Morning of April 16, • Warren sent Paul Revere to Lexington to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams
Revere returned that night, stopping in Charlestown to arrange signals should the British move at night: • one lantern to be hung in the steeple of North Church if the troops moved inland over the Neck • two if they came by water