The American Revolution • The Revolution = more than the War of Independence • A revolution in thought… • Colonists begin to see themselves as distinct from Britain • Begin to question the need for monarchy • A long process that is accelerated by the events of 1763-1776
Causes of the American Revolution • A combination of ideas, issues, and events. • There is no one cause.
1763-1776 -- Change in British policy towards the colonies. • No more salutary neglect after F & I War… • Reasons: • Debt • Large territory to govern / protect • George Grenville • Proclamation of 1763 • Sugar Act of 1764 • Stamp Act of 1765
A revenue-seeking tax to support the cost of keeping the military in the colonies. Taxes a wide range of items: legal documents, cards, dice, newspaper, etc. First direct tax in the colonies Stamp Act
Reaction to the Stamp Act • Colonists see the act as an attack on their liberties. • Drains money from pockets (tax must be paid in gold or silver), creating hardships • “Standing Armies” = bad! • Only locally elected legislatures can tax colonists…not a distant government with no representatives. (TAXATION W/O REPRESENTATION)
Response to Stamp Act • Political Protests • Stamp Act Congress • 9 colonies send delegates • Issues petition to England calling for repeal. • First step towards inter-colonial unity.
Response to Stamp Act • Popular Protests • Sons of Liberty – formed by Samuel Adams in Boston • Use intimidation and violence to force Stamp agents to resign.
Response to Stamp Act • Economic Protests • Boycott of British goods • Colonies purchase ¼ of all goods out of England…so a boycott hurts. • Enforced in communities by the Sons of Liberty. • Women’s role: “the homespun movement”
Repeal of the Stamp Act • Economic pressure and ineffectiveness of the Act (no $ is ever collected) prompt Britain to repeal it in 1766. • Parliament passes the Declaratory Act • Claims “absolute authority” over the colonies and the right to pass any laws. • Thus, crisis passes, but the issue of power remains.
More Taxes • Townshend Duties • Import duties = indirect tax • On glass, paint, lead, and tea • Colonists upset by • Tax on tea • 1 million tea drinkers in the colonies! • Duties will pay salaries of royal officials • Takes away the “power of the purse” – legislatures paid governors and judges, therefore had power over them. • Reaction: • Non-importation (boycott) • Smuggled tea is common • Britain sends troops to Boston
Boston “Massacre” -- March 1770 • Mob of 60 colonists v. 10 soldiers • 11 colonists killed and wounded • Paul Revere’s engraving -- propaganda • John Adams = defense attorney for soldiers • Repeal of Townshend Duties • Collects £295 but costs £170,000 to administrate • Repeal all duties except tea tax.
Uniting the Colonies • Committees of Correspondence • Committees that encourage communication between the colonies. • Started by Samuel Adams in 1772 • Called the “penman of the revolution” • British call him “the foulest, subtlest, and most venomous serpent ever issued from the egg of sedition.” • Keeps colonies informed and response unified.
The Final Steps Towards Rebellion • Tea Act, 1773 • An attempt to save the British East India Co. from bankruptcy. • Allows BEICO to import tea directly to the colonies. • Merchants protest with tea parties. • Boston Tea Party, Dec. 1773 • British Response • The Coercive Acts (aka the “Intolerable Acts) • Close Boston Harbor • Suspends the Massachusetts legislature • Establishes martial law under General Gates • An overreaction & miscalculation • An attempt to isolate Massachusetts, but instead unites the colonies.