American Revolution - From Protest to Revolt

1763-1774 From Protest to Revolt

Britain's victory in the Seven Years War ended her contest with France over North American, but began a new conflict with her colonies. Many colonists questioned Britain's decision to keep an army in postwar America, and almost all of them opposed Parliament's effort to finance that army by taxing colonists. They petitioned against the 1764 Sugar Act, which imposed import duties, and the 1765 Stamp Act, which imposed direct taxes on the sale of playing cards, dice, newspapers, and various legal documents. Parliament could not tax them, the colonists insisted, because they had no representatives in the House of Commons, and British subjects could only be taxed with the consent of their elected representatives. When Parliament refused to back down, colonial mobs forced stamp distributors to resign. Direct action by interracial urban mobs was a frequent occurrence in the lead-up to the Revolution. Parliament repealed the Stamp Act in March 1766, but also passed a Declaratory Act affirming its complete authority over the colonists. The next year, it sought to raise revenue through new duties on glass, lead, paint, paper, and tea, known as the "Townshend duties." The colonists responded with a coordinated refusal to import British goods. British troops sent to Boston to enforce the duties only added to the tensions. Ill will between civilians and British troops led to an incident on March 5, 1770, where British troops fired on an unruly mob, killing five people. Local radicals called it the "Boston Massacre." In that same year, Parliament repealed all of the Townshend duties except that on tea. In 1773, Parliament reaffirmed the tax on tea and passed a Tea Act designed to help the British East India Company compete with smuggled tea. Colonists in some ports forced tea ships to return to Britain without unloading. That strategy failed in Boston, so a crowd thinly disguised as "Indians" dumped the imported tea into the harbor. Parliament responded to the "Boston Tea Party" with the Coercive Acts (called by the colonists the "Intolerable Acts"), which closed the port of Boston and changed the form of government in Massachusetts to enhance the Crown's power. It then appointed Gen. Thomas Gage commander of the British Army in America and governor of Massachusetts and placed that colony under military rule. In response, 12 colonies sent delegates to a Continental Congress that met in Philadelphia in fall 1774 to coordinate support for the "oppressed" people of Massachusetts and opposition to the Coercive Acts. The Congress adopted a colonial bill of rights and petitioned Britain for a redress of grievances. - NPS



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Timeline

Y/M/D Description Place
1764/04/05 The Sugar Act is adopted by the Parliament of Great Britain adding new duties on items widely consumed in the American colonies. Medieval Palace of Westminster, Palace of Westminster
1765/03/22 British Parliament passes the Stamp Act, imposing a levy on all paper documents in the colonies. It is the first tax levied directly on American colonists by Parliament. Medieval Palace of Westminster, Palace of Westminster
1766/06/15 I spent the evening with the Sons of Liberty.... We had punch, wine, pipes and tobacco, biscuit and cheese, etc they chose a committee to make preparation for a grand rejoicing upon the arrival of the news of the repeal of the Stamp Act. - Adams diary
1767/00/00 Townshend Revenue Act impose duties on paper, painters' colors, glass and tea.
1769/05/00 George Mason drafts resolutions asserting that only the governor and the provincial legislature have the right to lay taxes in Virginia.
1769/05/16 George Washington introduces Mason's resolutions asserting that only the governor and the provincial legislature have the right to lay taxes in Virginia. The resolutions are unanimously adopted by House of Burgesses on the same day.
1769/05/16 As a protest to the 1767 Townshend Acts, the House of Burgesses unanimously adopted the Washington-Mason resolutions that only the governor and the provincial legislature have the right to lay taxes in Virginia.
1770/03/05 British Regulars shoot American colonist, killing five and injuring six, in front of the old State House Old State House, Boston
1772/04/14 Weare mill owner, Ebenezer Mudgett, leads a riot in Weare to protest King George III's claim to the colony's Pine trees. There is a millstone marker with a bronze plaque on Route 114. Weare, NH, New Hampshire
1773/12/16 More than 5000 American colonists meet at the South Meeting House to decide the fate of three ships (BEAVER, ELEANOR and DARTMOUTH) loaded with tea docked at Griffin's Wharf Old South Meetinghouse, Boston
1773/12/16 100 to 150 men board three ships and dump the cargo of tea into Boston Harbor, the DARTMOUTH was a Joseph Rotch ship.
1774/06/08 I endeavored by my conversation to convince the people that the case of the Bostonians was the case of all America and if they submitted to this arbitrary taxation begun by Parliament, all America must, and then farewell to all liberties. - LC Richmond County Courthouse, Warsaw, VA
1774/06/29 The citizens of Richmond County express their patriotic sentiments and adopt resolutions against taxation without representation. Richmond County Courthouse, Warsaw, VA
1774/12/14 John Langdon leads Sons of Liberty and 400 men from Portsmouth, Rye and New Castle to stormed Fort William and Mary and seized 98 barrels (approximately 5 tons) of gun powder. Fort Constitution, New Castle, NH

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Data
Military Event: American Revolutionary War


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