The Road to Revolution
A.P. U.S. History
Chapter 7
1763-1775
• Victory in the Seven Years’ War
(French and Indian War) made
Britain the master of a vast North
American empire.
• A change in their policy was to
compel the American colonies to
pay for some of the debt incurred
protecting them.
• American settlers didn’t have the
age old traditions and social
restraints that bound their
ancestors; they got a clean slate to
start a new society and way of life.
• Republicanism- took root in the
minds of American colonists by
the mid-18th century.
– Modeled on Greek and Roman
republics
• Said that a just society is one in
which all citizens willingly
subordinate their private,
selfish interests to the common
good and that the stability of
society and the authority of
government depend on the
virtue of the citizenry
• Radical Whigs- a group of
British political commentators
(widely followed in the
colonies) who warned citizens
to be on guard against
corruption and to be eternally
vigilant against possible
conspiracies to take their hard
won liberties. They argued
against the arbitrary power o
the monarch (king).
• These 2 ideals or ways of
thinking kept Americans on
alert against any threat to their
rights.
• “Distance weakens authority;
great distance weakens
authority greatly.”
• Mercantilism: the economic
policy behind colonialism
– Says that wealth (and military
and political power) are
measured by the amount of gold
or silver in a country’s treasury.
– Colonies exist to make money for
the mother country.
– The colonies provided raw
materials and potential markets
for finished products from the
mother country.
– Self-sufficiency and selfgovernment are not part of
mercantilism.
• The colonists also
benefited from
mercantilism in that they
had a country full of fine
finished products from
which to buy from.
– They also benefited from
having the protection of the
world’s strongest army and
navy without paying for it.
Navigation rules were
loosely enforced
• The Navigation Acts- 1650- an early
attempt to enforce mercantilist policy.
– Said all commerce flowing to and
from the colonies could only be
transported in British or colonial
vessels. (getting rid of Dutch shipping
competition)
– European goods headed for America
had to go through Britain first so that
they could be taxed.
– Certain “enumerated” products (like
tobacco) could only be sold to Britain
even though they might fetch a
higher price in a foreign country.
– As restrictive as they seemed, the
Navigation Laws were only loosely
enforced.
– John Hancock made a fortune in
wholesale smuggling.
• Since the colonies typically
bought more than they sold
from the British, hard currency
(gold or silver) was always in
short supply, so bartering was
very common.
• Britain emerged from the Seven
Years’ War with a debt of 140
million pounds, of which over
half was from defending the
American colonies.
• The relationship between
England and her colonies
became more tense when
Prime Minister George Grenville
began a New Imperial Policy in
1763 (the same year that the
Treaty of Paris ended the Seven
Years’ War) by ordering the
British navy to strictly enforce
the Navigation Laws.
• The Sugar Act was passed in
1764, which was the first law
ever passed by Parliament for
raising tax revenue in the
colonies for the crown.
– It was strictly enforced.
• The Quartering Act of 1765
required certain colonies
to provide food and
quarters for British troops.
• The Stamp Act 1765, raised
revenues to support the new
military force.
– It mandated the use of stamped paper
or the affixing of stamps to proved
payment of the tax.
– Required for about 50 items of trade
including legal documents, playing
cards, pamphlets, newspapers,
diplomas, marriage licenses, etc.
– These taxes were already familiar and
far more expensive in Britain and P.M.
Grenville saw it as an attempt to make
the colonists pay for their own
defense.
– Deeply resented by the colonists. They
felt these new taxes were trying to
take away their liberty
• Many colonies refused to
quarter troops and didn’t
comply with the new laws.
• Violators of the Sugar Act and
the Stamp Act were tried in
British admiralty courts, not by
juries, the burden of proof was
on the defendant, not the
prosecution (so no “innocent
until proven guilty”)
• After the French and Indian
War and Pontiac’s
Rebellion were over, the
colonists saw no need for
the presence of a standing
army in the colonies, and
that the real reason for
their presence was to
oppress them.
• Many colonists argued that the new imperial
policy was instituting “taxation without
representation.”
– Americans believed that only their
colonial legislatures had any legal right to
impose taxes on their people.
– P.M. Grenville dismissed the Americans’
complaints and stated enjoyed virtual
representation in that Parliament
represented all British subjects all over
the empire.
– Representation in Parliament would
actually have not benefited the American
colonists because they would have almost
always been outvoted by the more
populous regions of the empire, namely
England.
The Stamp Act Congress
• 27 delegates from 9 colonies met
in N.Y. to denounce the Stamp Act
in 1765.
– Drew up a statement of their
rights and asked the King and
Parliament to repeal the Stamp
Act.
– It was important in that it
brought together different and
rival colonies for the same
purpose.
– A tiny step toward colonial
unity.
• Nonimportation
agreements worked great
to combat the Stamp Act.
– The American colonists were
united against a common
problem.
– Home woven handicrafts
were encouraged and
popular over British imports.
• The Sons of Liberty and
Daughters of Liberty worked
hard to harass British officials,
encourage support of boycotts
and did an occasional tar and
feathering of customs officials.
• All of the stamp agents had
been forced to resign out of
harassment and intimidation so
the Stamp Act was effectively
nullified.
• Boycotts and non importation
agreements hit Britain’s
economy hard.
– America, prior to the
Revolution bought 25% of all
British exports.
– 50% of all British shipping
was devoted to the
American trade.
– Many Britons were angry at
the fact that 2 million
colonists refused to pay for
only 1/3 of the cost of their
own defense and 7.5 million
Britons had to make up the
slack with very heavy taxes.
• In 1766 the Stamp Act was
repealed.
• The Declaratory Act was
passed on the heels of the
Stamp Act being repealed
and stated Parliament’s
right “to bind the colonies
in all cases whatsoever.”
• The Townshend Acts were issued in
1767 (named after “Champagne”
Charley Townshend) a member of
Parliament who could give brilliant
speeches in Parliament even while
drunk.
– Issued a light duty on glass, lead,
paper, paint, and tea.
– An indirect customs duty payable at
American ports.
– Most Americans still saw it as
“taxation without representation.”
– The tea tax was especially irritable
since 1 million Americans drank it
twice a day.
– The revenues from the Townshend
Acts were to pay the salaries of the
royal governors and judges in
America.
• The N.Y. legislature was
suspended in 1767 for
refusing the Quartering
Act.
• Non importation
agreements sprung up
against the Townshend
Acts.
– Smuggled tea was cheaper
and abundant.
• 2 regiments of troops
landed in Boston in 1768 to
restore order.
• Many of the soldiers were
drunken and profane and
harassed at length by the
American colonists.
Where the #*! are
me quarters?
I just wan
a pint!
The Boston Massacre
• March 5, 1770
– 60 people moved in on 10
redcoats pelting them with
snowballs, rocks, and oyster
shells.
– After being clubbed and one being
knocked down the soldiers
opened fire wounding or killing 11
(only 5 died)
– John Adams served as the defense
lawyer and only 2 were convicted
of manslaughter and branded on
the hand.
• The Townshend Acts produced
295 Pounds in a year, while the
cost of the British military in the
colonies for that same period
was 170,000 pounds.
– Financial pressure forced
Parliament (and Prime Minister
Lord North) to repeal the
Townshend Acts.
– The Tea Act, at 3 pence per pound
(pretty small) was kept in place
just to assert Parliament’s right to
tax the colonies.
• Samuel Adams, of Boston was a
failure at pretty much everything but
politics.
• He organized the Massachusetts
Committees of Correspondence.
– After Boston formed theirs in 1772, 80
more sprung up in neighboring
communities.
• Spread ideas of resistance to British
authority through interchanging
letters
• Virginia created a committee of
correspondence in the House of
Burgesses (their colonial
legislature) in 1773.
• Soon after every colony had a
committee of correspondence.
• By 1773 non importation was
beginning to lag.
• Colonists were beginning to buy
British tea because it was
cheaper than smuggled tea and
cheaper than tea in England.
• In 1773 the British East India
Company had a 17 million
pound surplus of unsold tea
(because so many Americans
refused to buy it) and was
facing bankruptcy
• Parliament awarded the
company a complete monopoly
of the American tea business
and left the 3 pence tax in tact
(which the colonists deeply
resented)
• None of the tea ever reached its
consignees. In a multi-city attack…
• Philadelphia and N.Y. demonstrators
forced BEIC ships to return to London
with their cargoes.
• Protestors in MD burned ships and
their cargoes in protest.
• In Charleston, local merchants refused
delivery for fear of violence.
• In Boston (The Boston Tea Party) the
Sons of Liberty, dressed as Indians,
threw 342 chests of tea into the
harbor.
• Britain responded to the Boston
Tea Party by passing the
Coercive Acts (Intolerable Acts)
to punish Boston in particular
and Massachusetts in general.
– The Boston Port Act closed the
port of Boston until the tea was
paid for.
– Town meetings were forbidden.
– Enforcing officials accused of
crimes would be tried in England,
not America.
• The Quebec Act was
passed in 1774, which
extended the boundary of
Quebec, south to the Ohio
River Valley.
– Protestants and those of
English decent felt violated.
• The First Continental Congress was
summoned in 1774 to deal with the
Intolerable Acts.
• 12 of the 13 colonies sent representatives
(all but GA) to Philadelphia
– This was more of a convention than a
Congress
– They drafted a Declaration of Rights.
– The Association was created which called
for a boycott of all British goods.
Nonimportation, Nonexportation, and
Nonconsumption.
– Parliament rejected the Congress’s
petitions.
– Violators of The Association were tarred
and feathered.
The Shot Heard Round the World
• As the war for independence began, the British was the wealthiest
nation and had most powerful navy in the world
• They did have weaknesses of sub-par officers, long communication and
supply lines, and the distraction of having to protect other colonies
around the world.
• April 1775, the British commander in
Boston sent a detachment of troops
to Lexington and Concord to seize
stores of colonial gunpowder and
capture colonial leaders like Samuel
Adams and John Hancock.
– The local militia or Minute Men
refused to disperse at Lexington so
the British troops fired into them,
killing 8.
– At Concord the British were forced to
retreat
– Colonists used guerilla tactics and
harassed the British on their way back
to Boston recording over 300
casualties including 70 killed.
– After Lexington and Concord The
American Revolution had begun.
Lexington and Concord
• The British Redcoats tried to
take the arsenal (stockpile of
firearms and gunpowder) at Concord,
but minutemen were alerted
by Paul Revere and William
Dawes.
• At Lexington the colonists and
British met, someone fired a
shot (The Shot Heard ‘Round
the World) and both sides
opened up.
• 8 colonists were shot and
killed.
• The battle lasted only 15
minutes!
•
(Read pg 52 in “The Greatest Stories”
• 2.5 million Americans faced 7.5 million Britons (about a 3:1 ratio)
• Britain had a standing army with 50,000 men, while America only had
poorly trained militia.
• 30,000 Hessian mercenaries were hired by King George III.
• 50,000 American loyalists joined the British side
• America did have some outstanding civil and military leaders.
• African Americans fought for both sides.
• The British Parliament was
divided between Tories
(supporters of the King, his
policies, and antiAmerican) and Whigs
(opposers of the King, his
policies, and champions of
American liberty)
• Britain’s army in America had
second-rate officers, the soldiers
were brutally treated, punishments
harsh, provisions and food were
usually scarce, old, and disgusting.
– The redcoats were also 3,000 miles
from home
– Military orders were issued in
London and were not speedy
enough to change with the
conditions of the war.
– America had no real capital or
central city to capture and cripple.
– The country was huge (1,000 by 600
miles)
– Ben Franklin calculated that in the
time the British took to capture
Boston and killed 150 American
patriots, some 60,000 American
babies were born.
America
– Had good leaders in George
Washington and political leaders
and diplomats like John Adams and
Ben Franklin
– Foreign aid eventually poured in.
– Was fighting a defensive war.
– A self-sustaining food supply.
– Believed they were fighting a just
cause.
– But the colonists and the Second
Continental Congress were often not
united.
– An almost non-existent hard coinage
and worthless “continental” paper
money.
• Colonial Americans were actually not
well armed.
• Only a minority of households owned
firearms and many belonged to the
local militia.
• Not a single gun factory existed in the
colonies and an imported musket cost
the equivalent of 2 months salary.
• 1 in 12 militiamen reported for duty
with his own gun.
• Ben Franklin seriously considered
arming American troops with bows
and arrows.
• Clothing, food, weapons, ammunition,
and shoes were always in short
supply.
• Most militia troops were poorly
trained and deserted often.
• Many American suppliers and
merchants made small fortunes
selling to the British who paid in gold
while American troops froze for lack
of supplies.
• Only a minority of the American
population embraced the cause of
independence.
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The Road to Revolution A.P. U.S. History Chapter 7 1763-1775