The Causes of the American Revolution


The Causes of the American


Debts, Taxation, and


War Debts

• Britain accumulated

£123,000,000 in war debts.

• An annual budget of

£250,000 to maintain a military presence in colonies.

The Sugar Act

• Lowered the tax

(duty) on sugar by ½.

• Colonial tax burden?


• Set up special courts for smugglers.

• Response? Led by

Samuel Adams

—non importation/nonconsumption.

The Stamp Act

• Nature of discontent?

• The Law?

Virtual Representation

• “the right of exemption from all taxes without their consent…would deprive them of every privilege distinguishing freemen from slaves.

The Protest

• Stamp Act Congres

• Harrasment: Andrew

Oliver and Thomas


• Key components of protest: restating of civil rights and nonimportation.

The Virginia Resolves

• The resolves claimed that Virginia was an independent realm of the British Crown, subject to taxation only by its colonial assembly and not by


“The Repeal”

The Declaratory Act

• The Declaratory Act asserted Britain's exclusive right to legislate for and tax its colonies

External v. Internal Taxes

• Colonists tended not to mind “external taxes” such as the Molasses Act.

• These were meant to regulate trade.

• Internal or “direct” taxes were much more contemptible to the colonists. They were designed not to regulate trade, but to raise revenue.

Townshend Acts

• Revenue Act: a duty placed on items such as tea, lead, paper, and barrels.

• Taxation and the salary of governors…a key component.

Response to the Townshend Acts

• Daughters of Liberty

• Samuel Adams Circular Letter

• Non-Importation (40% dip in already strained British commerce)

• Townshend Acts Repealed.

3/5/1770: Joy and Sorrow

• The Townshend Acts


• Boston Massacre

Tea Act of 1773

• Changes in the tea policy.

• Dutch smuggling

• Cheaper yet better tea!

• Oh…wait. Merchants role, the new


Boston Tea Party:

First Continental Congress

• Coordinating event that saw 12/13 (Ga.) colonies meet in

Philadelphia. Their powers were limited, but it was unified.

• Boycott

• Continental


• Committees of


Goal of the 1 st


• “We ask for only for peace, liberty, and security. We wish no diminution of royal prerogatives, we demand no new rights.”