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The Road To Revolution. The Deep Roots of Revolution. New ideas took hold in America from the 1 st settlements Change came easier to Americans Less acceptant of old ways Able to make the world over. The Enlightenment. Basic philosophy

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The Road To Revolution

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The Road To Revolution

The Deep Roots of Revolution

  • New ideas took hold in America from the 1st settlements

    • Change came easier to Americans

    • Less acceptant of old ways

    • Able to make the world over

The Enlightenment

  • Basic philosophy

    • “Darkness” of the past ages could be corrected by using human reason to solve many of the days problems.

    • John Locke & Jean-Jacque Rousseau

What is the “social contract”?

  • In a state of nature there is no law. Man entered into a contract with rulers to rule them but protect their natural rights.

What are “natural rights”?

  • Rights every human has been given by God that he doesn’t involve himself with but must be protected by rulers.

    • Economic and political freedoms

What are a government’s responsibilities?

  • Governments must promote well being of its citizens and protect their rights.

What if governments fail in this attempt to protect natural rights?

  • Citizens have the right to rebel and enter into a new contract with other rulers that will protect their natural rights.

What is republicanism?

  • People subordinate their private, selfish interests to the good of the community.

  • Stability depends on virtuous citizenry and civil involvement.

Who were the “radical whigs”?

  • Political comments made by radical whigs in England affect the way the colonists view their relationship with Europe.

  • Whigs are afraid of arbitrary power exercised my monarchs because it threatens liberty.

  • Warned citizens to be on guard against encroachments against liberty by arbitrary powers.

Americans respond

  • Americans alert to threats to liberty.

  • Americans were used to running their own affairs and distance from the mother country weakens their authority in America.


Mercantilism justifies British control over Colonies

  • Wealth was power and could be measured by amount of gold and silver

  • Export more than import (balance of trade)

  • Colonies gave a distinct advantage for raw materials and a market for finished products.

London saw colonies as tenants

  • Expected to furnish raw materials

  • Not to compete with British manufacturers

  • Not worry about self sufficiency

Navigation Laws

  • To regulate mercantilist policies in colonies

  • Aimed at Dutch shippers trying to gain American trade

Three rules

  • 1. All commerce had to be carried on British and American ships only

  • 2. All products bound for America had to stop in Britain first and pay a tax

  • 3. Some products could only be sold to Britain (tobacco) (expanded later)


  • Problems for Americans

    • Bought more British goods than sold

    • Creates cash shortage in America of gold and silver

What colonists do

  • Barter for products

  • Print their own money (inflation)

  • Parliament stops printing of money or trading with money except gold and silver

  • American interests being sacrificed for British merchants

  • They could also nullify any colonial law they did not like (scared Americans)

Merits of Mercantilism

  • Wasn’t that burdensome

  • Americans disregarded them anyway

  • Liberal bounties for colonial producers of ship parts

  • Virginia tobacco planters have a ready market

  • Protection of the British navy

Problems of Mercantilism

  • Stifled economic initiative

  • Dependency on British creditors and agents

  • Felt used and humiliated

  • Was America an emerging nation?

The Stamp Act

Why do the British move to tax the American colonies?

  • Huge debt after the 7 Years War

  • Felt the Americans should pay their share for the protection Britain gives them.

  • Changes the relationship between Britain and the Colonies.

  • King George III wants larger role in controlling the colonies.

George Grenville

  • New finance minister

  • Begins to strictly enforce Navigation Acts

  • Wants to raise money to pay the nation’s debts.

The Sugar Act

  • 1764

  • To raise money for the crown

  • Increased duty for sugar from West Indies

  • Agitation lowered the tax.

  • Beginning to change the relationship with Britain and colonies

Quartering Act of 1765

  • Required certain towns to provide food and quarters for British troops stationed in America.

  • Americans don’t feel a need for the troops after the French & Indian War is won.

The Stamp Act

  • Purpose

    • To raise money to support the military in America

    • Tax on paper products using stamps and required many new uses for stamps

    • Want colonist to pay their fair share for their own defense

Americans respond

  • Struck at liberties that they have always assumed was theirs

  • Offended their basic rights as Englishmen

    • Offenders could be tried in admiralty court

      • What about jury of you peers?

    • Felt rights were being taken away

“No taxation without representations”

  • Americans felt they were not represented in Parliament

  • They had always taxed themselves

Virtual Representation

  • Parliament said colonists were represented

  • Parliament represented all of its British subjects

  • Colonists felt this was robbery by taking their money without giving them a voice in their own taxation laws


  • Was this to whip colonists into shape?

  • Americans begin to attack the Stamp Act

Stamp Act Congress in 1765

  • New York City

  • 27 delegates from 9 colonies

  • Statement of rights and grievances and ask for repeal of Stamp Act

    • Appeal ignored in England

    • Began to erode sectional suspicions

    • Step toward colonial unity

Non importation agreements

  • Stop importing British goods into colonies

  • Americans begin to make own clothes and products

  • Spontaneously united the country for the first time


  • Gives citizens chance to participate

  • Get off the sidelines

  • Groups assembled and met

  • Helps revolutionary war fever

Sons of Liberty

  • Violent and radical groups

  • Enforced the non importation agreements in their own colonies

  • Sometimes violently

  • Used peer pressure and other means

  • Pressured tax collectors and government leaders

Tax collecting break down

  • Many tax collectors forced to resign

  • No one to sell stamps

  • Law defied or nullified

England hit hard

  • Non importation agreements affect British trade

  • ¼ of British exports go to America

  • ½ of British shipping devoted to America

  • People thrown out of work

  • British people and businesses call on Parliament to repeal the Stamp Act


  • Parliament could not understand why Americans would not pay their share

  • Colonists rejoice

  • Parliament passes Declaratory Acts

    • Reaffirms Parliament’s right to bind colonies in “all cases whatsoever”

    • England draws line in the sand

    • Colonist want measure of self rule

Charles Townshend

  • Takes over British finance ministry

  • Champagne Charley

  • Promises to deliver taxes with minimum colonial agitation

The Townshend Acts

  • Tax on tea, glass, lead, paper, paint

  • Tax paid at American ports makes it an internal tax

  • Colonists don’t care for the distinction

  • Tax on tea bothers colonists the most

    • 1 million tea drinkers

The tax

  • Salaries of governors now paid with tax and not colonial legislatures

    • Another attempt to control colonies

    • New York assembly suspended for not complying with Quartering Act

Non importation again

  • Revived

  • Less effective this time

  • Tax not liked but not taken too seriously

  • Too many smuggling tea anyway


  • Britain land troops in Boston in 1768 to keep order in colonies

  • Soldiers drunk and disorderly

  • Not good Puritans

  • Colonists mocked them

    • Lobster Backs

Boston Massacre

  • March 5, 1770

  • Mob taunting troops

  • First shot?

  • Crispus Attucks killed first

    • Runaway black slave

  • John Adams defends soldiers

    • Get off with minor punishment

  • Paul Revere paints propaganda

    • Well known depiction of Massacre

Lord North

  • Gets repeal of Townshend Acts

    • Weren’t producing anything but rebellion

  • Left tax on tea

    • To show colonists who rules

  • Begins to insist on enforcing Navigation Acts

Sam Adams

  • Master propagandist and engineer of the rebellion

  • Sensitive to infractions of colonial rights

  • Agitator and rebellion organizer

  • Appealed to the trained mob

  • Failed at all other endeavors

Committees of Correspondence

  • Began in Massachusetts 1772

  • 80 towns soon followed

  • Spread spirit of resistance by exchanging letters

  • Kept opposition to British policies alive

Next step

  • Becomes inter-colonial committees

  • House of Burgesses had a standing committee

  • Help spread information and kept sentiment on side of colonies

  • Evolved into the first American Congress

Gaspee Incident

  • British customs ship had hurt colonial smuggling

  • Ran aground

  • Colonists dressed like Indians order British off boat and burn

  • Investigation reveals nothing

Boston Tea Party

  • British East Indian Company had surplus of tea.

  • Britain gives company monopoly of tea trade

  • Tea would be cheaper even with the tax

  • Americans cry foul

  • Britain wants to enforce the law

The Tea Party

  • Colonists dressed up as Indians board the ships in Boston harbor and dump the crates overboard

  • New York and Philadelphia ships return to England

  • Maryland burned boats

  • Charleston seized the ships


  • Some saw this in defense of liberty

  • British saw it as a violation of property rights

  • Britain will now whip colonists into shape

  • Whigs in Parliament like Edmund Burke are supporting the colonists

Intolerable Acts (Coersive Acts)

  • Passed to control the colonists and punish the people of Boston

  • The Port Act closed the port of Boston until tea was paid for

  • Reduced power of Massachusetts legislature

  • Government officials accused of crime could be tried in England

  • Expanded Quartering Act to include private homes.

    • Colonists are outraged

Quebec Act

  • 1774

  • Passed with the Coersive Acts

  • Organized the Canadian lands

  • Accepted by most French Canadians

  • Resented by colonists


  • Established Roman Catholicism as the official religion of Quebec

  • Set up a government without a representative assembly

  • Extended Quebec’s boundary to the Ohio River


  • Direct attack on American colonies

  • They claimed land in Ohio Valley

  • Afraid similar laws would be enacted in America and take away representative government

  • Resented the spread of Catholicism to their western regions

1st Continental Congress

  • Philadelphia

  • Want a redress of grievances

  • 12 of 13 colonies represented

  • Adams, Adams, Washington, Henry

  • Social activities after meetings help pave way for cooperation later on

  • A consultive body

Declaration of Rights

  • Petition to King urging him to redress colonial grievances and restore colonial rights

  • Recognized Parliament’s right to regulate commerce

Suffolk Resolve

  • Rejected Intolerable Acts and called for their immediate repeal

  • Pushed for colonies to resist by beginning to boycott British goods.

The Association

  • Most important part of the 1st Continental Congress

  • Call for complete boycott of British goods

  • Would be the enforcers of the nonimportation, nonexportation, and nonconsumption of British goods

  • Calls for another meeting if needed

Lexington and Concord

  • Gage sent troops to capture colonial war supplies in Concord

  • Also to arrest rebel leaders

  • April 1775

“The shot heard around the world”

  • No one knows who fired first

  • 8 Americans killed at Lexington

  • Marched on to Concord

  • Warned by Paul Revere and Charles Dawes

  • On return trip met with angry colonists

    • 70 British killed and 300 casualties


Imperial Strengths

  • Britain had 7.5 million people to 2.5 million in America

  • British wealth and naval supremacy

  • Professional army of 50,000

  • Could afford to hire German Hessians of 30,000

  • British had 50,000 loyal Americans

  • Used Indians that were loyal

Imperial Weaknesses

  • Ireland a thorn in Britain’s side which occupied British troops

  • France wants to strike at Britain

  • Government confused and inept

  • Many British opposed to killing American cousins

  • Whig support of colonists in Parliament

More problems

  • British difficulties

    • Second rate generals

    • Soldiers brutally treated

    • Provisions scarce

  • Had to conquer America

    • 3000 miles from home

    • Orders from London arrive too late

    • America had no nerve center to capture and end war

American strengths

  • Outstanding leadership

    • George Washington

    • Ben Franklin

    • John Adams

    • Marquis de Lafayette

  • Fighting a defensive war

  • Agriculture self sustaining

  • Belief in a just cause

American weaknesses

  • Badly organized for war

    • No colonial unity

    • Continental Congress grow feeble

  • Jealousy grew between states

    • Did not want to give power up

  • Economic problems

    • Metallic money drained

    • Paper money worthless

  • Prices soar

  • Desertions rose

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