The Road to Independence 1754-1783
Causes • Rivalry Between the French and the British • British • built their settlements on the coast • founded towns • poor relations with Native Americans • French • settled further inland • established forts • good relations with Native Americans
Britain and France both claimed the Ohio River Valley. • 1754 A small force of British colonists built Fort Necessity in western Pennsylvania. • French forces surrounded the fort and forced a surrender. • The French and Indian War had begun.
The Course of the War • The colonies provided militia men and also made attempts at unity, such as the Albany plan of Union • Initially the British did poorly in the war losing because the French and Indians used guerrilla warfare.
William Pitt • Became British Prime Minister in 1757 • Believed the war would determine the future of the empire • Persuaded Parliament to raise taxes and borrow money to fight the war. • His efforts will pay off.
British forces begin to turn the tide: • Seize Louisbourg • Capture Fort Duquesne in Pennsylvania • 1759 General James Wolfe laid siege to Quebec (capital of New France) and captured it. • 1759 seized Montreal • 1761 All of Canada was under British Control
Treaty of Paris 1763 • Ended the war • France turned over Canada to Britain and surrendered all land claims east of the Mississippi River except New Orleans. • Britain returned Cuba to Spain in return for Florida.
Effect on the Colonies • British thought the colonies did not provide enough support for the war. • Colonists were shocked by the weakness of British military tactics. • Colonists began to believe that the British did not share the same values or treat them with respect
British Policy Changes • The Proclamation of 1763 • Tensions between the British and the Indians rose as colonists began to settle more land. • Pontiac’s Rebellion • Ottawa, Huron, Potawatomi, and other Indians rebelled destroying every British fort west of the Appalachians except Ft. Detroit and Fort Pitt • King George declared the region west of the Appalachians closed to settlement.
Financial Policy • The cost of fighting wars to maintain the empire was high. • The British people were among the most highly taxed in the world. • The colonists were not heavily taxed and many like finance minister George Grenville believed they should share more of the burden.
The Sugar and Quartering Acts • Sugar Act • Cut the tax on molasses to discourage smuggling. • Enforced by Royal Navy ships and violators were tried by a judge in a British court, not a jury in a colonial court. • Quartering Act • Required colonies to provide housing and supplies for British troops.
Stamp Act Crisis • March 1765 Parliament passed the Stamp Act placing a tax on printed materials in the colonies. • The first time that Parliament had taxed the colonists for the clear purpose of raising money. • The law touched everyone, especially printers, merchants, and lawyers.
Stamp Act Congress • 1765 Representatives of 7 of the colonies met in New York • James Otis said, “No taxation without representation.” • Issued a series of resolutions claiming that colonists should have the same rights and liberties that the people of Great Britain had.
The Sons of Liberty • Merchants and others organized a boycott of British goods. • The Sons of Liberty groups were organized to enforce boycotts and resist the British. • Boston Sons of Liberty • Most famous • Samuel Adams was one of the founders • Warned the stamp tax collector that unless he resigned, “his House would be immediately Destroyed and his life in Continual Danger.” • By Nov 1765, when the act took effect most of the tax collectors had resigned or fled. • March 1766 Parliament repealed the Stamp Act
Colonial Tensions Rise • Declaratory Act • 1767 Parliament declared it did have the authority to pass laws that applied to the colonists. • Townshend Acts • Colonists were angered at being taxed without their consent. • The boycotts were renewed.
Boston Massacre • Fearing a rebellion, Britain had sent troops to Boston. • March 5, 1770, a crowd or unruly colonists threatened a group of British soldiers. • Fearfully the soldiers fired shots killed five Bostonians. • The soldiers were arrested and later tried in a colonial court. • Parliament canceled the Townshend taxes.
The Boston Tea Party • May 1773, Parliament passes the Tea Act to help the British East India Company. • This threatened colonial tea merchants. • December 16, 1773, a group of colonists disguised as Indians boarded three tea ships in Boston and threw all the tea onboard into the harbor.
The Intolerable Acts • Passed by Parliament as the Coercive Acts in 1774 to punish Boston and all of Massachusetts. • Closed Boston Harbor until the tea was paid for • Eliminated self-government in Massachusetts and appointed Thomas Gage as governor. • Stripped Massachusetts of its claims to western lands.
First Continental Congress • Sept. 5, 1774, fifty-six delegates from the colonies (except Georgia) met in Philadelphia. • Leading figures--Georgia Washington, Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, and Samuel Adams. • The Congress: • Renewed boycotts • Called on the colonists to form militias • Made a direct appeal to the King stating their grievances • George III responded by saying, “The New England colonies are in a state of rebellion, blows must decide.”
The Battles of Lexington and Concord • Massachusetts Patriots had stored a large stockpile of weapons at Concord. • April 18, 1775, 700 British troops left Boston late at night to take the arsenal. • Paul Revere and others rode all night to warn the Patriots. • At Lexington, on April 19, 70 minutemen blocked the British advance.
During the standoff someone fired a shot. • The minutemen were defeated and the British marched on to Concord and burnt the arsenal. • On the route back, some 4,000 Patriots shot at the British from behind trees all along the road home. • The British took heavy losses. • The Revolutionary War had begun
Common Sense • January 1776 • Written by Thomas Paine • 47 Page pamphlet designed to convince colonists that a break with Great Britain was the only answer to the problems they faced • “The period of debate is closed. Arms as the last resource decide the contest. . . . Every thing that is right or reasonable pleads for separation . The blood of the slain, the weeping voice of nature Cries, ‘TIS TIME TO PART.’ ” —Common Sense
Declaring Independence • First Continental Congress • 1775 Met in Philadelphia after the fighting of Lexington and Concord • Drafted the Olive Branch Petition which expressed loyalty to the King and asked for peace. • 1776 Second Continental Congress • After a year of war began to debate declaring independence • June 1776 the Congress appointed a 5 man committee to draft a declaration.
Writing the Declaration • Committee Members: Thomas Jefferson (primary author), John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and Benjamin Franklin. • Heavily influenced by Enlightenment Thinkers: • John Locke • Two Treatise of Government • Natural Rights • Thomas Hobbes • Leviathon • Social Contract Theory • Jean Jacques Rousseau • Tabula Rasa / Natural Rights