By L. Clark-BurnellNovember 2003 The text for these 8th grade U.S. history notes is based in large part upon chapter five, “The American Revolution,” of the following college history text. Divine, Robert A., T.H. Breen, George M. Fredrickson, R. Hal Williams. America Past and Present. Longman: New York, 1999. Images usually come from corbis.com
How did the American Revolution shift from • an elite protest among of the • Planters • Merchants • clergymen Gentry or upper class To…
Mass movement Popular Revolt Petitioning Citizens— Boycotting Housewives— Rioting Mobs— Farmers turned Soldiers--
From Elite Protest to Popular Revolt • Demographics • Leaders • Ideas A series of unfortunate events Rebellion
I. Demographics Changes in America in 1760 • Period of post war (French and Indian War) prosperity • per capita income in 1760’s colonies higher than in most developed nations today! • Wealth not evenly distributed: South better than New England (few exports for trade) • Increase population and over 60% of Americans are under 21 • how did all those young people become politically mobilized?
II. Leadership Changes in Great Britain–a new king George III • 22 years old, sheltered life, poorly educated, ignored by his father (who was too busy gallivanting around to parent) • His grandfather, the King, George II, thought him “dull-witted” • Young George III grew up resenting his grandfather and everything about George II’s reign (so did everyone else)
King George III: Resentful & ill-prepared youth Wants to change everything associated with King George II’s reign So takes aggressive role in gov’t by issuing decrees about the colonies. Parliament gets mad– they think King George is disrespecting their power (turning back the clock to days of Stuart monarchs who weren’t restricted by Parliament.)
III. Ideas– philosophical disagreements • What causes these differing disagreements? • Poor physical communication between America & Britain • 4 weeks by boat– so inaccurate info • Most Englishmen have never been to America • Don’t understand each other because different perspectives on parliamentary sovereignty
Two views on Parliamentary Sovereignty We didn’t VOTE for legislators in Parliament Parliament members are NOT our representatives, Parliament doesn’t have the right to make laws for us or tax us. Only Americans can represent us Parliament has absolute power to make laws for ALL British subjects We, in Parliament, ARE your representatives, we, Parliament, have the right to tax colonists in America. England & Scotland North America India
Colonists surge into lands won from French in French & Indian war American Indians attack colonist to protect land King George III issues proclamation of 1763: “Colonists stay out!” A series of Events:actions-reactions Proclamation of 1763
10,000 British soldiers in colonies to Protect Amer. Indians from colonists and vice versa Keep order in Florida and Quebec $$$-- Interest alone from Fr. & I. War = ½ British annual budget How to pay for standing army in colonies? British in England are already rioting over 20% taxes to pay for wars… A. Proclamation of 1763
BRITISH ACTION: To pay for army, B. revises an existing duty on sugar, molasses, coffee, tea, wine and other imports called THE SUGAR ACT OF 1764 Redefines relationship between Colonies & Great Britain – expects colonies to generate tax revenue, not just favorable balance of trade. B. Sugar Act
BRITISH ACTION: Grenville (British Treasurer) knows the colonies will balk at this tax– will call it illegal– So, he reduces the molasses duty of 1733, hoping to prevent smuggling while placing a tax on SUGAR COLONIAL REACTION: Sugar Act taxed colonists “inconsistent with their rights and privileges” – James Otis of Rhode Island Assembly Colonial Assemblies protest (still not regular folks protesting) Sugar Act…
C. Stamp Act– the turning point Regular folks are affected weekly, if not daily, by the Stamp Act therefore Ordinary people are afraid the taxes or stamp fees will increase unemployment and spell death to colonial businesses, so ordinary people protest en masse. 1765 Stamp Act transforms protests among the gentry to a mass movement
Introduction of Stamp Act:“An act for granting and applying certain stamp duties, and other duties, in the British colonies and plantations in America, towards further defraying the expences [sic] of defending, protecting, and securing the same” Stamp Act’s purpose is to raise revenue
What gets stamped? • For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be ingrossed, written or printed, any declaration, plea, replication, rejoinder, demurrer, or other pleading, or any copy thereof, in any court of law • Every…piece of paper, on which shall be…any [official business] in ecclesiastical matters in any court of probate • every … sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be … written … any donation, … to any benefice… or certificate of any degree taken in any university, • every … sheet or piece of paper, on shall be … writtenany appeal, writ of error, writ of dower… any record or proceeding in any court whatsoever within the said colonies and plantations • every… piece of paper, on which shall be… written… any licence, to practice in any court, • every…sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be..written… any note or bill of lading, which shall be signed for any kind of goods, wares, or merchandize, to be exported from • every…sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be..written… any grant, appointment, or admission of or to any publick beneficial office or employment • Every…sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be..written…any licence for retailing of spirituous liquors • Every…sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be..written any probate of a will, letters of administration, or of guardianship for any estate • Every…sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be..written order or warrant for surveying or setting out any quantity of land Marriage licenses property deeds playing cards newspapers almanacs/calendars contracts for apprentices & indentured servants
What gets stamped? Nearly every official document • Every…sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be..written order or warrant for surveying or setting out any quantity of land • Every…sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be..written any indenture, lease, conveyance, contract, stipulation, bill of sale, charter party, protest, articles of apprenticeship, or covenant (except for the hire of servants not apprentices, and also except such other matters as are herein before charged) Every…sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be..written • Every…sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be..written any notarial act, bond, deed, letter, of attorney, procuration, mortgage, • And for and upon every pack of playing cards, and all dice, which shall be sold or used within the said colonies and plantations, the several stamp duties following (that is to say) For every pack of such cards, the sum of one shilling.And for every pair of such dice, the sum of ten shillings. • And for and upon every paper, commonly called a pamphlet, and upon every news paper, containing publick news, intelligence, or occurrences, which shall be printed, dispersed, and made publick • For every advertisement to be contained in any gazette, news paper, or other paper, or any pamphlet which shall be so printed, a duty of two shillings. • For every almanack or calendar • For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which any instrument, proceeding, or other matter or thing aforesaid, shall be ingrossed, written, or printed, within the said colonies and plantations, in any other than the English language university degrees licenses to practice law wills printed pamplets any court document cargo lists for ships Any official document not in English!
The Stamp Act kills this newspaperbecause the cost of the stamp is too expensive for the publisher to bear. This is their death issue or last issue. Oh! The fatal Stamp! The times are dreadful, dismal, doleful, dolorous, and dollar-less I am sorry to acquaint my readers that as the Stamp ACT is feared to be upon us… the publisher of this paper, unable to bear the burden, has thought it expedient to stop awhile, in order to deliberate whether any methods can be found to elude the Chains forged for us, and escape this insupportable slavery. Expiring in hopes of a resurrection to life again
Reaction to the Stamp Act reveals the power of the pen. The preceding slide of the newspaper, shows how the written word was used to spread news of how British policies were hurting colonist and to increase resentment towards British taxation policies.
Mobs attack the office where stamps are sold, destroy the building, & burn local stamp distributer, Oliver Andrews in effigy. Mobs nearly destroy home of Lt. Gov. Thomas Hutchinson Mobs threaten merchants with tarring and feathering if they don’t boycott British goods Colonial Reaction to Stamp Act: Rioting Mob riots in Boston Does this famous saying apply? “One man’s patriot is another man’s terrorist.”
Patrick Henry writes the Virginia Resolutions stating it is illegal for Britain to tax its colonies & hints that George III is a tyrant to be overthrown! Virginia Resolutions seen as radical defiance of Parliament’s power (event though most radical of 5 resolutions aren’t passed by V. House of Burgesses Colonial Reaction: Virginia Resolutions Colonial press fuels popular anger by spreading word to other colonies of the Virginia Resolutions – even though the most radical resolutions didn’t pass the Virginia House of Burgesses. This shows the power of the pen.
Nine colonies send delegates to first joint meeting of colonies Sign of unity– beginning to see that colonies have more in common– problems with England, than they have differences Colonial Reaction to Stamp Act: Stamp Act Congress
Colonial Reaction to Stamp Act: Boycott Movement • Boycott movement involves women, who were excluded from voting and civil office • Still, women are the ones running households– buying goods. Women • alter styles of clothes, • make homespun cloth, • avoid imported products on which Britain placed a tax. • “Save your money and you can save your country.”– slogan in a colonial newspaper Wielding economic power
Colonial Reaction to Stamp Act: distrust royal officials in America • Royal governors, customs officials, military men, these all seem almost like foreigners • Why? Because their interests are suddenly not the same as the colonists’ interests.
D. Townshend Acts of 1767 • What are they? A hodge-podge of taxes or duties on paper, glass, paint, lead, and tea • Britain needs to enforce these new duties creates American Board of Customs Commissioners, based in Boston • Townshend (chancellor of the exchequer making bad policy decisions while Prime Minister Pitt is away) reinstates courts w/o juries to prosecute crimes • Blackmail: Townshend orders New York governor to veto all bills passed by New York assembly until the colony provides quarter (shelter and food) for British troops.
Colonial Reaction to the Townshend Acts: boycotts More boycotts of British goods– organized by Sons of Liberty in major ports
Colonial Reaction to the Townshend Acts: Circular Letter • Feb. 1768 Massachusetts House of Rep. Drafts a letter and circulates it to other colonies asking for suggestions on how to resist the Townshend Acts. • Other colonies ignore it– busy. They think it isn’t important. • Lord Hillsborough, a British official, disagrees.
British Reaction to the Circular Letter: “take it back” & Colonial Reaction to threat: “make me” • Lord Hillsborough does think it a big deal. Calls it that “seditious paper” [treasonous] He demands that the Massachusetts legislators rescind it (take it back) • Challenged, the Massachusetts legislators essentially say “make me” by voting 92-17 NOT to take it back 92 = patriotism Now the Circular Letter is a big deal! 92 becomes a synonym for patriotism– it’s the number of legislators who voted to defy Hillsborough. Again, the pen is powerful!
British Reaction to Massachusetts’ defiance (Spring 1768) • Hillsborough dissolves Mass. Legislature • Other colonies think this is an outrage, thus this • Hillsborough has just done the opposite of what Britain wanted: given the colonies more reason to work together Colonies start communicating with each other more gives colonies a reason to communicate with each other-- fear of British oppression
British Move 4000 troops to Boston, October 1768 • Colonists ask why troops are here. • American pamphleteers answer– a conspiracy to oppress Bostonians • Colonists resent troops’ presence: • Suspect troops are their to police them, not protect them • Bad influence on children • Disobedience soldiers are brutally whipped in public– appalls civilians • March 5, 1770 boys and street thugs taunt British troops. Mob taunting soldiers grows, becomes more menacing. Troops fire, killing 5 Americans.
Pamphleteers put spin on the event “Boston Massacre” • Joseph Warren’s propagandists speech about the “murdered husbands” and “orphaned children” of the 5 bachelors spreads throughout colonies • Paul Revere makes popular and gory engraving of the event. • People are outraged at the “massacre.” • Two more examples of the pen dramatically influencing how people respond to events.
British Response to the “Boston Massacre” • Appoint a new chancellor • Repeal Townshend duties on everything except tea. • Tea tax retained as a reminder that B. thinks Parliament has the right to tax the colonies Parliament is sovereign. • Both sides trying to avoid further confrontation
1770-1773 Calm before the storm A period of relative peace
1772 Committee of Correspondence • Colonies keep in contact with each other to communicate complaints about British government’s treatment to each other • This is a colonial government apparatus completely independent of the royal crown • Power of the Pen– keeping people informed allows colonists to see a pattern of events beyond their own town or colony. They start thinking more continentally, rather than focusing solely on their own colonial affairs.
May1773: Tea Act • Parliament gives the East India Company a monopoly on selling tea to the colonies. Thus lowers the cost of tea, America’s favorite drink. • BUT…
Colonists are suspicious of this monopoly– since it lowers the price of tea while leaving the tea tax in place. Colonist think it is a scheme to get them to pay the tax on tea! Colonial merchants in the North who smuggle tea from Dutch companies are mad– this threatens to cripple their business Colonial Reaction to May 1773 Tea Act
Colonial Reaction to May 1773 Tea Act: Ships can’t dock or unload • Colonists don’t let East India Company ships (carrying tea) dock in their ports in Philadelphia and New York • In Boston, merchants won’t let the ships unload, but the royal governor, Hutchinson, won’t let the ships sail back to England. • On December 16th, 1773, Sons of Liberty disguised as Amer. Indians, dump 342 chest of tea into the harbor!
Colonial Reaction to 1773 Tea Act: Boston Tea Party, December 16th, 1773 Disguised as Amer. Indians, Sons of Liberty sneak onto ships and toss 340 chest of tea into the harbor 10,000 English pounds of tea are destroyed
British Reaction to Tea Party: Coercive Acts March-June 1774 • Parliament and King George find the Tea Party an act of utter contempt for Parliamentary power that they pass a series of acts designed to force (hence the name, coercive) the colonies into obedience • Close port of Boston until Boston pays for the tea • Change Mass. Gov’t: upper house is appointed by British gov’t not elected, and limits town meetings to one a year. • Lets royal governor transfer criminal cases of British officers to friendly jurisdiction (tried in England, not colonies) • Gives army power to quarter soldiers anywhere, including uninhabited private buildings. • Thomas Gage becomes the new colonial governor of Mass.
Governor Gage announces In the colonies, “nothing can be done but by forcible means”
Colonial Reaction to the Coercive Acts • Colonist call the Coercive Acts, the Intolerable Acts (meaning they can’t or won’t tolerate them!) • Radicals, like John Adams, see this act as evidence that England intends to deny colonist’s their rights as Englishmen • Moderates in colonies begin to believe that the Radicals might be right. • People are NOT clamoring for independence, yet, just mad about not getting their rights as British citizens.
Quebec Act of June 1774 • Quebec, is the territory England won from France in the Fr & Indian War. • Had had military rule. England now organizes the territory– no elected assembly and gives French Catholics large political voice. • Why do colonists care? Because this territory extends down to the Ohio River– this includes parts of the New England colonies!
Colonial Reaction to Quebec Act & Intolerable Acts: 1st Continental Congress – Sept. 1775 • Committees of Correspondence agree to send representatives to continental wide meeting on Sept. 5th 1775 & 6 months later. (Example of power of the pen?) • Famous influential men are delegates: John Adams, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, Christopher Gadsden, and George Washington
First Continental Congress – Sept. 1775 • Tough meeting at first– delegates don’t know much about economy and customs of other colonies. Some delegates urge caution. Others want confrontation. • Create Suffolk Resolves– statement encouraging Massachusetts to use force to resist the Intolerable acts. Revolutionary words! • Create the Association an inter-colonial agreement to boycott all British goods until Britain repeals the Coercive (Intolerable) Acts = non-importation • Agree to meet again in May, 1775 if King George & Parliament doesn’t meet their demands to repeal I. Acts
Lexington & Concord: April 1775 • Shots are fired on April 19th, 1775 when part of the British army marches to Lexington and Concord to confiscate the gunpowder the Massachusetts militia had be secretly storing. • Massachusetts militia meet the British soldiers and a small fight ensues. • Word spreads of the skirmish at Concord and the 8 dead American militiamenthousands of minutemen (militiamen trained to respond w/ a minutes notice) attack the British at Lexington and on their return to Boston. It turns into a rout!
Concord & Lexington: First Shots of War– even though war hasn’t been declared
One month later… • The Second Continental Congress meets in May 1775, as scheduled back in September, just a month after Lexington and Concord. • The Continental Congress begins managing the war against Great Britain, even though they won’t declare independence from Great Britain for another year.
Parliament Passes the Prohibitory Act • Parliament declares war on colonial trade– prohibits colonies from trading with any country. Blockades colonial ports. • Also hires German mercenaries to fight against colonists
Thomas Paine Publishes Common Sense • Paine, a pamphleteer, publishes Common Sense • It sells 120,000 copies in 3 months. • Calls the king “a royal brute” • Persuades common people to want independence • “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” • The power of the pen!