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Roads to Revolution, 1750-1776. After 1763, Parliament and the King attempt to reorganize the enlarged empire by tightening control Many ordinary people engaged in direct often violent demonstrations against this These actions reflected a growing socio-economic tension with the colonies

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After 1763, Parliament and the King attempt to reorganize the enlarged empire by tightening control

  • Many ordinary people engaged in direct often violent demonstrations against this
  • These actions reflected a growing socio-economic tension with the colonies
  • The road to revolution arose from a constitutional crisis with the Empire
a fragile peace
A Fragile Peace
  • The King George’s War failed to solve anything in America
  • Ohio Valley became a tinderbox for conflict with competing claims from Virginia, Penn., France, and the Iroquois
  • The French began building forts in 1753
  • George Washington sent in to deal with it, but is repelled in 1754

Seven colonies north of Virginia meet in Albany to lay the foundations of mutual defense

  • First they showered the Iroquois with gifts to get them to stay neutral (30 wagon loads)
  • Known as the Albany Plan of Union (Ben Franklin)
    • It was to set up a Grand Council that included reps. From all colonial assemblies
    • Devise policies regarding military defense and Indian affairs
    • A way to demand funds from the colonies
    • It was a unity plan that failed due to the taxation issue
seven years war in america 1754 1760
Seven Years’ War in America, 1754-1760
  • After Washington’s loss, the British send 1,000 troops under Gen. Edmund Braddock to seize Fort Duquesne
  • Braddock’s 2,200 defeated by 850 French, Canadians, and Indians (loss of 900)
  • As a result, the western lands were under constant assault, and little expansion could take place

But two developments change in favor of the British

    • 1. the Iroquois and most of the Ohio Indians abandon support for the French
    • 2. William Pitt takes over control of the British forces. He believed the key to success was mobilizing the colonial soldiers, but have Parliament pay most of the cost of the war
      • The colonies organized 40,000 troops in 1758-59
      • Montreal falls in 1760
the end of french north america 1760 63
The End of French North America, 1760-63
  • The Seven Years’ War officially ended in 1763 with the Treaty of Paris
    • France gives up all its land claims east of the Mississippi (except New Orleans) to Britain
    • Spain cedes Florida to Britain (in return for Cuba)
    • In the Treaty of San Ildefonso (1762) France cedes Louisiana to Spain

French colonist become English or Spanish subjects

  • Most adversely affected were the Acadians
    • Living in Nova Scotia they were told to swear loyalty to Britain at the outbreak of the war and not bear arms for France
    • Most refused to take the oath and the British drove them out and burned their homes
    • Many settled in Louisiana and became the Cajuns
imperial revenues and reorganization 1760 66
Imperial Revenues and Reorganization, 1760-66
  • Much of the tension after the war centered on Britain’s attempt to finance its enlarged empire
  • The new revenue measures were controversial economically and politically
  • They were direct measures and did not rely on local authorities
  • They were an extension of Parliament’s power
  • Each level of society expressed their disdain in their own way
    • Elites – worded arguments based on constitutional law and their colonial charters
    • Businessmen, etc. – street demonstrations
    • Working people and the poor – defiance of both elites and British authorities

Notebook Quiz 9/20

    • 1. During the 1750s, the English and French came to blows over which region?
    • 2. The English end up winning, and a certain French fort changed its name to Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh). What was its original name?
    • 3. What was the name of the loose unity plan established to deal with this issue?
    • 4. Why did this plan ultimately fail?
    • 5. What did Spain get out of the Seven Years’ War?
friction among the allies 1760 63
Friction Among the Allies, 1760-63
  • During the war the British were critical of the colonial troops
  • Quakers had refused to finance the war effort
  • NY and MA opposed quartering troops
  • But Pitt’s promise to reimburse the colonies upset the British
    • The colonials had profited from the war by bringing in British currency (military troops, contracts, etc.). Their illicit trade with the French West Indies even continued

The British felt that they were paying for the war through a land tax and increased excise taxes on beer, tea, salt, and bread

  • However, the American colonists were trapped in a “consumer revolution” in which they spent their new wealth on British goods, thus overloading themselves with debt

The crown continually needed money to fight the reorganized Indians in the Ohio Valley

  • Hoping to settle this issue, King George III issued the Proclamation of 1763
    • Direct control by the Crown of all transactions, trade, settlement, etc. west of the Appalachians
    • Angers colonists
      • Subordinates claims to imperial authority
      • Limits their opportunity for wealth
      • 10,000 British troops remain
      • This is a tremendous cost the British feel the colonist must incur
writs of assistance 1760 61
Writs of Assistance, 1760-61
  • The Royal Governor of Massachusetts authorized revenue officers to employ these in 1760
  • They are documents that allow authorities to seize illegally imported goods.
    • More importantly, they are a general search warrant that permits customs officers to enter any ship or building where smuggled goods might be hidden
    • No evidence of probable cause for suspicion
the sugar act 1764
The Sugar Act, 1764
  • Passed in 1764 to offset Britain’s military expenses in North America
  • The Navigation Acts had not been about revenue; they were about stimulating trade and protecting English manufacturing; they raised to little money for their own enforcement
  • But the Sugar Act also stipulated that lumber, iron, skins, and many other commodities exported must go directly to Britain
    • To have colonial shippers purchase more in Britain
    • Buy fewer goods from foreign competitors
    • Provide jobs for Englishmen

The last aspect of the Sugar Act was its disregard for a fair trial

    • It allowed customs a officials to transfer the smuggling cases from colonial courts to the vice-admiralty courts (judge alone gave the verdict)
      • Judges got 5% of confiscated cargo
    • Defendants were tried in Nova Scotia, not the site of the offense
    • Required the defendant to disprove the prosecution’s case

The burden of the act fell overwhelmingly on Massachusetts, New York, and Philadelphia

  • Most colonies had no interest in resisting something that didn’t seem to affect them
  • However, it did show and direction the Crown was heading
the stamp act 1765
The Stamp Act, 1765
  • Revenue raised by the Sugar Act did little to ease Britain’s financial crisis
  • Britain had the 2nd highest tax rates in Europe(26 shillings per person; colonies no more than 1 ½ shillings per person)
  • The Stamp Act required colonists to purchase and use special stamped paper for newspapers, customs documents, various licenses, diplomas, and legal forms used in recovering debts, buying land, and making wills.
  • Prosecution in vice-admiralty courts without juries

This was an internal tax levied directly on property, goods, and government services

    • External taxes had been about regulating trade and the burden fell on the merchants and ship captains
    • This was established to raise revenue for the crown
    • Anyone who made a will, bought cards, transferred property, borrowed money, etc.

Colonists objections

    • They taxed themselves through their elected assemblies
    • You cannot be taxed unless you enjoy representation
    • Felt they were like Ireland with special exemption of self-governance
  • Briton’s counterargument
    • The Britons had been paying a similar tax since 1695
    • But most colonists didn’t fit the “sufficient property” qualification to enjoy representation
    • Colonists possessed “virtual representation”
    • Colonial assemblies are like British and Scottish towns that enact local legislation
resisting the stamp act 1765 66
Resisting the Stamp Act, 1765-66
  • The Loyal Nine: Patrick Henry (29 yr. old Virginia lawyer and planter)
  • Pushed for VA to adopt resolutions denying Parliament the power to tax
  • The Assembly passed the weakest worded
  • the Loyal Nine: middle-class artisans and small business owners formed in Boston (most hard hit by the tax)
    • Also had lost ground to NY and Philly
    • British impressments
    • 1760 fire

Bostonians were already politically active

    • Pope’s Day rallies
  • They demolished some property of the wealthy
  • Formation of the Sons of Liberty
    • They were concerned that the “crowd” would just turn on elites (which meant them as well)
  • They forbade their group to carry weapons

Stamp Act Congress

    • Met in 1765
    • Included representatives from 9 colonial assemblies
    • Agreement on Parliament’s lack of authority to tax outside Britain and to deny a person a trial by jury

By late 1765 most stamp distributors had resigned or fled, and without the proper paperwork, most royal customs officials and court officers refused to perform their duties

  • Oct. 1765, NY merchants boycott all British goods
  • England was in danger of a recession
declaratory act 1766
Declaratory Act, 1766
  • Parliament revokes the Stamp Act, but passes the Declaratory Act
    • This act affirmed Parliaments power to legislate for the colonies “in all cases whatsoever.”
  • This was general language, but the Americans viewed it as Parliament’s way of saving face amidst its defeat with the Stamp Act issue
ideology religion and resistance
Ideology, Religion, and Resistance
  • Educated colonists turned to the new political theories as guidance
    • Locke and natural rights, the social contract, right of revolution
    • Concepts of civic duty and public virtue
  • Many others, particularly the unschooled, looked towards religion
    • Concept of a Christian Sparta, linking Christian piety with republican ideals
    • Colonial traditions confirmed legitimacy of their cause
    • The Great Awakening
great awakening
Great Awakening
  • Beginning the late 1730s the GA cut across class, gender, and racial lines
  • Appealed to the audiences emotions rather than intellects
  • Focused on emptiness of material comfort, the utter corruption of human nature, the fury of divine wrath, and the need for immediate repentance

Most converts were young males

  • Claimed established clergymen were dead Drones
  • Exposed colonial society’s divisions
  • Split churches into New and Old
  • Received serious backlash from churches


    • Marked a decline in Quakers, Anglicans, and Congregationalists
    • Rise of Presbyterians, Baptists
    • Stimulated the founding of new colleges: Brown, Columbia, Princeton, Rutgers
    • African Americans and Indians were included
    • Women’s roles increased
    • Blurred denominational differences among Protestants
opposing the quartering act 1766 67
Opposing the Quartering Act, 1766-67
  • The act required the colonies to supply troops with inexpensive barracks, candles, windowpanes, straw, polish, liquor
  • It was a small indirect tax, but it did require the colonies to raise a stated amount of revenue
  • Hit all the colonies differently, but specifically New York
  • Parliament was bitter about withdrawing the Stamp Act, so they draft the Suspending Act – which threatened to nullify all laws passed by the colony if they refused to vote the supplies
townshend duties 1767
Townshend Duties, 1767
  • The landed gentry in Britain cut their own taxes by 25%
  • Since colonists had opposed internal taxes Townshend decided to tax imports entering from Britain (an external tax)
  • This Townshend Revenue Act of 1767 taxed glass, paint, lead, paper, and tea imported from England (tea was the big revenue producer)
  • Catch: Townshend wanted the revenue raised so it would pay the salaries of governors and royal officials who were paid by the assemblies
the colonists reaction 1767 1769
The Colonists’ Reaction, 1767-1769
  • John Dickinson’s essays entitled Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania
  • James Otis and Samuel Adams write letters in opposition that circulate the colonies
  • This bothered the British
  • Royal governors responded by dismissing legislatures
  • In 1768 Bostonian merchants adopt a nonimportation agreement which eventually kept out 40% of all imports from Britain
women and colonial resistance
Women and Colonial Resistance
  • The cause rested on republican foundations of moderation, morality, and self-sacrifice
  • Women far outnumbered men in church membership
  • Established the Daughters of Liberty
  • Denouncing the consumption of tea
  • Made their own clothes
    • more than 1600 women engage in spinning bees
customs racketeering 1767 68
Customs Racketeering, 1767-68
  • Stricter enforcement of the Navigation Acts began as an attempt to increase revenue
  • The American Board of Customs Commissioners was established
    • Increased the number of port officials
    • Funded the creation of a colonial coast guard
    • $ for secret informers
      • The informer got 1/3 of the value of all goods and ships appropriated through conviction
      • Vice-admiralty courts were used

The “reason” was to bring honesty and efficiency to a system susceptible to bribes, etc.

  • All cargo loaded without a custom’s officers written authorization was considered illegal
  • The maritime custom of the sailor’s chest was ignored
  • It was legalized piracy
  • John Hancock’s ship, Liberty, was a chief target
the boston massacre 1770
The Boston Massacre, 1770
  • Due to the violence and protests from incidences like Hancock’s ship, the British sent 4000 troops to Boston in 1768
  • Mainly Protestants townspeople did not like this
  • Feb. 1770, a customs informer shot into a picketing crowd and killed an 11-yr.-old boy
  • The army was not responsible, but it became a target of the people’s anger

Mar. 5, soldier’s fire into a crowd that was taunting them and hit 11, killing 5

  • John Adams was the attorney for the officers
    • He didn’t like crowd action
  • The governor removed the soldiers to a nearby island
  • All but two of the soldiers are acquitted, and those just had their thumbs branded

A new Prime Minister, Lord North, seemed to be in favor of retreating from previous actions by eliminating most of the Townshend duties to prevent a widening boycott

  • However, he kept the tax on tea
  • In 1770, colonists make voluntary agreements not to drink British tea
    • Revenue from tea drops to 1/6 the expected amount
committees of correspondence 1772 73
Committees of Correspondence, 1772-73
  • At the persuasion of Samuel Adams, every community in Massachusetts is to appoint persons responsible for exchanging information and coordinating measures to defend colonial rights
  • First attempt to maintain close and continuing political cooperation and popular sentiment
  • In 1773 this begins in Virginia
backcountry tensions
Backcountry Tensions
  • British government was helpless in enforcing the Proclamation of 1763
  • Green Mountain Boys in Vermont
  • Regulators in North Carolina
the tea act 1773
The Tea Act, 1773
  • To save the East India Company from financial ruin
  • This act eliminated all remaining import duties on tea entering England and thus lowered the selling price to consumers
  • The company could also sell its tea directly to the people
  • Both of these actions lowered tea below the cost of smuggled tea

This law would corrupt Americans into accepting the principle of parliamentary taxation by taking advantage of their weakness for a frivolous luxury

  • Dec. 1773, the Boston Tea Party
    • 50 disguised men (plus others) dump forty-five tons of tea overboard
the coercive acts
The Coercive Acts
  • Also called the Intolerable Acts
    • Boston Port Bill ordered the closing of the harbor until the tea was paid for
    • Mass. Govt. Act revoked their charter, makes upper house appointed for life by the crown, the gov. names all judges and sheriffs, and only one town meeting a year
    • Administration of Justice Act said any one charged with murder while enforcing royal authority was to be tried elsewhere (Murder Act)
    • Quartering Act said the Gov. could use empty private buildings for housing troops

The added on the Quebec Act which establish Roman Catholicism as Quebec’s official religion

    • Why? To cement loyalty to Britain among conquered French-Canadian Catholics
first continental congress
First Continental Congress
  • Because of the Intolerable Acts
  • 56 delegates
  • Suffolk Resolutions was the first action: colonies owed no obedience to any of the Coercive Acts; provisional govt. should collect all taxes until the former Mass. Charter was restored; defensive measures should be taken
  • Voted to boycott all British goods and cease exporting almost all goods to Britain

Not all delegates supported this plan

  • Some supported the “Grand Council” approach
  • They settled on a Petition that stated the following:
    • Affirmed Parliaments power to regulate trade
    • All previous paramilitary efforts to impose taxes, enforce laws through admiralty courts, suspend assemblies, and unilaterally revoke charters were unconstitutional