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Events Leading up to the American Revolution

After the French-Indian War the British Government decided to reap greater benefits from the colonies. The colonies were pressed with greater taxes without any representation in Britain. This eventually lead to the Boston Tea Party. In retaliation the British passed what are now considered the Intolerable (or Coercive Acts) to bring the colonies to the heal of the King. The Intolerable (or Coercive Acts) *Quartering Act: Effective March 24, 1765 This bill required that colonial authorities to furnish barracks and supplies to British troops. In 1766, it was expanded to public houses and unoccupied buildings.

Stamp Act: Effective March 24, 1765 This bill raised revenue in the American colonies. The bill require that all legal documents, licenses, commercial contracts, newspapers, pamphlets, and playing cards to have a tax stamp on them. This act was already in place in Great Britain and just extended itself into the colonies. It was put in place to raise money to cut the costs of keeping the military troops in the colonies. It was undebated in Britain, but it brought much opposition among the colonists, who said that it was because they had no representation in Parliament, and that they couldnt be taxed without aving some voice in the matters.

Colonial businessmen stopped importing British goods until Britain would repeal the act. Most of the colonists refused to use the stamps on business papers and courts would not use them on official documents. Since it was opposed by the British business community the act was repealed by the British Parliament on March 4, 1766, after Benjamin Franklin, Pennsylvanias representative in London, spoke on behalf of the American colonists. Its repeal was followed by the Declaratory Act which gave the British Government the right to legally tax the colonists by any acts they wanted.

Boston Port Act: Effective June 1, 1774 This bill closed the port of Boston to all colonists until, the damages from the Boston Tea Party were paid for. The bill also moved the seat of government of the Massachusetts Bay Colony from Boston to Salem. Most of the colonists were upset and showed sorrow for the town by setting, the day that the bill went into effect, aside as a day of fasting and of prayer. To make sure that this act was enforced correctly British troops were sent to Boston, along with enough boats to blockade the port. however there where towns in New England that sent grain and other types f food to Boston.

Administration of Justice Act: Effective May 20, 1774 This bill stated that British Officials could not be tried in provincial courts for capital crimes. They would be extradited back to Britain and tried there. This effectively gave the British free reign to do whatever they wished, because no justice would be served while they were still in the colonies. *Massachusetts Government Act: Effective May 20, 1774 This bill effectively annulled the charter of the colonies, giving the British Governor complete control of the town meetings, and taking control out of the hands of the colonists.

Quebec Act: Effective May 20, 1774 This bill extended the Canadian borders to cut off The Western Colonies of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Virginia. Although this was not passed as one of the Intolerable Acts it is considered to be one of them because it stopped forward progress of the colonies and took some of their land. Events *Sugar & Molasses Act: Smuggling trade flourished for many decades, while the British government made few attempts to enforce the Molasses Act.

In 1764, realizing they had massive losses of potential revenue, the new prime minister of Britain, George Grenville, started a policy of strict nforcement of the customs laws, and later that year the Molasses Act was replaced by the Sugar Act. The provisions of this new act raised the tax on sugar and lowered the tax on molasses; added a tax to Madeira wine; and imposed a difficult bonding procedure to be applied to all shipped merchandise. The Sugar Act was generally enforced although its tax was eventually lowered.

Townshend Acts: This bill was passed by Parliament in 1767, affecting the Thirteen Original Colonies The first part of the bill suspended the New York Assembly, penalizing it for not complying with a law, that was enacted two years beforehand. That reprimanded the colonies to house the British troops in the New World. The second part called the Revenue Act made customs taxes on colonial imports of glass, red, and white lead, paints, paper, and tea. A later act appointed commissioners in the colonies to head the custom service and to make sure the taxes were collected.

These acts were overwhelmingly unpopular in the colonies. Because a colonist published an article that criticized the Townshend Acts the King dissolved the Massachusetts legislature in 1768. *The Boston Massacre: The Boston Massacre occurred on March 5,1770, between British troops and a group of citizens from Boston. The British troops were housed in the town to stop demonstrations against the Townshend Acts. Because of constant criticism by the citizens, a squad of British soldiers, who were also hit by rockets thrown during a demonstration, fired shots into the crowd, killing five men.

The eight soldiers along with their commanding officer were on trial for murder. Incidentally, they were defended by John Adams, who would later become president of the U. S. , and Josiah Quincy. Two of the eight soldiers were found guilty of manslaughter, but claimed benefit of clergy, and were branded on the thumb instead. The others, including the officer, were cquitted. The Massacre, as it was called, was exploited by Samuel Adams to help gather more anti-British support.

*The Boston Tea Party: On May 10, 1773, Parliament allowed the East India Tea Co. o Export a half a million pounds of tea to the American colonies for the purpose of selling it without imposing upon the company the usual duties and tariffs. It was their intention to try to save the corrupt and mismanaged company from bankruptcy. The effect was that the company could undersell any other tea available in the colonies, including smuggled tea. The disruption to American commerce was unacceptable to many, including Sam Adams.

On November 27, 1773, three ships loaded with tea, from the East India Tea Co. landed at Boston and were prevented from unloading their cargo. Fearing that the tea would be seized for failure to pay customs duties, and eventually become available for sale, Adams and the Boston Whigs arranged a solution. On the night of December 16, 1773, a group of colonists, thinly disquised as Mohawk Indians, snuck aboard the ships and dumped 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor. The sabotage was denounced by Bostons less radical population, and applauded by those more radical. Englands response was the passing of the Intolerable Acts.

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