Chapter 7: The Road to Revolution 1763-1775

  • The French and Indian War was costly for the British.
  • The revolution began as a squabble over economic policies.

The Deep Roots of Revolution:

  • Republicanism: a just society in which all citizens subordinated their private, selfish interest to the common good. Opposed to aristocracy and monarchy.
  • Whigs: Feared threats to liberty and corruption in society. Disliked power of monarch.

Mercantilism and Colonial Grievances:

  • Distance had weakened British authority
  • Mercantilism believed wealth was power, and a country's wealth was measured by amount of gold or silver in treasury. Colonies = market for exports.
  • Navigation Law of 1650: American imports and exports must only be in British vessels. Certain products could only be shipped to Britain (tobacco).
  • Parliament prohibited paper money in the colonies.
  • "Royal veto" to any colonial laws that worked against mercantilism. Colonies unhappy.

The Merits and Menace of Mercantilism:

  • Navigation Laws were not a burden because Americans found a way around them (smuggling)
  • Americans benefited: colonial producers of ship part and tobacco planters = $$. Protection w/ British navy and army
  • BUT American wasn't being allowed to grow economically

The Stamp Tax Uproar:

  • Britain in debt of 140 million pounds, half of which was for defending the colonies.
  • Prime Minister George Grenville: strictly enforced Navigation Laws, Sugar Act 1764 - increased the duty on foreign sugar imports.
  • Quartering Act of 1765 - colonies must provide food and quarters for British troops.
  • Stamp Act: 1765 - All paper must be stamped. Stamp = tax.
  • Americans angrily aroused, some refused to comply w/ Quartering Act
  • Offenders tried in court - guilty until pr oven innocent!
  • Why was the British army event here?
  • Americans thought Stamp Act was robbery, because no colonists had representation in parliament. (BUT AMERICA DIDN'T WANT REPS IN PARLIAMENT EITHER, they just wanted to complain)

Parliament Forced to Repeal the Stamp Act:

  • Stamp Act Congress: 1765 - 27 delegates drew up a statement of their rights and grievances - wanted king to repeal the act => intercolonial unity.
  • Nonimportation agreements against British goods. Common people could participate in this boycott protest.
  • "Sons and Daughters of Liberty" - more violent protests.
  • Britain suffered boycotts - people lost jobs
  • 1766: Parliament grudgingly repealed Stamp Act. Happy Americans built statue to King George III
  • Declaratory Act: Parliament has the right to "bind" colonies in "all cases whatsoever"
  • Bad for colonies, they wanted sovereignty

The Townshend Tea Tax and the Boston "Massacre":

  • "Champagne Charley" Townshend: new control of British ministry - passed Townshend Acts -1767 - tax on glass, white lead, paper, pain, and tea.
  • Tax money payed British governors and judges
  • 1768 - 2 regiments of British troops in Boston
  • March 5, 1770 - crowd of townspeople provoked about 10 redcoats (pushed/beat them). Troops opened fire and killed/wounded 11 citizens.
  • Crispus Attucks - black, died

The Seditious Committees of Correspondence:

  • Townshend Acts had failed to produce revenue. Townshend Acts repealed, but tea tax remained.
  • Samuel Adams: Organized Committees of Correspondence - spread spirit of resistance
  • 1773 Virgina House of Burgesses: Intercolonial groups established => evolved into first American congresses

Tea Parties at Boston and Elsewhere:

  • 1773: British East India Company facing bankruptcy. Awarded complete monopoly of American tea business.
  • Price was cheaper, but Americans were still against the principle of taxation.
  • Philadelphia and New York: forced tea-bearing ships back to Britain, Annapolis: burned cargo and vessel
  • Mass. governor Thomas Hutchinson told ships at Boston harbor not to leave until tea was unloaded
  • Dec.16, 1773: band of Bostonians dressed as Indians dumped 342 chests of tea into Boston harbor => Hutchinson left to Britain, people react, Britain harshens.

Parliament Passes the "Intolerable Acts":

  • 1774 Boston Port Act: closed Boston harbor until damages were payed
  • Restrictions placed on town meetings
  • ***Quebec Act: Allowed French religion and customs to continue. Gave them Ohio River Valley. Allowed them to practice Catholicism (this is often overlooked, but a very important act)

The Continental Congress and Bloodshed:

  • Everyone (all colonies) felt bad for Mass. (half-mast flags, shipped them rice)
  • Continental Congress 1774: Philadelphia. Purpose: to redress colonial grievances. All colonies except for Georgia. Not Congress, convention. Wrote "Declaration of Rights" and appeals to British. => Creation of The Association: complete boycott of British goods. No imports, no exports, no consumption.
  • Not revolting yet! Simply wanted parliament to repeal taxes.
  • Parliament rejected their petitions.
  • April 1775 - British troops sent to Lexington and Concord to seize colonial gunpowder and bag rebels Samuel Adams and John Hancock.
  • Lexington - British killed 8 Americans
  • Concord - Brutal Americans forced British to retreat

Imperial Strength and Weakness:

  • British army: 50,000 men w/ 30,000 Germans, but Britain was kinda weak
  • Some British sympathy
  • British army faced hard conditions in America
  • Distance was a problem

American Pluses and Minuses:

  • Outstanding leadership
  • Foreign aid from France (Marquis de Lafayette)
  • Badly organized - jealousy among colonies
  • Economy bad - paper money - depreciated

A Thin Line of Heroes:

  • Lack of weapons
  • Valley Forge, cruel winter 1777-1778 - not much clothing, soldiers rugged
  • Blacks fought - 5,000 enlisted in army
  • Britain used blacks too - Dunmore's decree: slaves would be freed if they fought in the war.
  • Patriots were a minority in America (ish)

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