AP US: Leading Up To The Revolution (1763 - 1774)

Rethinking their Empire - new Mercantilist Rules

  • British Government measures to prevent smuggling
    • Navigation Acts of 1650, 1660, 1662, 1606
      • Designed to protect British shipping from competition
      • Colonies could only import goods shipped on British ships with British crews
    • 1761 - Writs of Assistance
      • search warrants without probable cause - search any boat for smuggled stuff
      • James Otis' case
        • he tries to defend the concept that protection of private property must be held in higher respect than any statute, a sacred American ideal
        • but he lost, and the law passed
    • Wool, Hat, and Iron Acts
      • not taxes, but they are internal decrees
      • stop colonists from producing finished products to stop internal trade, forcing the colonists to buy and sell only with England
      • goes with Mercantilist idea of using colonists to provide raw materials, then the mother country can take the raw materials, make products, and sell them back to the colonies for a profit
    • Molasses Act 1733
      • important part of triangular trade
      • policies not strongly enforced - there's still "saluatory neglect", something which ends with the Proclamation of 1763
    • Grenville's Program 1763-1765
      • Sugar Act 1764
        • revoke Molasses Act, then pass Sugar Act
        • nothing actually happens; it did actually lower prices a bit, in a hope to reduce smuggling, but it's mostly a wash
      • Currency Act 1765
        • all products must be paid for in gold and silver - not in the printed money of the various colonies
        • taxes must also be paid in "real" currency
      • Quartering Act 1765
        • Parliament intended this to function as a "tax without taxing", but the colonists think its intent is to spy on them
        • forces colonists to house (feed, shelter, etc.) soldiers and their gear, horses, etc.
      • Stamp Act 1765
        • most offensive to colonists
        • all paper products (cards, papers, etc.) must have a stamp, which is purchased from British officials
        • first direct tax on the colonists
        • the colonists had no voice in this decision
        • will lead to most rebellion, and rise to fame of such as Patrick Henry
          • "no taxation without representation"
        • impacts middle class most of all, and they're the ones that do the most damage when angered
        • also opens debate about theories of representation

Theories of Representation

  • How will colonists be represented in Parliament?
  • How much control should Parliament have in the colonies?
  • Virtual vs. Actual representation
    • Virtual = all members of Parliament represent all citizens of Great Britain
      • that is, absolute power for Parliament, no colonial control at all
    • Actual = physical human beings from the colonies are seated in Parliament
      • that is, (in theory), colonists have some control over Parliament

Stamp Act Crisis

  • Loyal Nine (1765)
    • nine colonies who want to take action against Stamp Act
    • feel that they need to unite against opressive British
  • Stamp Act Congress (1765)
    • 27 delegates from 9 colonies
    • draw up a statement of rights and grievances (the Stamp Act Resolves), and request that the king and Parliament repeal the Stamp Act
    • a great step forward in intercolonial unity
    • non-importation / noncompliance agreements
      • boycott goods from British merchants
      • get British merchants to pressure king and Parliament, as much of British trade goes through colonies, and thus pressure on merchants can be used to affect Parliament
  • Sons of Liberty
    • begun in New York City by Samuel Adams
    • there were also Daughters of Liberty
    • push people to support non-importation agreements - using force if necessary
  • Stamp Act repealed
    • repealed 1766
    • but, Parliament passes Declaratory Act at same time, in 1766
      • Parliament's "temper tantrum"
      • they agree to repeal Stamp Act, but feel a need to pass an act that makes no actual change, only declares Parliament's supreme authority over the colonies - to tax and legislate

Townshend Duties Crisis (1767-1770)

  • "Champagne Charley" Townshend [makes great speeches while drunk] passes laws to tax colonies
  • items produced in Britain - paper, glass, lead, paint, tea, etc. are named as "enumerated articles"
  • tax collected at ports, not in stores
    • tax is therefore included with price - "hidden"
    • price of goods rise
  • Suspend New York Assembly
    • they refused to quarter British troops
    • so, they can no longer meet
  • Salaries of royal governors
    • salaries paid by Britain with money from taxes
    • now, governors are loyal to king, not controlled by colonial legislatures
  • American Board of Customs and Admiralty
    • smugglers are tried by Admiralty courts, not by trial of peers
  • Colonial response
    • John Dickinson
      • Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania (1768)
        • colonists are not opposed to Britain regulating trade, but are opposed to taxes because they're not represented
    • Second non-importation movement (1768)
      • Samuel Adams proposed intimidation and violence
      • Ben Franklin wants reasoned discussion
      • most colonists are not impacted
      • for the first time, colonists begin to call those who join the Sons of Liberty, support non-importation, and other actions, "patriots" for the cause

Boston Massacre (5 March, 1770)

  • most colonists didn't feel the taxes - smugglers kept prices low
  • more enlisted British soldiers were present in Boston than elsewhere
    • strict discpline, little pay
    • in spare time, they take jobs to earn extra money; will undercut colonists by taking lower wages
  • anger + drink = mob
    • crowd of Bostonians attack some redcoats
      • redcoats fire, 11 colonists are casualties
      • Crispus Attucks dies
      • as a "massacre", it's blown out of proportion
  • John Adams (will be second President of the USA)
    • defends soldiers in court, and gets them an acquittal
    • one of his goals is to show that a republican system can fairly try criminals
  • afterwards, there is a period of relative calm - but Sam Adams fights this calm with his Committees of Correspondence

The Committees of Correspondence

  • nurture a revolutionary spirit
  • the idea of Sam Adams
  • communicate between colonies about British activities, stir up rebellious feelings

Gaspee Incident (1772)

  • British schooner, a revenue ship, runs aground in Rhode Island
  • after all people are off the ship, colonists decide to burn it

Tea Act (1773)

  • Townshend Acts are withdrawn, except for the Tea Act
  • British East India Company
    • stock is owned by members of Parliament (Lord North is new Prime Minister)
    • they have a monopoly on British tea imports
    • they are permitted to sell tea to the colonies directly, eliminating middlemen and lowering costs
      • tea will be cheaper
      • Parliament makes money
      • the expect colonists to choose cheaper tea and be happy, but the colonists think the lower prices are a conspiracy to force them to accept the Tea Act

Boston Tea Party (1773)

  • Bostonian are experienced with protest and violence
  • British government wants to unload tea in Boston
  • Bostonians dress up as Indians, board ships, and dump tea in the harbour
  • royal governor of Massachusetts is Thomas Hutchinson
    • he leaves for England after the Tea Party
    • wants to avoid being punished for failure
    • also, during Stamp Act Crisis, his home had been burnt down, so he doesn't want to stick around

Coercive or Intolerable Acts (Spring 1774)

  • British government's response to Tea Party
  • Port Bill - closes port of Boston and relocates customs house so important supplies can still enter the colony
  • Massachusetts Government Act - limits the ability of citizens to meet; replaces elected officials with crown appointees
  • new Quartering Act - the British will send more troops to Boston, this forces the citizens to quarter them
  • Administration of Justice Act
    • allows royal officials accused of crimes to return to Britain for trial
    • John Adams had defended Boston Massacre soldiers to show that colonists can be fair
    • this act communicates to the colonists that (a) the British government doesn't trust them to hold a fair trial and (b) the British government may be ordering officials to do things that aren't legal at all
    • when accused, the officials can return to Britain and get off as innocent - possibly even without a trial
  • other colonies won't support Boston that much - they thought they deserved what they got; however, the Quebec Act will anger them

Quebec Act (1774)

  • angers all the colonists
  • not designed to anger the colonists, rather to assimilate formerly French lands into the British Empire
  • Quebec's boundary is extended south to the Ohio River
  • recognise Catholicism as the official religion of Quebec
  • have non-representative government in Quebec
  • colonists fear a precedent for American colonies in terms of type of government (that is, without representation or juries)
  • Protestant colonists hate Catholic French

First Continental Congress (1774)

  • response to either the Intolerable Acts or Quebec Act, depending on perspective
  • 55 delegates from 12 colonies go to Philadelphia (Georgia doesn't attend)
  • 1 vote per colony
  • three categories of delegates
    • radicals - want to separate from Britain, ex. Patrick Henry, John and Sam Adams
    • moderates - want to repair relationship with Britain, ex. George Washington and Dickinson
    • conservatives - ex. John Jay, Joseph Galloway, want to preserve ante-1763 status quo
      • Galloway Plan
        • return to pre-1762 condition
        • want return of salutary neglect
        • want a "grand council" in the colonies with power to veto laws passed by Parliament
  • issue the "Statement of Rights"
    • also known as the "Declaration of Resolves"
    • Intolerable Acts were made null and void
    • says that the colonists should arm themselves and form militias (Massachusetts, the radical state, had already started this)
    • strict boycott of all British imports, and associations are formed in every colony to make sure that the boycott is enforced
    • vote to meet again and evaluate
      • important step for unity
      • before then, there had already been skirmishes, confrontations, etc.
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