Category: Causes of the American Revolution


342 trunks of tea were thrown into Boston Harbor. Pride and happiness grew between the colonists. They knew that they have acted for their liberty and political freedom. The parliament and the crown had seen this as an insult. They were outraged and said that Colonists actions will not go unnoticed nor be forgiven. The Parliament decided to pass the Coercive Acts, which were a series of acts that were to punish colonists actions. In a lapse of about three month, five acts were passed, which became to be known as The Intolerable Acts by Colonists.

The Coercive and Intolerable Acts were as follows:

1. Boston Port Act: Passed on May 31, 1774. The Boston Port Act closed Boston Port and trades until colonists would pay all the tea that had been thrown to the sea, plus its taxes. This created a great hardship for the people of Boston whose livlihood depended on trade. Also it created problems with other colonies that relied on Boston’s trade. Because of this Act, products could not be imported into Massachusetts, nor colonists could export their products. These brought economic losses as well hunger and the closing of business. As result, the other colonies needed to send supplies to Massachusetts for its people to survive.

2. Administration of Justice Act: Passed on May 20, 1774. This act implied that any officer or british soldier accused of committing a crime must be sent to England to be trailed. Because it meant that witnesses needed to travel and that the accused British Officers or soldiers were trailed in a place that favors them, it was most likely that they escaped their crime and were declared innocent.

3. Massachusetts Government Act: Passed on May 20, 1774. This act dissolved most of Massachusetts’s legislature and place Massachusetts under the control of an appointed royal governor. Assemblies and meetings were closed, and the colonists lost the right to govern themselves. Massachusetts had always been proud of its political freedom and rights, and were completely angered by this act. In rural Massachusetts people reacted to this “brutish actions” with violence. They armed themselves with clubs and guns, and they force the Courts of Law to a shutdown. They also would assault anyone that would take an office in the government.

4. Quartering Act of 1774: Passed on June 2, 1774. As the previous quartering act, this act forced the colonists to provide supplies and shelters to all British Soldiers. If there was insufficient space, the colonists could be even force to leave their homes.

5. Quebec Act: Passed on June 22, 1774. This act lowered the borders of Quebec, taking land of people who were already settled there. “Many colonists thought this transfer of land from the colonies to unrepresented Quebec was another attempt to punish the colonies and solidify British control”

Because of these acts, the bond between Colonists and British was severely weakened. Colonists saw the intolerable acts as a threat to their liberty and freedom. In fall of 1774, delegates from every colony except Georgia, went to the First Continental Congress were Virginia Delegate, Patrick Henry, gave his speech: “Give me Liberty or give me Death” He also exclaimed that there was no distinction between colonists anymore, and that all were now Americans.

John Adams expressed that they should unite and fight against the British, but many colonists rejected this at first hoping that the Intolerable Acts were repealed and that they could stay subjects to British Crown. Others even thought of uniting with the King against the Parliament. Whatever the thoughts of the Colonists were, John Adams proved to be right in two years. Colonists would have to unite and fight.

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The French and Indian war, or the Seven Years had doubled England’s debt. Money was spent faster than it could be brought. The general population of England was poor and each becoming poorer, and had no money to give to the government. The British Parliament looking for a solution, thought that they could tax the colonists to raise money; after all, British were giving military protection to the colonists and were spending money on the new lands taken from french near the colonies. This was undoubtedly a great mistake that will tense the relationship between the British and Colonists, and that consequently will cause the American Revolution.

Many taxes were devised by the Parliament and placed on the colonists. There was the Sugar Act, the quartering Act, but the most famous of all became the Stamp Act. The Stamp Act required colonists to pay taxes for every piece of paper used. Newspaper, letters, books, pamphlets, advertisements and even playing cards will become taxed. This act was passed in March 1765, but was coming to effect until November of that same year. This tax was insane and the colonists did not take it kindly at all. The colonists angrily protested thinking the act threatened the property and liberty of colonies. They argued that as they had no representation in the Parliament, the Parliament had no rights to raise taxes on them and apply such measures. Colonists believed in “No Taxation without Representation” and the Parliament, which had no representatives from the colonies, was violating this ideal by levying taxes, especially with the Stamp Act.

Colonist realized and started believing that if they accepted the Stamp Act, the Parliament was eventually going to come up with another tax and strip away their political rights. Parliament was puzzled by the colonists response and rejected the colonists arguments, calling them selfish and self-minded. The Parliament, seeing England need money, thought they could levy taxes on everyone they want. Because of all this tax resistances started occurring and protests broke out. Tax resistance and protest took three forms: Intellectual protests, Economics Boycotts and Violent Intimidations.

Regarding the Intellectual Protests, we find colonial leaders who wrote pamphlets, gave speeches and drafted resolutions to persuade the colonists to defy the new taxes. These people got ideas from the Enlightenment in Europe. Some of the ideas taken were the ideas of the Natural Rights, which Montesquieu and Locke argued that were the right to life, liberty and property. Another was John Locke’s idea that a good government would protect the natural rights and that the government existed for the common good of all the people. One of these people was Patrick Henry, a Virginia representative, that based on the Enlightenment Ideals drafted a radical document known as the Virginia Resolves. He presented his six resolves in the house of Burgesses, of which four were accepted and two denied. The notice of the resolves inspired 8 other colonies to also draft more resolves, making 9 out of 13 colonies to be protesting against taxes.

Regarding the violent intimidations, we find colonists who violently protested the Stamp Act by making harsh protests and also by attacking tax collectors. Before the Stamp Act came into action in November, colonists started working together creating a new American Unity. Those who opposed British taxes were called Patriots. Patriots formed an association called the Sons of Liberty. As the protests continue, angry crowds assaulted anyone who was in favor of taxes or that collected taxes. The Sons of Liberty lead mobs to tear down tax offices and the houses of tax collectors. Tax collectors were also captured and then, tarred and feathered. The mob even assaulted the house of governor Thomas Hutchinson for supporting the taxes. By the end of the year no one dared to support the taxes or to be a tax collector.

Regarding the economic boycotts, we find the Stamp Act Congress in New York City in October 1765, whose members encouraged the boycott from all the products coming from England. Local committees in the colony formed a nonimportation agreement. Women started to homespun to avoid buying textile material and contribute to the boycott. This women were known as The Daughters of Liberty.

All this three forces combined made the British back down. The effect of the three protests was great. The merchants and manufactures, as well as many others, pressured the Parliament to repeal the Stamp Act. The Parliament finally stand down and repealed the Stamp Act in 1766. But this was not the end. The Parliament, not learning from their mistake, decided to pass a law that “allowed” them to tax the colonists. New taxes appeared, tensing the situation and leading to new protests.