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Presentation on theme: "THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION: FROM ELITE PROTEST TO POPULAR REVOLT, 1763-1783."— Presentation transcript:


2 Structure of Colonial Society n 1760s an optimistic post-war period –striking ethnic and racial diversity –60% of population under 21 years old –high level of post-war prosperity –wealth unevenly distributed n Americans proud to be part of Europes most thriving, prosperous empire

3 5 n George III (1751) n upsets Whigs n Instability in England until 1770s

4 Breakdown of Political Trust n George III ascended throne n Suspicions on both sides of the Atlantic that Crown wished to enlarge its powers n Conflict over Parliamentary sovereignty – English officials assumed that Parliament must have ultimate authority – colonists tried to reserve internal colonial authority for their own legislatures

5 No Taxation Without Representation: the American Perspective n Colonists assume their legislatures equal in some ways to Parliament n Americans not represented at all in Parliament n British officials espoused virtual representation n Colonists insist only colonial assemblies could tax Americans – believe in direct representation

6 Ideas About Power and Virtue n John Locke, "Commonwealthmen" inform colonial political thought n All governments believed susceptible to corruption into tyranny – tyranny understood as any attempt to encroach upon the people's liberty n Virtuous citizens, alert to rights and determined to live free, resist tyranny

7 6 Problems Resulting from the French and Indian War n Indian relations –Pontiacs Rebellion n Imperial defense and finance –Standing army: 10,000 –1755: £72,000,000 –1764: £130,000,00 6



10 9 Writs of Assistance n 1760 n search warrant n combat smuggling n no grounds for suspicion n James Otis –instrument of slavery –lost case but Massachusetts assembly protests Writs to British government 9

11 Eroding the Bonds of Empire n Large, expensive army left in America at the end of the Seven Years War n Colonists doubted the armys value n Pontiacs War –exposed the British armys weakness –revealed the desperate situation of Native Americans after withdrawal of French n Colonists determined to settle trans- Appalachian West

12 Proclamation of 1763 n To stabilize western frontier British pass law prohibiting colonists from settling west of Appalachian Mountains n Hoped to prevent conflict between Native Americans and colonists n Colonists reacted with defiance and anger, they wanted to reap rewards of French & Indian War

13 Paying off the National Debt n First minister George Grenville attempts to reduce Englands war debt n Revenue Act of 1764 (the Sugar Act) n Merchants and gentry protest, most colonists ignore

14 10 The Grenville Ministry ( ) 10

15 11 Sugar Act (1764) n Purpose: Raise Revenue n sugar, coffee, wines, other products n tax on imported molasses halved n Enforcement increases n Vice Admiralty Courts 11

16 12 Primary Source Documents n James Otis n Virtual Representation 12

17 Colonial Products and Trade

18 12 Primary Source Documents n James Otis n Virtual Representation 12

19 Quartering Act of 1765 n Must provide living quarters to troops; provisions n Traditional hatred of standing armies in peacetime (Whig tradition) n American POV –Widespread plot to rob all Englishmen of liberties 14

20 Stamp Act (1765) 15

21 Stamp Act (1765) n Purpose: maintenance of troops, salaries of governors/judges n Vice-admiralty courts n Direct taxation £ 60,000 16

22 Popular Protest n Stamp Act requires that colonists purchase stamp to validate documents n Unites the gentry and the mass of the population in protest n Stamp Act Congress petitions the King and Parliament for repeal n Protest includes mob riots, boycotts

23 Patrick Henry & the VA Resolves n House of Burgesses n 5 resolutions n Colonists have same rights as Englishmen n Taxes ok if persons chosen by themselves to represent them n Newspapers printed resolutions including more radical ones 17

24 Stamp Act Congress (1765) n 9 of 13 colonies n all due subordination to Parliament n colonists entitled to same rights as British n no taxation w/o representation n trial by jury is an inherent and inviolable right n NON-IMPORTATION AGREEMENT 18

25 Stamp Act Riot n After 11/1/1765 n Sons of Liberty 22

26 Who Were the Sons of Liberty? n Secret Society organized to intimidate tax agents –Shopkeepers and artisans n Andrew Oliver- stamp distributor in Boston (destroyed his office) n Thomas Hutchinson – royal governor – his house is burned down n Bridge between lower classes and political leaders 23

27 Why Mobs? n Common (Guy Fawkes) n Political goals were new n Sons of Liberty leaders fear loss of political liberty –Artisans feel cheap British goods threaten livelihood –Other rioters fear new taxes and British governing elite –Some joined for the excitement 24

28 Stamp Act Riot (8/75) PD 25

29 Britishlaws STAMP ACT PROTESTS Stamp Act Protests: 1765 to 1766 Had the backing if not participation of the better classes Forced tax collectors to resign Even Moderates discredited Forced open harbors Closed civil courts

30 Rockingham Ministry ( ) n Grenville out n London merchants want Stamp Act repealed n William Pitt: –Exercise every power whatsoever, except that of taking their money out of their pockets without their consent. 27

31 Failed Attempts to Save the Empire n New administration in office, favors repeal of Stamp Act n Repeal tied to Declaratory Act of 1766 – Parliament sovereign over America "in all cases whatsoever" n Controversy estranges colonists from English officials

32 Fueling the Crisis: the Townshend Duties n Charles Townshend: chancellor of the exchequer n Townshend Duties tax American imports of paper, lead, glass, and tea n American Board of Customs Commissioners created to collect duties

33 Fueling the Crisis: Response to the Townshend Duties n Sons of Liberty organize boycott of English goods n Circular letter from Massachusetts House of Representatives urges protest n 92 Massachusetts Representatives defy government order to rescind letter n Letter from a Farmer in Pennsylvania (John Dickinson) - PD


35 Fatal Signs of Force n English government moves troops from frontier to Boston to save money n 1768 – 4,000 troops sent to Boston n Tensions increased n March 5, English soldiers fired on Boston mob, killed five Americans –incident labeled the Boston Massacre –Paul Revere engraving a best-seller n Tensions defused by Lord North

36 Boston Mass.

37 Last Days of the Old Order, n New prime minister, Lord North, leads repeal of all duties except tea n marked by tranquility n Customs collectors antagonize colonists n Radicals protest tea tax as violation of American rights n Committees of correspondence built up alternative political structure

38 North Ministry ( ) n Townshend Act repealed on day of Massacre n Boycott a success n Tax on tea left in place (Symbol?) n Dutch Tea smuggled 34


40 The Final Provocation: The Boston Tea Party n Parliament passes Tea Act – designed to help the East India Company by making its sale cheaper in America n Americans interpret as a subtle ploy to get them to consume taxed tea n December Boston protestors dump the tea into the harbor

41 The Final Provocation: The Coercive Acts n Port of Boston closed until tea paid for n Massachusetts government restructured – upper house made appointive body – town meetings permitted only once per year n Accused officials to be tried in England, not America n Army authorized to quarter troops wherever needed

42 The Final Provocation: The Quebec Act n Quebec Act establishes authoritarian government for Canada n Colonists interpret Act as final proof of Parliamentary plot to enslave America n Mainland colonies rally to support Boston, protest the British blockade

43 The Final Provocation: The Ultimate Crisis n Parliaments insistence on supremacy would make rebellion unavoidable n Ben Franklin suggests Parliament secure colonial loyalty by renouncing claim to supremacy n Parliament rejects Franklins advice


45 Steps Toward Independence n September First Continental Congress in response to Coercive Acts n Congress commends Suffolk Resolves urging forcible resistance n Intercolonial Association halts commerce with Britain until Coercive Acts repealed

46 Shots Heard Around the World n April 19, skirmish breaks out in Lexington, Massachusetts n Fighting spread along road between Lexington, Concord, Boston n English retreat to Boston with heavy losses

47 Beginning The World over Again: Early War Effort n June Congress appoints George Washington commander of Boston force n English government blockades colonial ports, hires German mercenaries n Royal governors urge slaves to take up arms against their masters

48 Beginning The World over Again: Decision for Independence n January Thomas Paines Common Sense urges independence n July 2, Independence voted by Congress n July 4--Declaration of Independence issued

49 Fighting for Independence n The British entered the war confident of a full and complete victory n English task – meet the challenge of a long supply line – use better-trained army to occupy territory – crush the popular spirit of independence n They underestimated the Americans commitment to their political ideology

50 The American Revolution,

51 Building a Professional Army n Washingtons task – defend territory as well as possible – keep his army intact n The Continental Army would be a fighting force and symbol of the republican cause n Militias role: compel support for Revolution

52 Testing the American Will n American army routed on Long Island n New York City captured n Washington forced to retreat through New Jersey n British obtain thousands of Oaths of Allegiance in wake of retreat

53 "Times That Try Men's Souls" n December 25, Washington captures Trenton n January 3, Washington captures Princeton n Victories rekindle wartime patriotism n British consolidate forces, leave territory in patriot control

54 Victory in a Year of Defeat n British campaign for New York under John Burgoyne defeated at Saratoga n British capture Philadelphia under General William Howe n Washington's army winters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania

55 The French Alliance n Saratoga prompts British suit for peace to prevent Franco-American alliance n Terms include repeal of all laws since 1763, respect for colonial taxation rights n February Americans ally with France to secure full independence

56 The Final Campaign n Spring English capture Savannah and Charleston n August American army routed at Camden, South Carolina n Nathaniel Greenes forces deal several defeats to English under Cornwallis n October 19, Cornwallis surrenders to Washingtons combined forces

57 The Loyalist Dilemma n Loyalists treated poorly by both sides n English never fully trusted Loyalists n Patriots seize property, imprison, execute some n More than 100,000 Loyalists leave U.S. at wars end

58 Loyalist Strongholds

59 Winning the Peace n Peace Treaty of 1783 negotiated by Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay n Terms secured by playing France against England, include – independence – U.S. gains all territory east of Mississippi River, between Canada and Florida – U.S. secures fishing rights in North Atlantic

60 Preserving Independence n The American Revolution begins construction of new form of government n Question remains: a government of the elite or a government of the people?


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