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British Actions and Colonial Reactions

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Presentation on theme: "British Actions and Colonial Reactions"— Presentation transcript:

1 British Actions and Colonial Reactions
1765 – 1775

2 1765 – Stamp Act British Action
Britain passes the Stamp Act, a tax law requiring colonists to purchase special stamped paper for printed items. American newspapers reacted to the Stamp Act with anger and predictions of the demise of journalism.

3 1765 – Stamp Act Colonial Reaction
Colonists harass stamp distributors, boycott British goods, and prepare a Declaration of Rights and Grievances.

4 British Reaction to Colonial Protests
March 1766 – Parliament repeals Stamp Act, but issues Declaratory Act.

5 1767 – Townshend Acts British Action
Britain taxes certain colonial imports and stations troops at major colonial ports to protect customs officers. The Repeal - Or the Funeral Procession, of Miss Americ-Stamp, This cartoon shows the British ministers mourning the repeal of the Stamp Act. Courtesy Francis G. Walett, Patriots, Loyalists & Printers. American Antiquarian Society (Worcester, 1976), 21.

6 1767 – Townshend Acts Colonial Reaction
Colonists protest “taxation without representation” and organize new boycott of imported goods.

7 British Reaction to Colonial Protests
British enforce the act and station 4,000 troops in Boston to curb the violence against customs agents.

8 1770 – Boston Massacre British Action
British troops stationed in Boston are taunted by an angry mob. The troops fire into the crowd, killing five men.

9 1770 – Boston Massacre Colonial Reaction
Colonial agitators label the conflict a “massacre” and publish a dramatic engraving depicting the violence. "The Bloody Massacre" engraving by Paul Revere appeared in the Boston Gazette and was sold as a poster.

10 British Reaction to Colonial Protests
Parliament repeals the Townshend Acts, except for the tax on tea.

11 1773 – Tea Act British Action
Britain gives the East India Company special concessions in the colonial tea business and shuts out colonial tea merchants.

12 1773 – Tea Act Colonial Reaction
Colonists in Boston rebel, dumping 15,000 pounds of East India Company tea into Boston Harbor.

13 British Reaction to Colonial Protests
Parliament passes the Intolerable Acts in 1774.

14 1774 – Intolerable Acts British Action
King George tightens control over Massachusetts by closing Boston Harbor and quartering troops. General Thomas Gage, commander in chief of British forces in North America, was appointed the governor of Massachusetts.

15 1774 – Intolerable Acts Colonial Reaction
Colonial leaders form the First Continental Congress and draw up a declaration of colonial rights. Colonists also step up military preparations.

16 1775 – Lexington and Concord
British Action General Gage orders troops to march to Concord, MA, and seize colonial weapons.

17 1775 – Lexington and Concord
Colonial Reaction Minutemen intercept the British and engage in battle – first at Lexington, and then at Concord.

18 The Second Continental Congress

19 The Atmosphere at the Meeting
Some delegates were militant radicals Colonies declare independence Establish a Continental Army and name a general to lead them (ex. John Adams) Others were more moderate (ex. John Dickinson wanted peaceful reconciliation) Problem remains: militia still camped around Boston

20 Olive Branch Petition Colonies state loyalty to the King
Ask for His help in ending the conflict King George III proclaims the Colonies in a state of rebellion and hires mercenaries, also blockades the American coast.

21 Other Measures by the Second Continental Congress

22 Second Continental Congress (May 1775)
Called Washington to head colonial army While not a military genius (he lost more battles than he won), he was trusted implicitly by his soldiers. He refused to be paid, though his records indicate expenses of over $100,000. Shrewd political choice by Congress: Virginian, wealthy, aristocratic, above reproach

23 Other Congressional Measures
Began printing paper $ to pay soldiers Organized a committee to deal with foreign nations

24 Following Bunker Hill (costly victory for British), King George III proclaimed colonies in rebellion and hired Hessians to crush rebels. Thomas Paine published Common Sense, a pamphlet selling 120,000 copies. Appealed to natural law ("an island should not rule a continent") King George was brutish and undeserving of colonials' respect America had a moral obligation to the world to be independent and democratic

25 Second Continental Congress declared independence July 2, 1776.
Jefferson headed the committee drafting the written statement. Arguments were based on John Locke's contract theory of government: All people have natural rights ("Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness") When a government abuses rights, the people have a right to "alter or abolish" it King George has acted tyrannically. Long list of wrongs done by King to colonists. The colonies are independent. Declaration gave a clear position for rebellious colonists, forcing others to choose rebellion or declare as Loyalists.


27 Reactions to Independence
Public celebrations and demonstrations rang out through the colonies among the patriots The Women’s reaction Abigail Adams took care of her children and the business of the farm Supported independence, championed women’s rights “…Remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to the them than your ancestors.”

28 Loyal Subjects to the King…..Loyalists
Colonial Americans opposed to independence Also known as Tories affiliated with the political party of Lord North Attacks made on loyalists in the colonies

29 Articles of Confederation
Created by the 2nd Continental Congress in 1777, but not approved by the states until 1781 Congress was dominant force, but it was weakened by rules All bills required 2/3 vote for passage Any amendment tot eh Articles required an unanimous vote Each state had 1 vote regardless of its population or number of representatives in congress No power to regulate commerce (trade) No tax enforcement power (states paid taxes voluntarily) The Congress was weak while the states remained strong politically

30 Treaty of Paris American negotiators (Franklin, Jay, John Adams) sought to advance American interests in lengthy negotiations Original demands were for independence, large territorial concessions (Franklin wanted all of Canada), and fishing rights in North Atlantic. Americans feared the French and Spanish would bargain with British at the expense of the U.S. Ignoring the instructions of Congress, they made a separate peace with the British before full negotiations took place.


32 Major provisions Britain formally recognized independence of U.S.
Boundaries set from Great Lakes on the North to the Mississippi River on the West to Florida on the South. No access to the Gulf of Mexico No further persecution of Loyalists and restitution for confiscated property "recommended" to states. Fishing access for Americans in waters off East Canada No reference to ending slave trade, an original goal of the Americans

33 The follow through British did recognize American Independence; however they gave little respect to the US. The same from Allies We had no access to the Gulf of Mexico British troops continued to occupy outposts and forts in the (old) Northwest Territory (Ohio Country) Congress never gave any restitution to Loyalists, some 80,000 fled to Nova Scotia, Eastern Canada and England Many states forbade slavery in their state constitutions but continued to thrive in the agricultural South. Eventually Britain would band slavery in its Empire

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