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


2 Structure of Colonial Society
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 Americans proud to be part of Europe’s most thriving, prosperous empire 2

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

4 Breakdown of Political Trust
1760--George III ascended throne Suspicions on both sides of the Atlantic that Crown wished to enlarge its powers Conflict over Parliamentary sovereignty English officials assumed that Parliament must have ultimate authority colonists tried to reserve internal colonial authority for their own legislatures In GB, parliament is sovereign – gained power from Magna Carta thru 1763 -Includes right to tax American influences of governance -English Common law -Enlightenment -Republican & Whig Traditions New England loved when England was a Commonwealth Ecstatic over Glorious Revolution Limits on the Power of the Monarchy Would prevent the King from imposing unfair taxes Denounce political corruption There is belief that the Stamp Act was part of plan to get colonies to rebel to justify using military force in colonies 3

5 No Taxation Without Representation: the American Perspective
Colonists assume their legislatures equal in some ways to Parliament Americans not represented at all in Parliament British officials espoused “virtual representation” Colonists insist only colonial assemblies could tax Americans – believe in direct representation 4

6 Ideas About Power and Virtue
John Locke, "Commonwealthmen" inform colonial political thought All governments believed susceptible to corruption into “tyranny” “tyranny” understood as any attempt to encroach upon the people's liberty “Virtuous” citizens, alert to rights and determined to live free, resist tyranny Commonwealth tradition says power is extremely dangerous, it will destroy liberty unless countered by virtue Bad policy is a sign of sin and corruption Leaders & citizens must sacrifice self interest for the public good Locke said, “everyone should be free from all taxes but what he consents to in person, or by his representative.” 5

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



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

11 Eroding the Bonds of Empire
Large, expensive army left in America at the end of the Seven Years’ War Colonists doubted the army’s value Pontiac’s War exposed the British army’s weakness revealed the desperate situation of Native Americans after withdrawal of French Colonists determined to settle trans-Appalachian West Pontiac’s Rebellion -Chief Pontiac attacks colonial settlements on the frontier -First test of new British imperial policy and power in the Ohio Country -Native Americans attack forts and destroy settlements from New York to Virginia frontier -British send “regular” army to deal with rebellion 6

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

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

14 The Grenville Ministry (1763-65)
10 10

15 Sugar Act (1764) Purpose: Raise Revenue
sugar, coffee, wines, other products tax on imported molasses halved Enforcement increases Vice Admiralty Courts Constitutional Conflict – debate began over whether the act was unlawful as the tax did not “originate with the people” Enforcement of 1733 Molasses Act those accused of breaking the law were to be tried by “vice- admiralty court” with a British-appointed judge fears that the Sugar Act would make colonies “slaves” to Britain points of the act were debated but reality was that the act revealed new efforts by the British to take more control of the colonies some English parliamentarians argued that the colonists did not have the same rights as Englishmen because they were living outside of Britain – “second class subjects of the king.” 11 11

16 Primary Source Documents
James Otis Virtual Representation 12 12

17 Colonial Products and Trade

18 Primary Source Documents
James Otis Virtual Representation 12 12

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

20 Stamp Act (1765) – required stamps on all court documents, land titles, contracts, newspapers, other printed materials; intended to cover at least a portion of the cost of keeping troops in the colonies -Grenville: either colonies pay for their own defense or face a stamp tax -British contended that colonies had “virtual representation” because of Parliament members who were transatlantic merchants and sugar planters in the West Indies -House of Commons ignored colonial protest of the Act; passed a Quartering Act that directed colonies to provide barracks and food for troops. 15

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

22 Popular Protest 1765--Stamp Act requires that colonists purchase stamp to validate documents Unites the gentry and the mass of the population in protest Stamp Act Congress petitions the King and Parliament for repeal Protest includes mob riots, boycotts 7

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

24 Stamp Act Congress (1765) 9 of 13 colonies
“all due subordination” to Parliament colonists entitled to same rights as British no taxation w/o representation trial by jury is an inherent and inviolable right NON-IMPORTATION AGREEMENT nine assemblies sent delegates to the Congress, New York City, October 1765; protested the loss of “rights and liberties”; declared that only representatives elected by colonists could tax the people; petitioned for the repeal of the Act; some members formed a boycott of British goods; Politicians Protest and the Crowd Rebels 1. The Stamp Act Congress – in Virginia, Patrick Henry and others publicly condemned Grenville and George III; nine assemblies sent delegates to the Congress, New York City, October 1765; protested the loss of “rights and liberties”; declared that only representatives elected by colonists could tax the people; petitioned for the repeal of the Act; some members formed a boycott of British goods; after Nov. 1, 1765, mobs began to demand that stamp tax collectors resign; in Boston “Sons of Liberty” burned a tax collector in effigy and, later, destroyed the home of the Lt. Gov.; mobs (artisans and merchants) were encouraged by the wealthy; nearly every colony had protests. 2. The Motives of the Crowd – mob actions had historic meaning among English but goals of the crowds in the colonies were new; some had political motives while others enjoyed the excitement of the action; protest worked – in most colonies the collectors gave up their positions as a result of public pressure. 18

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

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

27 Why Mobs? Common (Guy Fawkes) Political goals were new
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 STAMP ACT PROTESTS Britishlaws Had the backing if not participation of the “better classes” Forced tax collectors to resign Even Moderates discredited Forced open harbors Closed civil courts Sons of Liberty coerce merchants to boycott British goods—threat of tar and feathers Boycott was the first of its kind to organize around market decisions of the consumer. Personall excesss frowned upon Mobilized colonial women= root out luxury, promote frugalness Aletered style of dress homespun cloth Stamp Act Protests: to 1766

30 Rockingham Ministry (1765-66)
Grenville out London merchants want Stamp Act repealed William Pitt: “Exercise every power whatsoever, except that of taking their money out of their pockets without their consent.” Palriament lacked the power to tax the colonies but its power over America was supreme in every circumstance of govt and legislation whatsoever 27

31 Failed Attempts to Save the Empire
1766--New administration in office, favors repeal of Stamp Act Repeal tied to Declaratory Act of 1766 Parliament sovereign over America "in all cases whatsoever" Controversy estranges colonists from English officials 8

32 Fueling the Crisis: the Townshend Duties
Charles Townshend: chancellor of the exchequer 1767--Townshend Duties tax American imports of paper, lead, glass, and tea American Board of Customs Commissioners created to collect duties -Purpose – to cover cost of troops in colonies -External Tax – indirect tax -Private homes could be searched Dumb???? – encouraged colonists to produce their own goods 9

33 Fueling the Crisis: Response to the Townshend Duties
Sons of Liberty organize boycott of English goods Circular letter from Massachusetts House of Representatives urges protest 92 Massachusetts Representatives defy government order to rescind letter “Letter from a Farmer in Pennsylvania” (John Dickinson) - PD 10


35 Fatal Signs of Force English government moves troops from frontier to Boston to save money 1768 – 4,000 troops sent to Boston Tensions increased March 5, English soldiers fired on Boston mob, killed five Americans incident labeled the “Boston Massacre” Paul Revere engraving a best-seller Tensions defused by Lord North 11

36 Boston Mass.

37 Last Days of the Old Order, 1770-1773
1770--New prime minister, Lord North, leads repeal of all duties except tea marked by tranquility Customs collectors antagonize colonists Radicals protest tea tax as violation of American rights Committees of correspondence built up alternative political structure 12

38 North Ministry (1770-82) Townshend Act repealed on day of Massacre
Boycott a success Tax on tea left in place (Symbol?) Dutch Tea smuggled 34


40 The Final Provocation: The Boston Tea Party
1773--Parliament passes Tea Act designed to help the East India Company by making its sale cheaper in America Americans interpret as a subtle ploy to get them to consume taxed tea December Boston protestors dump the tea into the harbor 13

41 The Final Provocation: The Coercive Acts
Port of Boston closed until tea paid for Massachusetts government restructured upper house made appointive body town meetings permitted only once per year Accused officials to be tried in England, not America Army authorized to quarter troops wherever needed 14

42 The Final Provocation: The Quebec Act
Quebec Act establishes authoritarian government for Canada Colonists interpret Act as final proof of Parliamentary plot to enslave America Mainland colonies rally to support Boston, protest the British blockade 15

43 The Final Provocation: The Ultimate Crisis
Parliament’s insistence on supremacy would make rebellion unavoidable Ben Franklin suggests Parliament secure colonial loyalty by renouncing claim to supremacy Parliament rejects Franklin’s advice 16


45 Steps Toward Independence
September First Continental Congress in response to Coercive Acts Congress commends “Suffolk Resolves” urging forcible resistance Intercolonial “Association” halts commerce with Britain until Coercive Acts repealed 17

46 Shots Heard Around the World
April 19, skirmish breaks out in Lexington, Massachusetts Fighting spread along road between Lexington, Concord, Boston English retreat to Boston with heavy losses 18

47 Beginning “The World over Again:” Early War Effort
June Congress appoints George Washington commander of Boston force English government blockades colonial ports, hires German mercenaries Royal governors urge slaves to take up arms against their masters 19

48 Beginning “The World over Again:” Decision for Independence
January Thomas Paine’s Common Sense urges independence July 2, Independence voted by Congress July 4--Declaration of Independence issued 20

49 Fighting for Independence
The British entered the war confident of a full and complete victory English task meet the challenge of a long supply line use better-trained army to occupy territory crush the popular spirit of independence They underestimated the Americans’ commitment to their political ideology 21

50 The American Revolution, 1775-1781

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

52 Testing the American Will
American army routed on Long Island New York City captured Washington forced to retreat through New Jersey British obtain thousands of “Oaths of Allegiance” in wake of retreat 22

53 "Times That Try Men's Souls"
December 25, Washington captures Trenton January 3, Washington captures Princeton Victories rekindle wartime patriotism British consolidate forces, leave territory in patriot control 23

54 Victory in a Year of Defeat
British campaign for New York under John Burgoyne defeated at Saratoga British capture Philadelphia under General William Howe Washington's army winters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania 24

55 The French Alliance Saratoga prompts British suit for peace to prevent Franco-American alliance Terms include repeal of all laws since 1763, respect for colonial taxation rights February Americans ally with France to secure full independence 25

56 The Final Campaign Spring English capture Savannah and Charleston August American army routed at Camden, South Carolina Nathaniel Greene’s forces deal several defeats to English under Cornwallis October 19, Cornwallis surrenders to Washington’s combined forces 26

57 The Loyalist Dilemma Loyalists treated poorly by both sides
English never fully trusted Loyalists Patriots seize property, imprison, execute some More than 100,000 Loyalists leave U.S. at war’s end 27

58 Loyalist Strongholds

59 Winning the Peace Peace Treaty of 1783 negotiated by Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay 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 28

60 Preserving Independence
The American Revolution begins construction of new form of government Question remains: a government of the elite or a government of the people? 29


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