Excerpt from the Proclamation of 1763 by King George III on October 7, 1763:
And We do further declare it to be Our Royal Will and Pleasure, for the present as aforesaid, to reserve under our Sovereignty, Protection, and Dominion, for the use of the said Indians, all the Lands and Territories not included within the Limits of Our said Three new Governments, or within the Limits of the Territory granted to the Hudson's Bay Company, as also all the Lands and Territories lying to the Westward of the Sources of the Rivers which fall into the Sea from the West and North West as aforesaid.
And We do hereby strictly forbid, on Pain of our Displeasure, all our loving Subjects from making any Purchases or Settlements whatever, or taking Possession of any of the Lands above reserved. without our especial leave and Licence for that Purpose first obtained.
And. We do further strictly enjoin and require all Persons whatever who have either wilfully or inadvertently seated themselves upon any Lands within the Countries above described. or upon any other Lands which, not having been ceded to or purchased by Us, are still reserved to the said Indians as aforesaid, forthwith to remove themselves from such Settlements.
And whereas great Frauds and Abuses have been committed in purchasing Lands of the Indians, to the great Prejudice of our Interests. and to the great Dissatisfaction of the said Indians: In order, therefore, to prevent such Irregularities for the future, and to the end that the Indians may be convinced of our Justice and determined Resolution to remove all reasonable Cause of Discontent
After the French and Indian War, England controlled all of North America east of the Mississippi River. Many colonists wanted to move across the Appalachian Mountains to Ohio Country, the great western frontier that the French had controlled before the war. The British government however, passed a law called the Proclamation of 1763,saying that these lands were to be reserved for the Indian Nations. By making this land “Indian Territory,” the British hoped to prevent any further Native American conflicts. The law stated that colonists could not move westward over the Appalachian Mountains. Those settlers who were already living there were to return to the east. By keeping colonists contained east of the Appalachians, the British could also more easily collect taxes from the colonists.
1. Why would the Proclamation of 1763 upset the colonists?
2. Why did King George II ask the Parliament to enact the Proclamation of 1763?
3. How could the Proclamation of 1763 be viewed as a cause of the American Revolution?
Probates of wills, letters of administration or guardianship for estates valued at 20 pounds or more
Registration at or commencement from university, college, or seminary
Admission to public office (militia officers and judges)
The French and Indian War had been costly for the British. In order to help pay for the war, the British Parliament placed new taxes on their colonies in America. Parliament passed the Stamp Act on November 1, 1765. Colonists were now required to pay a tax on all forms of printed materials. They began to challenge England’s right to tax without colonial representation in Parliament. As colonial protests grew, slogans such as, "No taxation without representation," began to be heard.
The English money system in 1765, worked like this: 12 pence = 1 shilling 20 shillings = 1 pound or 240 pence
1. After reviewing the Stamp Act Document, why do you feel it would upset the colonists?
2. If you went to a lawyer and had them write up a will and then stopped to pick up a newspaper with 10 pages, how much would you have paid in taxes?
3. How would the Stamp Act be an example of "Taxation without representation"?
These excerpts are from Letter 2 from December 7, 1767 from a collection of 12 Letters from AFarmer in Pennsylvania, (1767-1768) by John Dickinson. Dickinson was a Pennsylvania political leader who served in the Stamp Act Congress of 1765. Later in his career, he served in the Continental Congress, and later still, in the Constitutional Convention. In the following statement, Dickinson condemned some of the new taxes being imposed by Parliament.
There is another late act of parliament, which appears to me to be unconstitutional, and as destructive to the liberty of these colonies, as that mentioned in my last letter; that is, the act for granting the duties on paper, glass, &c. [the Townshend Act]. The parliament unquestionably possesses a legal authority of regulate the trade of Great Britain, and all her colonies. I have looked over every statute (law) relating to these colonies, from their first settlement of this time; and I find every one of them founded on this principle, till the Stamp Act administration…All before, are calculated to regulate trade…The raising of revenues…was never intended…Never did the British parliament, (until the passage of the Stamp Act) think of imposing duties in America for the purpose of raising a revenue.
Here then, my dear countrymen ROUSE yourselves, and behold the ruin hanging over your heads. If you ONCE admit, that Great-Britain may lay duties upon her exportations to us, for the purpose of levying money on us only, she then will have nothing to do but to lay those duties on the articles which she prohibits us to manufacture- and the tragedy of American liberty is finished . . . If Great-Britain can order us to come to her for necessaries we want, and can order us to pay what taxes she pleases before we take them away, or when we land them here, we are as abject slaves…
1. Why does John Dickinson object to the Stamp Act and the Townshend Acts?
2. According to Dickinson, was Parliament justified in imposing taxes on the colonies?
3. Why does Dickinson urge his fellow colonists to rouse themselves?
On March 5, 1770, a crowd of
Boston boys and men
surrounded a number of British
soldiers and began taunting and
cursing them while they pelted
them with snowballs. Order
quickly broke down, and the
frightened soldiers fired into the
crowd. When the shooting
ended, several people were dead
and more were wounded. This
engraving by Paul Revere, a
leader of the Boston Sons of
Liberty, was sent throughout the
Colonies in the following weeks
to arouse anti‐British feelings.
Source: Paul Revere, The Bloody Massacre perpetrated in King Street Boston on March 5th, 1770. Revere's print appeared on or about March 28, 1770.
1) How does the engraving tell a different story from the above description of the Boston Massacre?
2) Why do you think Patriots described this incident as the "Boston Massacre" even though only 5 people were actually killed?
3) What do you think Paul revere's intent was when he created this engraving?
Source: George Hewes, An Eyewitness Account of the Boston Tea Party (1773)
It was now evening, and I immediately dressed myself in the costume of an Indian, equipped with a small hatchet… and a club, after having painted my face and hands with coal dust in the shop of a blacksmith, I repaired to Griffin's wharf, where the ships lay that contained the tea. When I first appeared in the street after being thus disguised, I fell in with many who were dressed, equipped and painted as I was, and who fell in with me and marched in order to the place of our destination.
When we arrived at the wharf, … they divided us into three parties, for the purpose of boarding the three ships which contained the tea ... as soon as we were on board the ship … [they] ordered me to go to the captain and demand of him the keys to the hatches and a dozen candles. I made the demand accordingly, and the captain promptly replied, and delivered the articles; but requested me at the same time to do no damage to the ship or rigging. We then were ordered by our commander to open the hatches and take out all the chests of tea and throw them overboard, and we immediately proceeded … first cutting and splitting the chests with our tomahawks, so as thoroughly to expose them to the effects of the water.
In about three hours from the time we went on board, we had thus broken and thrown overboard every tea chest to be found in the ship, while those in the other ships were disposing of the tea in the same way, at the same time. We were surrounded by British armed ships, but no attempt was made to resist us…
George Robert Twelve Hewes, a Boston shoemaker, participated in many of the key events of the Revolutionary crisis. Over half a century later, Hewes described his experiences to James Hawkes. When Parliament passed the Tea Act in 1773, colonists refused to allow cargoes of tea to be unloaded. In the evening of December 16, with Hewes leading one group, the colonists dressed in “the costume of a Indian.” They boarded the ships in Boston harbor and dropped the tea overboard. Hewes’ account shed light on how resistance became revolution. The "Boston Tea Party,” as it became known in the 19th century, became a powerful symbol of the Revolution. And Hewes, artisan and ordinary citizen, was celebrated as a venerable veteran of the struggle for Independence.
1. George Hewes describes the events of the Boston Tea Party on December 16 of 1773. Does he have a bias of any kind?
2. Why were colonists so angry that they boarded ships containing tea in Boston and other colonies?
3. What were they instructed to do with the tea? Why do you think they did that?
4. Why would members of the Sons of Liberty have dressed up as Indians?
This excerpt is from "Declaration of the Causes of Necessity in Taking up Arms," issued by teh Second Continental Congress on July 5, 1775. The war had broken out in April, when British forces had marched to Lexington and Concord, tow villages just outside of Boston. This document written largely by john Dickinson and Thomas Jefferson, was designed to explain and justify the fighting that had continued since April.
(The British declare) that parliament can “of right make laws to bind us in all cases whatsoever.” What is to
defend us against so enormous, so unlimited a power?...We are reduced to the alternative of choosing an
unconditional submission to the tyranny of irritated (British officials), or resistance by force.
– The latter is our choice.
Why, according to this document, were the Americans justified in fighting the British?
What kind of power do the colonists feel that Parliament has over them?
According to this Declaration, what choices do the colonists have?
Thomas Paine was an English-American political writer, theorist, and activist who had a great influence on the thoughts and ideas which led to the American Revolution and the United States Declaration of Independence. He wrote three of the most influential and controversial works of the 18th Century: Common Sense, The Rights of Man and The Age of Reason. Thomas Paine was a self-educated Quaker from England. After running into Benjamin Franklin in England, Paine moved to Philadelphia and became and editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine.
Source: Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, December 23, 1776.
"THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.... Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but 'to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER,' and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth."
1. What is meant by the line, "These are the times that try men's souls"?
2. What does Paine when he writes, " What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly/"
3. What is the main idea of this document?
These excerpts are from the "Declaration of Independence," adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.
The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations( unlawful seizures), all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States In every stage of these Oppressions, We have petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
1. How does this document describe King George?
2. Was the Declaration an objective, unbiased statement of the American-British conflict? explain.
Document I The Quartering Act of 1765 forced colonists to provide British troops with living quarters, food, and supplies. The British Parliament told some American colonists that they must let the soldiers live in their homes. Many colonists had strong feelings about this new British law and the overwhelming presence of British troops. In the colony of New York, which was the headquarters for the British Army, distrust of the British soldiers grew.
Excerpts from the Quartering Act of 1765:
WHEREAS … several regulations are made and enacted for the better government of the army, and
their observing strict discipline, and for providing quarters (housing) for the army, … and inflicting
penalties on offenders against the same act, and for many other good purposes therein mentioned;
but the same may not be sufficient for the forces that may be employed in his Majesty’s dominions in
America … there may be occasion for … quartering of regiments and companies of his Majesty’s
forces in several parts of his Majesty’s dominions in America: and whereas the publick houses …, in
his Majesty’s dominions in America…
I. … if there shall not be sufficient room in the said barracks for the officers and soldiers, then and in
such case only, to quarter … officers and soldiers for whom there shall not be room in such barracks,
V. Provided nevertheless, and it is hereby enacted, that the officers and soldiers so quartered … shall
be received and furnished with diet (food), and small beer, cyder, or rum mixed with water, by the
owners of the inns, livery stables, alehouses, victualing houses (restaurants), and other houses in
which they are allowed to be quartered by this act;
VI. Provided always, that in case any innholder, or other person, on whom any non commission
officers or private men shall be quartered by virtue of this act, ..
1. What does it mean for soldiers to be “quartered?”
2. According to Article I, why would officers and soldiers need to be quartered?
3. Besides being quartered, name one other item soldiers would receive.
4. What effect would this Act have on American colonists?