Name Causes of the American Revolution

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Causes of the American Revolution



As often happens after wars, peace that settled the French and Indian War brought new problems and caused new conflicts in the colonies. The British government had borrowed huge sums of money during the war to pay its heavy costs. The new larger empire would also be more expensive to maintain and defend. Where was the money to come from? And how was the new, larger empire in America to be governed? The old system of 13 separate colonies, each controlled from London, worked well enough when the colonies were separated from one another by thick forests. Now the wilderness was shrinking. Four colonies--Virginia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts--each claimed parts of the Ohio Valley just won from France. Each based its case on a royal charter drafted before anyone knew much about American geography. Who would untangle these conflicting claims?

There were also Indians in the Ohio Valley. Everyone expected them to stop fighting when the French surrendered. Instead they organized behind Pontiac, a chief of the Ottawa, and tried to drive the settlers back across the Appalachians. How could an area claimed by so many different colonies be defended? Who would pay the cost if British troops were used?

These last questions were most pressing in 1763. The answers were that the British put down Pontiac's Rebellion and paid the cost of doing so. To keep the peace the British stationed 6,000 soldiers in the land won from the French and closed the entire region beyond the Appalachian Mountains to settlers. This was called the Proclamation of 1763.

Events began to escalate beginning in 1764 and 1765 when Parliament, started passing laws that would raise more money to pay for colonial military expenses The Sugar Act of 1764 placed a tax on sugar and molasses to produce revenue for Britain, and colonists who were caught smuggling would be tried by the courts without juries. In 1765 Parliament also passed the Quartering Act which required colonists to house and feed British troops in America. The colonists did not feel that they should have to pay taxes or foot the bill for keeping troops in America. After all, the mother country was responsible for keeping the colonies safe as long as the colonies helped make the mother country rich.

Key Terms





direct tax

indirect tax





Key Terms

"taxation without representation"




Committee of Correspondence

Sons of Liberty

Minute Man



lawmaking body of England

an official and public document

tariff or tax placed on foreign goods brought into the country

tax on imports

a tax paid directly by the consumers ($1.00 plus tax).

a tax on imports collected from shippers and paid by consumers with higher prices.

to bring goods in from a foreign country for trade or sale

to send goods out of the country for trade or sale

refusal to buy certain goods or services as a protest

to reject or revoke a law


argument by colonists that they were being taxed by British without being represented in Parliament

the promotion of particular ideas to further one cause or do damage to another

to force to act or think in a given manner; to dominate or restrain or control by force

unbearable; incapable of being tolerated

group formed by radicals in the 13 colonies to spread the protest of the British rule.

patriot groups that fought against British authority in the American colonies

Revolutionary War civilian-soldier who was trained to fight on a short notice

storehouse of weapons

The Sugar Act


Garrity 108-109

Early Years 190-192

Textbook 145-147

To help Great Britain regain financial stability ____George _______ _____Greenville_______ the British _Prime___ __Minister___ enacted new policies and more strictly enforced existing laws. Specifically he focused on these laws/acts:

  1. ___The Sugar Act_______________________________________

  2. ____The Navigation Acts (enforcing)__________________

  3. _____Quartering Act ___________________________________

This import tax or ___duty____ was created to help offset the cost of defending the 13 Colonies during the ____French and Indian War_______________________.

The Sugar Act is an example of this type of tax, __tariff/import tax/indirect tax_____. It placed a tax on these 3 items and some others as well.

  1. _____molasses______________ 2. ____sugar______________ 3. ___coffee_______________

Colonists disliked the Sugar Act for two reasons:

  1. __No representation in Parliament_____________________________

  2. __Smugglers and merchants were losing money, thought policies were unfair____

The Stamp Act


Garrity 110-112

Early Years 192-193

Textbook 147

The Stamp Act was an example of a __direct_____ tax. Colonists had to pay for a stamp to be placed on paper items they purchased. List examples of goods requiring a tax stamp:


Colonists again said, like the Sugar Act, that the Stamp Act was “____taxation without ____________ ___representation_____________”. This time they decided to take action. Nine colonial governments met in New York and formed the __Stamp_______ __Act____ ___Congress_________. They crafted a ___petition____ requesting the Stamp Act be ___repealed_______ and sent it to __King George III_____.

Citizens also took action and formed a group, ____the Sons of Liberty______________ to protest British treatment of her American colonists. Merchants also disliked the Stamp Act and made their feelings known by __boycotting____________ British goods that fell under the Stamp Act. This economic form of protest was particularly effective. ___Parliament___________________ repealed the Stamp Act but also passed the ___Declaratory Act_________________, which said Great Britain had the authority and the right to tax and rule the 13 Colonies.

Townshend Acts


Garrity 113-114

Early Years 193-194

Textbook 148

Townshend Acts


Garrity 113-114

Early Years 193-194

Textbook 148

After the colonial protests of direct taxes, Britain’s finance minister ___Charles Townshend__________

implemented a series of ___indirect______ __taxes_____. These would be paid by merchants who in turn raised the price of goods. The Sugar Act was a previous example of this type of tax which colonists had not done much about. Identify items taxed under the Townshend Acts:

  1. ___PAPER____ 2. ____PAINT______ 3. __GLASS_______ 4. __LEAD_______ 5. ___TEA_________

Enforcement of the Townshend Acts angered the colonists. Unscrupulous, corrupt, British officials saw this enforcement as an opportunity to line their own pockets. Legally, they could collect one-third of the value of the ship and its cargo that was caught smuggling goods in or out of the colonies. However, this was not enough for some officials. They would allow small violations to go for a time period and then crack down on the violator for a long history of violations. Another example of corruption was when officials falsely ___accuse/charge___________ merchants and then would pay people to ___falsely swear/lie___ at trials so they got a guilty verdict. British officials also used documents called ___writs of assistance__________________ that gave them permission to search private homes and businesses looking for illegal goods. Colonists saw this as a violation of their ___rights/privacy________.

Identify ways in which the colonists resisted the Townshend Acts:

  1. ___Boycott British goods____ 2. ____Riots___________ 3. ____Petitions_________________

What did the British do in response to these colonial actions?

  1. ____Repealed all taxes except the tea tax____________________________________

  2. ____Quartered more soldiers to help enforce their laws_____________________

Boston Massacre


Garrity 114-116

Early Years 194

Textbook 148-149

With British troops quartered in the city of Boston to enforce British laws and keep the peace colonists were increasingly unhappy. On March 5, 1770 tensions boiled over. The Customs House, where taxes were collected and counted was guarded by British soldiers. A gang of teenagers and sailors began taunting the soldiers and throwing ___snowballs____________. As the crowd grew and closed in on the soldiers bells in town began to ring and someone yelled, “__FIRE___”! The soldiers discharged their muskets and in the aftermath _5_ people were killed including an African American sailor, ____Crispus Attucks_ _______________ who was the first to die.

____Thomas __________ ____Preston_____________ and his men were arrested on orders of the governor, ____Thomas_________ ____Hutchinson___________ and put on trial. Although a critic of the British government and their policies ___John ___ ___Adams______ defended the soldiers.

Why would he agree to defend the soldiers?

____________________Everyone deserves a fair trial

What was the outcome of the trial?

______________________2 were convicted---Had their thumbs branded_________

Boston Tea Party


Garrity 122-124

Early Years 195

Textbook 150-151

In 1770, ___Lord Frederick__ ___North_____ became the new ___Prime___ _____Minister___ of Great Britain. In May of 1773, _____Parliament_______ pass the Tea Act which created a _______Monopoly____ for the _____East India Company_______________ by giving them sole access to ship and sell tea to the 13 Colonies. Past boycotts in the colonies had financially hurt the company and the Tea Act was designed to boost its finances. While the majority of the Townshend Acts had been repealed their still remained a __3 penny____ tax on tea. While the tax remained in place, British officials believed the colonists would not care since the tea was actually _______cheaper________.

Identify why the colonists were unhappy with the tea tax, be specific.




How many pounds of tea was shipped to the colonies? ____500,000_____lbs./____1,700_________chests

What organization organized and carried out the Boston Tea Party? ____Sons of Liberty___________

How much tea did they destroy? ______90,000________lbs./________342________chests

What was the value of the tea destroyed? ____£ 15,000_______________________

Where was the location of the Boston Tea Party? ___Griffin’s Warf, Boston Harbor_____________

How did the participants disguise their identity? Why did they disguise themselves?

______Mohawk Indians, to hide their true identity______________________________________________________

Coercive Acts


Garrity 124-125

Early Years 196-197

Textbook 151-152

In response to the Boston Tea Party the British Parliament decided it was time to crack down and make the colonists obey. To _____coerce_______ means to make someone do something against their will. The laws created to make the colonists obey the crown were (name and explain each law):

1. _____Boston Port Act- closed Boston harbor until all the tea was paid for___________________________

2. _____Administration of Justice Act- all British officers/officials would stand trial in Great Britain__

3. ___Quartering Act- strengthened the existing law ___________________________________________

4. _Massachusetts Government Act- suspended colonial assemblies, limited colonists right to self-government

The colonists found the Coercive Acts so unfair they called them the _________________________________

_______________Intolerable Acts____________________________________________________________________

First Continental Congress


Garrity 125-126

Early Years 197

Textbook 151-152

Where did the first meeting take place in September of 1774? ___Philadelphia_________________________

What was the purpose of the Olive Branch Petition and who was it intended for? _______________________

____Asking King George III for a peaceful resolution to their differences_______________________________

While some delegates to the First Continental Congress suggested it was time for war, the majority of delegates and colonists in general were not in favor of such radical ideas.

Lexington and Concord

April 18 & 19, 1775

Garrity 126-128

Early Years 198-200

Textbook 152-153

In Massachusetts during late 1774 and early 1775, the situation was becoming very grave. Colonists were marching and drilling on village greens throughout the colony in defiance of British laws which prohibited such behavior. These citizen soldiers called themselves ____minutemen_______ because they could be organized quickly. General Gage received secret orders from the British government to take military action against the Massachusetts troublemakers for these illegal activities and arrest their principal leaders, and capture their arsenal of weapons.

Boston colonial leaders learned about the secret orders before Gage did. The leaders of the rebellion fled Boston to avoid arrest. Gage had learned that the __patriots____ (a name given to colonists who wanted to rebel against England) had an __arsenal___ of guns and gunpowder stored in the town. He decided to capture and destroy the weapons. Quickly, Patriots in the Boston area took action. Identify the 2 leaders Gage intended to arrest:

  1. _____John Hancock____________ 2. ____Samuel Adams___________

What city was the intended target of the British when they left Boston? __Concord___

On the evening of April 18, 1775, ____Paul Revere___________ , _____William Dawes_______, and Dr. Joseph Warren__________were sent to warn colonists west of Boston that the British were planning to move on Concord. During the late evening, __Paul Revere__ warned many minutemen with his rousing call that the "__Redcoats are coming________!"

Explain how the colonial riders sent to warn other colonists were informed of the British plans?

___Old North Church was used, hung lanterns, 1 if by land 2 if by sea________________________________________________________________________________________________________


On the morning of April 19, 1775, the confrontation took place on the village green at __Lexington___. This small town was a few miles east of Concord. Someone fired a shot; nobody knows to this day who it was. This shot was called the "__the shot heard round the world____." The American Revolution had begun.

After the fighting at Lexington, the British moved on to Concord. There was heavy action at the north bridge leading out of Concord. The British then marched back to Boston as Patriots harassed them at every opportunity. Using __Indian/guerilla____ warfare tactics, the colonials fired on the British soldiers with dreadful accuracy from behind trees, stone fences, and barns. By the end of their march, __273___ British and __less than 100___ Americans were killed or wounded. Although these were small actions, they were the beginning of a war that would eventually bring independence and freedom to the American colonists.

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