Suggested Responses

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Suggested Responses

1763 was a turning point because the British attempted to clamp down on the colonies and impose revenue taxes; also, it was a turning point because the colonists felt secure without British protection. The Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776.
British Rationale

Proclamation of 1763—This was a temporary measure to gain time to devise a more permanent solution to conflict between Native Americans and settlers.

Sugar Act—Colonists should be taxed for cost of the empire at a rate comparable to levels of taxation for those at home.

Currency Act—Colonists were required to pay British merchants in gold and silver, rather than inflated colonial paper currency.

Stamp Act—A tax was imposed on the colonists for revenue.

Repeal of Stamp Act and passage of Declaratory Act—Britain backed down on a particularly hated tax but retained the principle of British supremacy.

Townshend Duties—These duties reiterated the British belief that England had a legitimate right to collect taxes from the colonies for the protection received. The English gave in to the colonists to the extent of using the kind of indirect taxes about which the colonists had not complained before 1763.

Tea Act—This was an attempt to save the British East India Company, which had been floundering since the repeal of all Townshend duties except the tax on tea. The act was an attempt to conceal a tax by lowering prices for British tea with reduced transportation costs.

Quartering Act of 1774—This required colonists to help provide housing for soldiers sent to protect them.

Coercive or “Intolerable” Acts—Americans were punished for property lost in the Boston Tea Party.
Lexington and Concord—The British attempted to capture colonial leaders and war supplies to prevent the possibility of a successful colonial revolt.

Colonial Rationale
Reaction to the Proclamation of 1763—Colonists saw the Proclamation as an attempt to keep them under Britain’s control.
Reaction to the Sugar Act—Colonists believed Britain had no right to tax for revenue without the colonists having representation in Parliament.
Reaction to the Currency Act—Mercantilism had created a chronic trade deficit for the colonies; the British were asking the impossible in demanding payments in gold or silver when colonial resources were continually being drained.
Reaction to the Stamp Act—Britain had no right of taxation without representation, and no offenders should be tried in admiralty courts without juries.
Reaction to the repeal of Stamp Act and passage of Declaratory Act—Colonists had forced Britain to back down, but they overlooked the ominous implications of the Declaratory Act.

Reaction to the Townshend Duties—Colonists believed the indirect taxes they had accepted earlier as a legitimate way to control trade in mercantilism were now being used to collect revenue; they considered this another example of taxation without representation.
Reaction to the Tea Act—Even though British tea became cheaper, colonists were still being taxed without representation.
Reaction to the Quartering Act of 1774—Colonists viewed this, too, as an indirect form of taxation without representation, since they were expected to house and feed British soldiers. They also questioned Britain’s motive in sending troops to America when foreign enemies had been removed; perhaps the troops were there primarily to control the colonists.
Reaction to Coercive or “Intolerable” Acts—Colonists viewed the acts as sweeping and unjustified denials of their liberties.
Reaction to Lexington and Concord—Thomas Paine’s Common Sense provided a rationale for freeing America from British tyranny, by force if necessary. The British had killed colonists and provided cause for further resistance.
Handout 39, Suggested Responses


a.     Perhaps a sort of commonwealth status with equality within the empire would have averted revolution.

b.    The colonists would have had to accept taxation and a status short of independence.
2.    Each side viewed every event from its own perspective without considering the wants and needs of the other.
3.    Students may see the dominant cause in the political subordination explicit in the Declaratory Act and implicit in the Stamp Act and other taxes levied without representation; alternatively, they may conclude that the British intention to keep colonists in a position of economic subordination was intolerable.


a.     Officials created antagonism by altering traditional relations between Britain and the colonies without regard for colonial wants and needs.

b.    Radicals galvanized mass support by propagandizing examples of purported British tyranny, such as the Boston Massacre and the “Intolerable” Acts.

c.     Before they took the drastic step of supporting independence and war, they used a long series of legal and nonviolent protests to change British views. By their example, moderates drew a different and wider following supportive of independence. One might mention, in particular, the role of merchants, planters, and moneyed interests.

a.     The fast succession of new regulations gave colonists little time to adjust to new British expectations. Also, new regulations came at a time the colonists felt most secure from foreign threats.

b.    Distance and lack of easy communication created difficulties for both sides in understanding the viewpoint of the other side.

c.     Repeal of the Stamp Act and most Townshend duties gave the colonists a sense that they had gained the upper hand and had forced a British retreat.
6.    Students should recognize the impact of British administrative errors of judgment and political and economic grievances and make some attempt to establish priorities

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