The Road to Revolution 1763-1775 The American Pageant
The American Pageant
Deep Roots of Revolution
Revolution was actually developing in minds of colonists from first settlements.
To emigrate is to rebel.
Distance weakens authority
Deep Roots of Revolution (2)
Colonists came to common belief: British authorities fundamentally different – unfit to tell them what to do.
Set up their own parliaments, thought themselves “American” not transplanted Britons.
The Mercantile Theory
Mercantilism: wealth is power, key to wealth is export more than import. Colonies’ role: provide raw materials (so do not have to import from other nations) and markets for exports.
The Mercantile Theory (2)
European nations relied on strong central govt’s to enforce mercantile doctrines.
Americans: ensure British naval supremacy through ships, ships’ stores, sailors, trade.
The Mercantile Theory (3)
The Mercantile Theory (4)
Americans (3): Keep gold/silver within empire by growing products (tobacco/ sugar) that England would otherwise have to buy elsewhere.
Merc. Trammels on Trade
Most famous of laws to enforce mercantilism were Navigation Laws (1650). Restricted trade to English vessels (no Dutch).
Additional laws: Goods bound for colonies had to go to England first for duties.
Merc. Trammels on Trade (2)
Colonists also not allowed to manufacture certain products to not compete with British.
B/c so much importing, colonials lacked currency, barter economy developed.
Merc. Trammels on Trade (3)
Many colonies forced to issue paper money, then forbidden by Parliament, angered Americans.
Privy Council could veto (“royal veto”) col. assembly laws. Used sparingly, but fiercely resented.
Merits of Mercantilism
Until 1763, Navigation Laws were not burden b/c laxly enforced (salutary neglect).
Merchants disregarded or evaded restrictions, some got rich by smuggling (e.g. John Hancock).
Merits of Mercantilism (2)
Some Americans were helped by mercantilism: Ship parts & stores producers got price supports, VA tobacco farmers guaranteed monopoly on English market.
Merits of Mercantilism (3)
Other benefits to Americans:
Merits of Mercantilism (4)
Other benefits to Americans:
Menace of Mercantilism
Mercantilism stifled economic initiative due to lack of freedom.
South favored due to Tobacco, sugar, rice – revolution came primarily from New England (unwanted relatives).
Menace of Mercantilism (2)
VA tobacco growers hurt b/c British merchants gouged them, price fall forced them into generational debt. Joined New England in desire for revolt (“Liberty or Death” or “Liberty or Debt”?).
Menace of Mercantilism (3)
Most important, mercantilism was insulting: colonies felt they were being milked like cows, kept in economic adolescence.
British failed to see an emerging nation.
Stamp Tax Uproar
After Seven Years’ War Britain had huge empire, but also huge debt. Half of debt from defending American colonies.
London: Col. should now pay 1/3 of cost of troops in America.
Stamp Tax Uproar (2)
1763: PM Grenville ordered enforcement of Nav. Laws
1764: Sugar Act – 1st law to raise tax revenue in colonies for crown.
1765: Quartering Act – must house British troops.
Stamp Tax Uproar (3)
1765: Stamp Act – req. stamps on bills of sale, commercial & legal documents like playing cards, newspapers, diplomas, marriage licenses.
Grenville simply asking col. to pay fair share.
Stamp Tax Uproar (4)
Americans concerned about losing money, rights: some col. assemblies refused to comply with Quartering Acts.
Also, laws jeopardized rights as Englishmen due to trial in admiralty courts.
Stamp Tax Uproar (5)
Americans: why troops needed now that French gone & Pontiac defeated? Could purpose be to keep us in line?
“No taxation without representation!”
Stamp Tax Uproar (6)
Grenville: Power of Parliament is supreme, plus you are rep. – “virtual representation.”
Americans did not really want rep., but stuck to principle.
Led eventually to rejection of all of authority of Parliament.
Response to Stamp Act: Stamp Act Congress of 1765. Stated rights, grievances, asked for repeal. England ignored.
Nonimportation agreements: boycotts of British goods.
Repeal of Stamp Act (2)
Boycotts united Americans for 1st time in common action.
Sons/Daughters of Liberty “enforced” the boycotts with violence against violators/ officials.
Repeal of Stamp Act (3)
Protests resulted in breakdown of collection machinery. By the day the tax went into effect, stamp agents had been forced to resign. No one to sell stamps.
English economy hard hit by boycotts.
Repeal of Stamp Act (4)
Colonies proved that London could be forced to yield.
Tea Tax/Boston Massacre
1767: New PM Townshend encouraged passing of Townshend Acts – import duty on glass, white lead, paper, paint, tea, paid at col. ports.
Argument: difference between internal & external taxes.
Tea Tax/Boston Massacre (2)
Americans rejected distinction, felt tax on tea esp. bad.
Tax revenues used to pay royal governors, removing power of purse from col. assemblies.
1767: Brit. suspended NY leg. for Quartering Act violations.
Tea Tax/Boston Massacre (3)
Nonimportation agreements revived, but less effective because tax was light, indirect, could find cheap smuggled tea.
1768: Breakdown of law – British land troops in Boston, taunted by colonials.
Tea Tax/Boston Massacre (4)
March 5, 1770: crowd of about 60 colonials attack 10 redcoats, who fire w/out orders, 11 killed or wounded.
Comm. of Correspondence
1772: Samuel Adams, “Penman of Revolution,” organizes local committees of correspondence in Boston, spread to rest of MA.
Purpose: spread propaganda/ information to keep opposition to British policies alive.
Comm. of Correspondence (2)
1773: VA sets up CofC within House of Burgesses. Soon every colony had central committee to exchange info w/ other colonies.
Evolved into 1st American congresses.
Boston Tea Party
1773: boycotts weakening, tea tax paid b/c legal tea cheaper than smuggled tea.
1773: British East India Co. had too much unsold tea, awarded monopoly on American tea supply, made tea even cheaper.
Boston Tea Party (2)
Americans felt British trying to get Americans to accept tea tax by bribing them with cheap tea.
MD: colonists burned tea ships.
Boston: col. disguised as Indians dumped chests from 3 ships into harbor (Dec., 1773).
British outraged, even those friendly to America.
1774: Parliament passes series of laws to punish Boston, specifically closing harbor until damages paid, restrictions on town meetings.
Intolerable Acts (2)
1774: Quebec Act while good for French subjects, angered colonists, esp. anti-Catholics/ land speculators. Was not only aimed at Massachusetts, but all colonies.
1774: Response to Intolerable Acts – Continental Congress summoned in Philadelphia to redress grievances.
55 delegates from 12 colonies (no GA), incl. S. Adams, J. Adams, Washington, Henry
Continental Congress (2)
Under influence of J. Adams, drew up Declaration of Rights, created The Association (called for complete boycott, 1st step to constitution for colonies).
Reconvene in May, 1775 if grievances not addressed.
Continental Congress (3)
American petitions rejected by Parliament.
April, 1775: British troops sent from Boston to Lexington & Concord to seize gunpowder, arrest S. Adams & Hancock.
Continental Congress (4)
“Minute Men” refused to disperse at Lex., 8 col. killed.
Concord: Redcoats forced to retreat by Americans after 70 killed, 300 injured (“shot heard round the world”).
Brit. Strength/Weakness (2)
Brit. Strength/Weakness (3)
Col. Strength/Weakness (2)
Col. Strength/Weakness (3)
Thin Line of Heroes
Military supplies (incl. food & clothes) very low.
American militiamen highly unreliable, little training (7 or 8 thousand well-trained by end).
Blacks served on both sides, Brits offered freedom to slaves.
Thin Line of Heroes (2)
Morale undermined by American merchants profiting from trade with British.
Actually, only a minority of colonials identified with cause of independence.
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