|V Early British Actions
George III was born in 1738, first son of Frederick, Prince of Wales and Augusta.
married Charlotte in 1761
produced a fifteen children: nine sons and six daughters
was afflicted with porphyria, a maddening disease which disrupted his reign as early as 1765
several attacks strained his grip on reality, debilitating him in the last years of his reign (rule)
rule was given to his son George, the Prince Regent, in 1811
George III died blind, deaf and mad at Windsor Castle on January 29, 1820
7) Excerpt from http://www.britannia.com/history/monarchs/mon55.html:
“George's madness ultimately left the fate of the crown on his eldest son George, Prince Regent. Prince George was put in the daunting position of attempting to govern according to the increasingly erratic will of his father. A letter received by novelist E. M. Frostier from his aunt, Marine Thornton, describes the situation:
"... there he was sitting on the Throne with his King's Crown on, his robes scarlet and ermine(a white
coat with black at the tip of the tail ) and held his speech written out for him, just what he had to say.
But, oh dear, he strode up and made a bow and began "My Lords and Peacocks'. The people who were
not fond of him laughed, the people who did love him cried, and he went back to be no longer a king,
and his eldest son reigned in his stead".
B) The Proclamation of 1763
1) CAUSE: After the F & I War, GB faced many problems:
aa) (Question 1) How do we keep the Nat. Ams and Colonists from killing each
other in the frontier? (Turn to a neighbor and discuss.)
(Answer) Set a boundary that cannot be crossed.
bb) (Question 2) How do we keep the Colonists from moving westward w/out
Proclamation of 1763
permission? (Turn to a neighbor and discuss.)
(Answer) No Native American was to go past the Appalachian Mts. to the east, and
no colonist could go west past the App. Mts.
2) EFFECT: Colonists claimed this to be an act of tyranny (unjust use of govt. power).
aa) argued that lands east of the Apps. were already full of colonists
bb) they needed to expand for farming purposes
cc) said colonists could not move across the App Mts. w/out permission
dd) said the Proclamation of 1763 was too late
ee) settlers were already crossing the mts
3) RESULT: King George III = jacked up the number of Brit. soldiers in the colonies to 7,500
4) ECONOMICS: MONEY PROBLEMS caused a severe clash between the British govt. and
the colonists after the French and Indian War.
aa) British: wanted the colonists to help pay off the war debt
bb) wanted the natural resources that were in America
cc) the war made the colonists safe from the French and cost them little
dd) Colonists: - believed that Britain had a duty to protect the colonies
ee) the war HAD NOT been fought to PROTECT them, but to protect British trade
C) NEW PRIME MINISTER - George Grenville
- began by enforcing existing laws and then went on to introduce some new policies
1) Sugar Act:
aa) Grenville persuaded Parliament to pass this act in 1764, putting a tax on foreign
molasses and sugar
bb) many New England industries = depended on the less expensive molasses fr French
sugar rather than the higher-priced British kind
cc) SETTLERS BOYCOTTED
2) Quartering Act: (similar to communism – the govt makes ALL decisions)
aa) (1765) required colonists to pay for quartering (housing/feeding) of British soldiers
in their area
bb) This included: candles, firing, bedding, cooking utensils, salt, vinegar, & beer/
cc) SETTLERS OBJECTED
3) The Stamp Act
In 1765, Parliament passed the Stamp Act
forced the colonists to pay a special tax on items that were stamped
newspapers, playing cards, and legal documents
1) as British citizens = could be taxed ONLY by a body that represented them
they had no representation in Parliament
3) Patrick Henry (a hot-tempered, young lawyer AND member of the House of
Burgesses) said, “We will have NO taxation without
4) colonists boycotted (take a stand on an issue and refuse to participate)
numerous stamped items and formed the Stamp Act Congress to protest
5) small band (number) of angry colonists formed a protest group called the Sons
of Liberty who seized (took) and burned piles of the stamps
6) In 1766 = Parliament repealed (abolished/took back) the Stamp Act due to
pressures from British merchants on Grenville to help them gain back
4) Declatory Act
aa) another warning to the colonists against any future protests
bb) Parliament had the right to rule and tax the colonies.
cc) This DIDN’T go over well!!
VI The Townshend Acts
A) In 1767, Parliament passed the Townshend Acts:
1) placed import taxes on numerous items
aa) including paint, glass, lead, paper, and tea coming INTO America
2) also allowed British officials to freely search colonists’ property for smuggled goods
3) colonists responded by boycotting many British goods
4) tensions grew in the colonies, especially in the cities
B) A Boycott of British Goods
1) Samuel Adams: outspoken leader of the Sons of Liberty
aa) kept the public anger simmering w/his speeches & newsletters warning that
Parliament was a threat to American rights/liberties
bb) quote about Adams: “every dip of his pen stung like a horned snake.”
cc) sent a letter to every colony protesting the Townshend Acts
dd) stated that the new duties violated the colonists’ rights as British citizens
ee) to protect those rights = colonies decided to boycott British goods.
ff) a peaceful form of protest even the Loyalists could support.
gg) Women were the key b/c it was said they could “do more for the good of the country
than five hundred noisy sons of liberty.”
1) shoppers, cooks, weavers, etc.
2) found ways to stop buying Brit imports
aaa) sewed dresses out of homespun cloth, brewed tea from pine needles, &
bought only American made goods
C) Repeal of the Townshend Acts
aa) Lord North (new head of British govt.; a booby-looking man who took naps during
Parliament meetings) realized the Townshend Acts were a money-loser for GB
repealed them (got rid of them; canceled the law)
bb)- TEA was the only tax NOT revoked b/c it was such a popular drink.
cc) Some members of Parliament = thought this, too, should be dismissed
dd) stubborn King George III = Heck No!
becoming VERY greedy and irresponsible due to his illness (porphyria)
VII The Boston Massacre
1) same day TA were repealed = brawl broke out between soldiers and colonists in Boston
2) since 1768 = Brit troops had been in Boston to keep order and control
3) BUT: colonists knew (however) = redcoats couldn’t fire upon them (shoot them)
4) Colonists: taunted and teased them = called them lobster backs, redcoats, etc.
5) mob (an angry group of people) violence broke out
6) March 1770 = a group of colonists & British soldiers clashed (argued) = streets of Boston
aa) five people killed
bb) incident became known as the Boston Massacre
1) Crispus Attucks: African American sailor killed during this massacre.
2) Lord North: new Prime Minister (leader) of Parliament (1770)
aaa) tried to improve relations w/the colonies
B) Massacre or Self-Defense?
1) “massacre” = perfect opportunity for Sam Adams to “whip up” anti-British feelings
2) asked Paul Revere, a local silversmith, to engrave a picture of it
aa) he portrayed (or showed) it as Brit soldiers firing at peaceful, unarmed colonists
bb) prints of Revere’s engraving = distributed around the colonies
cc) proof that British troops should pull out of the colonies
3) Loyalists = saw as proof that troops WERE needed more than ever!!
aa) Hero: John Adams (Boston lawyer; cousin to Sam)
1a) agreed to defend the redcoat soldiers
2a) knew his action would cost him friends and clients
3a) believed EVERYONE had the right to a fair trial
aaa) six found guilty
bbb) two guilty only of manslaughter (causing death w/out meaning to; not murder)
5) J. Adams = considered this case as “one of the best pieces of service I ever
rendered to my country.”
C) The Conflict Increases
1) 1772 = crisis with GB grew
2) colonial leaders = organized Committees of Correspondence to work as a network for
passing along news of important events
VIII The Boston Tea Party
A) The Tea Act
1) In 1773, the British government passed the Tea Act.
2) The act gave the East India Company exclusive rights to sell tea to the American colonies
3) Result = colonial tea merchants were cut out of the business
B) Boston Tea Party
1) In the fall of 1773 = the Sons of Liberty crept onto a ship in Boston Harbor loaded with
East India tea
2) colonists dressed as Mohawk Native Ams.
3) then dumped the tea into the water to protest the Tea Act
4) action became known as the Boston Tea Party
IX The Intolerable Acts (Coersive Acts)
A) Lord North and King G
1) Lord North was stunned by the news of the Boston Tea Party.
2) tried to help the colonists by sending them cheap tea, which they then threw into the sea
3) King G agreed and decided to enforce his CONTROL over the colonies
4) Parliament repealed (canceled) the Stamp Act and other tax laws, BUT
things got worse!
B) Coercive Acts – A Series of Laws
1) CAUSE: Due to the “Boston Tea Party”…
2) March 1774: Parliament passed a series of laws known as the Coercive Acts
aa) One act closed the port of Boston until payment was made for the tea destroyed in
the “Boston Tea Party” – NOTHING IN OR OUT!
bb) Another act provided that British officials accused of a crime were to be tried in
English rather than American courts = NO TRIAL BY JURY OF PEERS
cc) A third provided that British troops could be quartered in any town in
Massachusetts – even in private homes = allowed British soldiers to search, and even to
move into, colonists’ homes
dd) Fourth – the Massachusetts charter was amended to greatly reduce the colony’s
right of self-government = couldn’t even hold a town meeting w/out the governor’s
3) EFFECT: Parliament Punishes Massachusetts
aa) Boston and the colony of Massachusetts = now to suffer for the actions of a
handful of protesters (Sons of Liberty)
bb) = called Intolerable Acts throughout the colonies
C) Quebec Act
1) passed by Parliament
2) extended the Canadian province of Quebec south to the Ohio River
3) allowed French Canadians to keep their laws, language, & Roman Catholic religion
4) Colonists saw the act as
aa) the first step toward doing away with JURY TRIALS
bb) the first step toward doing away with PROTESTANTISM (any Christian religion NOT Catholic)
5) RESULTS: Colonists thought the boundary changes were made to keep American settlers
out of the western lands
aa) (Remember: the Proclamation of 1763 – no colonists west of the Appalachian Mts)
D) The Colonies Begin to Unite
1) These Coercive Acts made many colonists want to fight back!
2) The colonial governments banded together to fight the Intolerable Acts (protest/rebel)
3) Many shop owners in the colonies closed their doors to British goods.
4) Also, several groups of colonists sent food and money to Boston so that its citizens
wouldn’t starve! WOW!!
5) George Washington expressed this feeling when he said, “The cause of Boston now is & ever
will be the cause of America!” - WHAT does this mean??
X Beginnings of the First Continental Congress
Committees of Correspondence = groups formed throughout the colonies as a means of coordinating action against Great Britain
1) Ex: Sons of Liberty
2) call went out for delegates from each colony to meet & discuss their common concerns
3) 56 delegates - every colony EXCEPT GEORGIA met in PHILADELPHIA = FIRST
B) The First Continental Congress
1) lasted about 7 weeks
2) discussions = difficult b/c each colony had its own needs and viewpoints
3) Massachusetts & Virginia spoke up the most!
4) Paul Revere: (Boston silversmith) arrived w/a set of resolutions passed at a meeting in
aa) Suffolk Resolves:
(1) called the Coercive Acts “the attempts of a wicked
administration to enslave Americans”
(2) also demanded the return of constitutional government and an end to trade
w/Great Britain and its West Indian colonies
5) NOT ALL delegates shared this view
6) Compromise = Middle Ground was reached:
aa) MOST of the views were approved
bb) Massachusetts’ plan for arming and training a militia was accepted
C) The Continental Congress Takes a Stand
1) The congress based its final position on the colonists’ NATURAL RIGHTS
aa) John Locke = came up w/this term
bb) all governments are based on a social compact, or agreement, between the people
and the rulers. In return for the government protecting their lives, property, and
rights, the people give up some of their freedoms
2) Appeal to King George III
aa) delegates sent a document to King George III demanding that the rights of the
colonists be restored.
bb) peaceful at first
cc) said Parliament could make laws about trade
dd) BUT, it approved a BAN ON TRADE with GREAT BRITAIN until the COERCIVE
ACTS were REPEALED
ee) delegates vowed to hold another meeting if King George did not meet their demands
by the following year
D) King George III’s Response
1) some members of Parliament = sympathetic to the colonists
2) others = wanted them punished
3) George refused AND decided to use force against the colonists!
XI Moving Toward a Crisis
Many people spoke for and against Great Britain and the British troops
Edmund Burke: a writer who made several speeches asking for compromise
William Pitt: wanted British troops w/drawn from America
B) The Colonists Take Arms
1) winter of 1774-1775 = rebellions were uprising
2) tensions built between the British soldiers and the colonists
3) militia drilled on village greens and began to be called MINUTEMEN
C) A Warning for the Minutemen
1) 1775 – American spies heard that the British were making plans against the militia
2) British General Thomas Gage was supposedly sending soldiers to take the militia’s supply
of guns and gunpowder stored in Concord, a few miles from Boston
aa) - Gage - ordered to arrest two colonial leaders – Samuel Adams and Boston
merchant John Hancock
D) Battles at Lexington and Concord
1) 1775: 2 battles between British & colonial soldiers took place in Massachusetts at Lexington
2) Until this, MOST COLONISTS still CONSIDERED themselves BRITISH.
3) These battles changed many colonists’ minds.
E) One if by Land and Two if by Sea
1) APRIL 18, 1775 –
2) American spy network in Boston waited to discover the route the British soldiers would take
3) PLAN of action was clear: Boston’s North Church would serve as the signal tower
aa) Dr. Joseph Warren planned to flash one light from the church bell tower if the British
were approaching by land
bb) two lights if approaching by sea
F) The British Were Spotted
1) Dr. Warren spotted British troops
2) signaled the two waiting riders –
aa) William Dawes and Paul Revere
bb) immediately jumped on their horses and galloped to Lexington w/the urgent news that
the “redcoats” were coming!
G) The Battle is On – THE START OF THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR
1) 700 British soldiers marched toward Concord and reached Lexington (a town on the way
to Concord) soon after dawn on April 19
2) 70 minutemen armed w/muskets & pitchforks were waiting for them on Lexington Green
3) No one knows who fired the first shot!
aa) According to one account, a British officer rode onto the green and called out to the
militia: “Disperse, ye rebels!”
bb) someone fired a shot, then more shots were fired
cc) 8 colonists fell dead; 10 were wounded
dd) one British soldier was wounded
4) Redcoats continued on to Concord
aa) burned what little gunpowder the colonists hadn’t used
bb) this was “THE SHOT HEARD ‘ROUND THE WORLD”
5) fighting ended by noon
aa) Colonists had proven their strength
bb) British had been forced to turn back toward Boston
cc) Minutemen nearby had been called to arms, hiding behind stone walls and trees, firing at
BRITISH CASUALTIES: three times that of the Americans!!!