Causes of the Revolutionary War Part I



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Causes of the Revolutionary War Part I
In 1763, the British controlled all of mainland North America north of New Spain. Once the French were gone, the British chose to strengthen their hold on the 13 colonies. The British had also spent a lot of money on fighting the French and Indian War, and wanted the colonists to pay them back, they did this by making them pay taxes. Also, the British wanted complete control of the colonists economy and used mercantilism to do that.

In 1764, the British passed a law called the Sugar Act. This placed a tax on sugar that the colonists bought. Many colonists were angry. They claimed “No taxation, without representation!” This means that they should not taxed if they have no say in the law. They were angry that people back in England were making decisions for them. The British said that the tax was small, and that it was for paying for the colonists protection.

In 1765 the British passed the Stamp Act. This was a new tax that required all pieces of paper, newspapers and even playing cards to have a stamp on them showing that a tax had been paid. This time the colonists, led by John Adams resisted paying the tax. British tax collectors would sometimes be covered in hot tar and then get covered in feathers. The tax was unsuccessful and the British repealed it (got rid of it). Even though the colonists got what they wanted, it was clear that the two sides were not getting along anymore.

In 1767 the British passed a new set of taxes on the colonists. These were called the Townshend Acts, they taxed lots of things, such as : paint, paper, glass etc.. This time they did not make the colonists pay the tax when they bought something at a store. They made people importing the goods pay the taxes before the goods were bought by colonists. In other words, the British thought that the colonists would not mind paying the taxes if they did not have to do it themselves. This was not true.

The taxes were very small and did not cost very much, the colonists problem was with not having a say in the taxes. To fight the Townshend Acts, the colonists smuggled untaxed goods into the colonies, and refused to buy taxed goods (boycott)…


1.) Why did the British begin to tax the colonists in 1764?
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2.) What were three ways that colonists got around paying the taxes?
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3.) The taxes did not cost a lot, why were the colonists unwilling to pay them?
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