Chapter Five Outline Imperial Reform

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Chapter Five Outline

Imperial Reform

  • 1760: George III inherited throne of Great Britain, age 22

  • Collapse of political coalition that led Britain to victory over France

  • King’s new ministers set out to reform the empire

The Bute Ministry

  • John Stuart, Earl of Bute

  • War too costly

  • Forces Pitt out

  • George Grenville, Lord of Treasury

The Grenville Ministry

  • John Wilkes

  • Journalist for North Briton criticized King

  • Member of Parliament

  • “Wilkes and Liberty”

  • War put Britain in debt

  • Revenues needed to police colonies – Grenville insists colonists contribute financially to fund their own defense

Indian Policy and Pontiac’s War

  • Indian and policy

  • Fulfill wartime promises

  • Proclamation Line of 1763

  • Neolin, Pontiac, and Pontiac’s War

  • Henry Bouquet and germ warfare (smallpox blankets)

  • Paxton Boys: Anti-Indian frontier reaction

The Sugar Act

  • 1764 – duties placed on Madeira wine, coffee, molasses

  • Colonists obtained cheaper molasses from French

  • Launched Grenville’s war against smugglers

  • Complicated paperwork and harsh penalties

  • Tried to make enforcement of Customs laws more profitable than accepting bribes

The Currency Act and the Quartering Act

  • Currency Act of 1764:

  • Forbade colonies to issue any paper money as legal tender

  • Quartering Act of 1765: Thomas Gage

  • To quarter redcoats in private homes & taverns

The Stamp Act

  • Stamp tax on legal documents and publications in the colonies

  • “no taxation without representation” vs. virtual representation

  • Internal vs. external taxes

  • Colonist offer – Requisitions (colonial assemblies determine how to raise money asked for by the crown)

  • Daniel Dulany and colonial leadership’s grudging acceptance of the Stamp Act

The Stamp Act Crisis


  • “Sons of Liberty” and street violence

  • Victims

  • Andrew Oliver

  • Thomas Hutchinson

  • Ebenezer McIntosh

  • Stamp Act nullified de facto

  • Agents resign

  • Merchants and nonimportation resistance

  • “Sons of Liberty”


  • Charles Watson-Wentworth, Marquess of Rockingham

  • Repeal Stamp Act (1766)

  • Pitt supports repeal

  • Declaratory Act (1766): perceived differently in colonies and Britain

  • Revenue Act (1766): 1 penny tax on any molasses imported to colonies

  • Internal vs. external taxes: A misunderstood issue

The Townshend Crisis

  • King George & William Pitt: government of “measures, not men”

  • Pitt becomes Prime Minister and then a Lord

  • Charles Townshend: Pitt’s spokesman in House of Commons

  • Townshend has a hard-line attitude towards colonies

The Townshend Program

  • New York and the Restraining Act

  • Pitt’s depression leaves Townshend in charge

  • Townshend Revenue Act (1767)

  • Taxed imports colonies could only legally get from Britain

  • Purpose: pay salaries of colonial governors and judges, freeing them from control of colonial assemblies

  • British troops shifted from frontier to urban ports

  • Townshend’s untimely death

Resistance: The Politics of Escalation

  • Internal vs. external taxes dilemma

  • John Dickinson and Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania (1767)

  • Denied internal vs. external tax distinction

  • Parliament has no right to tax colonies

  • Circular Letter and constitutional resistance

  • Liberty riot

  • Nonimportation in MA, NY, and PA

  • Sons of Liberty “convention”

An Experiment in Military Coercion

  • October, 1768: British fleet enter Boston harbor

  • “Journal of the Times”

  • Boston Chronicle

  • Parliament demands government critics come to Britain for trial

  • Nonimportation spreads

The Second Wilkes Crisis

  • John Wilkes and 1768 Parliamentary elections

  • Wilkes arrest

  • “Massacre of St. George’s Fields” (1768)

  • “Society for Gentleman Supporters of the Bill of Rights”

  • Electoral reform

  • Sympathize with colonial protests

  • Colonist sympathize with Wilkite movement

  • Townshend crisis and Wilkite movement:

  • Colonists question the British government

The Boston Massacre

  • Increasing confrontations between population and British soldiers in Boston

  • Sons of Liberty grow bolder

  • March 5, 1770: The Massacre

  • Colonists: Crispus Attucks, Samuel Gray, and others

  • British: Captain Thomas Preston and others

  • Defense team: John Adams and Josiah Quincy, Jr.

  • Britain’s failed first attempt at military coercion

Partial Repeal

  • Lord North

  • asks Parliament for repeal of all Townshend duties, except for tea

  • Tea provided three-fourths of revenue under Townshend Act

  • Repeal’s effects

  • Nonimportation collapses, Sons of Liberty lose

  • Increased importation of British goods to the colonies


  • Partial repeal divided the colonists

  • Erosion of colonists’ trust of imperial government

  • Gaspée Affair (1772)

  • Committees of correspondence formed throughout colonies

  • British conclude punishment for political violence must be communal

  • Tea remains symbol that Townshend crisis not over

Internal Cleavages: The Contagion of Liberty

  • Dilemma for elites

  • Position on Townshend Crisis better predictor of Patriot sympathy than attitude toward Stamp Act

  • Loyalists: merchants & lawyers who resisted nonimportation

  • Patriots: artisans, merchants, lawyers who supported boycotts against Britain

  • Artisans set pace for resistance to Britain

The Feudal Revival and Rural Discontent

  • Reason for discontent in the country side

  • Revival of proprietary charters

  • Immigration

  • Backcountry settlement

The Regulator Movements in the Carolinas

  • Backcountry settlers and the Cherokee War (1760-61)

  • Disaffected backcountry settlers become outlaws

  • Backcountry in near civil war

  • Regulators form to impose order

  • Moderators form to defend against regulators

  • Battle of Alamance Creek (1771)

The Regulator Movements in the Carolinas

South Carolina

  • Disaffected backcountry settlers become outlaws

  • Backcountry in near civil war

  • Regulators form to impose order

  • Moderators form to defend against regulators

  • Legislature agrees to Circuit Courts, confrontation ends

North Carolina

  • Governor’s corrupt favorites controlled backcountry courts

  • Backcountry 50% of population, 20% of Assembly

  • Regulators organize tax protest and armed rebellion

  • Battle of Alamance Creek (1771)

Slaves and Women

  • Anti-slavery movement in British empire by mid-1700s

  • Quakers, Evangelicals, Methodists oppose slavery

  • Even slave owners like Patrick Henry condemn the practice, but keep slaves for practical reasons

  • Sarah Osborn and education for slaves

  • Phillis Wheatley, freed slave and literary celebrity by age 20

  • Boston Patriots push for end to slavery

  • Women’s role in nonimportation

The Last Imperial Crisis

  • Lord North attempts to save East India Company, Britain’s largest corporation

  • Southeastern England and colonies purchased smuggled Dutch tea

  • Millions of pounds of unsold tea left in East India Co. warehouses

  • Issue to Lord North was save East India Co.

The Tea Crisis

  • Lord North’s solution: make East India Co. tea cheaper than smuggled tea

  • Tea Act (1773)

  • Repealed duty on bringing tea to Britain

  • Retained duty on sending tea to colony

  • Gave monopoly on British empire tea trade to East India Company

  • Sons of Liberty resistance

  • Direct threats against ships

  • Boston “Tea Party”

Britain’s Response: The Coercive Acts

  • Coercive Acts

  • Boston Port Act (1774)

  • Quartering Act (1774)

  • The Administration of Justice Act (1774)

  • Massachusetts Government Act (1774)

  • Quebec Act (1774)

  • To colonists, above become the “Intolerable Acts”

The Radical Explosion

  • Boston reaction to Intolerable Acts

  • Call for colonial union

  • Nonimportation

  • Intolerable Acts politicize countryside

  • Royal governors dismiss assemblies

  • Assemblies call for Continental Congress

  • Massachusetts Provincial Congress

  • Suffolk County Convention and “Minutemen”

The First Continental Congress

  • 12 colonies (all except Georgia)

  • Philadelphia in September 1774

  • Nonimportation and nonexportation

  • Joseph Galloway’s plan for imperial union

  • Crown and Parliament must repeal

  • Coercive Acts

  • Quebec Act

  • All Revenue Acts

  • Principle of no legislation without consent

  • The Association: central government of the United Colonies

Toward War

  • Proposed alternatives rejected in Parliament

  • Edmund Burke

  • William Pitt (Lord Chatham)

  • Lord North’s policies

  • Crackdown on New England rebellion

  • Arrest John Hancock and Samuel Adams

  • Seize weapons in Concord

  • Conciliatory Proposition

  • New England Restraining Act

  • Thomas Gage begins the crackdown

  • Margaret Kemble Gage: the leak?

  • Paul Revere and Samuel Prescott

The Improvised War

  • Neither side had strategy for real war

  • Minutemen siege Boston

  • Breed’s Hill (Bunker Hill)

  • Fort Ticonderoga

  • Lord Dunmore’s War (1774)

  • Militia keeps countryside committed to Revolution

The Second Continental Congress

  • Minutemen become Continental army

  • George Washington made commander

  • Attacks on Canada

  • Response to the Conciliatory Proposition

  • Olive Branch Petition

  • Thomas Jefferson and “The Declaration of the Causes and Necessities of Taking Up Arms”

  • Continental Congress assumed Crown’s functions of governance

War and Legitimacy, 1775-1776

  • British Strategy

  • Turn Indians and slaves against colonist

  • VA governor John Murray, Earl of Dunmore

  • Colonist victories

  • Washington takes Boston March 1776

  • Colonists control all 13 colonies by summer 1776


  • Areas supporting independence

  • New England

  • Virginia and colonies South

  • Overthrow of royal governments

  • mid-Atlantic colonies

  • William Franklin

  • Thomas Paine

  • Common Sense

  • Lord George Germain

  • Russians and “Hessians”

  • Declaration of Independence

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