After 1607, the American colonies began to grow. The small settlement of Jamestown began in 1607, and later the colony at Plymouth, Massachusetts. Plantations, towns, and farms developed first near the shore, and rivers then westward. More people came from Europe to settle in America.
In the 1700’s, colonists were developing towns along the eastern coast from Florida to Maine as well as moving inland to the great valley in Virginia north into the Ohio river valley. By the mid 1700’s there were 13 British colonies.
Fights broke out over land ownership between countries. Great Britain and France had been quarreling for many years and they began to quarrel over the land in America, each wanting to claim it for their own country.
This was the beginning of the French and Indian War. This war stretched from the Carolinas to Canada, beginning in 1754 and lasting until 1763. A skirmish broke out between the Virginia Militia led by a young George Washington and the French at Fort Necessity, in Pennsylvania.
Indians who were already upset that their land was being taken over by the Europeans, took sides with the French or British. Often the side they chose was because another tribe which they were enemies with was fighting for the opposing side. So the Indians, fought on both sides. The Americans fought with the British and learned many war tactics which they would use against the British in the Revolutionary War.
The British won the war, but soon discovered that they had spent too much money and they were in debt. They would have to find the money to pay their debt and support all of the new colonies and land they had acquired from the French as a result of winning the war. The British wanted the colonists to pay for the war since they had been the ones to benefit from winning the war. Britain began to load the colonists with taxes which made the colonists very upset.
Look back and find the answers:
Why were the British and French fighting?
Where did the war break out?
What trouble were the British left with after winning the war?
How did Britain plan to get money to pay for the war?
Americans wanted a fair government
The American colonists began to disagree about taxes, and how the colonies should be governed. They believed that their local assemblies should be in charge not the British Parliament. American colonists were not represented by the British. Soon the colonists were chanting that there should not be taxation without representation. They were angry that they were being governed by a group of people that lived 3,000 miles away.
Listen to the words of Patrick Henry as he spoke to the House of Burgesses at a secret meeting in Richimond, on March 23, 1775
“ Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
Words to look up and define:
At first the colonists only wanted some say in their government and less taxes. Soon, people on both sides began to get angry with each other. On a cold day in March, 1770 someone threw an icy snowball at a British soldier. Shots were fired and 5 Americans were found dead. This was called the Boston Massacre. Over the next four years, the colonists continued to launch protests, and more British soldiers were sent to calm them.
By 1774, the British began to take away the American’s privileges such as their right to gather in public places to discuss the problems. The Americans decided it was time to take action.
In September, 1774, the colonies (except Georgia) sent delegates to the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They wrote a letter to King George and tried to make him understand their point of view. American colonists who were loyal to the King, were called Loyalists. Even they knew that a war was going to happen.
Wrtiting the Letter to King George
In April, 1775, Paul Revere and several other men, William Dawes, and Samuel Prescott rode through the New England towns around Boston to warn the people that the British were coming. The next day, patriots or the American Colonists were not loyal to the king, fired the first shots of the war.
This war mixed a lot of different people together in different roles and on different sides. Rich, poor, white, black, Indian, male and female all fought together. Wives went to war with their husbands to nurse the the wounded. Slaves fought with their masters. Sometimes friends, or relatives became enemies choosing to be a loyalist rather than a patriot.
Two videos to watch: http://www.youtube.com/schoolhouserock
“No More Kings” and “Shot Heard ‘Round the World.”
Go to this website to view the exhibit, called John Bull and Uncle Sam
Answer these questions:
What was the difference between a patriot and a loyalist?
Explain why the American colonists became unhappy with Great Britain?
How did the colonists first try to solve the disagreement?