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The American Revolution


History >> American Revolution

The road leading up to the American Revolution didn't happen overnight. It took several years and many events to push the colonists to a point where they wanted to fight for their independence. Below are some of the key causes of the American Revolution in the order they occurred.

The Founding of the Colonies

One thing to keep in mind is that many of the American colonies were first founded by people trying to escape religious persecution in England. As the British government became more involved in the affairs of colonies, people began to worry that they would once again lose their freedoms.

French and Indian War

The French and Indian War took place between the American colonies and New France. Both sides allied with various Native American tribes. This war lasted from 1754 to 1763. British troops not only helped the colonists to fight the war, but were stationed in the colonies for protection after the war. These troops weren't free and Britain needed money to pay for the troops. The British Parliament decided to tax the American colonies to help pay for the troops.

The British capture Quebec City
Plains 0f Abraham by Hervey Smyth
The British capture Quebec City during the French and Indian War

Taxes, Laws, and More Taxes

Prior to 1764, the British government had pretty much left the colonists alone to govern themselves. In 1764, they began to impose new laws and taxes. They implemented a number of laws including the Sugar Act, Currency Act, Quartering Act, and the Stamp Act.

The colonists were not happy with the new taxes. They said they should not have to pay British taxes because they had no representatives in the British Parliament. Their motto became "No Taxation Without Representation."

Protests in Boston

Many colonists began to protest against these new British taxes and laws. A group called the Sons of Liberty formed in 1765 in Boston and soon spread throughout the colonies. During one protest in Boston, a fight broke out and several colonists were shot and killed. This incident became known as the Boston Massacre.

In 1773, the British imposed a new tax on tea. Several patriots in Boston protested this act by boarding ships in Boston harbor and dumping their tea into the water. This protest became known as the Boston Tea Party.

Boston Tea Party
The Destruction of Tea at Boston Harbor by Nathaniel Currier
Intolerable Acts

The British decided that the colonies needed to be punished for the Boston Tea Party. They issued a number of new laws that the colonists called the Intolerable Acts.

Boston Blockade

One of the Intolerable Acts was the Boston Port Act which shut down the port of Boston for trade. British ships blockaded Boston Harbor, punishing everyone who lived in Boston, both patriots and loyalists. This angered not only people in Boston, but also people in other colonies who were afraid the British would do the same thing to them.

Growing Unity Among the Colonies

The increased laws punishing the colonies did little to control the colonies as the British had hoped, but actually had the opposite effect. The laws caused the colonies to become more united against the British. Many colonies sent supplies to help Boston during the blockade. Also, more and more colonists throughout the Americas joined up with the Sons of Liberty.

First Continental Congress

In 1774, twelve of the thirteen colonies sent representatives to the First Continental Congress as a direct response to the Intolerable Acts. They sent a petition to King George III to repeal the Intolerable Acts. They never got a response. They also established a boycott of British goods.

The First Continental Congress in 1774
The First Continental Congress, 1774 by Allyn Cox
The War Begins

In 1775, British soldiers in Massachusetts were ordered to disarm the American rebels and to arrest their leaders. The Revolutionary War began on April 19,1775 when fighting broke out between the two sides at the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

Activities Learn more about the Revolutionary War:

Works Cited

History >> American Revolution

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