Causes American Revolution
French and Indian War
The Seven Years’ War, a global conflict known in America as the French and Indian War, ends with the signing of the Treaty of Paris by France, Great Britain, and Spain.
In the early 1750s, France’s expansion into the Ohio River valley repeatedly brought the country into armed conflict with the British colonies. In 1756, the British formally declared war against France.
In the first year of the war, the British suffered a series of defeats at the hands of the French and their broad network of Native American alliances. However, in 1757, British Prime Minister William Pitt (the older) recognized the potential of imperial expansion that would come out of victory against the French and borrowed heavily to fund an expanded war effort. Pitt financed Prussia’s struggle against France and her allies in Europe and reimbursed the colonies for the raising of armies in North America. By 1760, the French had been expelled from Canada, and by 1763 all of France’s allies in Europe had either made a separate peace with Prussia or had been defeated. In addition, Spanish attempts to aid France in the Americas had failed, and France also suffered defeats against British forces in India.
The Seven Years’ War ended with the signing of the treaties of Hubertusburg and Paris in February 1763. In the Treaty of Paris, France lost all claims to Canada and gave Louisiana to Spain, while Britain received Spanish Florida, Upper Canada, and various French holdings overseas. The treaty ensured the colonial and maritime supremacy of Britain and strengthened the 13 American colonies by removing their European rivals to the north and the south. Fifteen years later, French bitterness over the loss of most of their colonial empire contributed to their intervention in the American Revolution on the side of the Patriots.
Proclamation of 1763
Wary of the cost of defending the colonies, George III prohibited all settlement west of the Appalachian mountains without guarantees of security from local Native American nations. The intervention in colonial affairs offended the thirteen colonies' claim to the exclusive right to govern lands to their west.
Stamp Act 1765
Seeking to defray some of the costs of garrisoning the colonies, Parliament required all legal documents, newspapers and pamphlets required to use watermarked, or 'stamped' paper on which a levy was placed.
Quartering Act 1765
The Quartering Act of 1765 required the colonies to house British soldiers in barracks provided by the colonies. If the barracks were too small to house all the soldiers, then localities were to accommodate the soldiers in local inns, livery stables, ale houses, victualling houses, and the houses of sellers of wine. Should there still be soldiers without accommodation after all such publick houses were filled, the colonies were then required to take, hire and make fit for the reception of his Majesty’s forces, such and so many uninhabited houses, outhouses, barns, or other buildings as shall be necessary.
Townshend Revenue Act (Townshend Duties) 1767
A series of measures introduced into the English Parliament by Chancellor of the Exchequer Charles Townshend in 1767, the Townshend Acts imposed duties on glass, lead, paints, paper and tea imported into the colonies. Townshend hoped the acts would defray imperial expenses in the colonies, but many Americans viewed the taxation as an abuse of power, resulting in the passage of agreements to limit imports from Britain. In 1770, Parliament repealed all the Townshend duties except the tax on tea, leading to a temporary truce between the two sides in the years before the American Revolution.
Boston Massacre 1770
Angered by the presence of troops and Britain's colonial policy, a crowd of workers and sailors began harassing a group of soldiers guarding the customs house; a soldier was knocked down by a snowball and discharged his musket, sparking a volley into the crowd which kills five civilians.
Tea Act 1773
In an effort to support the ailing East India Company, Parliament exempted its tea from import duties and allowed the Company to sell its tea directly to the colonies. Americans resented what they saw as an indirect tax helping a British company monopolize the tea market.
Boston Tea Party 1773
Angered by the Tea Acts, American patriots disguised as Mohawk Indians dump 9,000 lbs of East India Company tea into the Boston harbor.
Intolerable Acts 1774
Four measures which stripped Massachusetts of self-government and judicial independence following the Boston Tea Party. The colonies responded with a general boycott of British goods.
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