Path to Revolution
Following the French and Indian War, the British government wanted to recover some of the money lost during the war through extensive taxation on the colonists, but without colonist representation in Parliament. These taxes included the Stamp Act, Tea Act and Townsend Acts. The colonists were angered by the amount of taxation and some were vocal in their disapproval. In Boston, some colonists boarded a ship carrying tea and dumped it into the Boston Harbor in protest.
In response to the Boston Tea Party, King George III instituted the Intolerable Acts. These acts included the Quartering Act, which required colonists to quarter British soldiers in their homes. This further angered the colonists and precipitated the formation of the First Continental Congress.
The First Continental Congress met in order to voice the colonists' complaints to the king and Parliament. In addition, the First Continental Congress worked to discourage the importation of English goods and to continue to resist British tyranny. This resistance reached a tipping point at the Battles of Lexington and Concord.
The Battles of Lexington and Concord were a culmination of the building tensions between the colonists and British soldiers. No one knows who shot first but the battles ended with casualties on both sides. This showed that although comparatively untrained, the militiamen were able to hold their own against the British army. In response the Second Continental Congress was formed to manage the war effort.
Before they disbanded, the First Continental Congress had made plans to meet again should there be a need. The Battles of Lexington and Concord therefore made the Second Continental Congress necessary in order to take control of the army, finance the war, pass legislation and serve as diplomats of the American cause. In addition, the Second Continental Congress adopted the most well know demonstration of American freedom, the Declaration of Independence.