Events Leading to the Revolutionary War
In the 18th century, world advances were made through ones connections. The closer relationship one had with the king, the better opportunity they have. Cronyism allows people with less talent to rise in society. However, living in colonies reduced the influence of cronyism. One could rise economically and socially through hard work and good fortune.
In Britain, King George III appointed George Grenville as first minister with responsibility for solving the debt crisis of the Seven Years’ war. The British at home were highly taxed so it seemed reasonable to tax the Americans as well. The Parliament taxing the colonists without representation led to some of the key events leading to the American Revolution.
The Stamp Act was a tax created by the Parliament that required people to buy stamps for paper transactions such as newspapers, legal documents and playing cards. The stamps were to be bought only with specie, which was hard to get because it was scarce. The colonists mostly used paper money or credit.
This tax affected everyone in the colonies, from the wealthy to the poor, to business owners, to lawyers, and even commoners. Colonial assemblies saw the stamp act as infringement on their power. Not even people with authority in the colonies had a say on these taxes. Other groups saw it as a nuisance and as legislation that could increase cronyism and dependence on political connections. The colonists protested against the Stamp Act; they threatened and attacked the people who distributed the stamps and formed groups to lead protests. The “Sons of Liberty” was a group who led some of the protests and also organized networks to boycott British goods.
In 1776 the Stamp Act was repealed. The king and the Parliament both agreed that the Stamp Act was a bad idea but still felt that the colonists needed to be taxed. The Parliament then put out the Declatory Act which asserts the right to tax Britain including all of its colonies.
Since Parliament felt that the Colonists still needed to be taxed, the Townshend Revenue Act of 1767 conceived by Charles Townshend was passed. This was a tax on imported goods such as paint, teas, glass, paper and lead. It also authorized courts to crack down on smuggled merchandise.
This tax was not any better than the Stamp act. “It raised revenue without the approval of colonial assemblies and it removed royal officials from the lawmakers’ control” (Ayers 138). Once again the colonists were being defiant toward this tax. In 1768 the residents of Boston signed a non-importation agreement. This agreement was a pledge that merchants would stop importing goods from Great Britain. Soon after other states followed in what became known as the Non-Importation Movement.
However, not everyone benefited from the movement, some made money because of high demands on products, but most merchants couldn’t make any money.
During the years of 1769 to 1775, Boston was the center of the Revolution. Fights between the Bostonians and the British redcoats broke out. March 5th 1770 was the day of the Boston Massacre. A crowd surrounded the British troops and taunted them, throwing brickbats at them. Five people died and six were wounded all because there was no order in Boston at the time.
Captain Preston and six soldiers were tried for murder, two of the soldiers were found guilty and the rest were let go.
In the spring of 1770 the Townshend Revenue act was partially repealed. All of the duties on this tax were removed except tea. A Committee of Correspondence was created in 1773 by urban activists to warn colonists of increasing government interference and control that will ultimately hurt opportunity and freedom. Later in 1773 the Tea Act was passed by the Parliament. They figured that if they tax colonists for the tea they buy; it will still be cheap and still be good quality tea.
However, the Tea Act was still not accepted by the Americans. By buying the tea with the new tax on it, the Americans would be giving in to the British. “One radical called the act a dirty trick’ and accused Lord North of low cunning’ for .