Events Leading Up To The Revolution

How did the American Revolution begin?

The British defeated the French and their Indian allies in the

French and Indian War (1754-1763). The result was British control
over much of North America. But the war had cost England a great deal
of money and Parliament decided it was time for the Colonies to pay a
share for their own defense.

To raise money, Parliament passed the Stamp Act in 1765.
This law required the purchase of tax stamps to buy paper. The
Colonists were outraged. After years of “Salutary Neglect”
wherein Colonial taxes were not collected by the British, the new
policy was unwelcome.

The Colonists had always considered themselves Englishmen. Among
the rights granted to all Englishmen was a voice in Parliament —
something they didn’t have. With the Stamp Act, “Taxation without
representation is tyranny,” became a battle cry. Rioting, rhetoric,
and the calling of the Stamp Act Congress quickly led England the
repeal the Stamp Act. But many new taxation measures, such as the
Sugar Act and Townshend Acts followed. The Americans
reacted by forming organized political groups such as Committees
of Correspondence
and the Sons of Liberty.

The people of Boston were most outspoken and violent in their
reaction to taxes. They threatened and harmed British customs
officials trying to collect taxes. So, the British quartered troops
in Boston to protect their officials. In 1770, the Boston
occurred as British troops fired into a group of
protesters, killing five of them. This was the first blood.

In 1773, with the issuance of the Tea Act, the East India
Company was granted a virtual monopoly on the importation of tea. In
protest, a group of Boston citizens disguised as Mohawk Indians
boarded a ship and dumped 342 chests of tea into Boston harbor. This
ws known as the Boston Tea Party.

Parliament responded with the “Intolerable Acts.

  • Accused Colonists could be tried in England
  • American homes were forced to host British troops
  • Boston Harbor was closed

This resulted in the First Continental Congress, in 1774,
which met at Philadelphia’s Carpenters’ Hall. Twelve colonies sent
delegates to discuss how to return to a state of harmonious relations
with the Mother Country – not revolution! But radical thinking won
out. Parliamentary acts were declared “unconstitutional.” Taxes were
not paid, an import-export ban was established, and Colonists were
urged to arm themselves.

The “shot heard ’round the world” was fired at Lexington
and then later that day at Concord where armed colonists
tried to resist British seizure of an arsenal. Eight Americans and
273 British soldiers were killed. The Revolution began.

The Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia on May
10, 1775 and they declared themselves the government. They also named
George Washington Commander in Chief of the newly organized army.

In June 1775, the Battle of Bunker Hill resulted in about
400 American and 1054 British fatalities. The first major battle of
the War gave the Americans great confidence. Skirmishes in late 1775
led to the capture of Ft. Ticonderoga in New York and a win at the
Battle of Crown Point, under the command of Ethan Allen. However,
Benedict Arnold’s attempt to capture Canada for the Americans failed.

On July 4th, 1776, Congress adopts the Declaration of
. The United States was born

“the revolution began in the hearts and minds of the people long
before the first shot was fired.”

–John Adams

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the
sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of
their country.”

–Thomas Paine, Common Sense