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American Revolution Timeline
Transcript of American Revolution Timeline
American Revolution Timeline
The Sugar Act
The Sugar Act fueled exasperation by the American colonists toward Britain due to increased taxes. Renewed taxes on sugar meant that Britain became richer while the American colony was denied any monetary benefits. Moreover, many wealthy Virginian planters had earned their wealth by Molasses smuggling, and thus the Sugar Act was a great detriment to the planters' profits. Britain scorned the requests of the colonists and insisted upon their supreme right to enforce whatever taxes they thought necessary. However, this attempt to curtain the colonists' vengeance merely threw gas on the fire, causing the colonists to feel secondhand and disposable, and thus fueling the flames of their desire to be independent from the British mother ship.
The Stamp Act
Following the superfluous taxes imposed through the Sugar Act, the Stamp Act provoked an even more indignant response from the American colonists. In this act, Britain called for a requirement to place stamps on all official documents and printed items. The British parliament imposed the Stamp Act not only in order to increase taxes, but also to show their power over the colonies and the lives of the colonists. Infuriated by yet more taxation without representation, the American colonists banded together and thus drew closer and closer to rebellion. Not only were the colonists being forced to pay additional taxes upon the already tumultuous amount, but they were also being denied the ability to control their own colonial government by the British parliament, who kept enforcing their hierarchical right to rule over the American colonies.
The American Trade Boycott
Parliament was one of the most powerful representatives during the eighteenth-century. Chief Justice Sir James Mansfield had the innate ability to bind every subject, whether they had the power to vote or not. However, British economy was affected with tremendous negativity by American boycotts. By the time American boycotts reached Britain, parliament was in turmoil. Such turmoil quickly led Parliament to repeal the Townshend Acts, which had been unfairly benefiting Britain by taxing the American colonists. When the American colonists banded together against British trade, a sense of power in numbers was attained, and the American colonists were given a launching pad to accomplish their first successes against Britain as a united, republican front.
Lord North Compromises
Lord North became the prime minister of Britain in 1770. Under Lord North's term, Parliament passed the Tea Act in 1773. However, while North ruled that there should not be a tax on British exports to America, he left the tea tax in place. Following the rebellious behavior of the colonists in response to the Tea Act, Parliament passed a series of four acts meant to enforce imperial power: the Coercive Acts, which provoked the colonies to form a Continental Congress. Formation of the Continental Congress was yet another threshold for the American colonists, as it allowed them to work in camaraderie against oppressive British rule and thus planted the formative seeds of self-governance in their minds.
The Tea Act
The Tea Act was imposed in order to support the East India Company during its time of debt. Alas, American colonists were soon enraged as they believed the tax to be offensive. The Tea Tax allowed the East India Company to have lower prices than the previously smuggled Dutch tea, making it a real threat of a monopoly. American colonists protested the Tea Act with public bonfires and by avoiding consumption of tea. However, the most notable event conducted in protest was the tossing of 342 chests of tea into the harbor by a group of artisans. On December 16, 1773 the group boarded the Dartmouth and disposed of $900,000 worth of tea as an act of rebellion. Such an act of rebellion opened the eyes of the American colonists of the power that they wielded by working together in order to protest unwanted taxation.
First Continental Congress
During the First Continental Congress, numbers of men and single women in Concord, Massachusetts signed a “Solemn League and Covenant” supporting the non importation of British Goods. This covenant informed the British that the American colonists did not require British goods. In farm towns, men violated the Boycott by blackening their faces so they would look like Indians. Moreover, colonists threatened shops that traded molasses, rum, and sugar. Banding together in order to boycott British goods thus influenced the colonists to realize that they did not need to rely on the British as much as was previously believed.
Thomas Paine's "Common Sense"
In this revolutionary pamphlet, Paine turned the scales against the British government. He called for independence and a republican form of government, condemning the old British system of bureaucratic governance. The American colonists hung to Paine's every word as he called for them to create independent republican states. The more they heard, the more the American colonists were eager to fight against their British bureaucratic ties and utilize their "natural right" to independent governance.
Great War for Empire Ends
Thomas Jefferson's "A Summary View of the Rights of British America" (1774)
Second Continental Congress
Before the Second Continental Congress, 3,000 British troops attacked American troops and Breed's Hill and Bunker Hill overlooking Boston. Such a gruesome attack prompted John Adams to strongly encourage Congress to create a continental army, rising the "defense of American liberty." John Adams personally nominated George Washington to lead this continental Army. Adams' gall in calling for a colonial army strongly influenced the moral of American colonists. It gave them hope in having a strong leader behind whom they could rally, and who could lead them to a lasting victory over Britain.
The Great War for "the Empire" ended in England's favor with Britain having taken control of foreign territories in North America. However, the resulting costs of the conflict were inflicted upon the colonists through taxes. As Britain endeavored to create a transatlantic state under tighter control, the colonies became hostile. Further ill-treatment and missteps by Britain led to a war of independence by the American colonists.
Thomas Jefferson authored "A Summary View..." in an effort to denounce King George III and rally the American colonists to secede from Great Britain. The pamphlet promoted the idea that "all men are created equal", and the right to "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness", both of which were used soon after as some of the strongest foundations for the Declaration of Independence. His writing had a colossal effect upon the colonists' sense of individual importance, and thus acted as one of the final pushes towards igniting the flame of revolution.
As compiled by...
and Dagmar Potter