Restrictions of Civil Liberty
British military measures
The legacy of colonial religious and political ideas
The mistake that King George and the rest of Britain made was thinking that they could forever keep the colonies under their thumb. These were not the same colonists who came over as British citizens to set up forts. These men and women thought of themselves and American citizens and they did not need a government across the ocean telling them what to do. Ultimately, Britain lost control when they gave in to the colonists' boycotts and showed them that they had the power to run a country, and that Britain feared that power. Through Parliament's ruthless taxation without representation, restrictions upon what colonists had assumed were civil liberties and British military action, Britain and the colonists were thrown into a revolutionary war.
The first time a Parliamentary imposed tax threatened the livelihood of the colonies was in 1733 with the Molasses Act, stemmed from the loss of profit for the British West Indies under the Navigation Act. However, this act was avoidable and rarely paid. Following the long and harrowing French and Indian War, Britain was deep in debt and George Grenville was appointed British Chancellor of the Exchequer. He was determined to pay off the debt by taxing the colonies. He not only reinforced the ignored Navigation Acts, but he placed the new Sugar Act which was similar to the Molasses Act which put a tax on rum and molasses imported from West Indies, but this Act would be enforced. Needless to say, the colonists were not used to this intrusion of Parliament and felt that it was wrong because there were no members in Parliament to represent the colonies. They felt it was a direct violation of their civil liberties and resentment was beginning to spawn. Next was the Currency Act which disregarded the colonies paper money, forcing the colonist to pay in only silver and sending their economy into chaos. A year later, Grenville imposed the Quartering Act which forced the colonists to house and accommodate the British military stationed in their area. It was a slap in the face to have to pay for those who stood for everything the colonists despised. Perhaps the most important and controversial acts were the Stamps Acts that placed a tax on legal documents, almanacs, newspaper, pamphlets, playing cards and dice. This act placed a large and blatant stamp on all tax items and could not be ignored. In response to this act, the colonists boycotted British goods, mobbed against the tax and set up the Stamp Act Congress to ask the Parliament to repeal this harsh intrusion on colonial freedoms. Because the boycotts threatened British economy, Parliament repealed the Stamp Act and the colonists rejoiced in their success. Their elation didn't last long however, because in 1767 Charles Townshend replaced Grenville and set forth his Townshend Acts which taxed all the items frequently imported from England such as glass. The colonists responded with the nonimportation agreement and begun to boycott all British goods, which resulted in a spike in American economy. Another result of the Townshend Acts was the Boston Massacre, a small yet groundbreaking incident between a group of colonists and British military that resulted in the loss of five colonists' lives and the repealing of the Townshend Acts. In 1770 Lord North took over for Townshend and let the highly hated Quartering Acts expire. North was off to a good start keeping the fire for independence down in the colonies until he imposed the Tea Tax to keep the East India Company from going bankrupt. This act more or less forced the colonists to buy the East India Company's tea instead of smuggling Dutch tea as they had been doing for years. This drastically affected many colonists' incomes and...