The Empire in Transition

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The Empire in Transition

Explain the importance of the series of crises from the Sugar Act through the Coercive Acts. How did each crisis change colonial attitudes toward the mother country?

In the pre-Revolutionary era, outrage was rampant throughout the colonies, as the British, seeking to correct their debts from the costly French and Indian War, decided to make good on direct taxation in the colonies, thus monopolizing the trade industry, and eventually, vying for total control of the American colonies. Starting with the Sugar Act of 1764, a simple, direct tax on sugar products, Britain’s power-seeking would eventually make way for loss of economic competition, political corruption, and forceful militarized occupation, which were the Coercive, or Intolerable Acts, established in the year leading up to the American Revolution. The buildup of unrest and rebellion in the colonies would eventually turn a significant amount of subjects wholly against their mother country.

Prior to the Sugar Act of 1764 and all that followed, the American colonies were largely trusting of England, when it came to fair practice, save for the response to the several indirect taxes imposed upon the colonies. The preliminary tax to the Sugar, or American Revenue Act, was the Molasses Act of 1733 which wasn’t as upheld as its successor, a highly-enforced direct tax. The French and Indian War left Britain with twice as much debt as they did preceding the war. Looking at their failed attempts to impose taxes on the colonists, many of whom simply decided to not pay the taxes, they decided to impose the first direct tax, the 1764 Sugar Act. This demanded a tax of 3 pence per gallon of molasses, half the original asking price of the Molasses Act of 1733, but included stricter measures to enforce and uphold the tax, making sure it would actually be collected.

To make matters worse for the colonists, Parliament introduced the Currency Act of 1764, which created much economic...
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