September 10, 2012
In an effort to pay off war debt and maintain control and authority over the colonies, Britain established the Declaratory, Tea and Intolerable Acts, which resulted in unity among the colonies to fight for their freedom. Before the Declaratory Act, the people of the colonies were angered with the establishment of the Stamp Act. A statement was sent to Britain’s Parliament from the colonies stating there should be “No taxation without representation,” which resulted in the Stamp Acts removal, but the Declaratory Acts issuing. The Declaratory Act asserted Parliament’s power over the colonies and gave it the right to freely tax and make laws in the colonies. The final straw for the colonists was the Intolerable and Quebec Acts of 1774. This penalized Massachusetts for the Boston Tea Party and also provided civil government for French speaking Roman Catholics. Fed up with Britain, the first Continental Congress met in Philidelphia in 1774 and made five major decisions, one of them recommending that the colonies make military preparations for defense against the British in Boston. Minutemen prepared to fight, and on April 17, 1775 the American Revolution had begun with the battles of Lexington and Concord. With the Sugar, Currency and Stamp Acts, colonists became angered with the amount of British Taxation. In Virginia, Patrick Henry made a speech to the House of Burgesses, in which he declared the Americans possessed he same rights as the English, and should be taxed only by their representatives and that no taxes unless were to be paid unless voted by the Virginia assembly. In Massachusetts in the summer of 1765, crowds began taking the law into their own hands, creating the breaking out of riots. A colonial organization was created called the Sons of Liberty who began to burn the stamps resulting in the ceasing of selling stamps. The colonies felt they should have representatives in Parliament and claimed there should be “No taxation without representation.” Britain believed Parliament represented the colonies and their best interest. The same day the Stamp Act was repealed in 1776, the Declaratory Act was issued. The Declaratory Act stated that Britain was free to control and tax the colonies. At the time, colonists were more focused on the repeal of the Stamp Acts and paid little attention to the British declaring power. Britain’s East India Company was on the verge of bankruptcy in and had accumulated large stocks of tea that was unable to be sold in England. So in 1773, British Parliament passed the Tea Act, which gave the East India Company the right to export the tea to the colonies without paying any navigation acts. Because of the act, colonial merchants feared bankruptcy. The Tea act revived how the colonists felt about being taxed without representation. As a result, local patriots of Boston dressed as Mohawk Indians climbed aboard three British ships, broke open tea chests and threw them into the Boston Harbor. Refusing to pay for the destroyed property, George III and Lord North had four acts issued. The port of Boston was closed, colonial self-government was reduced, royal officers could be tried in different colonies as well as England and lastly approved the quartering of British troops in empty houses and barns. The Intolerable Acts of 1774 greatly penalized Massachusetts until they paid for the destroyed property. The Intolerable Acts were then followed by the Quebec Act, whose purpose was to provide civil government for French speaking Roman Catholics. It also recognized the legality of the Roman Catholic Church, making the colonies feel threated because of the fine line between it and the Church of England. The first Continental Congress met in 1774 in Philadelphia, where all colonies were represented except for Georgia. Five major decisions were made that day. They first rejected a plan for colonial union under British authority proposed by Joseph Galloway. Second, a statement of grievances was endorsed which conceded Parliaments right to regulate colonial trade. Colonists were recommended to make military preparations for an attack against the British army at any time. They agreed on stopping all trade with Britain and lastly, agreed to meet again the next spring. Resulting in the statement of the Continental Congress suggesting colonists should begin military preparations, farmers and townspeople of Massachusetts trained as “minutemen” for months, ready for war at any time. On April 19, 1775, shots were fired, and eight minutemen were killed. This had signaled the beginning of the American Revolution. The acts enforced by the British forced the colonies to unite in order to fight for their freedom. Beginning with the Proclamation Act in 1763, the British wanted control of the colonies and money to pay for the debts of the French- Indian War. The colonist ignored or boycotted each act to fight for their right to become independent.