America’s Road to Independence:In the year 1783 the Treaty of Paris was signed, granting America their freedom from Great Britain.
There were many reasons why the colonists wanted their freedom and separation from their mother country of England. Great Britain laid down many laws and Acts which were the main reasons leading up to the revolutionary war, otherwise known as America’s War for Independence. For eleven years even before the actual revolution started, Great Britain bullied the thirteen original colonies with several harsh acts and proclamations. The Proclamation of 1763 came first. It prohibited settlements west of the Appalachian Mountains and trading in that area without a license. Less than a year later the Sugar Act was passed. It lowered taxes on molasses, but put new taxes on wine, coffee, cloth, and of course sugar.
Colonists reacted to this harsh act by smuggling in the goods they needed. This way they did not have to pay the tax and it was much cheaper for them. In 1764 the Currency Act was passed.
This prohibited colonies from issuing paper money and required all of the debts to be paid for in gold. In 1765 the Stamp Act was passed which required all written materials to be printed on stamped paper including newspapers, birth, marriage, and death certificates (King, McRae, Zola 95). These items were many of the basic necessities, which made the tax even more realistic. The colonists reacted to this act by forming a Stamp Act Congress.
Nine colonies of thirteen showed up and all wanted representation (Dadante, 25 September 2000). These three acts were the start of the build up towards the war. In 1765 the Quartering Act was also passed requiring colonists to house and feed the British soldiers. Colonists did not want them in their homes so they taxed themselves to build barracks for the soldiers. A year later the Stamp Act was repealed because of the violent acts that the Sons of Liberty committed, a violent liberal group.
In 1767 the Townshend Acts were passed. There were duties placed on colonial imports of lead, glass, paint, paper, and tea. It resulted in a Boycott of British goods. It also legalized the Writs of Assistance, which were search warrants (Encarta 99). In 1770 Crispus Attuckus and followers gathered at a Boston customs house. Several colonists threw snowballs at soldiers, which ended in the deaths of five patriots. This was called the Boston Massacre. Innocent people were being killed which turned over a new leaf in the rise to revolution.
In 1770 all of the Townshend acts were repealed except for the tax on tea. This lead to the Tea Act of 1773, which stated that only the East India Company could import and sell tea. When the very first shiploads of tea arrived in the thirteen colonies, the Sons of Liberty were ready to act. In South Carolina they locked the tea in warehouses, in New York and Philadelphia they forced ships to turn around without unloading their tea, and in Maryland they lit ships on fire that carried tea.
The worst was in Boston where the Sons of Liberty boarded all of the ships and dumped the tea into the harbor. This event was named the Boston Tea Party (King, McRae, Zola 95)In March of 1774 the Intolerable acts were passed as a punishment to the colony of Massachusetts. The Boston Port Act closed the port to all trade until all of the destroyed tea was paid for. Another of the Intolerable Acts that was passed was the Massachusetts Government Act, which forbids any town meeting from taking place. This took away people’s individual rights to freedom and free speech. Another Intolerable Act was the new Quartering Act. It forced people to house troops in their own homes and did not give them the option of building separate barracks.
The last Act was the Quebec Act, which extended Canada’s boundaries south to the Ohio River. This act had nothing to do with the rest so colonists said that Britain was trying to cut them off from western expansion. This resulted in the First Continental Congress in September of 1774 (King, McRae, Zola 95) Almost every colony sent a representative, except for Georgia. At this meeting they came up with several ways to get back at Britain.
They demanded that the Intolerable Acts be stopped. They also made a Declaration of Rights and formed a Continental Association. The meeting was over in October and they decided to meet again on May 10 of 1775. In early April of 1775 was the first clash between patriot soldiers and British soldiers. It was the beginning of America’s road to independence. For nearly a decade Great Britain taxed and bullied the colonies. They took away their rights and morals by setting strict regulations in which they had to live by. It was not fair for the millions of residents that the colonies had.
They finally had enough and decided that in order to be free and happy, they needed to be separate from Great Britain. America had also developed their own identify as a new culture that was extremely different from England. They needed to be separate. These many acts and reactions is what led up to America’s War for Independence. History Essays