Therelationship between Great Britain and its North American Colonies began toshow tension in the early 1700’s. The colonists were able to carry on nationaland foreign trade without the British officials getting in their way, due toEngland having ongoing wars and conflicts. The colonists had some sort ofindependence. Then England began to enforce restrictions on colonial trade andtaking away their independence. Laws and taxes began to be placed on thecolonists and the passage of the Proclamation of 1763 was passed. Colonistswere not allowed to move west of the Appalachian Mountains to claim the landthe British had won from the French and Indian war.
The colonists were angry,and many other conflicts occurred. The colonists had many laws andtaxes placed on them that limited them on what they can do. It was 1764 and theBritish placed the Sugar Act which set duties on molasses and sugar imported bycolonists. Later, on March 22, 1765, the Stamp Act was passed and requiredcolonists to pay for an official stamp, or seal, when they bought paper items. TheDeclaratory Act happened in 1766 and gave Parliament the power to make laws forthe colonies, in all cases whatsoever. At this point colonists have basicallybeen robbed of all their rights and didn’t have a say to try and change it.After the Declaratory Act, in 1767, the Townshend Acts were passed which placedduties on glass, lead, paints, paper, and tea.
The colonists were extremely angryat this point and caused many conflicts like The Boston Massacre and The BostonTea Party. During the Boston Tea Party, Parliament repeals the Townshend Acts, toreduce the tension in the colonies. Although they repealed the Townshend Acts,Parliament kept the tax on tea. The Tea Act followed right after the Boston TeaParty in 1773. The Sons of Liberty dumped 340 chests of tea into the harbor.The Intolerable Acts, in 1774, had the Boston Harbor closed, Royal officialswere tried for crimes, the Quartering Act occurred, the Quebec Act took place,and Thomas Gage become governor of Massachusetts. Many taxes and acts had beenplaced on the colonists during a period of 10 years.
The colonists did not respond toowell to the acts and taxes Parliament passed. Parliament’s actions upset manycolonists because they had gotten used to being independent. The colonists didn’thave any representatives in Parliament leading many to believe that Britain hadno right to tax the colonies at all without their consent.
The stamp act hadjust been passed and the colonists had already started to protest. Thecolonists formed a secret society called the Sons of Liberty. The Sons ofLiberty sometimes used violence to scare the tax collectors. The DeclaratoryAct concerned the colonists even more because the act stripped much of theirindependence away. The Townshend Acts had now been passed and the colonisthated it. The act took away the power the colonial government had. Thecolonists responded to the Townshend Acts by boycotting many of the Britishgoods.
The Boston Tea Party scared many colonial merchants because they thoughtthey were going to go out of business because of the Tea Act. As a result, thecolonist united due to the Tea Act. The British wanted to bring back order inthe colonies with the Intolerable Acts, but instead they angered the colonistsmore. The colonists were all around mad and felt like they were treatedunfairly by the British.
The First Continental Congress tookplace in October 1774. All the colonies except Georgia sent a representative tothe meeting. The colonial leaders gathered because they were deeply troubledabout the relationship between Great Britain and its colonies in America.
Theydebated between peace or violence and agreed to boycotting British goods, butpreparing for war. Also, they drafted the Declaration of Rights, a list of 10resolutions for King George III. The First Continental Congress was mainly tostate the colonists’ worries and ask King George III to fix any problems. TheSecond Continental Congress happened in May 1775. King George III refused to doanything about the concerns listen in the Declaration of Rights. Delegates fromthe colonies attempted to represent a Republican Government. Once again, theycompromised, but delegates showed growing dissatisfaction. They asked colonialauthorities for new state constitution.
As well as authorizing theMassachusetts militia to become the continental army. This army would sooninclude soldiers from all colonies and would fight against Britain. Congressthen named George Washington commander of the army. On July 5, the delegatessigned the Olive Branch Petition as a final attempt to restore peace. InsteadKing George didn’t read it and looked for new ways to punish the colonists. To conclude, the Declaration ofIndependence was declared. In June 1776, the 2nd ContinentalCongress forms a committee to write the Declaration of Independence.
Thedocument formally announced the colonies’ break from Great Britain. Itexpressed 3 main ideas. First, all people possess unalienable rights. Second,Thomas Jefferson asserted that King George III had violated the colonists’rights by taxing them without their consent.
Third, it states that the colonieshad the right to break from Britain. On July 4th, 1776, theContinental Congress approves the Declaration of Independence. This act brokeall connections to the British crown. The United States of America was born.