2 At first, England and its American colonies got along well. Over time, however, things changed. The colonists became angry over British controls. This led to revolution and the forming of a new country.
4 Mercantilism: This was the economic system in place during the early days of the colonies. It made sense, since the colonies were not heavily populated. Mercantilism is when raw materials were shipped from the colonies to the mother country, which shipped back finished goods.
5 The colonies in America were to ship things such as fur, lumber, tobacco and cotton to England. These would then be turned into finished products in England, then shipped back to the colonies. The colonists were supposed to buy only goods made in England so that English merchants could make money.
6 In addition, these goods could only be shipped in ships built in England or the colonies. The ships also had to be manned by English crews.
7 Mercantilism worked well until the 1700s. There were not enough skilled people in the American colonies to produce many goods. The colonies also enjoyed a monopoly, or sole right, on the sale of several major crops. Ships were protected against pirates by the English navy.
8 Once the population increased, the colonists wanted to make their own manufactured goods. Also, people in northern colonies were not able to sell as much to England as people in the southern colonies did.
9 The northern colonies needed money to buy English goods. So, they began smuggling goods to and from the West Indies.
10 Although England regulated colonial trade, the colonists handled local affairs. The local legislatures generally passed tax laws. Since colonial officials were paid out of taxes, they had to do as the colonial legislatures wished. This gave the local legislatures a LOT of power.
11 Notes: Background for the American Revolution There were not enough skilled people in the colonies to produce goods. The economic system in place was mercantilism, in which a colony shipped raw materials to the mother country, which shipped back finished goods. As the population increased in the colonies, colonists wanted to manufacture their own goods. England regulated trade, but the local colonial legislatures were the ones who taxed the colonists. (73 words)
12 In the middle of the 1700s, this changed. The French wanted to keep the British out of northern and western America. England, however, had already claimed the area for itself. This dispute led to the French and Indian War.
13 This war left the British government deeply in debt. It wanted the colonies to pay a large share of the money owed. After all, the war had been fought partly to protect the western frontier. So, the English government moved to raise money by tightening its control over the colonies.
14 In 1765, Parliament passed the Stamp Act. It called for a tax on all newspapers, legal documents, calendars, and playing cards. This was the first direct tax Parliament placed on the colonies.
15 A direct tax is a tax paid directly to the government, not included in the price of goods.
16 The Stamp Act hurt merchants, lawyers, and people in the newspaper business. These groups were among the most able to lead the colonists in a fight against British control. Angry mobs formed in many cities. People throughout the colonies decided to boycott, or refuse to buy, British goods.
17 In October 1765, delegates from 9 of the 13 colonies met in New York to discuss the Stamp Act. They sent a letter to Parliament. The letter stated that the colonies had not been taxed before by anyone except their own legislatures. It also stated that Parliament had no right to tax them because they did not have representatives in Parliament.
18 In March 1766, Parliament finally voted to repeal the Stamp Act. At the same time, however, it passed the Declaratory Act, which stated that Parliament had the right to make laws on all matters concerning the colonies.
20 Notes: The Causes behind the Revolution The British fought the French and Indian War on behalf of the colonists. Parliament wanted to tax the colonies to repay the expenses from the French and Indian War. 1765: the Stamp Act was passed. This was the first direct tax Parliament placed on the colonies. Delegates from the colonies were sent to England, and in 1766 the Stamp Act was repealed. Parliament then passed the Declaratory Act, allowing Parliament to make all laws concerning the colonies. (87 words)
21 In 1767, Parliament passed a series of laws known as the Townshend Acts. These acts placed a tax on such goods as paper, paint, glass, lead, and tea that were shipped to the colonies.
22 Part of the Townshend Act tax money was to be used to pay colonial officials. This took away the colonial legislatures main source of power.
23 In 1768, the British sent soldiers to Boston to make sure the colonists obeyed the new laws.
24 The Townshend Acts made the colonists angry. Soon, there were incidents of violence. One of the worst of these took place in Boston in A crowd of colonist began insulting British soldiers and throwing snow, ice and stones at them. The soldiers fired into the crowd. Five people were killed. This incident came to be called the Boston Massacre.
25 Shortly after the Boston Massacre, the Townshend Act was repealed, except the tax on tea. The Boston Massacre itself would probably have been forgotten had not some colonists used it to stir up feelings against British rule.
27 Notes, continued: 1767: Parliament passed the Townshend Acts (taxes on glass, lead, tea). 1770: A group of colonists began insulting British soldiers, and the soldiers fired into the crowd. This is known as the Boston Massacre. Paul Revere s engraving of this was widely circulated, and used as propaganda. In response, Parliament repealed the Townshend Acts, except the tax on tea. (58 words)
28 In 1773, Parliament passed the Tea Act. It allowed the British East India Company to sell tea directly to the colonists rather than to colonial merchants, who took part of the profits. This hurt the merchants. In Massachusetts, a group of colonists dressed as Native Americans boarded a British ship in Boston Harbor, and dumped the tea into the water.
29 This became known as the Boston tea party.
30 To punish the colonist, Parliament, in 1774, passed the Coercive Acts. These acts closed Boston harbor and put the government of Massachusetts under military rule. These acts also said that British troops in the colonies should be quartered, or given a place to live in private homes.
31 Wait a minute! Charles I signed the Petition of Rights in 1628, in which he agreed to four points: He would not imprison subjects without due cause. He would not levy taxes without Parliament s consent. He would not house soldiers in private homes. He would not impose martial law in peacetime.
32 So how come the colonists had to put up with things that English citizens were protected from? No wonder the colonists called these the Intolerable Acts!
33 Notes: continued 1773: Parliament passed the Tea Act. As a protest, a group of colonists dumped the tea overboard. This is the Boston Tea Party. 1774: To punish the colonists, Parliament passed the Coercive, or Intolerable Acts. (37 words)
34 The Coercive, or Intolerable Acts, only made the colonists more determined than ever to fight for their liberties. In September 1774, delegates from 12 of the colonies met in Philadelphia. They called themselves the First Continental Congress. The Congress called for the repeal of the Coercive Acts.
35 Colonial leaders, however, were divided about what to do. Some, like George Washington, hoped to settle the differences with England. Others, like Patrick Henry, wanted the colonies to become independent. Patrick Henry by George Bagby Matthews c
36 Before anything was decided, fighting broke out in Massachusetts between the colonists and British soldiers. The British set out to destroy a store of weapons at Concord. On the way there, they met the colonists at Lexington and fought the first battle of the American Revolution. This first battle occurred in 1775.
37 In May 1775, the Second Continental Congress met. George Washington was named head of the colonial army. The colonists then tried again to settle their differences with Great Britain. They appealed to King George III, who refused to listen.
38 Notes: Causes of the American Revolution September 1774: Delegates from 12 of the colonies met in Philadelphia. (First Continental Congress.) 1775: The Battle of Lexington, the first battle occurred (start of the American Revolution). 1775: The Second Continental Congress met. George Washington was named the head of the colonial army. (54 words)
39 On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress issued the Declaration of Independence. It was written mostly by Thomas Jefferson, and it declared the colonies independent of England. Signing the Declaration of Independence John Trumbull, 1819
40 After hearing the Declaration of Independence read on July 9, the American army destroyed the statue of King George III at the foot of Broadway on the Bowling Green in New York City.
41 Pennsylvania militia colonel John Nixon ( ) is portrayed in the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence on July 6, This scene was created by William Hamilton after a drawing by George Noble and appeared in Edward Barnard, History of England (London, 1783).
42 War between the British and the Americans dragged on. In 1778, the French, who were old enemies of England, agreed to help the Americans. In 1781, the Americans and French forced the British to surrender at Yorktown, Virginia. Two years later, the Treaty of Paris ended the war. Surrender of General Cornwallis at Yorktown, October 18, 1781
43 In 1789 (at long last!) the United States adopted a constitution that set up a new form of government. The Constitution set forth certain principles of government. One of these is popular sovereignty, or the idea that a government receives its power from the people. Another is limited government, or the idea that a government may use only powers given to it by the people.
45 Later, ten amendments, or formal changes, were added to the Constitution. These are known as the Bill of Rights, which guarantee all American citizens such rights as: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, the right to trial by jury, and the freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.
46 British editorial cartoon from 1799: "What a situation am I in sold by an American & purchased by France & Spain. Oh, where s my Pitt."
47 Notes: The American Revolution July 4, 1776: The Second Continental Congress issued the Declaration of Independence. War broke out between Britain and the colonies. 1778: France (the country) agreed to help the Americans. 1781: The Americans and the French forced the British to surrender at Yorktown, Virginia. 1783: The Treaty of Paris was signed by the new United States and Britain. 1789: The United States adopted a constitution that set up a new form of government. (78 words!)
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