1763-1774: Events Leading to the American Revolution
In 1763, the Appalachian Mountains were established as the western settlement boundary by a royal proclamation from King George II. New territories gained from France in the Seven Years' War were divided into new provinces. The Proclamation Line was intended to better structure further expansions and land acquisition from indigenous people was only possible through the British Crown. However, illegal settlements continued, leading to tensions between indigenous people and colonialists, as well as alienation of British colonialists from the Crown.
In 1764, the British Parliament passed the Sugar Act, which imposed taxes on non-British goods to relieve British state finances. However, this was circumvented through smuggling and led to protests from British colonialists. The Stamp Act was also passed in 1765, which required official documents, newspapers, and games in the northern colonies to be stamped with tax marks. This led to feelings of exploitation among the colonists, who had not consented to taxation.
In 1766, the Stamp Act was repealed and the Declaratory Act was announced, which stated that the British Parliament could pass laws in the British colonies. This led to negative reactions in the colonies. The Townshend Acts were passed in 1767, which imposed tariffs on everyday goods and established special courts for enforcement. This led to further protests and feelings of tyranny among American intermediaries and traders.
In 1770, the Boston Massacre occurred when British soldiers fired on a crowd, resulting in several deaths. The British agreed to withdraw soldiers from the city to maintain peace. In 1773, the British Parliament passed the Tea Act, which aimed to reduce the enormous amount of tea from the British East India Company by lowering prices and encouraging sales in the colonies. This led to the Boston Tea Party, where patriots disguised as Indians threw tea chests into the Atlantic.
In 1774, the British government and Parliament responded with the Coercive Acts, which closed the Boston port for trade, banned assemblies in cities, revoked the charter of Massachusetts, and required colonists to provide quarters for British soldiers. The Quebec Act also added French-speaking and Catholic colonies to Quebec, which was met with great opposition.
Protests and meetings were held, including the Stamp Act Congress in 1765 and the First Continental Congress in 1774, where delegates from various British colonies gathered to work together against restrictions on American citizens' freedom. Measures were taken against the Quartering Act, a solidarity declaration was made, and a one-year export and import embargo was imposed on British goods.