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7 Events That Enraged Colonists and Led to the American Revolution

August 20, 2019 in History

By Patrick J. Kiger

Colonists didn’t just take up arms against the British out of the blue. A series of events escalated tensions that culminated in America’s war for independence.

The American colonists’ breakup with the British Empire in 1776 wasn’t a sudden, impetuous act. Instead, the banding together of the 13 colonies to fight and win a war of independence against the Crown was the culmination of a series of events, which had begun more than a decade earlier. Escalations began shortly after the end of the “They felt that they’d spent a lot of blood and treasure to protect the colonists from the Indians, and so they should pay their share.”

The colonists didn’t see it that way. They resented not only having to buy goods from the British but pay tax on them as well. “The tax never got collected, because there were riots all over the pace,” Randall says. Ultimately, Benjamin Franklin convinced the British to rescind it, but that only made things worse. “That made the Americans think they could push back against anything the British wanted,” Randall says.

READ MORE: The Stamp Act

2. The Townshend Acts (June-July 1767)

An American colonist reads with concern the royal proclamation of a tax on tea in the colonies as a British soldier stands nearby with rifle and bayonet, Boston, 1767. The tax on tea was one of the clauses of the Townshend Acts.

Parliament again tried to assert its authority by passing legislation to tax goods that the Americans imported from Great Britain. The Crown established a board of customs commissioners to stop smuggling and corruption among local officials in the colonies, who were often in on the illicit trade.

Americans struck back by organizing a boycott of the British goods that were subject to taxation, and began harassing the British customs commissioners. In an effort to quell the resistance, the British sent troops to occupy Boston, which only deepened the ill feeling.

READ MORE: The Townshend Acts

3. The Boston Massacre (March 1770)


A print of the Boston Massacre by Paul Revere, 1770.

Simmering tensions between the British occupiers and Boston residents boiled over one late afternoon, when a disagreement between an apprentice wigmaker and a British soldier led to a crowd of 200 colonists surrounding seven British troops. When the Americans began taunting the British and throwing things at them, the soldiers apparently lost their cool …read more

Source: HISTORY

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