“The Seven Years’ War History
“The Seven Years’ War, also known as the French and Indian War to the colonists, officially lasted from 1756 to 1763. In the two years leading up to Great Britain declaring war, there were major disputes between the colonies and the French, who had expanded into the Ohio River Valley. The French army which consisted of the French colonists, France, and their Native American allies, were very successful until 1757 when the British leader William Pitt borrowed money to help finance his side of the war. In 1760, the French lost their footing in Montreal, signaling their downfall and surrender of Canada to the British. The colonies and Britain gained quite a bit of land and tension subsided however, discord was created once Parliament started to tax the colonists for defending them. The colonists started to realize they needed to become independent so that they could govern themselves. This was the first seed planted that would later result in the American Revolution. Following immediately after the ending of the French and Indian War, Great Britain issued an official document pertaining to the settlers’ boundaries. This proclamation was put in place rather quickly because a Native American chief Pontiac led an attack on some of the American colonists. To appease the Native Americans, the proclamation declared that any land (they just received or settled) west of the Appalachian mountains was to be unsettled. This angered the colonists because a lot of them were excited about the new land, some bought the new land or won it, but were unable to partake in it because of the government. The colonists felt like they were being treated unfairly and controlled, therefore adding to the division between them and the mother country.
The Sugar Act, also called the Plantation or American Revenue Act, was put in place by the British as a supplement to the Molasses Act of 1733. It’s purpose was to stop the illegal trafficking of sugar and molasses into the colonies from the Dutch and French in the West Indies. Since the British Empire was low in funds following the French and Indian War, the enforcement on this act was heavy and consistent. Their aim was to gain the most capital they could from the colonists to pay their debts for assisting them in the war. This act put a three penny tax on sugar, wine, printed calico, coffee, and cambric that was imported from anywhere besides Britain. The act worked to divide the colonists, as some were not as affected as others, and some had a difference in opinion on how detrimental it was. Although it did not have as large of an effect as some other legislations, it added fuel to the fire gradually and subtly. The Stamp Act, also passed by the British Parliament, placed taxes on all paper forms in the colonies. The colonists would have to pay a tax for a mandatory stamp to be placed on their documents (wills, newspapers, deeds, etc.) Once again, the British were looking for any way they could obtain money from the colonists, but unlike the Sugar Act, the Stamp Act was more personal. This act directly impacted the colonists in their daily life, immediately angering them because the taxation was “unconstitutional.” The colonists felt that only their own representatives could tax them, beginning the “taxation without representation” idea. The repercussions of the act were riots, mobs, violence, and more division between the colonies and Great Britain. Promptly after the act was enforced, the secret organization called the Sons of Liberty was organized to plan protests, and later in October nine colonies met at the Stamp Act Congress, all in hopes of ending the Stamp Act.
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The Townshend Acts were legislations made by the British that taxed imports on paper, glass, paint, lead, and tea. With the new taxes, the British created the American Customs Board to accumulate tax money and focused on capturing smugglers to insure more of colonists’ money. The Townshend Acts also gave British officials the right to search through colonists’ homes and businesses. This was the act to receive the most backlash because the British still were not understanding the principle of “no taxation without representation.” It caused the colonies to resent the British even more because they were not giving the colonies a chance to represent themselves in Parliament. The colonies weren’t against paying taxes, they just wanted the money to go back to their own community. These acts resulted in more chaos, smuggling of goods, and violence which further pushed the colonies towards the revolution. One instance of the violence that followed the Townshend Acts was the Boston Massacre. Anger and the search for justice caused the colonists to protest in the streets of Boston. Their protests would get riotous but this particular evening in Boston on King Street, the protest got uncontrollable which led to the killing of five colonists. It began when British soldiers were brought in to contain a small crowd of colonists.
The situation escalated once more colonists began to gather around and provoke a British soldier. More soldiers arrived to assist in the situation but this only aggravated the crowd of about fifty colonists. The colonists and soldiers were going back and forth, shouting threats of violence, and cursing, pushing, shoving, hitting and throwing sticks. This resulted in shots being fired by the soldiers, three dead and two injured colonists. Those two colonists soon died and with them died colonists’ respect for the British. This further fueled the anti-British sentiment and anger for British rule. This event brought awareness of the British corruption to those not only in Boston, but all throughout the colonies, enlarging the anti-British crowd. Those who deeply hated the British used this event as propaganda, extremely blowed it out of proportion, aimed to infuriate colonists and succeeded. The Tea Act of 1773, passed by the British Parliament, aimed not to tax the colonists and reap the benefits, but to help aid the British East India Tea Company. The company was a dominant force in the British economy, however since it was in debt, the British government turned to the colonies for revenue. This act eliminated the taxes placed on the company for exporting tea and allowed it to be shipped to America to be sold for a discounted price. This meant that the price of the tea would be lower than illegally smuggled tea by colonial merchants.
This angered the colonists and especially the radical leaders because it was a subtle way to get the colonists to essentially rebuild the East India Tea Company for the British. It also undermined the colonial merchants’ business. Organizations like the Sons of Liberty were infuriated and feared that the colonists would buy the discounted tea so once the ships carrying the tea arrived in the New York harbors, they were ordered to return back to Britain. This Act resulted in the famous, Boston Tea Party, where disguised patriots overthrew three hundred crates of tea ensuring it would not get past the docks. Again, the colonists were angry about the principle, not only the Act. This was another representation of how the British did not understand the colonists, nor did they wish to. The British government continued to use them for whatever they could; silencing their voice in the process, and this is what continued to lead the colonies down the path of revolution.”