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Events which led to the Revolutionary War

In the last half of the 18th century, thirteen colonies ganged up in a political upheaval so as to break free of the colonial rule imposed by Britain giving rise to the United States. These states first rejected the overseas authority without representation expressed by the Parliament of Great Britain and went further to expel all Royal officials in their states. Each former colonial province established a Provincial Congress so as to form a self, internal government. In response, the British sent troops so as to recover these provinces. This marked the onset of the American Revolutionary War that lasted between 1775 and ended in 1783 when the last of the British troops surrendered and both parties signed Treaty of Paris. The States therefore chose to reject all acts of tyranny and control collectively instigated by the British monarchy in favor of self-rule, as stated in the July 1776 United States Declaration of Independence.

There are various events that led to the American Revolution. In the events timeline, these events triggered and inspired the decision, cause and clamor for independence by the colonies at the time. Key among these was the Boston Tea Party and the Boston Massacre. Prior to this, most people in the states were content with how it was being run. The British governed through indirect rule which allowed the states a degree of their own identity. However, at the onset of 1764, a pamphlet, ‘The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Approved’ was written by James Otis. He argued that all colonists, be they black or white, deserved freedom and that American colonies, being the larger, could not revolve around the smaller England. This was the earliest clamor for independence. In that same year, Oxenbridge Thatcher wrote a pamphlet, ‘The Sentiments of a British American’ which furthered the arguments put forward by Otis such as taxation without representation. At that time however, there were very few radicals in support of independence. In 1764, several acts came into place. First, the British monarchy attempted to seize control of the America’s economy by putting into place the Currency Act which outlawed the printing of all money in the colonies and further nullified all the America-printed money. Secondly, the Sugar Act, which ensured colonists were taxed for sugar, coffee, wine and indigo, came into force. This was a means of the British Government to earn revenue so as to recover from the losses of the French-Indian War. This angered both merchants due to the arbitrary searches and other colonists since they were being taxed without representation. Several other pamphlets were published such as ‘The Right of Colonies Examined’ by Stephen Hopkins and ‘The Pennsylvania Gazette’ written by Benjamin Franklin. In March 1765, the Stamp Act came into force which required all colonists to buy a stamp whenever a document was to be printed. The colonies however revolted and the British Government responded by publishing the Declaratory Act in which total control of the colonies was expressed. In June 1765, the intolerable Quartering Act was published. It required colonists to pay and supply vital necessities to the British troops. This highly increased unrest especially as the army was deemed incompetent after the loss in the Chief Pontiac’s Rebellion.

The anonymous publication of John Dickinson's ‘Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, to the Inhabitants of the British Colonies’ in December 1767 awakened the colonists as to how the British Monarchy was hurting the colonies. In 1768, 4000 soldiers were dispatched to quell unrest though they served to fuel unrest even the more. This resulted in the Boston Massacre during which five people died. In July 1772, the situation blew over. Colonists were deeply angered by various Intolerable acts such as the Sugar Act which was strictly being enforced such that smuggling was impossible serving to anger the merchants the more. The ultimate Intoloretable act was the 1773 British Tea Act which gave the British East India Company the exclusive rights to import tea from the colonies, barring the merchant’s businesses. In response, the merchants organized the Boston Tea Party in which the entire tea cargo aboard a British ship was dumped into sea. The British Government responded by cancelling Massachusetts right of self-governance through the Massachusetts Government Act. In 1774, the colonists met under the Continental Congress so as to discuss on how Britain was oppressing the colonies. They resolved to stop all imports and put an end to slave trade. All merchants were not to raise prices or continue trading with Britain after the first of December. This was signed by the Congress president, Peyton Randolph which greatly infuriated the British Government. In March 1775, Parliament passed the New England Restraining Act that forced all merchants to trade with no other country except Britain hence restricting trade. Further, Parliament passed the Boston Port Act so as to force colonists to pay for losses incurred due to the Boston Tea Party. The colonialists were barred from entering the harbor but gravely accelerated the need for independence. This served as the start of the American Revolution and its utter success in 1783. This marked the onset of a radical clamor for change and the resultant unification of thirteen states which declared their independence from Britain in response to the acts of tyranny and the Intolerable Acts by the British.


Works Cited:

Axelrod, Alan. The Real History of the American Revolution: A New Look at the Past. 2009.

Bailyn, Bernard. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1992.

Jensen, Merrill. The Founding of a Nation: a History of the American Revolution, 1763–1776. Indianapolis, Indiana: Hackett Publishing Company, 2004.—. The New Nation: a History of the United States during the Confederation, 1781-1789. . New York : Random House Inc., 1950.

Rdude. "Events Leading to the American Revolution." 19 Februaury 2002. Everything2. 16 November 2010



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