French and Indian War
The European powers saw little value in committing regular troops to America. However, the fighting actually began in the colonies and then spread to Europe. Moreover, England and France now recognized the full importance of their colonies and shipped large numbers of troops overseas in North America rather than rely on "amateur" colonial forces. This fourth and most decisive war was known in Europe, as the Seven Years' War.
During the French and Indian War, the governor of Virginia sent a small militia under the command of a young colonel named George Washington to fight. After gaining a small initial victory, Washington's troops surrendered to a superior force of Frenchmen and their Native American allies on July 3, 1754.
In 1755, General Edward Braddock led an expedition out of Virginia that ended in a disastrous defeat. More than 2,000 British regulars and colonial troops were routed by a smaller force of French and Native Americans near Ft. Duquesne.
Pontiac's Rebellion (1763)
In 1763, Chief Pontiac led a major attack against colonial settlements on the western frontier. Pontiac's alliance of Native Americans in the Ohio Valley destroyed forts and settlements from New York to Virginia.
Proclamation of 1763
The British government issued a proclamation that prohibited colonists from settling west
of the Appalachian Mountains. They hoped this would help to prevent future hostilities between colonists and Native Americans. Defying the prohibition, thousands streamed westward beyond the imaginary boundary line drawn by the British.
Sugar Act (1764)
This act placed duties on foreign sugar and certain luxuries. Its chief purpose was to raise money for the crown, and a companion law also provided for stricter enforcement of the Navigation Acts to stop smuggling.
Quartering Act (1765)
This act required the colonists to provide food and living quarters for British soldiers stationed in the colonies.
Stamp Act (1765)
This act required that revenue stamps be placed on most printed paper in the colonies, including all legal documents newspapers, pamphlets, and
A young Virginia lawyer expressed the sentiments of many when he stood up in the House of Burgesses to demand that the king's government recognize the rights of all citizens—including no taxation without representation.
Stamp Act Congress
Representatives from nine colonies met in New York in 1765. They resolved that only their own elected representatives had the legal authority to approve taxes.
Sons and Daughters of Liberty
A secret society organized for the purpose of
intimidating tax agents.
Declaratory Act (1766)
This act asserted that Parliament had the right to tax and make laws for the colonies "in all cases whatsoever."
Townshend Acts (1767)
Parliament enacted new duties to be collected on colonial imports of tea, glass, and paper. The law required that the revenues raised be used to pay crown officials in the colonies, thus
making them independent of the colonial assemblies that had previously paid their
salaries. The acts also provided for the search of private homes for smuggled goods.
Writs of Assistance
All an official needed was a general license to search anywhere rather than a judge's warrant
permitting a search only of a specifically named property.
John Dickinson; Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania
Letters From a Farmer in
Pennsylvania, Dickinson agreed that Parliament could regulate commerce but argued that because duties were a form of taxation, they could not be levied on the colonies
without the consent of their representative assemblies. Dickinson argued that the principle of no taxation without representation was an essential principle of English law.
Albany Plan of Union (1754)
The delegates from seven colonies
adopted a plan developed by Benjamin Franklin that provided for an intercolonial government and a system for recruiting troops and
collecting taxes from the various colonies for their common defense.
Peace of Paris (1763)
Through the peace treaty, Great Britain acquired both French Canada and Spanish Florida. France ceded to Spain its huge western
territory, Louisiana, and claims west of the Mississippi River in compensation for Spain's
loss of Florida.
Previously, Britain had exercised little direct control over the colonies and had generally aIIowed its navigation laws regulating colonial trade to go unenforced. This earlier policy was now abandoned as the British saw a need to adopt more forceful policies for taking
control of their expanded North American dominions.
In 1768, James Otis and Samuel Adams jointly wrote the Massachusetts Circular Letter and sent copies to every colonial legislature.
In Massachusetts, James Otis initiated a call for
cooperative action among the colonies to protest the Stamp Act. Representatives from
nine colonies met in New York in 1765 to form the so-called Stamp Act Congress.
Massachusetts Circular Letter
It urged the various colonies to petition Parliament to repeal the Townshend Acts. British officials in Boston ordered the
letter retracted, threatened to dissolve the legislature, and increased the number of
British troops in Boston.
Lord Fredrick North
Lord Frederick North urged Parliament to repeal the Townshend Acts because their effect was to damage trade and to generate only a disappointing amount of revenue
Boston Massacre (1770)
A crowd of colonists harassed the
guards near the customs house. The guards fired into the crowd, killing five people
including an African American. Samuel Adams, angrily denounced the shooting incident as a "massacre".
One of the five who were killed during the Boston Massacre.
Committees of Correspondence
In Boston and other Massachusetts towns, Adams began the practice of organizing committees that would regularly exchange letters about suspicious or potentially threatening British activities. The Virginia House of Burgesses took the concept a step further when it organized intercolonial committees in 1773.
This British customs ship had been successful in catching a number of smugglers. In 1772, the ship ran aground off the shore of Rhode Island. Seizing their opportunity to destroy the hated vessel, a group of colonists disguised as Native
Americans ordered the British crew ashore and then set fire to the ship.
Tea Act (1773)
Parliament passed the act which made the price of the company's tea—even with the tax included—cheaper than that of smuggled Dutch tea.
Boston Tea Party (1773)
A shipment of the East India Company's tea arrived in Boston harbor, but there were no buyers. Before the royal governor could arrange to bring the tea ashore, a group of Bostonians disguised themselves as Native Americans, boarded the British ships, and dumped 342 chests of tea into the harbor.
In retaliation of the Boston Tea Party, the British government enacted a series of punitive acts (the Coercive Acts), together with a separate act dealing with French Canada (the Quebec Act). The colonists were outraged by these various laws.
They pursued a colonial policy aimed at solving Britain's domestic financial problems. Making the American colonies bear more of the cost of maintaining the British empire was a
popular policy with the various factions of Whigs that vied for the king's favor.
Coercive Acts (1774)
There were four Coercive Acts, directed mainly at punishing the people of Boston and Massachusetts and bringing the dissidents under control.
Closed the port of Boston, prohibiting trade in and out of the harbor until
the destroyed tea was paid for.
The Massachusetts Government Act
reduced the power of the Massachusetts
legislature while increasing the power of the royal governor.
The Administration of Justice Act
Allowed royal officials accused of crimes to be tried in England instead of in the colonies.
Enable British troops to be quartered in
private homes. It applied to all colonies.
Quebec Act (1774)
When it passed the Coercive Acts, the British government also passed a law organizing the Canadian lands gained from France. This plan was accepted by most French Canadians, but it was resented by many in the 13 colonies.
18th century, some educated Americans were attracted to a European movement in literature and philosophy that is known as the Enlightenment. The leaders of this movement believed that the "darkness" of past ages could be corrected by the use of human reason in solving most of humanity's problems.
In the philosophy of religion is the standpoint that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is a creation and has a creator. Furthermore, the term often implies that this supreme being does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the natural laws of the universe.
Trusted human reason to solve the many problems of life and society, and emphasized
reason, science, and respect for humanity.
A 17th-century English philosopher and political theorist. Locke, in his Two Treatises of Government, reasoned that while the state (the government) is supreme, it is bound to follow "natural laws" based on the rights that people have simply because they are human. He argued that sovereignty ultimately resides with the people rather than with the state.
Jean - Jacques Rousseau
He had a profound influence on educated Americans in the 1760s and 1770s—the decades of revolutionary thought and action that finally culminated in the American Revolution.