GreatBritain and the North American colonies started to show signs of a tense bondbetween them. The colonists were able to carry on national and foreign tradewithout the British officials getting in their way, due to England havingongoing wars and conflicts. The colonists had some sort of independence. ThenEngland began to enforce restrictions on colonial trade and taking away theirindependence. Laws and taxes began to be placed on the colonists and thepassage of the Proclamation of 1763 was passed. Colonists were not allowed tomove west of the Appalachian Mountains to claim the land the British had wonfrom the French and Indian war.
The colonists were angry, and many otherconflicts occurred. Thecolonists had many laws and taxes placed on them that limited them on what theycan do. It was 1764 and the British placed the Sugar Act which set duties onmolasses and sugar imported by colonists.
Later, on March 22, 1765, the StampAct was passed and required colonists to pay for an official stamp, or seal, when they bought paper items. The Declaratory Act happened in 1766 and gaveParliament the power to make laws for the colonies, in all cases whatsoever. Atthis point colonists have basically been robbed of all their rights and didn’thave a say to try and change it. After the Declaratory Act, in 1767, theTownshend Acts were passed which placed duties on glass, lead, paints, paper, and tea. The colonists were extremely angry at this point and caused manyconflicts like The Boston Massacre and The Boston Tea Party. During the BostonTea Party, Parliament repeals the Townshend Acts, to reduce the tension in thecolonies.
Even though they repealed the Townshend Acts, Parliament did not takeoff the tax on tea. The Tea Act followed right after the Boston Tea Party in1773. The Sons of Liberty dumped 340 chests of tea into the harbor. TheIntolerable Acts, in 1774, had the Boston Harbor closed, Royal officials weretried for crimes, the Quartering Act occurred, the Quebec Act took place, andThomas Gage become governor of Massachusetts. Many taxes and acts had beenplaced on the colonists during a period of 10 years. Thecolonists did not respond too well to the acts and taxes Parliament passed. Parliament’s actions upset many colonists because they had gotten used to beingindependent. The colonists didn’t have any representatives in Parliamentleading many to believe that Britain had no right to tax the colonies at allwithout their consent.
The stamp act had just been passed and the colonists hadalready started to protest. The colonists formed a secret society called theSons of Liberty. The Sons of Liberty sometimes used violence to scare the taxcollectors. The Declaratory Act concerned the colonists even more because theact stripped much of their independence away.
The Townshend Acts had now beenpassed and the colonist hated it. The act took away the power the colonialgovernment had. The colonists responded to the Townshend Acts by boycottingmany of the British goods. The Boston Tea Party scared many colonial merchantsbecause they thought they were going to go out of business because of the TeaAct. As a result, the colonist united due to the Tea Act. The British wanted tobring back order in the colonies with the Intolerable Acts, but instead theyangered the colonists more. The colonists were all around mad and felt likethey were treated unfairly by the British.
The FirstContinental Congress took place in October 1774. All the colonies exceptGeorgia sent a representative to the meeting. The colonial leaders gatheredbecause they were deeply troubled about the relationship between Great Britainand its colonies in America. They debated between peace or violence and agreedto boycotting British goods, but preparing for war.
Also, they drafted theDeclaration of Rights, a list of 10 resolutions for King George III. The FirstContinental Congress was mainly to state the colonists’ worries and ask KingGeorge III to fix any problems. The Second Continental Congress happened in May1775. King George III refused to do anything about the concerns listen in theDeclaration of Rights. Delegates from the colonies attempted to represent aRepublican Government. Once again, they compromised, but delegates showedgrowing dissatisfaction. They asked colonial authorities for new stateconstitution. As well as authorizing the Massachusetts militia to become thecontinental army.
This army would soon include soldiers from all colonies andwould fight against Britain. Congress then named George Washington commander ofthe army. On July 5, the delegates signed the Olive Branch Petition as a finalattempt to restore peace. Instead King George didn’t read it and looked for newways to punish the colonists. To conclude, the Declaration of Independence was declared. In June 1776, the 2ndContinental Congress forms a committee to write the Declaration ofIndependence.
The document formally announced the colonies’ break from GreatBritain. It expressed 3 main ideas. First, all people possess unalienablerights. Second, Thomas Jefferson asserted that King George III had violated thecolonists’ rights by taxing them without their consent. Third, it states thatthe colonies had the right to break from Britain.
On July 4th, 1776, the Continental Congress approves the Declaration of Independence. This actbroke all connections to the British crown. Finally, the United States ofAmerica came to be.