Cranking Up the Tension
Following the stamp act – coordinated movement to boycott English goods
Sign nonconsumption agreements, refusal to sell,
Colonists took pride in forsaking English goods – live a more virtuous life
Revolutionary zeal decorated against British tyranny & consumerism
Virtue = simplicity
Opened up the political sphere beyond the male elite – women playing more significant role – defend the
morality of the boycotts, take on the duties of making goods which had previously been imported (clothes –
Left Redcoats behind
Bothered colonists: redcoats were aloud to take jobs in the colonies – became competition in the cities
Continuing presence of the standing army fed into the growing suspicions of conspiracy to deny the
colonists’ their liberties
Standing army in time of peace was a sign of tyranny
Boston Massacre – 1770
Crowds gathered outside a customs house – taunting British centaury (throwing things)
Panic ensues – red coats respond by firing into the crowd killing 5 people
Became propaganda instrument for radical resistance movement
Tensions subside – no one is talking about anything as radical as independence
England repealed taxes on everything except tea. Anticonsumerism dissipates
British imports surge
Tea becomes a symbol
East India Company
Tax on tea – tea boycotts hit the company hard
Complained to parliament, parliament comes up with idea: sell tea directly to the colonists, rather than
having to go through England first. Cheaper tea, but still symbolic with the tax.
Colonists still offended by taxes – leads to Boston tea party
Boston Tea Party – 1773 60 colonists dressed as NativeAmericans, dumped tones of tea into the harbor
significant: didn’t just steal tea, dumped it into the harbor – disciplined, organized
Tensions are high – not start of shooting war
War & Independence
Beginning of war : April 7, 1775 – more of a resistance
Continues until British defeat in Yorktown – completed with Treaty of Paris, 1783
First continental congress.
Fall of 1774 – colonies hold first continental congress.
Jointly define grievances – articulate new constitutional relationship with England
Colonists set up own governments to represent them
Lexington & Concord
British decide to nip resistance in the but.
Thomas Gage confiscates military supplies housed in Concord, colonists get word, and Gage’s men run into
colonial militia. Orders them to disperse and lay down guns, they do disperse but don’t lay down guns.
British shoot killing 8 men – by the time they reach Concord they are welcomed by armed townsmen –
Britain fails horribly.
England believed they would have a quick victory
Believed Americans were no match for Superior British Forces
British military leaders felt this war was the same as those fought in Europe – whoever had the most
casualties lost the battle etc..
Assumed clear military victory would lead to political victory
England was wrong