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The
relationship between Great Britain and its North American Colonies began to
show tension in the early 1700’s. The colonists were able to carry on national
and foreign trade without the British officials getting in their way, due to
England having ongoing wars and conflicts. The colonists had some sort of
independence. Then England began to enforce restrictions on colonial trade and
taking away their independence. Laws and taxes began to be placed on the
colonists and the passage of the Proclamation of 1763 was passed. Colonists
were not allowed to move west of the Appalachian Mountains to claim the land
the British had won from the French and Indian war. The colonists were angry,
and many other conflicts occurred.

            The colonists had many laws and
taxes placed on them that limited them on what they can do. It was 1764 and the
British placed the Sugar Act which set duties on molasses and sugar imported by
colonists. Later, on March 22, 1765, the Stamp Act 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 gave Parliament the power to make laws for
the colonies, in all cases whatsoever. At this point colonists have basically
been robbed of all their rights and didn’t have a say to try and change it.
After the Declaratory Act, in 1767, the Townshend Acts were passed which placed
duties on glass, lead, paints, paper, and tea. The colonists were extremely angry
at this point and caused many conflicts like The Boston Massacre and The Boston
Tea Party. During the Boston Tea Party, Parliament repeals the Townshend Acts, to
reduce the tension in the colonies. Although they repealed the Townshend Acts,
Parliament kept the tax on tea. The Tea Act followed right after the Boston Tea
Party in 1773. The Sons of Liberty dumped 340 chests of tea into the harbor.
The Intolerable Acts, in 1774, had the Boston Harbor closed, Royal officials
were tried for crimes, the Quartering Act occurred, the Quebec Act took place,
and Thomas Gage become governor of Massachusetts. Many taxes and acts had been
placed on the colonists during a period of 10 years.

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            The colonists did not respond too
well to the acts and taxes Parliament passed. Parliament’s actions upset many
colonists because they had gotten used to being independent. The colonists didn’t
have any representatives in Parliament leading many to believe that Britain had
no right to tax the colonies at all without their consent. The stamp act had
just been passed and the colonists had already started to protest. The
colonists formed a secret society called the Sons of Liberty. The Sons of
Liberty sometimes used violence to scare the tax collectors. The Declaratory
Act concerned the colonists even more because the act stripped much of their
independence away. The Townshend Acts had now been passed and the colonist
hated it. The act took away the power the colonial government had. The
colonists responded to the Townshend Acts by boycotting many of the British
goods. The Boston Tea Party scared many colonial merchants because they thought
they were going to go out of business because of the Tea Act. As a result, the
colonist united due to the Tea Act. The British wanted to bring back order in
the colonies with the Intolerable Acts, but instead they angered the colonists
more. The colonists were all around mad and felt like they were treated
unfairly by the British.

            The First Continental Congress took
place in October 1774. All the colonies except Georgia sent a representative to
the meeting. The colonial leaders gathered because they were deeply troubled
about the relationship between Great Britain and its colonies in America. They
debated between peace or violence and agreed to boycotting British goods, but
preparing for war. Also, they drafted the Declaration of Rights, a list of 10
resolutions for King George III. The First Continental Congress was mainly to
state the colonists’ worries and ask King George III to fix any problems. The
Second Continental Congress happened in May 1775. King George III refused to do
anything about the concerns listen in the Declaration of Rights. Delegates from
the colonies attempted to represent a Republican Government. Once again, they
compromised, but delegates showed growing dissatisfaction. They asked colonial
authorities for new state constitution. As well as authorizing the
Massachusetts militia to become the continental army. This army would soon
include soldiers from all colonies and would fight against Britain. Congress
then named George Washington commander of the army. On July 5, the delegates
signed the Olive Branch Petition as a final attempt to restore peace. Instead
King George didn’t read it and looked for new ways to punish the colonists.

       To conclude, the Declaration of
Independence was declared. In June 1776, the 2nd Continental
Congress forms a committee to write the Declaration of Independence. The
document formally announced the colonies’ break from Great Britain. It
expressed 3 main ideas. First, all people possess unalienable rights. Second,
Thomas Jefferson asserted that King George III had violated the colonists’
rights by taxing them without their consent. Third, it states that the colonies
had the right to break from Britain. On July 4th, 1776, the
Continental Congress approves the Declaration of Independence. This act broke
all connections to the British crown. The United States of America was born.

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