Revolutionary Soldier National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Ninety Six National Historic Site 1103 Highway 248, Ninety Six, South Carolina 29666 www.nps.gov/nisi 864-543-4068 American Revolution Soldier Traveling Trunk Causes and Events that Led to the American Revolution One might say that the American Revolution had its roots planted when the first colonists arrived. The turning point in the relationship began at the end of the French and Indian War in 1763. Great Britain was in a financial crisis. It was in a recession, taxes were high, and it had incurred an enormous national debt. Now that they were not faced with any serious foreign challengers, her leaders turned to the task of making the British Empire more self-sufficient. These attempts included taxing the colonies to help pay for their own defense. From the very beginning these taxes met with resistance from a large segment of the colonial population. A reason for this resistance was that the colonists had little, or in most cases, no say or vote in the decisions of the British Parliament. They were against taxation without representation. They were accustomed to a rather high degree of autonomy until 1763. Many believed the British crackdown was an attempt to take away their basic rights as Englishmen. The revenue raising legislative acts of Parliament that were so distasteful to these colonists are listed below in chronological order. The Sugar Act (1764) - A Parliamentary Act that was introduced by Prime Minister Grenville. It enforced the collection of duties on molasses which had in the past largely been ignored. The legislation reduced the amount to be collected, but measures were taken to be sure it was collected. Absentee customs officers were forced back to their posts of collecting duties, and the powers to search for smuggled goods were revived. Even though the Molasses Act (1733) duty was twice as high, the collections were not being enforced, a policy of salutary neglect. A special court was established in Halifax, Nova Scotia to try smuggling cases and nonpayment of duty. The colonists grumbled about the arrangements, but for the most part paid their duties. The Stamp Act (1765) - This act caused much more trouble than the Sugar Act. Prime Minister George Grenville and Parliament decided to send 10,000 British troops to the colonies to defend the frontiers from Indian attacks and also from attack by a foreign country. The colonists were expected to pay one-third of the cost of keeping them here. It wasn’t the idea of the amount asked that caused the unrest. The trouble which erupted was caused by the manner in which the money was to be raised. The British plan was to impose a stamp duty on newspapers, playing cards, diplomas, and legal documents. The colonists disagreed with this procedure because it was a visible and direct tax. They proposed that colonial assemblies should be asked to make a contribution instead. Prime Minister Grenville thought that this would not produce the money. People in Britain were very heavily taxed, and in their eyes the colonists were lightly taxed and therefore had little to complain about. The Stamp Act passed with little opposition in Parliament. Even the colonial representation in London recommended that it be accepted. In the colonies the act was viewed as another way of making Britain rich at the expense of the colonies. There were protests and petitions to the King and to Parliament from a congress of nine colonies which met in New York. Demonstrations and shouts of “no taxation without representation” became a common cry throughout the colonies. They expressed these views based on the premise that they had no members in Parliament to represent them on such issues as taxation. Mobs soon wrecked the homes of tax men. Only in Georgia were a few stamps sold. It would be well to note that while the Sugar Act had directly affected only shippers and merchants, the Stamp Act touched all classes of people. As a result of the colonial unrest caused by the Stamp Act, it was repealed. It was quickly followed, however, by the Declaratory Act which stated that Parliament had the right to pass laws for the colonies. Parliament did not want the colonies to get the impression that they had won a major victory. Declaratory Act (1766) - The Declaratory Act gave Parliament the right to tax the colonies. The Townsend Acts (1767) - A Board of Customs Commissioners was established at Boston to make sure

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