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5 Notes September 1, 2008
Chapter 5: Toward Independence: Years of Decision (1763-76) Imperial Reform 1763-1765
Main Idea: The Legacy of War leaves Britain with heavy debt and the colonists reason to be angry-they start to show resistance. -British impose new trade rules/taxesViolent resistance. B/C: The Brits were inflexible/stubborn and the Patriots were determined -Great War for Empire= huge $$ debt for Brits new taxes for Americans possessions Also shows weaknesses of governors (shared power w/ colonial assemblies) -Salutary neglect gave way to direct rule by Parliament. -Revenue Act of 1762 tightens up trade duties; colonials not used to paying this b/c they bribed officials. Brings out ‘sales taxes,’ or excise duties on salt, beer, and spirits. Merchants complain privately. Proclamation Act: line that doesn't allow settlers to pass west of App. mtns. Land speculators voice disconent. -British colonial troops are un-kept, inept, and taken from the “dregs of society” Britain’s victory over France= new peacekeeping force (standing army) that is only for defensive and taking care of small uprisings that could lead to larger problems. -1)King George III wanted military positions for his friends, 2) feared possible rebellion of French Canadians, 3) Wanted to quell potential Native American attacks. B/C: Britain signals willingness to use force if necessary. -Brits demand that Parliament be more representational. B/C: reverse growth of gov’t power was threatening property/liberty -rotten boroughs are microcosms of demographically unfair/population dominated by wealthy peopleelectorial counties. Main Idea: George Grenville: Imperial Reformer was the main British leader of the imperial reform of the colonies. Grenville’s 2 part plan for imperial reform -Currency Act of 1764: extends ban on paper money and now American merchants/workers must pay debts to Britain in gold/silver. -Sugar Act (1764) replaces Molasses Act (but makes colonists mad b/c they never paid M. Act to begin w/ just bribed officials, and now they have to pay). Merchants and MA legistlature protest. -vice-admiralty court: Court system w/ only judge, no jury. Tried smugglers; wasn’t just discriminatory towards Americans- Brits had to follow it too. Main Idea: An Open Challenge: The Stamp Act imposed new ridiculous standards on the colonists and in turn place a new zeal for rebellion in their hearts. -Stamp Act of 1765: sparks crisis (covers part of $$ for British troops in America); must have stamps on every printed document. It wasn’t only to collect $, but to “assert constitutional principle.” Sons of Liberty riot; Stamp Act congress; first boycott of British goods. -Ben Franklin: suggests an American presence in Parliament. Parliament shoots it down saying Americans already have Virtual representation-what more could they want? William Pitt is only one to side with him. -Virtual representation: claim made by British members of Parliament; saying “what more could Ams. want?”
The Dynamics of Rebellion, 1765-1770
Main Idea: Politicians protest, and the Crowd Rebels. -Patrick Henry-1765; condemns Grenville’s legislation -Stamp Act Congress: 9 assemblies sent delegates to NY to protest the loss of “liberties” and especially right to trial by jury. Also declared ‘only colonists’ elected officials could tax them,” started boycott of British goods. -Sons of Liberty: Colonists (mainly merchants/artisans) banded together to protest Stamp Act/other
imperial reforms. Stamp Act is overthrown w/ constant resistance- the Brits don’t hear about it till Spring ’66. “What can a Governor do without the assistance of the Goverened?” Main Idea: The Ideological Roots of Resistance were kept in $$ and the yearning for political freedom. -First protests focused on economic grievances, then moved on to “liberties” etc. -No organization, acknowledged leaders, or clear goals but later lawyers go as leaders. -Patriot writers focused on three things: 1) English Common Law(used Magna Carta as reference), 2) Rationalistic thought of Enlightenment, and 3) denouncing political corruption among royal officials. -Samuel Adams: Radical Patriot leader “applauded Britain’s Radical Whigs for denouncing political corruption among royal officials.” Main Idea: After 3-4 years of boycott of imported British goods, Parliament Compromises (1766), and relieves the taxes. -Declares Chief Justice Sir James Mansfield: “The British legislature has authority to bind every part and every subject, whether such subjects have a right to vote or not.”(147) -Declaratory Act of 1766: reaffirmed the Power of Parliament for “full power/authority to make laws and statutes. Main Idea: Due to Pitt’s sickness, Charles Townshend Steps In as “stand in” Prime Minsister and creates three main acts. -William Pitt (friend of Ben Franklin) and allies declare Stamp Act a mistake and demand it to be repealed “absolutely and immediately.” -tried to establish a subtle distinction between taxation and legislation. Raised the question of the extent of Parliament’s powers -Pitt sympathetic towards America, his substitute (for gout) Charles Townshend not. -Townshend Act (1767)/military occupation of Boston: imposed duties on colonial imports of paper, paint, glass, and tea: mostly for paying salaries of gov’t workers.Second boycott of British goods; harrassment of British officials. -Revenue Act (1767): another Rev. Act, this time by Charles Townshend: created a legit board of customs officials and vice-admiralty courts in big towns. He intended it to undermine the autonomy and authority of American political institutions. -Quartering Act (1765): General Gage decides that all Americans must feed/shelter standing British troops. NY assembly refuses to fund until 1767 -Restraining Act (1767): Proposed by Earl of Shelburne (Sec. of state) Suspended the authority of NY assembly. Main Idea: America Debates and Resists Again, with a second boycott, more intense protests and small movements. -Some Americans (Ben Franklin) say that external duties on trade were acceptable, but direct/internal ones not. -in 1768 lawyer John Dickinson publishes Letters from a Farmer: issue is not whether tax is internal/external but what the goal of the legislation is. -homespuns: during Stamp Act boycott of ’65, daughters/wives-“Daughters of Liberty”-of Patriot leaders help make more yarn: only wear American clothes! No British yarn/wool etc -American resistace only increased British determination: In 1765, American resistance to taxation had provoked a parliamentary debate; in ’68 it produced a plan for military coercion. Main Idea: Lord North Compromises (1770) goes out to “save the empire.” -Argues that it was foolish to impose taxes on British exports to America (raising price, decreasing consumption), North persuaded Parl. to repeal Townshend duties, but kept tea tax. Boston Massacre: after taunting British soldiers for a week, they open fire on a group of the ruffians; Radical Whigs juice the event, calling it “massacre” for good PR.
The Road to Independence, 1771-1776
-Patriot legislators forming provisional gov’ts and building military forces (2 essentials for independence.) Main Idea: A Compromise Ignored refers to the Tea Act, Coercive Acts, and shows that Britain did not to mean ‘compromise’ with the Americans. -Tea Act 1773-gave British East India Company a gov’t loan and canceled the tax on tea. (Ams. used to drinking smuggled Dutch tea, not paying duties; now have to drink East India tea and
pay duties to Townshend.) -->widespread resistance and Boston Tea Party. Boston Tea Party: December 16, 1773: colonists disguised as Indians get on board Boston Harbor ships carrying tea, smash 342 chests and dumped into sea: George III not amused- “Colonies must either submit or triumph.” -Coercive Acts: asserted by Parliament early 1774--> First Continental Congress; 3rd boycott of British goods. -Port Bill: closes Massachussetts harbor off -Government Act: prohibits town meetings in MA -Quartering Act: forces American citizens to house/feed British soldiers of standing army- not necessarily personally but by payment as well -Justice Act: criminals can be (will be?) brought to Britain for a trial. -Quebec Act 1774: recognizes RCC population in Canada- allows them to practice- puts 'zeal' back in Puritans etc to keep their faith full of followers. -Ben Franklin proposes that: each colony would retain its assembly which would legislate on local matter; new continent-wide body would handle general American affairs. (So state-govt' and national govt'.) First Continental Congress: meeting of 12 delegates from COlonies. Response to Intolerable Acts> produces list public economic grievances to complain to George III about. -Declaration of Rights and Grievances demanded repeal of Coercive acts. -Britain determines that honor of country is at stake if they keep repealing Acts; decide that "americans must pay for their ownfdefense and administration, and must acknowledge Parliament's authority to tax them." Main Idea: The Countrysider Rises Up and starts a new branch of riots/protestation regarding the repeal of taxes/acts-brings in a new factor for the Brits to deal with. -Urban-led boycotts of '65 and '68 move into the country side.Patriot says "the duty on tea was only a prelude to a window-tax, hearth-tax, land-tax, and poll-tax, and these were only paving the way for reducing the country to lordships." (one tax will lead to another= british supremacy) Main Idea: Loyal Americans provide the population that the Brits need to resists the Patriots and restore imperial reform. -American Loyalists: mostly royal officials, merchants w/ military contracts, clergy of CofE, and lawyers-they denounced the Patriot leaders and accused them of working towards independence. Jared Ingersoll: Connecticut's lobbyist in Britain; was stamp distributor in CT but forced to resign by a mob. Joseph Galloway: puts for "Plan of the Union" speaker of Penn. assembly and delegate to First Continental Congress (proposed plan that talked about representation: colonies would remain British territories but operate with power to veto parl. laws that affected Am. remained loyal to Britain though....? Main Idea: Compromise fails, and the Patriots take action w/ impromptu militia groups -Minutemen: informal militia that's ready to "stand at a minute's notice" and fight the British troops. Main Idea: The Second Continental Congress Organizes for War and is led by Patriot leaders; this is the kick off point of near rebellion. -Second Continental Congress: began right after Revolutionary War began; managed colonial war effort; by raising armies, directing strategy, appointing diplomats, and making formal treaties, the Congress acted as the de facto national government of what became the USA. -Declaration of the Causes and Necessities of Taking Up Arms: prepared by 2nd. COnt. Congress to explain to world why colonies had taken up war w/ Britain. It does not proclaim a desire to break with the mother country, instead expressing the need to conserve old liberties and the old order "in defence of the freedom that is our birth right and which we ever enjoyed until the late violation of it." -in response, George III issues Proclamation for Suppressing Rebellion and Sedition. response to Battle at Bunker Hill; to report any traitors to Britain. Battle at Bunker Hill: -Merchants urge 1st Cont. Congr. to cut off all exports to Britain/ W. Indies. "financial warfare" -Prohibitory Act 1775: Parliament send out in response to exports. doesn't allow any trade w/ "rebellious colonies." -Loyalists bribe slaves with freedom; produce Ethiopian Regiment of slaves who fled Patriot owners.
Main Idea: Thomas Paine's Common Sense was a public, physical sign of rebellion and got a lot of new supporters hooked to the idea of independence. -Common Sense rouses call for independence and republican form of gov't. -July 4th, 1776: Congress approved Declaration of Independence -Declaration of Independence: -popular sovereignty: republican govt' with American independence. SUMMARY ACT I-Reform: British political leaders isntate impeial reform and taxes ACT II- Resistance: colonial riots, resistance idealogies ACT III-Resolution?: British civil war, collapse of imperial reform/structure.
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