The American Colonists found themselves under a tyrannical government who did the following:
1. Imposed Heavy Taxes
England fought many wars that cost them a fortune, including the famous French and Indian War that took place on American soil. At the end of these wars in 1763, they had accumulated a very large debt. To solve their debt problems, England decided it was going to tax the 13 colonies to pay for their large debt.
Taxes and Acts placed on the 13 colonies included:
- Navigation Acts - Taxing all goods going to and from the 13 colonies.
- Stamp Act - A stamp that was to be placed on all business papers, newspapers and important documents.
- The Declaratory Act -- Allowing England to levy taxes how they wanted.
- The Townshend Act -- Taxing such things as glass, paper, paint, and tea -- this caused the people of the colonies to not want to buy these things, and caused a rebellious group to be formed called, Sons of Liberty, who made life miserable for the tax collectors.
2. Invaded their privacy
England had troops that were issued warrants that enabled them to search any house they wanted. This impeded upon the citizen's right of privacy.
3. Quartering their soldiers in the home of the Americans
England sent 10,000 soldiers to America and told the Americans that they were sent there to protect them. But the American people knew they were not send to protect them but to make them obey the English laws. England told the Americans that they would have to house the soldiers. This angered the Americans even more. This later resulted into what is known as the Boston Massacre.
4. Imposed restrictions called The Intolerable Acts.
The English government decided to put an end to the actions of the troublesome colonists. They did the following: Closed Boston ports, shutdown town meetings, and sent additional soldiers for added control.
5. Disregarded pleas of the American colonists
The people of Massachusetts continued to have their meetings. They spoke out against what England had done. They invited all the colonies to join in an American congress. The delegates to the Continental Congress put their grievances on paper and ask the King to undo all the unfair laws since 1763. They said the Americans would refuse to buy or sell to England until these laws were repealed. They sent it to the King but the King of England refused to accept it.
For their own protection the people began to store guns and gun powder.
Patrick Henry’s speech on March 23, 1775 stirred the hearts of many Americans.
“Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for these navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us; they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging.
There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free…we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! ...Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of Liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, (cannot be beaten) by any force which our enemy can send against us…There is no retreat but in…slavery! Our chains are forged. Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war (must happen)-and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come! The gentlemen may cry, Peace, peace! But there is no peace. The war has actually begun!
…Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course other may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
To learn more about Early Americans and the U.S. Constitution go to: http://www.learntheconstitution.com
Linda N. Hackett