The Road to Revolution: Causes of the American Revolution

The American Revolution was the end result of a decade of tension and miscommunication between the American colonies and England. With England in debt from a costly war with France, they needed another source of revenue. The colonies had been going through a time of salutary neglect. They had been governing themselves and England was not involved with much of their daily interactions. So when England began to become more involved with America’s affairs it did not sit well with the colonists. Soon taxes were being placed on simple, essential, everyday items like tea, books and even playing cards and Tensions rose between the British and the colonist until revolution was inevitable.

In October of 1763, England restricted all settling beyond the Appalachian Mountains. This angered the colonist greatly but did not ultimately prevent them from continuing to move westward. They were not so much angered over the actual implications of the new law, but rather because this move was made without them having any knowledge of it. Nearly a year later Parliament passed the Sugar and Currency Acts. The Sugar act was made in response to the Sugar and Molasses Act nearing expiration. While the previous act was supposedly made for regulating trade, this one was clearly an attempt at raising revenue in hope of paying off the debt created by the French and Indian War. Then just a few months later Parliament would pass the Stamp Act, which required that many things like, newspapers, books, playing cards and documents, be stamped with a certain seal.

When word of this development reached the new world it created much upheaval within the colonies. Tempers were flaring and discontent with the crown was at a boiling point. Then in 1765 yet another Act was passed. This one required that the colonist had to house and feed British soldiers deployed in the colonies. Not only was the idea of having to care for these red coats repulsive to the colonist but their very presence was not welcomed. For years, there had been a very small British presence amongst the colonists. They had been governing themselves and living independent from Britain for the most part. The deploying of a significant amount of troops into the new world disgusted the colonist and set emotions ablaze. Parliament would then go on to enacted the Declaratory act in 1766 which took all law making rights from the colonist themselves and back into the hands of England. Parliament passed taxes on lead, glass, paint and tea and in response to Samuel Adams Circular Letters, British troops were placed in Boston. Not only were Americans being forced to pay for a war fought by their mother country but they were now being taken by the collar once again.

Emotions were running wild and newly occupied Boston is now the center of attention. On March 5, 1770 a series of foggy events led to the shooting of a few unarmed Bostonians by British soldiers deployed in Massachusetts. While it is unclear who was truly at fault for the actions of the soldiers the Boston Massacre would send ripples across all of colonial America. In Rhode Island a British ship is set on fire and back in Boston a book is published outlining all of their rights that they believed had been violated by the British. In May of the following year, Parliament passes the Tea Act which ordered that all tea be shipped directly to America. In most of the major cities the tea was rejected and sent back to Britain. Yet in Boston, after the ship’s commander refused to leave, the colonist began to unload the tea and throw it in the harbor. This act of revolt was met with the creation of the Coercive and Quebec acts.

The closing of the Boston Harbor prompted a meeting between all of the major colonial leaders. On September 5, 1774 55 of the most influential colonial men met in Philadelphia and discussed the current situation with England. Among these men were prominent colonial figures like, George Washington and Sam and John Adams. They agreed that if significant progress hadn’t been made they would meet once again the following year. Months past and the situation became worse. In April of 1775 word that England was moving it’s troops out of Boston most likely to arrest Samuel Adams and John Hancock and to confiscate a load of arms. Paul Revere road on horseback from Boston to Lexington warning everyone of the British troops movements. In the few days to follow fighting between the colonist and England would break out at the Battle of Lexington and Concord.