Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Beginnings of Revolt

II. From “English” to “Americans”

A. Protests:

  • Boycotting, petitions, threats, bodily harm, tarring & feathering tax collectors involve both
    men & women

1. Women take a leading role in boycotting, signing petitions, & arousing public opinion for the American cause.

  • Women hold spinning marathons to produce at home cloth & other goods formerly imported
  • Non-importation doesn’t work very well; the real results are in the sphere of public opinion
  • Americans hold mock funerals for “Liberty,” hanging in effigy of tax collectors & other "evildoers"

2. Colonists begin to redefine their identity as “American,” rather than “English”

  • They contrast American "virtue" with Old World "corruption"

III. A Spate of “Intolerable” Acts !

Boston Tea Party: http://teachpol.tcnj.edu/amer_pol_hist/thumbnail22.html
Boston in Distress: http://teachpol.tcnj.edu/amer_pol_hist/thumbnail24.html

A. 1770: the Boston Massacre

  • March 5: Five Colonials shot to death in Boston town by British soldiers. A mob of
    men & boys taunt a British sentry standing guard at Boston customs house. British soldiers come to his support; a free-for-all ensues, & shots are fired into the crowd.
  • Crispus Attucks, an African American, former slave, is one of the slain
    Paul Revere, engraver & Son of Liberty, rushes out an inflammatory engraving of the Boston Massacre

B. Boston Tea Interlude
Tea, Tar, & Feathers: http://teachpol.tcnj.edu/amer_pol_hist/thumbnail25.html

  • 1773: Tea Act grants East India Tea Co. a monopoly on tea trade in the Americas.
  • Dec. 16th: Boston Tea Party: Thomas Hutchinson, Mass. Governor, insists on unloading tea cargoes, despite Sons of Liberty boycott. Samuel Adams denounces Governor before thousands of Bostonians & farmers for denying clearance for vessels returning their tea cargoes. 50 citizens dressed as Indians board ships in the harbor & toss 90,000 lbs of tea.

C. 1774: Coercive Acts (or Intolerable Acts)

  • Boston Port Act: Port closed, until East India Co. is compensated for lost tea
  • Massachusetts Government Act: Royal governor will appoint all officials, sheriffs, juries, & control govt.
  • Administration of Justice Act: British soldiers cannot be tried in the colonies for crimes committed there.
  • Quartering Act: British soldiers may be quartered anywhere in the colonies

D. Quebec Act, 1774

  • Parliament passes this detested law establishing Roman Catholicism as Quebec’s official religion.
  • This Act confirms Protestant colonists' suspicions that British are corrupt, ungodly, anti-Christian, & intend the complete enslavement of Americans.
  • The law also extended Quebec’s 1774 land claims, & granted Canadian possessions no legislature, another deeply suspicious move.
  • Results: The Intolerable Acts unite the colonies to take action against the Crown & convene the first Continental Congress.

IV. First Continental Congress Convenes in Philadelphia, 1774

A. Task: to define the relationship between Colonists & the British govt.

  • Colonists united in belief that the British have no right to tax them, only to regulate trade.
  • Various strategies debated; Continental Congress ultimately agrees to oppose British actions & end all trade until the Coercive Acts are repealed.
  • Some delegates want to form a Continental Army; the majority disagree.
  • A major change occurs by 1776; the outbreak of hostilities in 1775 & publication of Tom Paine’s “Common Sense” & the Declaration of Independence in 1776 intervene.
  • Revolutionary War Maps: