Britain invaded America and by 1750, 13 colonies stretched across the East Coast of North America. They were part of Britain’s growing empire and British policies were applied but they were not strictly enforced.
The colonies were home to diverse religions and groups and each colony had a different ways of life. They did not want to have a British identity, they wanted their own separate identity.
After 1763, there was a lot of tension between the colonies and Britain. King George of Britain wanted the colonists to pay for the war and troops through tax. Britain also started to enforce the old laws. The colonists were not happy with this and felt attacked.‘No taxation without representation’ was their motto during this time. They were not happy to pay tax to Britain when they were not represented in the government or decision making.
In March of 1770, British soldiers opened fire on a crowd of protesters in Boston. This is known as the ‘Boston Massacre’. The colonists retaliated and in December 1773, Colonists threw crates of British Tea into the harbor to protest for their rights and against these taxes.This was known as the ‘Boston Tea Party’. Parliament tried to punish those involved, but the colonist came together to fight against Britain.
Representatives from each of the colonies met in Philadelphia in a Continental Congress. This congress set up an army called the ‘Continental Army’ with George Washington as the leader. In April 1775, a war started.
In 1776, The Second Continental Congress met and declared independence from Britain. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence for the American people. On 4th July 1776, America leaders adopted the Declaration of Independence officially.
After the Revolution, Loyalists were people that supported Britain. Many people refused to fight for either side. In 1777, The American army beat the British in the Battle of Saratoga. France then joined the Americans to fight against Britain. Netherlands and Spain also added their support. In 1781, The Treaty of Paris was signed to end the war and Britain recognized the independence of America
In 1787, American leaders met to create the constitution of the United States. The new constitution was based on many Enlightenment ideas, particularly from Locke, Montesquieu and Rousseau. George Washington was elected the first president. The constitution created a federal republic, where the power was divided between the federal or national government and the states. The federal government had three branches – the legislative, executive and judicial. Each branch had it’s own role and had to check on the other branches. This idea was called checks and balances.
The Bill of Rights were the first 10 amendments to the constitution. In 1789, the Constitution was seen as the ruling laws in America.
Some Events leading to the American Revolution
The Sugar Act of 1764: On April 5, 1764, Parliament passed a modified version of the Sugar and Molasses Act (1733), that was about to expire. The new Molasses Act state that colonists would have to pay a tax on molasses (sugar).
The Stamp Act of 1765/Stamp Act Congress: This was passed by the British Parliament on March 22, 1765. The new tax was imposed on all American colonists and required them to pay a tax on every piece of printed paper they used. Ship’s papers, legal documents, licenses, newspapers, other publications, and even playing cards were taxed.
The Stamp Act Congress or First Congress of the American Colonies was a meeting held between October 7 and 25, 1765 in New York, where representatives from some of the British colonies met. it was the first official meeting of these representatives to meet and protest British tax. Parliament had passed the Stamp Act, which required the use of specially stamped paper for virtually all business in the colonies, and was coming into effect November 1.
Colonial Protests/Sons of Liberty: The Sons of Liberty was an organization of American colonists. It was a secret society that wanted to protect the rights of the colonists and to protest against taxes, in particular, the Stamp Act
Townshend Acts of 1767: Townshend Acts, 1767, originated by Charles Townshend and passed by the English Parliament shortly after the repeal of the Stamp Act. They were designed to collect revenue from the colonists in America by putting customs duties on imports of glass, lead, paints, paper, and tea.
The Intolerable Acts of 1774: The Intolerable Acts were the American Patriots’ term for a series of punitive laws passed by the British Parliament in 1774 after the Boston Tea party. They were meant to punish the Massachusetts colonists involved in the Boston Tea Party.