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Chapter 5

Reform, Resistance, Revolution

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Imperial Reform
• 1760: George III inherited throne of Great
Britain, age 22
• Collapse of political coalition that led
Britain to victory over France
• King’s new ministers set out to reform the
empire

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The Bute Ministry

• John Stuart, Earl of Bute


– War too costly
– Forces Pitt out
• George Grenville, Lord of Treasury

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The Grenville Ministry
• John Wilkes
– Journalist for North Briton criticized King
– Member of Parliament
– “Wilkes and Liberty”
• War put Britain in debt
• Revenues needed to police colonies –
Grenville insists colonists contribute
financially to fund their own defense

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Indian Policy and Pontiac’s War
• Indian and policy
– Fulfill wartime promises
– Proclamation Line of 1763
• Neolin, Pontiac, and Pontiac’s War
• Henry Bouquet and germ warfare (smallpox
blankets)
• Paxton Boys: Anti-Indian frontier reaction

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The Sugar Act
• 1764 – duties placed on Madeira wine, coffee,
molasses
• Colonists obtained cheaper molasses from French
• Launched Grenville’s war against smugglers
– Complicated paperwork and harsh penalties
– Tried to make enforcement of Customs laws more
profitable than accepting bribes

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The Currency Act and the
Quartering Act

• Currency Act of 1764:


– Forbade colonies to issue any paper money as
legal tender
• Quartering Act of 1765: Thomas Gage
– To quarter redcoats in private homes & taverns

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The Stamp Act
• Stamp tax on legal documents and publications in
the colonies
• “no taxation without representation” vs. virtual
representation
• Internal vs. external taxes
• Colonist offer – Requisitions (colonial assemblies
determine how to raise money asked for by the
crown)
• Daniel Dulany and colonial leadership’s grudging
acceptance of the Stamp Act
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The Stamp Act Crisis

• Resistance to Stamp Act: 1765 – lasted almost one


year, then repealed
• Patrick Henry
• Stamp Act Congress
– Stamp Act unconstitutional and should be repealed
– No virtual representation in empire, but yes virtual
representation in colonies

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Nullification
• “Sons of Liberty” and street violence
– Victims
• Andrew Oliver
• Thomas Hutchinson
– Ebenezer McIntosh
• Stamp Act nullified de facto
– Agents resign
– Merchants and nonimportation resistance
– “Sons of Liberty”

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Repeal
• Charles Watson-Wentworth, Marquess of
Rockingham
– Repeal Stamp Act (1766)
• Pitt supports repeal
– Declaratory Act (1766): perceived differently in
colonies and Britain
– Revenue Act (1766): 1 penny tax on any molasses
imported to colonies
• Internal vs. external taxes: A misunderstood issue

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The Townshend Crisis
• King George & William Pitt: government of
“measures, not men”
• Pitt becomes Prime Minister and then a
Lord
• Charles Townshend: Pitt’s spokesman in
House of Commons
• Townshend has a hard-line attitude towards
colonies
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The Townshend Program
• New York and the Restraining Act
• Pitt’s depression leaves Townshend in charge
• Townshend Revenue Act (1767)
– Taxed imports colonies could only legally get from
Britain
– Purpose: pay salaries of colonial governors and judges,
freeing them from control of colonial assemblies
• British troops shifted from frontier to urban ports
• Townshend’s untimely death

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Resistance: The Politics of
Escalation
• Internal vs. external taxes dilemma
• John Dickinson and Letters from a Farmer in
Pennsylvania (1767)
– Denied internal vs. external tax distinction
– Parliament has no right to tax colonies
• Circular Letter and constitutional resistance
• Liberty riot
• Nonimportation in MA, NY, and PA
• Sons of Liberty “convention”

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An Experiment in Military
Coercion
• October, 1768: British fleet enter Boston
harbor
• “Journal of the Times”
• Boston Chronicle
• Parliament demands government critics
come to Britain for trial
• Nonimportation spreads

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The Second Wilkes Crisis
• John Wilkes and 1768 Parliamentary elections
– Wilkes arrest
– “Massacre of St. George’s Fields” (1768)
• “Society for Gentleman Supporters of the Bill of
Rights”
– Electoral reform
– Sympathize with colonial protests
• Colonist sympathize with Wilkite movement
• Townshend crisis and Wilkite movement:
– Colonists question the British government

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The Boston Massacre
• Increasing confrontations between population and
British soldiers in Boston
• Sons of Liberty grow bolder
• March 5, 1770: The Massacre
– Colonists: Crispus Attucks, Samuel Gray, and others
– British: Captain Thomas Preston and others
– Defense team: John Adams and Josiah Quincy, Jr.
• Britain’s failed first attempt at military coercion

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Partial Repeal
• Lord North
– asks Parliament for repeal of all Townshend duties,
except for tea
• Tea provided three-fourths of revenue under
Townshend Act
• Repeal’s effects
– Nonimportation collapses, Sons of Liberty lose
– Increased importation of British goods to the colonies

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Disaffection
• Partial repeal divided the colonists
• Erosion of colonists’ trust of imperial government
• Gaspée Affair (1772)
• Committees of correspondence formed throughout
colonies
• British conclude punishment for political violence
must be communal
• Tea remains symbol that Townshend crisis not over

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Internal Cleavages: The
Contagion of Liberty
• Dilemma for elites
• Position on Townshend Crisis better predictor of
Patriot sympathy than attitude toward Stamp Act
• Loyalists: merchants & lawyers who resisted
nonimportation
• Patriots: artisans, merchants, lawyers who
supported boycotts against Britain
• Artisans set pace for resistance to Britain

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The Feudal Revival and Rural
Discontent
• Reason for discontent in the country side
– Revival of proprietary charters
– Immigration
– Backcountry settlement
The Regulator Movements in the
Carolinas
• Backcountry settlers and the Cherokee War (1760-
61)
• Disaffected backcountry settlers become outlaws
• Backcountry in near civil war
– Regulators form to impose order
– Moderators form to defend against regulators
• Battle of Alamance Creek (1771)

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The Regulator Movements in the
Carolinas
South Carolina North Carolina
• Disaffected backcountry • Governor’s corrupt
settlers become outlaws favorites controlled
• Backcountry in near civil backcountry courts
war • Backcountry 50% of
– Regulators form to impose population, 20% of
order Assembly
– Moderators form to defend • Regulators organize tax
against regulators
protest and armed
• Legislature agrees to rebellion
Circuit Courts,
• Battle of Alamance Creek
confrontation ends
(1771)
Slaves and Women
• Anti-slavery movement in British empire by mid-
1700s
• Quakers, Evangelicals, Methodists oppose slavery
• Even slave owners like Patrick Henry condemn
the practice, but keep slaves for practical reasons
• Sarah Osborn and education for slaves
• Phillis Wheatley, freed slave and literary celebrity
by age 20
• Boston Patriots push for end to slavery
• Women’s role in nonimportation
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The Last Imperial Crisis
• Lord North attempts to save East India
Company, Britain’s largest corporation
• Southeastern England and colonies
purchased smuggled Dutch tea
• Millions of pounds of unsold tea left in East
India Co. warehouses
• Issue to Lord North was save East India Co.

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The Tea Crisis

• Lord North’s solution: make East India Co. tea


cheaper than smuggled tea
• Tea Act (1773)
– Repealed duty on bringing tea to Britain
– Retained duty on sending tea to colony
– Gave monopoly on British empire tea trade to East
India Company
• Sons of Liberty resistance
– Direct threats against ships
– Boston “Tea Party”
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Britain’s Response: The Coercive
Acts
• Coercive Acts
– Boston Port Act (1774)
– Quartering Act (1774)
– The Administration of Justice Act (1774)
– Massachusetts Government Act (1774)
• Quebec Act (1774)
• To colonists, above become the “Intolerable Acts”

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The Radical Explosion
• Boston reaction to Intolerable Acts
– Call for colonial union
– Nonimportation
• Intolerable Acts politicize countryside
• Royal governors dismiss assemblies
– Assemblies call for Continental Congress
• Massachusetts Provincial Congress
– Suffolk County Convention and “Minutemen”

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The First Continental Congress
• 12 colonies (all except Georgia)
– Philadelphia in September 1774
• Nonimportation and nonexportation
• Joseph Galloway’s plan for imperial union
• Crown and Parliament must repeal
– Coercive Acts
– Quebec Act
– All Revenue Acts
• Principle of no legislation without consent
• The Association: central government of the United
Colonies
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Toward War
• Proposed alternatives rejected in Parliament
– Edmund Burke
– William Pitt (Lord Chatham)
• Lord North’s policies
– Crackdown on New England rebellion
• Arrest John Hancock and Samuel Adams
• Seize weapons in Concord
– Conciliatory Proposition
– New England Restraining Act
• Thomas Gage begins the crackdown
– Margaret Kemble Gage: the leak?
– Paul Revere and Samuel Prescott
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The Improvised War

• Neither side had strategy for real war


• Minutemen siege Boston
• Breed’s Hill (Bunker Hill)
• Fort Ticonderoga
• Lord Dunmore’s War (1774)
• Militia keeps countryside committed to
Revolution

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The Second Continental
Congress
• Minutemen become Continental army
• George Washington made commander
• Attacks on Canada
• Response to the Conciliatory Proposition
– Olive Branch Petition
– Thomas Jefferson and “The Declaration of the Causes
and Necessities of Taking Up Arms”
• Continental Congress assumed Crown’s functions
of governance
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War and Legitimacy, 1775-1776

• British Strategy
– Turn Indians and slaves against colonist
– VA governor John Murray, Earl of Dunmore
• Colonist victories
– Washington takes Boston March 1776
– Colonists control all 13 colonies by summer 1776

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Independence
• Areas supporting • Thomas Paine
independence – Common Sense
– New England • Lord George Germain
– Virginia and colonies – Russians and
South “Hessians”
• Overthrow of royal • Declaration of
governments Independence
– mid-Atlantic colonies
– William Franklin
Conclusion
• Britain’s self-filling prophecy nightmare
– British feared colonies’ independence unless major
reforms were put in place
– Resistance of the colonists confirmed Britain’s fears
• Colonists feared that British government would
deprive them their rights as Englishmen
• Mutual confidence was undermined

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