Two ideas in particular had taken root in the minds of the American colonists by the mid 18th century:
1. Republicanism- a just society in which all citizens willingly subordinated their private, selfish interests to the common good. Both the stability of society and the authority of government thus depended on the virtue of the citizenry-its capacity for selflessness, self-sufficiency, and courage.
2. "Radical Whigs", a group of British political commentators, made attacks on the use of patronage and bribes by the king's ministers. They warned citizens to be on guard for possible corruption. Mercantilism and Colonial Grievances
Georgia was the only colony to be formed by Britain.
The Navigation Law of 1650 stated that all goods flowing to and from the colonies could only be transported in British vessels. It was aimed to hurt rival Dutch shippers. The Stamp Tax Uproar
Due to the French and Indian War, Britain had a very large debt.
In 1763, Prime Minister George Grenville ordered the British navy to begin strictly enforcing the Navigation Laws. He also secured from Parliament the Sugar Act of 1764, the first law ever passed by Parliament to raise tax revenue in the colonies for England. The Sugar Act increased the duty on foreign sugar imported from the West Indies.
The Quartering Act of 1765 required certain colonies to provide food and quarters for British troops.
In 1765, George Grenville imposed a stamp tax on the colonies to raise revenues to support the new military force. This stamp tax, known as the Stamp Act, mandated the use of stamped paper or the affixing of stamps, certifying payment of tax. Parliament Forced to Repeal the Stamp Act
The Stamp Act Congress of 1765 brought together in New York City 27 distinguished delegates from 9 colonies. The members drew up a statement of their rights and grievances and requested the king and Parliament to repeal the hated legislation. The meeting's ripples began to erode sectional suspicions (suspicions between the colonies), for it had brought together around the same table leaders from the different and rival colonies. It was one step towards intercolonial unity.
Nonimportation agreements (agreements made to not import British goods) were a stride toward unionism.
The Sons of Liberty and Daughters of Liberty took the law into their own hands by enforcing the nonimportation agreements.
The Stamp Act was repealed by Parliament in 1766.
Parliament passed the Declaratory Act, reaffirming its right to bind the colonies in all cases whatsoever. The Townshend Tea Tax and the Boston Massacre
In 1767, Parliament passed the Townshend Acts. They put a light import tax on glass, white lead, paper, paint, and tea.
British officials, faced with a breakdown of law and order, landed 2 regiments of troops in the colonies in 1768.
On March 5, 1770, a crowd of 60 townspeople attacked 10 redcoats and the redcoats opened fired on the civilians, killing/wounding 11 of them. The massacre was known as the Boston Massacre. The Seditious Committees of Correspondence
Lord North was forced to persuade Parliament to repeal the Townshend revenue duties.
Samuel Adams- master propagandist and engineer of rebellion; formed the first local committee of correspondence in Massachusetts in 1772 (Sons of Liberty).
Committees of Correspondance were created by the American colonies in order to maintain communication with one another. They were organized in the decade before the Revolution when communication between the colonies became essential.
In March of 1773, the Virginia House of Burgesses, the lower house of the Colony of Virginia, proposed that each colonial legislature appoint a standing committee for intercolonial correspondance. Within just a year, nearly all of the colonies had joined. Tea Parties at Boston and Elsewhere
In 1773, the British East India Company was overstocked with 17 million pounds of unsold tea.