Sons of liberty



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SONS OF LIBERTY

Definition of the Sons of Liberty
The Meaning and Definition of the Sons of Liberty: The Sons of Liberty were a secret, underground organization that was founded in Boston by Samuel Adams and John Hancock in July 1765. The Sons of Liberty were opposed to the Stamp Act and their membership spread to a number of colonial towns.

Purpose of the Sons of Liberty
The Purpose of the Sons of Liberty The objective and purpose of the Sons of Liberty was to force all of the British stamp agents to resign and also stop many American merchants from ordering British trade goods. Its members were American patriots, many of whom were hot-headed and were not adverse to the use of violence and intimidation.

The Sons of Liberty


There were many workers associations, or fraternal organizations, that provided fellowship for craftsmen (artisans), apprentices, and common laborers in Boston. There was often conflict between these organizations as every trade had its own agenda. The Stamp Act affected every single person, regardless of their trade, wealth or standing in the community. The taxes levied by the Stamp Act were not to regulate commerce and trade, but to directly grasp money out of colonists. Samuel Adams, a prominent Boston Patriot and political activist, persuaded these organizations to stop fighting amongst themselves and unite in opposition to the Stamp Act. The members of this united brotherhood became known as the Sons of Liberty.

The Sons of Liberty Protests and Actions
The Sons of Liberty organized various protests and actions against the provisions of the Stamp Act. Their members were cloaked with secrecy. Prominent citizens such as Sam Adams and his cousin John Adams did not participate in the violent actions initiated by the Sons of Liberties. But they were clearly viewed ad as leaders of the Sons of Liberty. The protests and actions of the Sons of Liberty became more radical and violent as their numbers swelled and their power grew. The actions and protests moved on from peaceful meetings, organizing boycotts and minor covert actions to public displays of civil unrest and violence. The Sons of Liberty were involved in:

  • Ransacking and damaging houses of British officials

  • Images of unpopular figures were burned in effigy

  • Stamp Agents were subjected to threats and intimidation

  • Offenders were publicly 'tarred and feathered'

  • Sons of Liberty were involved in riots


QUARTERING ACT

Definition of the Quartering Act
The Meaning and Definition of the Quartering Act: The Quartering Acts were two British Laws, passed by the Parliament of Great Britain 1765 and 1774, that were designed to force local colonial governments to provide provisions and housing to British soldiers stationed in the 13 Colonies of America.

Summary of the Quartering Acts
The 1765 Quartering Act made provisions for British troops to be given food and shelter at the expense of the American colonists. The 1774 Quartering Act was one of the series of Intolerable Acts passed as a reprisal to the Boston Tea Party. The history of the Quartering Acts is directly linked to the causes of the American Revolution

Reasons for the Quartering Act of 1765 - Uncooperative Colonists
The French Indian War (aka the Seven Years War 1754-1763)) was between France and Britain for possession of North America. During this time it is estimated that over 25,000 troops were sent from Britain to America. The British commanders, led by Lieutenant General Thomas Gage, had found it difficult to persuade some colonial assemblies to pay for the quartering and provisioning of troops, as required by law in the 1686 Mutiny Act. The majority of colonies had supplied quartering for British troops during the war, but the issue was disputed in peacetime. The French Indian War ended in victory for the British in 1763. Lieutenant General Thomas Gage reported the quartering problems he had encountered to the British Parliament. His experience with uncooperative colonists was one of the issues that led to the Quartering Act of 1765.

Reasons for the Quartering Act of 1765 - The Standing Army
In April 1763, George Grenville became the British Prime Minister. Grenville needed to reduce the national debt. Before the French and Indian War the British national debt was only 72 million pounds. By the end of the French and Indian War January 1763, the debt had escalated to almost 130 million pounds. The cost of bringing the British army back to Britain could be avoided if the soldiers remained in the colonies - so the forces stayed in America as a standing army, through the provisions of the Quartering Act.

Reasons for the Quartering Act of 1765 - The Proclamation of 1763
The British victory in the French Indian Wars, saw the start of changes in the American colonies. The 13 colonies were looking to expand their territories to the west. The British had other ideas. The Proclamation of 1763 was designed to calm the fears of Native Indians by halting the westward expansion by colonists whilst expanding the lucrative fur trade. The introduction of the massive boundary, called the Proclamation Line, required the establishment, and the manning, of posts along the border - which the British administration argued was for the defense of the colonists and could be implemented through the Quartering Act.

STAMPACT
Definition of the Stamp Act
The Meaning and Definition of the Stamp Act: The Stamp Act of 1765 was a British Law, passed by the Parliament of Great Britain during the reign of King George III during the ministry of George Grenville (Lord Grenville).

The Stamp Act was passed on February 17, approved by the House of Lords on March 8th, and received Royal Assent on 22 March 1765. The Stamp Act took effect on November 1, 1765.

It was designed to raise revenue from the American Colonies by a duty (tax) in the form of a stamp required on all newspapers and legal or commercial documents.

The Stamp Act was first direct tax to be levied on the American colonies. It was the first serious attempt to assert governmental authority over the 13 colonies.



Definition of the Stamp Act
The Meaning and Definition of the Stamp Act: The Stamp Act of 1765 was a British Law, passed by the Parliament of Great Britain during the reign of King George III during the ministry of George Grenville (Lord Grenville).

The Stamp Act was passed on February 17, approved by the House of Lords on March 8th, and received Royal Assent on 22 March 1765. The Stamp Act took effect on November 1, 1765.

It was designed to raise revenue from the American Colonies by a duty (tax) in the form of a stamp required on all newspapers and legal or commercial documents.

The Stamp Act was first direct tax to be levied on the American colonies. It was the first serious attempt to assert governmental authority over the 13 colonies.



Purpose of the Stamp Act of 1765
The Purpose of the Stamp Act of 1765 was to:

  • Raise revenue to pay clear the War Debt incurred during the French Indian Wars (Seven Years War)

  • Raise revenue to pay for the military presence in the American colonies to enforce the new taxes

  • Divert new taxes and duties from Britain to the American colonies

  • Assert British governmental authority over the American colonies

  • Re-enforce the polices of previous Acts in relation to duties, taxes and currency - refer to Revolutionary Timeline and Colonial, Continental and Revolutionary Currency

  • Implement new taxes on paper documents

Stamp Act Stamps
The Stamp Act Stamps were not like the stamps that we put on envelopes. Some documents were printed on stamped or embossed paper. The stamped or embossed papers had a tax on them and had to be bought from a government stamped paper office. Other documents were indented with a hand pressed stamp or had a foil seal.

Images of Stamp Act Stamps
What did the stamp act stamps look like? See the images of Stamp Act Stamps showing various denominations.



Images of Stamp Act Stamps showing that the Stamp Tax had been paid
TEA ACT

Definition of the Tea Act 1773
The Meaning and Definition of the Tea Act: The Tea Act of 1773 was a British Law, passed by the Parliament of Great Britain on May 10, 1773, that was designed to bail out the British East India Company and expand the company's monopoly on the tea trade to all British Colonies, selling excess tea at a reduced price.

The Tea Act - A Follow-up Act
The Tea Act was a follow-up to the Revenue Act, that was one of the laws in the Townshend Acts which set new import duties (taxes) on British goods including paint, paper, lead, glass and tea. Due to protests from British merchants, whose trade was seriously affected by the American colonists refusing to buy the goods, Parliament repealed all of the duties (taxes) - except the tax on tea.

  • The Tea Act imposed no new taxes

  • It gave a tea monopoly in the American colonies to the British East India Company

  • The Tea Act allowed the East India company to sell its large tea surplus below the prices charged by colonial competitors

The Tea Act of 1773
Of all the Townshend duties (taxes) only the import tax on tea was left. Not surprisingly, the American colonists continued to boycott tea. As a result of the boycotts, the East India Company had literally tons of tea in its London warehouses and was on the verge of bankruptcy. By 1772 the East India Company had 18 million pounds of unsold tea in warehouses and 1.3 million pounds of debt.

The Provisions of the Tea Act of 1773
The provisions of the Tea Act of 1773 were as follows:

  • The new provisions in the Tea Act allowed tea to be shipped in East India Company ships directly from China to the American colonies, thus avoiding the tax on goods first sent to England, as required by previous legislation

  • The Tea Act also made the provision for a duty (tax) of 3 pence per pound to be collected on tea delivered to America

  • This new import tax of 3 pence was considerably less than the previous one in which 12 pence (1 shilling) per pound on tea sent via Britain

    • The American colonists would therefore get their tea cheaper than the people of Britain

  • The tea was to be marketed in America by special consignees (receivers of shipments) who were to be selected by the East India Company

  • The tea consignees were to be based in four centers in the colonies:

    • Boston

    • New York

    • Philadelphia

    • Charleston

Effect of the Tea Act of 1773 on the Colonists
The effect of the Tea Act on the American colonists would be as follows:

  • Merchants who had been acting as the middlemen in legally importing tea stood to lose their business to the East India Company agents

  • Merchants dealing with the illegal Dutch tea trade would be undercut by the Company's lowered prices and also stood to lose their business

  • The Tea Act directly impacted shop keepers who would only be allowed to purchase tea from merchants selected by the East India Company and their monopoly

  • Only ships owned by the East India Company could carry tea, the American ships engaging in the tea trade would be redundant

  • Favoritism - Consignees who were to receive the tea and arrange for its local resale were generally favorites of the local governor. The Governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson, was a part owner of the business hired by the East India Company to receive tea shipped to Boston. He was disliked by the Boston patriots with whom he had clashed during the Boston Massacre of 1770

Tea Act of 1773 - Action by the Colonists
The American colonists in the ports of Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Charleston had time to consider the implications and impact of the Tea Act before the ships laden with tea arrived in their harbors. They had time to plan their responses and what action they could take against the Tea Act:

  • The press became more active in its political discussions

  • Circulars and handbills were printed and distributed

  • The Sons of Liberty organized public demonstration against the British government

  • Public meetings were held - everyone got to hear about the Tea Act resulting in strong Anti-British attitudes

  • Americans decided they would continue to boycott tea from the British

    • To enforce the Nonimportation Agreements by merchants not to purchase British goods

  • A public meeting was held in Philadelphia and there was agreement that anyone who aided in “unloading, receiving, or vending” the tea was an enemy to his country  

  • The colonists agreed that the Consignees, who were supposed to receive the tea, should “resign their appointment”

  • The Sons of Liberty reorganized and owners and occupants of stores were warned against harboring the tea, and all who bought, sold or handled it, were threatened as enemies to the country

  • Colonists resolved to prevent the landing and sale of the teas - they wanted the tea to be sent back to England

The scene was set for confrontations when the ships laden with tea arrived at the ports of Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Charleston. The scene was set for the Boston Tea Party...

PROCLAMATION OF 1763


Proclamation of 1763 Summary and Definition
British Proclamation of 1763 Summary and Definition: The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was issued October 7, 1763, by King George III following Great Britain's acquisition of French territory in North America following the end of the French and Indian Wars with the Peace of Paris which concluded the Seven Years' War in Europe and the French Indian War in America. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was designed to calm the fears of Native Indians by halting the westward expansion by colonists whilst expanding the lucrative fur trade.

Royal Proclamation of 1763 - The Proclamation Line
The Royal Proclamation of 1763 at the end of the French and Indian War established the controversial Proclamation Line along the Appalachian Mountains safeguarding Indian lands and territories and repaying the Native American Indians who helped the British during the war. Many of the American Indians, primarily in the Great Lakes region, had close relationships with France and were appalled to find that they were now under British control. Pontiac's Rebellion during the Pontiac War (1763–66) was an unsuccessful effort by Native American Indians to prevent Great Britain from occupying the land previously claimed by France and this hastened the implementation of the Royal Proclamation of 1763. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was an attempt by the British crown to separate white settlements from Indian country. The colonists perceived that the Royal Proclamation of 1763 clearly demonstrated that the British King was on the side of the Indians to the detriment of the colonists.

Royal Proclamation of 1763 - Manning the Proclamation Line
The introduction of the massive boundary, which was the Proclamation Line, would require the establishment and the manning of posts along the border. A costly venture that the British administration argued was for the defense of the colonists. It was therefore deemed that the costs should be paid for by the colonies. From the perspective of the colonists this amounted to a tax to pay for a boundary to lands that was against the interests of the British Colonies.

Proclamation of 1763 - Proclamation Line Map
Map: The Royal Proclamation of 1763 resulted in a massive border, or Boundary Line, referred to as the Proclamation Line, which is shown on the Proclamation Line map.

The Proclamation Line between the British colonies on the Atlantic coast of America and American Indian lands called the Indian Reserve ran west of the Appalachian Mountains and south of Hudson Bay to Florida.

The Proclamation Line was not intended to be a permanent boundary between the lands of settlers and Indians, but rather a temporary boundary which could be extended further west in an orderly, lawful fashion.

Reaction of the Colonists to the Proclamation of 1763
The British colonists vehemently resented the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and the introduction of the concept of the Proclamation Line. Prominent American colonists joined with land speculators in Britain to lobby the government to move the line further west. As a result, the boundary line was adjusted in a series of treaties with Native American Indians.
SUGAR ACT

Definition of the Sugar Act
The Meaning and Definition of the Sugar Act: The Sugar Act of 1764 was a British Law, passed by the Parliament of Great Britain on April 5, 1764, that was designed to raise revenue from the American colonists in the 13 Colonies.

The Act set a tax on sugar and molasses imported into the colonies, which impacted the manufacture of rum in New England.



Purpose of the Sugar Act
The Purpose of the Sugar Act of 1764 was to:

  • Reduce the rate of tax on molasses from six pence to three pence per gallon - but ensured the new tax could be collected by increased British military presence and controls

  • Establish British admiralty courts for tax violators where a judge decided the outcome rather than in colonial courts

  • Regulate the trade by effectively closing the legal trade to non-British suppliers. The Act was designed to stop trade between New England and the Middle colonies with French, Dutch, and Spanish in the West Indies

  • Provide for the seizure of cargoes violating the new rules

  • Reduce the practice of smuggling bribery, intimidation and corruption in the colonies which were used to avoid paying taxes

  • The act taxed more foreign goods including wines, coffee, cambric and printed calico

  • Timber and iron were also included in the products that could be traded only with England

Sugar Act - Background Information
The Sugar Act was mainly about the manufacture of rum, which was a highly lucrative product. Rum is made from molasses, a by-product of sugar production. Some sugarcane was grown on sugar plantations in the colonies but the majority was imported from the West Indies. The background to the Sugar Act dates to one of the series of Navigation Acts. The Navigation Act of 1733, also known as the Molasses Act, levied heavy taxes on sugar from the West Indies to the American colonies in an attempt to force colonists to purchase the more costly sugar from Britain. The Molasses Act of 1733 was never fully enforced because of the British policy of Salutary Neglect, which basically allowed British officials to turn a 'blind eye' to trade violations.

Effect of the Sugar Act of 1764
The effect of the Sugar Act on the colonists was the economic impact as well as the constitutional issue of taxation without representation. The Sugar Act is also known as the American Revenue Act or the American Duties Act. The English policy of Salutary Neglect that was in effect from 1607-1763 encouraged the colonists to violate the law by bribing customs officials and smuggling. The colonists were undergoing a period of financial difficulties and their resentment was due to both the economic impact of the Sugar Act as well as the constitutional issue of taxation without representation. The Sugar Act of 1732 was seen as detrimental to Colonial America and was one of the laws that sewed the seeds of dissension and rebellion in the colonies when it was more rigorously enforced. The Sugar Act and the Stamp Act were some of the laws that led to anger, resentment, dissension and ultimately revolution in Colonial America - the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) and the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain.
TOWNSHEND ACTS

Definition of the Townshend Acts
The Meaning and Definition of the Townshend Acts: The Townshend Acts of 1767  were a series of laws which set new import taxes on British goods including paint, paper, lead, glass and tea and used revenues to maintain British troops in America and to pay the salaries of some Royal officials who were appointed to work in the American colonies.

The names of the Townshend Acts
The names of the Townshend Acts of 1767 were:

  • Townshend Act: The Revenue Act of 1767

  • Townshend Act: The Indemnity Act of 1767

  • Townshend Act: The Commissioners of Customs Act of 1767

  • Townshend Act: The Vice Admiralty Court Act of 1767

  • Townshend Act: The New York Restraining Act of 1768



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