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The Road to Revolution

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By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Feb 4, 2012

Time Line

1763 Proclamation of 1763
1764 Sugar Act
1765

March Stamp Act

October Stamp Act Congress

1766

Repeal of Stamp Act

Declaratory Act

1767 Townshend Acts
1770 March 5 Boston Massacre
1773 December 16 Boston Tea Party
1774

Coercive/Intolerable Acts and Quebec

Act First Continental Congress convenes in Philadelphia

Declaration and Resolves

 

The Road to Revolution

The French and Indian War led inevitably to a second war—the American Revolution, or the War for Independence. This war did not break out overnight. Relations between Britain and the colonies deteriorated in several slow, painful stages.

The basic dispute between Britain and the colonies was over the issue of representation in government—a British principle that dated back to 1215, the year of the Magna Carta. Parliament argued that as the British legislative assembly, it represented all citizens of the British Empire and therefore had the right to expect their obedience to its laws. The colonists argued that since there were no American voting members of Parliament, the colonies were not represented and therefore did not have to obey.

Neither side was willing to give way on this issue. Parliamentary leaders chose a course of action that united the colonists against Parliament as their common enemy—they passed a series of acts legalizing taxes on various colonial imports, such as molasses, tea, and paper. The colonists retaliated with a series of acts of civil disobedience, such as the Boston Tea Party. In the end, they realized that they needed a national assembly of their own to address the problem as a matter of state. Delegates to the Continental Congress of 1774 petitioned Parliament for the redress of their grievances. Before they received a reply, the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired in Massachusetts.

Practice questions for these concepts can be found at:

The Road to Revolution Practice Test

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