Prelude to Revolution 1763 to 1775

1763 – King George III of England signed the Royal Proclamation of 1763 that entered into force on October 7, 1763.  It forbade English settlements located on the west of the Appalachian Mountains and obligated the American settlers of this territory to move to the east of this region. This rule established some line or border that was devoted to decreasing the confrontations with Native Americans.

1764 – The English Parliament enacted the Sugar Act with the purpose to compensate the debts after the French and Indian war, to aid to pay for the expenses of colonies and new territories. It raised the tax on the imported goods like sugar, textiles, coffee, wines, and others. Also, it implemented the norm that increased two times the duties on the goods from abroad reshipped from England to the colonial America and prohibited the importation of rum and wines from France. These changes provoked disagreement among the population of colonies and facilitated to the appearance of the protesting movement.

1764 – The English Parliament enacted the procedure aimed to consider the American customs system to implement better English laws. The government authorized the establishment of the court in Halifax, Nova Scotia and empowered it with jurisdiction over all colonies in America regarding the commercial issues.

1764 – The Currency Act followed a similar Act of 1751 and applied to all British territories. It didn`t forbid directly the issuing of paper money and its use for private and public debts. This act caused the economic problems in the colonies that caused the raising of protesting movement.

1764 – In May, at a town meeting in Boston, James Otis, a lawyer in colonial Massachusetts, raises the issue of taxation without representation and urges a united response to the recent acts imposed by England. In July, Otis publishes “The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved”. In August, Boston merchants begin a boycott of British luxury goods.

1765 – In March, the English Parliament enacted the Stamp Act that established tax on the transfer of certain documents and such printed materials as newsletters, pamphlets, bills, legal documents, licenses, almanacs, dice, cheques and playing cards. This tax was imposed on American colonies but then was passed not to local government but directly to England. The purpose of this legislature was to implement new stamp duty that would compensate the costs of the British military forces in America.

1765 – In March, the British Parliament implemented the Quartering Act in the American colonies with the purpose to provide the British troops with required accommodations. It established the obligation to house British soldiers and supply them with food.

1765 – In May, in Virginia, Patrick Henry declared the seven Virginia Resolutions to the House of Burgesses establishing that only the Virginia assembly had a right to impose tax on Virginia residents and consider some acts of Congress as unconstitutional. Also in May, a medical school was first founded in Philadelphia.

1765 – In July, a secret organization the Sons of Liberty was created in the colonies, with the purposes to protect the colonist’s rights and fight the high taxation of the England parliament. It was aimed against the Stamp Act, and members tried to resign British stamp agents and to stop the trade of goods from England to America.

1765 – August 26, a mob in Boston attacked the house of Thomas Hutchinson, who was Chief of Justice of Massachusetts. Hutchinson and his family escaped soon after the accident.

1765 – In October, the Stamp Act Congress assembled in New York City. It consisted of the representatives from nine of the colonies. The Congress established a resolution to King George III and the English Parliament. The legal statement stated the requirement of the repeal of the Stamp Act and the Acts of 1764. The petition affirmed that only the colonial government had the rights to impose the tax on the colonial inhabitants and that taxation without representation infringed the fundamental rights of the settlers.

1765 – On November 1, the most part of the business and legal transactions ceased because of the Stamp Act entering into force that was banned by the colonists. In New York, the protests took place during which the crowd burned the effigy of the royal governor, pursued British forces and afterwards robbed the houses.

1765 – In December, British General Thomas Gage, assigned as the commander of the English military forces located in America, required the New York assembly to enforce the compliance with the Quartering Act by the colonists with the purpose to provide all necessary accommodations to his troops. In December, the American boycott of English imported goods extended, because more than 200 Boston merchants shared the ideas of this movement.

1766 – In January, the New York assembly denied the requirement to follow the Gen. Gage`s requirement to implement the Quartering Act.

1766 – In March, King George III signed a legal document that cancelled the Stamp Act after several debates took place in the English Parliament. At the one legal session, Ben Franklin took part and affirmed for the repeal of the legal act and announced about a possible revolution in the America if the enforcement of Stamp Act would be conducted by the force of the British military.

1766 – On the day the Stamp Act was repealed, the English Parliament enacted the Declaratory Act that confirmed the authority of England government over the legislature process in colonies and rights to pass legal documents that were mandatory in America.

1766 – In April, the announcing of the cancelation of the Stamp Act provoked celebrations in the colonies and decreased the protest against import of English trade goods.

1766 – In August, protest rose up in New York between British soldiers and armed colonists. The members of Sons of Liberty took part in this movement that was caused by the further non-consideration of the Quartering Act by the colonists in New York. In December, the New York legislature was stopped by the English King after the next attempt to vote to refuse the compliance with the Act.

1767 – In June, the English Parliament enacted the Townshend Revenue Acts, with the purpose to impose a new type of taxes on the colonists to increase the revenue for payments of the salaries of governors and judges, and made them loyal to the English government, and to punish the New York province for protests. The taxes were imposed on such goods as paper, tea, glass, lead and paints. The Act also implemented a board of customs commissioners in Boston. In October, Bostonians began to restore a boycott of luxury goods imported from England.

1768 – In February, Samuel Adams of Massachusetts declared a Circular Letter aimed against taxation without representation and announced the appeals for the colonists to raise up together against English authority. The letter was sent to colonial assemblies, affirming the methods used by the Massachusetts general court to opposite the Townshend Acts.

1768 – In April, England’s Secretary of State for the Colonies, Lord Hillsborough, enacted an order addressed to colonial governors to prohibit their assemblies from considering Adams’ circular letter. Hillsborough also instructed the governor of Massachusetts to dissolve the general court if the assembly of Massachusetts did not deny the letter. By the end of the month, the assemblies of New Hampshire, Connecticut, and New Jersey approved the letter at legal sessions.

1768 – In May, a British military ship armed with 50 cannons went to Boston harbor after custom commissioners asked for their help because of their persecution by Boston protestors. In June, a customs official was kept closed in the cabin of the Liberty, that was a sloop of John Hancock. At that time imported wine was transferred illegally to Boston without any tax payment. After this incident took place, customs officials seized sloop owned by Hancock. However, the customs officials run away to an island out of Boston because of the possible protests from Bostonians, then asked for the intervention of British forces.

1768 – In July, the governor of Massachusetts disbanded the general court after the legal authority canceled his order to deny Adams` circular letter. In August, the merchants from Boston and New York gathered to ban most of goods imported from England till the Townshend Acts would be denied. In September, at Boston town meeting, inhabitants considered the need to arm themselves. Then in September, English military vessel sailed into Boston Harbor, later two troops of English infantry landed in Boston and established the permanent office to maintain the order in town.

1769 – In March, merchants from Philadelphia supported the boycott of English imports. In May, George Washington presented several resolutions developed by George Mason to the Virginia House of Burgesses. The Virginia Resolves did not consider taxation without representation, the opposition of the English authority to the circular letters, and British assumptions to implement the procedure of possible sending of American protesters to be condemned by English trial. Ten days after that, the Virginia Royal governor disbanded the House of Burgesses. However, on the next day its members gathered in a Williamsburg tavern and decided to support the boycott of British exported goods, including luxury things and slaves.

1769 – In May, Gaspar de Portolà sat the Fort Presidio of San Diego not far from the San Diego River.  In July, a Franciscan Friar Juniper Serra founded San Diego, located in California. In October, the boycott of British exports extended to New Jersey, Rhode Island, and then North Carolina.

1770 – The population of residents in the American colonies raised up to 2,210,000 persons.

1770 – In January, violence occurred between the members of the Sons of Liberty and 40 soldiers from English troops in New York. Few persons were injured badly after the protest.

March 5, 1770 – The Boston Massacre, also named the Incident on King Street, happened because the English Army soldiers persecuted by a mob shot without order and killed three persons, mortally injured two others and wounded six persons. The incident provoked new appeals for riot against English authority. After that, the new Royal Governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson, ordered to withdraw the British troops out of Boston to islands nearly located. Thomas Preston, the captain of the British forces, was arrested along with eight of his soldiers and accused of murder.

1770 – In April, the Townshend Acts were denied by the British authority. All duties imposed on imported goods into the colonies were excluded except for tea. Also, the Quartering Act was not updated.

1770 – In October, the court proceeding was started to condemn the British soldiers who were arrested after the accidents of the Boston Massacre. John Adams and Josiah Quincy, colonial attorneys, represented successfully the defense for Captain Preston and his six soldiers, who were accused of the crime. The guilt of manslaughter of two other persons was proven, then they were released.

1772 – In June, a British customs boat, the Gaspee, appeared near the Rhode Island in Narragansett Bay. Colonists from Providence pursued the schooner and attacked it, sat the British crew on the board, then put the ship on fire. In September, the English Crown declared the reward of a 500 pound for the capture and transfer of those colonists to England to be condemned by the court. The requirement to send them to Britain provoked the further raise of the protest in America.

1772 – In November, Sam Adams organized a town meeting assembly in Boston. During the meeting, the committee of correspondence was established and represented by 21 members with the purpose to maintain the communication with other towns and colonies. After a few weeks, the town meeting approved three radical statements affirming the rights to self-rule for the colonies.

1773 – In March, the Virginia House of Burgesses assigned eleven member of the committee of correspondence with the purpose to implement the process of the communication with other colonies regarding similar issues against the British. Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and Richard Henry Lee were appointed to the committee. Virginia also assigned its representatives, a few months later New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut and South Carolina joined this procedure.

1773 – May 10, the Parliament of Great Britain passed the Tea Act with the purpose to reduce the expenses of British East India Company and improve its financial situation. It established a tax of three penny per pound of imported tea to the colonies. It also empowered British East India Company, an almost bankrupt entity, with a tea monopoly allowing it to sell directly to colonial agents, underselling merchants in America in such a way. The East India Company lobbied Parliament for such a measure. In September, Parliament allowed the company to ship half a million pounds of tea to a group of chosen tea agents.

1773 – In October, colonists organized a meeting in Philadelphia protesting against the tea tax and the East India Company oligopoly. After that the committee ordered to resign English tea agents from their positions. In November, Boston town meeting took place and supported the actions implemented by the colonists in Philadelphia. Residents of Boston attempted to resign the British tea agents but failed.

1773 – November 29/30, two mass meetings took place in Boston discussing the issue with the foreign three boats with the tea docked in Boston port.  Colonists approved the idea to send the tea on the ship Dartmouth to England without imposing any tax payments. The Royal Governor of Massachusetts, Hutchinson, disagreed with that and ordered officials in harbor not to allow the vessels sail out of the port unless the tea duties were paid.

December 16, 1773 – Nearly 8000 Bostonians gathered to listen the speech of Sam Adams regarding Royal Governor Hutchinson’s command not to allow the boats go out of the port until the tea duties were paid. That night, the Boston Tea Party happened in which the demonstrators, some disguised as Mohawk Indians, destroyed the ship and threw out all packages of tea into the port. The English government responded  harshly, and the incident passed then into the American Revolution.

1774 – In March, in response to the riot in Massachusetts the English Parliament enacted the first of a series of Coercive Acts (named Intolerable Acts by Americans). The Boston Port Bill stopped all commercial shipping transactions in Boston port until Massachusetts would offset the payments for the tea dumped in the port and also compensate the expenses for the destroyed tea for East India Company.

1774 – May 12, the Boston town meeting called for a boycott of English imported goods in response to the Boston Port Bill. May 13, General Thomas Gage, appointed as commander of all British military forces in the colonies, came to Boston and replaced Hutchinson as Royal governor, enforcing the military rule in Massachusetts. After his assignment, four regiments of British troops arrived to Boston.

1774 – May 17-23, colonists in Providence, New York, and Philadelphia announced the appeal for an intercolonial congress to deny the Coercive Acts and discuss a common plan of action to exercise against the British government.

1774 – May 20, The English Parliament passed the next from the series of Coercive Acts, consisting of the Massachusetts Regulating Act and the Government Act that prohibited any self-rule and historical rights by the colonists there. Instead, the English King and the Royal governor affirmed that colonists had a full capacity of legal powers. Also, the government established the Administration of Justice Act which implemented the guarantee for royal officials in Massachusetts from not being condemned in colonial courts, and the Quebec Act legalized a centralized government in Canada under the auspices of the Crown and English Parliament. Moreover, the Quebec Act extended the Canadian southern boundary into the territories owned by Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Virginia.

1774 – In June, the English Parliament issued an updated version of the Quartering Act of 1765 that established a requirement for all of the American residents to supply housing for British troops in occupied houses and buildings. In September, Massachusetts Governor Gage seized the colony’s arsenal of weapons at Charlestown.

1774 – September 5 to October 26, the First Continental Congress took place in Philadelphia. 56 delegates represented every colony, except Georgia. Patrick Henry, George Washington, Sam Adams and John Hancock were the attendants to this meeting.

On September 17, the Congress stated the rejection of the Coercive Acts and facilitated the organization of local military entities. On October 14, the Congress passed a Declaration and Resolves that was aimed against the Coercive Acts, the Quebec Act, and other measures established by the British government that excluded self-rule. It listed a colonial bill of rights of colonists, including the right on life, freedom and property. On October 20, the Congress established the Continental Association in which authorized a boycott of English imported goods, effected an embargo of exports to Britain, and discontinued the slave trade.

1775 – February 1, in Cambridge, Mass., a Congress in the province occurred during which John Hancock and Joseph Warren commenced the defensive preparations for the state of war. February 9, the English Parliament considered Massachusetts in a state of rebellion. March 23, in Virginia, Patrick Henry announced a speech against British rule, named “Liberty or death!”. On March 30, King George III signed the New England Restraining Act establishing the requirement for New England colonies to trade exclusively with England and also to ban fishing in the North Atlantic.

1775 – In April, Massachusetts Governor Gage enacted an order to implement the Coercive Acts and prohibit any protests among the colonists using force to prevent any confrontations.