Events and Laws That Led to the American Revolution

Events

Revenue Act

1762

What was it?

The Revenue Act of 1762 was an attempt by the British Parliament to end smuggling in the colonies. The act encouraged British fleets to oust and detain smugglers. This was done by halting trade between the colonies and the French Sugar Islands.

Important People Involved:

merchants
British Parliament

How it helped lead to the American Revolution:

Colonists were outraged because this act allowed the British to sometimes search houses for smuggled goods, even with only writs of assistance.

Sugar Act

1764

What was it?

The Sugar Act was a three-cent tax placed on colonists for the purchase of tea. This act put many colonists at disadvantages in the distilling industry.

Important People Involved:

George Grenville
John Hancock
merchants

How it helped lead to the American Revolution:

This act angered colonists and was one of the early signs that more taxes would be given to them.

Stamp Act

1765

What was it?

The Stamp Act was the first major tax put on colonists by the British Parliament. The tax came at a financial crisis for the British Empire, due to the debt they owed from the Seven Years' War.

Important People Involved:
George Grenville
Patrick Henry

How it helped lead to the American Revolution:

The Stamp Act was the first implementation of a major tax that the British Empire placed on the colonists. This was the beginning of a series financial tension between the colonies and Britain.

Quartering Act

March 24, 1765

What was it?

The Quartering Act controlled where British soldiers were to be located at in the colonies. It made the colonies required to house these soldiers.

Important People Involved:

General Thomas Gage

How this helped lead to the American Revolution:

Patriots reacted to this act by refusing to fund this act via the New York Restraining Act. This act not only angered colonists, but the patriot's response created tension with the British Parliament as well.

Townshend Acts

1767 - 1770

What were they?

The Townshend Acts were a series of taxes imposed on the colonists for the overseas import of glass, paints, lead, paper, and tea.

Important People Involved:

Charles Townshend
Benjamin Franklin
Samuel Adams

How this helped lead to the American Revolution:

Many colonists felt as if these orders were not duties that the British Parliament should have any say in. Each of these acts were repealed except for the tax on tea in 1770, which colonists felt should be taken away too.

Boston Massacre

March 5, 1770

What was it?

The Boston Massacre was an event in which 5 patriots were murdered due to taunting British soldiers. The patriots were protesting the command of enforcement for British officers to tax colonists in the city of Boston.

Important People Involved:

Captain Thomas Preston
Crispus Attucks
Patrick Carr
Samuel Gray
Samuel Maverick
James Caldwell
John Adams
Josiah Quincy
The Sons of Liberty

How this helped lead to the American Revolution:

The Sons of Liberty used this act as a rallying cry for injustice to inspire many other patriots to see this as an infringement of their liberty. This caused lots of social friction throughout Boston and all across the colonies.

Boston Tea Party

December 16, 1773

What was it?

The Boston Tea party was a huge act of disobedience to the British Parliament. Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty famously threw 342 chests of tea off of three British ships near the Boston harbor, which was symbolically a massive demonstration of defiance.

Important People Involved:

Samuel Adams
The Sons of Liberty
East India Company

How this helped lead to the American Revolution:

Throwing 90,000 lbs of tea costed what would be around $1,000,000 of in today's time which was financially a huge act of defiance to Britain. Not only was it financially disobedient, but it was symbolically showing that they would make the British lose money too.

Gaspee Affair

1774

What was it?

The Gaspee affair was the reaction from the British in response to the burning of their vessel the Gaspee. Britain threatened to capture the colonists responsible for the burning, and send their trial into Britain.

Important People Involved:

King George III
Virginia House of Burgesses

First Continental Congress

September 5, 1774 - October 26, 1774

What was it?

In Carpenter's Hall in Philadelphia, 56 delegates from the colonies met and discussed ideas of how to eventually become a Independent America. These meetings came as a result of the Coercive Acts that the British Parliament placed after acts of defiance from the colonists.

Important People Involved:

Peyton Randolph
Patrick Henry
George Washington
John Adams
John Jay
Delegates

How it helped lead to the American Revolution:

This in a way was the brainstorming by the delegates before their meetings to come later. It was important because people that wanted an Independent America were represented by all colonies.

Battle of Lexington and Concord

April 19, 1775

What was it?

This battle was the first time that shots were fired between British and American troops. The first shot has been famously noted as the "Shot Heard 'Round the World".

Important People Involved:

Paul Revere
Samuel Adams
John Hancock

How this helped lead to the American Revolution:

This was majorly a sign of tensions building up and breaking. It kicked off the start of the bloody war, and officially started the physical revolution.