Countdown to independence


British taxes


When George the III took the throne he made a policy to squeeze as much wealth out of America as possible. The parliament required the American colonies to sell raw goods such as Cotten and lumber, to Britain for low prices but they had to buy goods at high prices.

British war


Britain had fought a long and expensive war with France, and had gone into debt. As the victor Britain won France's North American territory. To pay its debt's, Britain levied heavy taxes on the American colonies.

Stamp act


Parliament passed the stamp act which required colonists to attach expensive tax stamps to all newspapers and legal documents. The colonist resented the British taxes, because the colonists could not send representatives to parliament as people living in Great Britain could they felt parliament had no right to tax them. So they came up with a slogan to express their felling's "no taxation without representation". Other than protesting many colonist boycotted, or refused to buy, British goods.

Movement toward independence


Twelve of the colonies sent delegates, or representatives, to a meeting in Philadelphia to bannd the Intolerable Acts. The first meeting became known as the First Continental Congress.

The First Continental Congress


The First Continental Congress lasted seven weeks, during the meeting the delegates sent a document to King Geoge III demanding that the rights of the colonists be restored.
WHen the Congress ended, the delegates vowed o hold another neeting if King George did not meet their demands by the following year. King George refused to meet their demands and laso decided to us force against the colonists. This lead too the two battels between British and colonial soldiers took place in Massachusetts, at Lexington and Concord

The Second Continental Congress

May 1775

Faced with the king's refusal to meet their demands, colonial leaders formed the Second Continental Congress, which met in Philadelphia in May of 1775. Not every member of the Congress favored independence, some believed the colonists could never win a war with Great Britain so the Congress spen many months debating independence.

Part 2 of the Second Continental Congress


More than half the delegates had been persuaded that the colonies must become independent by 1776. The Congress appointed a committee to write a document officially announcing America's indepindence.



The war against Great Britain could never have been won by 13 small state armies. A single, strong army under central control was necessary, for this and other reasons the Second Continental Congress made plans for a "a firm leagye of friendship" among the state.The Congress detailed these plans in a document called the Articlas of Confederation.

Weaknesses of the Articles


All 13 states had ratified, or approved, the Articles of Confederation. Within the next few years, however, it became clear that the Articles had serious problems. To begin withk,the Congress could not pass a law unless 9 states voted in favor of it. Any attempt to amend, or change, the Articles required a unanimous vote of all 13 states. Even when the Congress managed to pass laws, it could not enforce them, unlike the state constitutions, the Articles did not provide for a governor or for courts.