The Beginning of the American Revolution
After the British first colonization attempt in 1585, and the latter successfull attempt in 1620, the colonists felt as if they were starting anew in the new world. By 1750 there were 13 colonies and estimates of some 5 million people. With this many people in the colonies, King George III of England saw the need for thier protection from enemy invaders. He decided to keep an army of 10,000 men in the new world at all times for the protection of the colonists. He also decided he would have to tax the colonists to pay for these men to live there. The way in which he would tax the colonists came to be known as the Stamp Act of 1765. This tax was to be placed on newspapers, licenses, calendars, playing cards, dice and more.
The colonists were furious as they felt the British Parliament violated their own constitution. Only assemblies elected by the colonists were supposed to be allowed to decided when and what to tax and what to do with the money. The colonists protested immediately and in 1766 the British government gave in and repealed the Stamp Act.
But, Parliament would not give up on the taxation. They decided to put an import tax on everything the colonists brought in from England. The colonists in Boston protested vehemently and decided to boycott all imports from England. After a few skirmishes and 18 months of British ships in the harbor, Parliament dropped the tax on everything but tea and the British ships sailed away. Then in 1773, the British tried again to make the colonists pay taxes by bringing in shiploads of tea from India and selling it to them so low tax included that they could not resist purchasing it. However, the colonists did resist and stopped sailers from unloading the tea. The royal governer of Massachusettes, Thomas Hutchinson, decided to unload it under the protection of troops, but Bostonians disguised themselves as Indians, boarded the ships and dumped 340 tea chests into the sea. In May 1774 the British, upset about the "Tea Party" rolled their ships back into the harbor imposing a blockade until the colonists agreed to pay for the spoiled tea.
This lead to the first Continental Congress, a meeting of 56 delegates who affirmed the right of the colonies to life, liberty and property. They sent a letter to the King of England asking them to stop the blockade, and at the same time approved resolutions calling on the people of Massachusetts to arm themselves and stop trading with Britain. As colonists gatherd arms and ammunition, the commander in chief of the British forces, General Sir Thomas Gage became concerned. On the night of April 18, 1775, he ordered his troops to seize some of the supplies and arrest two of the militia's leaders, Sam Adams and John Hancock. Thanks to the early warnings of Paul Revere and William Dawes, the militia was waiting and so started the American Revolution.