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The Start of the American Revolution

Updated on February 18, 2015
Paul Revere and others warn the colonists "the British are Coming"
Paul Revere and others warn the colonists "the British are Coming" | Source
Minute Men ready to fight the British at Concord and Lexington, Ma
Minute Men ready to fight the British at Concord and Lexington, Ma | Source

In 1763 England doubled its national debt helping the American colonies fight against land encroachment by the French, culminating in the Seven Years’ War. After the win, England needed revenue to pay its debts. The British government believed the 13 American colonies should contribute toward paying off the debt. After all, it was the colonists who primarily benefitted from the war.

Seeing no action by the colonists, British Parliament’s solution was to impose new taxes directly on its colonies. The Stamp Act of 1765 required that many printed materials in the colonies be produced on London paper, carry an embossed revenue stamp, and paid by British currency.

The American colonies in particular, vehemently resisted this tax. They had been self-governed and self-taxed for at least 150 years. They had no representation in England. They had no say in creating or influencing governing British policies in regards to their status as land owners. After a prolonged protest, the Stamp Act was eliminated in 1766, but it did not solve the financial problems between England and the colonies. The repeal also did not solve the matter of who governed the colonies.

Over a period of time, England continued to tax the colonies for one thing or another. Boston, Massachusetts was especially loud and pro-active in protesting each tax. To regain order and preserve their interests, England sent troops to Boston. It didn’t sit well with the colonists, and over time, Parliament eliminated the various taxes with the exception of the tea tax.

In March 1770, an angry mob of colonists harassed and heckled some British troops. Shots were fired, and five colonists died, including the first, Crispus Attucks. A Black and Native American man, he is considered the first martyr to the cause of liberty in America. Silversmith Paul Revere engraves the Boston Massacre, indicating the British shot them in cold blood.

England continues to tax the colonies against their will without allowing them representation in the British Parliament. The Boston Tea Party in 1773 heightened tension between the Colonies and England. Dumping 90,000 pounds of taxed tea was Boston’s direct action taken against England’s Tea Act and the monopoly of the East India Company.

In September 1774, Representatives of 12 of the 13 American colonized states met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (The First Continental Congress) to organize and strategize their opposition to England’s encroachment on American soil through Marshall Law.

England’s King George III turns the Province of Massachusetts Bay, who he believes is the ringleader state in the rebellion, into a police state through British general Thomas Gage. The king makes him military governor, with a mission to punish the colonists for the Boston Tea Party.

April 1775 – Military Governor Gage sends the British militia (called Red Coats) to Concord, Massachusetts to capture and confiscate a huge cache of colonist weapons. Two lanterns signal the arrival of the British by sea. Paul Revere and William Dawes are two of dozens to warn the “British are Coming.” At Lexington, colonists go to intercede against the British march. Among them are Minute Men, a select team of American soldiers trained to respond to battle at short notice. Someone fires a shot, and both sides fire at will. Two minutes and eight colonist deaths later, the American Revolution begins.


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