Posted in Reference
One of the series of events that led to America's eventual independence was the end of the Seven years war, in particular, the French and Indian war, the part of the fighting that occurred in North America. The war here was a conflict of colonial and trade interests between Britain and France (later including Spain). Both British and French colonial forces, allied with different groups of Native Americans, fought over territory throughout the east of North America. Whilst facing initial setbacks and losses, British forces eventually achieved dominance as the main colonial power in North America, as France failed to reinforce the area, redirecting its efforts to the European campaign.
Despite Britain and its allies winning the Seven Years War, Britain was left with tremendous debts. Seeking ways to generate revenue, it passed several new acts, subjecting its American colonies to various taxes: the sugar act (1764), the stamp act (1765), sections of the Townshend act (beginning 1767) to name a few. Whilst the desire to gain revenue was certainly a major factor in these taxes, there was another as well, alluded to in other sections of the Townshend act, to assert British control over the colonies. Unfortunately, this essentially did just the opposite. There was stiff resistance against these acts, often in the form of 'no taxation without representation'. The Americans held that they could not be taxed as they had no elected representatives in the British Parliament, and neither had they consented to the taxes. After the Boston massacre in 1770, where British troops sent to guard the tax collectors and officials killed and wounded several Americans after they had harassed the troops, Parliament got rid of a number of the more controversial acts in a bid to quell unrest.
Whilst repealing the taxes laid down by the Townshend act, the tax on tea remained. Parliament had lifted a tax on the British East India Company, which was making substansial losses- To keep revenue coming in however, it maintained this tax from the Townshend act to make up the loss. It failed however, as the Americans refused to pay the tax. In twelve of the thirteen colonies, ships importing tea were persuaded to return to Britain with their cargo. But In Massachusetts, the governer, Hutchinson, refused to bow down before public opinion. When three ships arrived in Boston, he refused to allow them to leave before the duty tax had been paid, even after a large meeting tried to convince the ships to leave. In the event of this standoff, a large group of men, some of which had donned Mohawk warrior disguises to identify with America, boarded the three ships and threw all of the tea crates overboard after breaking them up with axes.
This act of rebellion served to infuriate Parliament, who closed Boston port and passed the Intolerable acts as a means to punish and make an example of Massechusetts, hoping this would prevent further unrest in the other colonies. Like the taxes before though, it only served to alienate the colonies, who joined together in the First Continental Congress to demand the act repealed; this failed, and in 1775 in the battles of Lexington and Concord, the American war for Independence had begun.