The American colonists began their revolution with huge disadvantages in comparison to their British enemies. They lacked a national government, an established military force, a set financial system, a national bank, and a system of monetary credit. The colonists did create legislative and correspondence committees, but these often proved futile and inefficient. Even ocean shipping was blocked by the British, which was a necessary operation to the buying of goods.
The colonist military forces were often composed of militiamen.
Signed September 3, 1783, the Treaty of Paris formally ended the America Revolutionary War between England, and the United States and it’s allies. The document was signed at the Hotely d’York in Paris [now, 56 Rue Jacob], by Americans John Adams, Ben Franklin, and John Jay. Britain also signed separate documents and agreements with France, Spain, and the Dutch Republic.
This is Benjamin West’s painting of those representatives from American and Britain who signed the Treaty of Paris. Jay, Adams, Franklin, Laurens, and Temple are pictured here. But the British delegates refused to be painted, so the painting was never finished.
Historians don’t know if Samuel Adams aided in planning the Boston Tea Party, but is known that he vehemently advocated for the Boston Tea Party after it happened. He publicized and defended the Tea Party, arguing that it was not the actions of lawless mobs, but rather a protest and last resort for colonists to preserve their constitutional rights. He wasn’t referring to a specific constitution, but the idea that all governments have a constitution and England’s constitution stipulated, in essence, that levying taxes without representation was illegal. In example, he offered the Bill of Rights of 1698, which established that longterm taxes couldn’t be passed unless Parliament had representatives from the place it was ruling over and the place they wanted to levy taxes.
The French had been informally involved with the American Revolutionary War since 1776 because of the help of Latouche Tréville, who was a French admiral. He began to provide the colonists with supplied, ammunition, guns, and training after Thomas Jefferson encouraged a French alliance. In fact, after the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga, which was won in part by the French guns, France signed the Treaty of Alliance with America February 6, 1778.
The surrender of General John Burgoyne at the Battle of Saratoga.
This Act was passed by the Parliament of Great Britain in May of 1774. It formally negated the Massachusetts Bay Charter, which was the original colonial charter set forth by the government of William and Mary. The Massachusetts Government Act was apart of the Intolerable Acts, that was also known as the Repressive Acts and Coercive Acts, and also gave the royally-appointed governor a very wide range of powers. This Act was a response to concern by British officials about their inability to control the people of Massachusetts.
The Colonists’ anger at the British and Loyalist officials.
Estimations by many historians suggest that about 40 to 45 percent of all the American colonists were Patriots and actively supported the revolution. At least 25,000 Loyalists fought for the British and made up 15 to 20 percent of colonists. Many of the Loyalists were apart of the Royal Navy and would fight alongside the Redcoats. The rest of the colonists were neutral and tried to maintain a low profile during the war.
A political cartoon of the Loyalists during 1783.
Britain’s Parliament felt they had the right to tax the colonies because England had financially supported the colonies’ military defenses. These defenses became very expensive during the French and Indian War, but the colonists’ argument was that they were spending many funds through local government in order to maintain their presence within the British Empire. Benjamin Franklin even appeared before the British Parliament to testify about the colonies’ monetary expenditures. He said, “The colonies raised, clothed, and paid, during the last war, near twenty-five thousand men, and spent many millions.” The colonists were claiming that taxation without representation was illegal.
Benjamin Franklin addressing the British Parliament.
At the conclusion of the French and Indian War, the national debt of England was nearly doubled and the Crown was looking for any kind of source to pay off that debt. So their eyes turned to the colonies, who had so honorably fought for England during the war. They attempted to impose new taxes on the colonies, but these attempts were met with strict resistance. The Crown ended up having to send troops to the colonies so that representatives of the Crown could safely perform their duties!
The signature of King George III of England.
We all know how much the American colonists loved their tea, but they didn’t want to have to pay a tax on it! So merchants began to conduct business with Holland to import tea that was cheaper and better-tasting than the tea the East India Company was selling. So smugglers began to import about 900,000 of Dutch tea each year! In addition, Americans also purchased 562,000 pounds of East India Tea. That’s a lot of tea! The Sons of Liberty greatly encouraged the colonists to drink the Dutch tea. This was their way of protesting the Townshend taxes.
Johnny Tremain is a wonderful children’s historical novel by Esther Forbes. It’s set in Boston prior to and during the American Revolution. The story follows Johnny’s apprenticeship, quest for human rights, and personal sacrifice of his life throughout the Revolution. The novel includes descriptions of the Boston Tea Party, the British blockade of the Port of Boston, the midnight ride of Paul Revere, and the Battle of Lexington and Concord. In 1944, the novel received the Newberry Medal and was the 16th bestselling children’s novel in 2000! It’s a great educational and fun read for kids!
Ester Forbes’ novel “Johnny Tremain”