Protest Against Taxes
Community leaders throughout the colonies rose up against both acts. In Virginia, Patrick Henry presented the colonial government with his Virginia Resolutions, asserting that only Virginia can tax Virginia residents. At the same time, the Sons of Liberty formed in New York in opposition to the Stamp Act. They intimidated British stamp agents to resign and influenced New York merchants to boycott British goods.
The Stamp Act Congress, with representatives from nine colonies, convenes in New York City to prepare a resolution to be sent to King George. The congress insists that England has no right to tax them or otherwise enforce laws upon them without proper representation in parliament.
On November 1, 1765, the Stamp Act officially begins. Most daily business in the colonies come to a halt as citizens refuse to use the stamps. No legal documents, licenses or magazines are produced. In New York City, an effigy of the British governor is burned as part of violent demonstrations.
Boycotting of British merchandise increases. The commander of British forces in America, General Thomas Gage, implores the New York assembly to comply with the Quartering Act and house his troops. The assembly refuses.
Benjamin Franklin addresses Parliament urging them to repeal the Stamp Act and warning them that revolution may be the consequence. In March of 1766, King George complies. Boycotting of British goods relaxes.
Non-compliance to the Quartering Act in New York leads to increasing violence. At the end of 1766, England suspends New York's legislature and enforces martial law.
In 1767, the Townshend Revenue Acts are put into law, taxing products such as paper, tea and glass. A colonial customs board is established in Boston to enforce the taxation. The boycotting resumes.
In 1768, Sam Adams circulates a letter urging the colonies to unite against taxation without representation. England orders colonial governors to refute the letter, but one by one colonial assemblies endorse it.
British customs officials beg England to protect them from constant harassment and threats from the colonists. In May of 1768, a British warship armed with 50 cannons sails into Boston Harbor. In June, a customs official is locked aboard a sloop owned by John Hancock while imported wine is off-loaded without the duties being paid. In July, the colonial government of Boston is dissolved when they refuse to deny Adams' letter. In town meetings, Bostonians are urged to arm themselves. That September, more warships arrive and two regiments of infantry take position in Boston.
Tensions and boycotts increase. The colonial governments grow closer together. It all explodes in 1770. Sons of Liberty clash in New York with British soldiers, resulting in several injuries. March 5 in Boston, British soldiers open fire on a group of colonists, killing five and injuring six.
The Boston Tea Party
In 1773, the Tea Act takes effect, increasing taxes on tea and creating a monopoly for the East India Company, which was nearly bankrupted by boycotting. Colonial merchants are cut out of the tea business.
In October, a committee forms in Philadelphia to discuss the Tea Act. They unite against it and call for the resignations of British tea agents in Philadelphia. The next month, Boston endorses the actions of the Philadelphia committee and attempts to oust local tea agents. England responds by sending three tall ships full of tea into Boston harbor. They demand that the product is purchased and the taxes are paid. The colonists refuse and insist the ships return to England without payment. The ships will not go and the colonists will not pay. For weeks, Boston Harbor is at a standstill.
December 16, 1773, a group of 8000 Bostonians hear Sam Adams repeat the orders of the Royal Governor, that the tea taxes must be paid. That night, a group sneaks aboard the three ships and dumps 342 chests of tea into the harbor. The ensuing Boston Port Bill shuts down the harbor until the taxes are paid and the East India Company is reimbursed.
The Shot Heard Around the World
In September, 1774, the First Continental Congress convenes in Philadelphia with 56 delegates. The congress asserts colonies' rights to self-rule and uniformly opposed England. The urged the formation of local militia and resistance to all British tyranny.
April 19, 1775, the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired and a nation was born.