Many Americans concluded that Britain was succumbing to the same pattern of political corruption and decline of liberty as other countries.
There were rumors in the colonies that the Anglican Church in England was going to send a bishop to America.
Rumors of religious courts similar to those used to prosecute Dissenters sparked fears among members of other Protestant denominations.
The American colonies were affected by events in other parts of Britain's global empire.
The East India Company is a giant trading monopoly.
British merchants, bankers, and other individuals invested a lot in its stock.
The price of stock in the company rose and then fell in a speculative bubble.
The British government decided to help the company market its enormous holdings of Chinese tea in North America.
Tea has become a drink consumed by all social classes in England and the colonies.
The East India Company was offered a number of tax exemptions and rebates by the British government.
It was able to dump low-priced tea on the American market.
Money raised through the taxation of imported tea would be used to help defray the costs of the colonial government.
The tax on tea was not new.
Many colonies wanted to acknowledge Britain's right to tax the colonies by paying it on this large new body of imports.
Resistance developed in the major ports as tea shipments arrived.
More than 300 chests of tea were thrown into the water on December 16, 1773, when a group of colonists boarded three ships at anchor in Boston Harbor.
The event became known as the Boston Tea Party.
The East India Company had a loss of around PS10,000.
The response to the Boston Tea Party was swift and decisive.
The port of Boston was closed until the tea was paid for.
The Massachusetts Charter of 1691 was changed to allow the governor to appoint members to the council that were previously filled by election.
The military's political freedom was granted by parliament.
The Quebec Act was passed by Parliament.
Legal toleration to the Roman Catholic Church in Canada was granted because of this.
With an eye to the growing tensions in colonies to the south, the act sought to secure the allegiance of Quebec's Catholics by offering rights denied to their coreligionists in Britain, including practicing their faith freely and holding positions in the civil service.
The act threw into question land claims in the Ohio country and persuaded many people that the government in London was scheming to strengthen Catholicism in the American empire.
Many colonists had fears of religious and political tyranny.
In New England, the cause of liberty became the cause of God.
Tea and other commodities were taxed and the Board of Customs Commissioners was established.
Five people were killed in a Boston mob in March of 1770.
On December 16, 1773, the Sons of Liberty, dressed as Indians, dumped hundreds of chests of tea into Boston Harbor to protest the Tea Act.
Under the Tea Act, the British exported millions of pounds of cheap tea to the colonies, which DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch DropCatch
The Boston Tea Party forced payment for the tea, colonial trials of British soldiers were stopped, and the number of elected officials in Massachusetts was reduced.
The individual who baited the British troops was said to be at the head of the crowd of hecklers.
He was shot and killed by the British troops.
The Continental Congress opposition to the Intolerable Acts has spread to small towns and rural areas that were not involved in previous resistance.
In September of 1774, 4,600 militiamen from thirty-seven towns lined both sides of Main Street as the British-appointed officials walked between them.
The Suffolk Resolves for the county in which Boston is located were approved by a convention of delegates from Massachusetts towns.
After adjourning at the end of October, the Congress endorsed the Suffolk Resolves and adopted the Continental Association, which called for an almost complete halt to trade with Great Britain and the West Indies.
Congress authorized local Committees of Safety to implement its mandates and to take action against "enemies of American liberty," including businessmen who tried to profit from the sudden scarcity of goods.
The Committees of Safety began the process of transferring effective political power from established governments to extralegal grassroots bodies reflecting the will of the people.
The committees became training grounds where small farmers, city artisans, propertyless laborers, and others who had previously had little role in government discussed political issues and exercised political power.
The committee that oversaw the boycott of British goods in Philadelphia was almost entirely composed of lawyers and merchants.
The committee that was elected to enforce the Continental Association was dominated by younger merchants.
They decided that resistance to British measures would not be dropped.
Local committees continued to enforce the association despite the New York assembly's refusal to endorse it.
The colonies talked of liberty in The Sweets of Liberty.
Americans dreamed of liberty while sleeping.
The word written in the sun's rays was reported by an anonymous essayist.
The right to resist oppressive authority and the identification of liberty with the cause of God were invoked against Britain itself, by colonists of all background.
The first mass meeting in the history of Northampton County, Pennsylvania, was held in 1774.
Most of the county's adult population joined militia associations the following year.
Americans began to base their claims on the more abstract language of natural rights and universal freedom as the crisis deepened.
John Locke's theory of natural rights prior to the establishment of government offered a powerful justification for colonial resistance.
Jefferson insisted that Americans still respected the king.
He wanted the empire to be seen as a collection of equal parts held together by loyalty to a constitutional monarch, not a system in which one part ruled over the others.
The outbreak of war began when the Second Continental Congress convened in May 1775.
On April 19, a force of British soldiers marched from Boston toward the nearby town of Concord to seize arms.
Local leaders of the troops' approach were warned by riders from Boston.
The militiamen tried to resist the advance of the British.
The Battles of Lexington and Concord were fought between Americans and British soldiers.
Forty-nine Americans and 73 members of the Royal Army were killed when the British retreated to Boston.
The American War of Independence began with a shot heard around the world.
It was heard throughout the colonies.
Roberts was going to join the army.
In May 1775, the Green Mountain Boys, along with militiamen from Connecticut led by Benedict Arnold, surrounded Fort Ticonderoga in New York and forced it to surrender.
After the siege of Boston, George Washington's commander of cannon arranged for some of the Ticonderoga cannon to be dragged hundreds of miles to the east to reinforce the siege.
The British took control of Breed's Hill from the colonials on June 17, 1775, but only at a heavy cost in casualties.
The British position in Boston was no longer viable because of the arrival of the American cannon.
The British army was forced to leave the city.
The original Liberty Tree was cut down before Howe left.
The Second Continental Congress authorized the raising of a Continental army, printed money to pay for it, and appointed George Washington its commander.
Washington, the best known military officer in the colonies, was also a prominent Virginian.
Having a southerner lead American forces would reinforce colonial unity.
In response, Britain closed all colonial ports and declared the colonies in a state of rebellion.
By the end of the 18th century, Britain seemed to have been violated.
Many shied away from the idea of independence.
Pride in membership in the British empire was still strong, and many political leaders in colonies that had experienced internal turmoil feared that a complete break with the mother country might unleash further conflict.
They believed that tyranny from above was as dangerous as anarchy from below.
One opponent warned that many advocates of independence would find it very agreeable to divide the property of the rich among the poor.
Fears affected how leaders responded to the idea of independence.
The elites of Massachusetts and Virginia were very confident in their ability to retain authority at home.
Massachusetts was the center of the Intolerable Acts.
The earl of Dunmore, the British governor and military commander in Virginia, issued a decree in November of 1775 that angered the Southern leaders.
Lord Dunmore offered freedom to any slave who escaped to his lines.
The diversity of the population in New York and Pennsylvania made it difficult to agree on how far to go in resisting British measures.
The demands of small farmers and urban artisans for a greater voice in political affairs were unleashed by the opposition to previous British laws.
Many established leaders retreated from further resistance.
A delegate to the Second Continental Congress who worked on a compromise between British and colonial positions warned that independence would be accompanied by constant disputes within America.
He predicted a war between the northern and southern colonies.
Americans could only enjoy true liberty if they remained within the empire.
The spectacle of colonists at war against the British empire was presented by America.
It was a recent emigrant from England, not a colonist from a family long established on American soil, who grasped the inner logic of the situation and offered a vision of the broad significance of American independence.
Thomas Paine was an English craftsman and minor government official.
He was associated with a group of advocates of the American cause.
Benjamin Rush is a Philadelphia physician.
Rush suggested that he write a pamphlet in support of American independence.
The author appeared in January 1776.
The pamphlet began with an attack on the "so much boasted Constitution of England" and the principles of hereditary rule and monarchical government.
The English monarchy was headed by the royal brute of England, and the English constitution was composed of the remains of two ancient tyrannies.
A democratic system with citizens' rights protected by a written constitution would be better than monarchy.
The colonists' experiences were used to make the case for independence.
America's prospects within the British empire were limited, and it was certain that its "material eminence" was certain.
For the first time, the colonies could not be involved in the imperial wars of Europe.
Britain dragged its American colonies into conflicts with other countries.
Membership in the British empire was a burden to the colonies.
Toward the end of the pamphlet, Paine outlined a vision of the historical importance of the American Revolution.
Few of the ideas were original.
The educated elite was usually the focus of previous political writings.
"When I mention the public, I mean to include the rational part of it," declared John Randolph of Virginia in 1774.
The ignorant people are not fit.
The new style of political writing pioneered by Paine was designed to expand dramatically the public sphere where political discussion took place, just as evangelical ministers had shattered the clergy's monopoly on religious preaching.
He wrote clearly and directly, avoiding the complex language and Latin phrases common in pamphlets aimed at educated readers.
The profits should be used to buy supplies for the Continental army.
The conflict over Britain's right to tax the colonies, the outbreak of war in 1776, and the growing conviction that Britain was a corrupt society prepared the hearts of Hawley and thousands of other Americans.
The British burned Portland, Maine, and bombarded Norfolk, Virginia, in the winter of 1776, which gave added weight to the movement for independence.
Scores of American communities adopted resolutions in the spring of 1776 calling for a separation from Britain.
The Congress formally declared the United States an independent nation on July 2, 1776.
The Declaration of Independence was approved two days later.
The Declaration contains grievances against King George III, ranging from quartering troops in colonial homes to imposing taxes without the consent of the colonists.
Britain's goal was to establish absolute tyranny over the colonies.
Georgia and South Carolina objected to the deletion of a clause in Jefferson's draft that condemned the inhumanity of the slave trade and criticized the king for reversing colonial laws that sought to restrict the importation of slaves.
By Jefferson's definition, "unalienable rights" meant that no government could take them away.
He became the first Episcopal bishop of the new nation after the War of Independence.
The unhappy contention we have entered into with our parent state would inevitably be attended with many disagreeable circumstances, with many and great inconveniences to us, even were it conducted on our part, with propriety and moderation.
I will not attempt to point out the causes of our disagreement with Great Britain so early in your time.
I will not attempt to trace the progress of that infatuation, which has so badly affected the Colonies.
Most of the measures that have been adopted have been illegal in the beginning.
The most despotic authority over the province was taken over by a Committee.
They entered into contracts, compacts, combinations, treaties of alliance with the other colonies without any power from the legislature of the province.
They agreed with the other Colonies to send delegates to Philadelphia to determine the rights and liberties of the good people of this province.
The state in which the Grand Congress has reduced the colonies is really bad.
The good people of this province have been introduced to a system of tyranny that can only be imagined.
People have been threatened with mob vengeance for speaking out in favor of good government.
A foreign power is in charge of this province.
Laws made at Philadelphia are imposed upon us by the most imperious menaces from New England, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas.
Money is taken from us without our consent.
In order to force submission to the Congress, mobs and riots are encouraged.
Simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense are what I offer in the following pages.
The distinctions of nature, good and bad, and of heaven, good and bad, are worth considering, but how a race of men came into the world so exalted above the rest, and distinguished like some new species, is worth looking into.
The sun did not shine on a cause of greater worth.
It's not the affair of a city, a country, a province, or a kingdom, but of at least one eighth part of the globe.
Historians are involved in the context and will be more or less affected by the proceedings at the end of the day.
The seed time of continental union, faith and honor is now.
I challenge the advocate for reconciliation to show how being connected with Great Britain will benefit this continent.
The injuries and disadvantages we sustain by that connection are not numbers.
Any submission to, or dependence on, Great Britain tends to involve this Continent in European wars and quarrels, and set us at odds with nations who would otherwise seek our friendship, and against whom we have neither anger nor complaint.
The old world is overrun with oppression.
Freedom has been hunted around the globe.
Asia and Africa have been expelling her.
England gave her a warning to leave because Europe considers her like a stranger.
Prepare for an asylum for mankind when you receive the fugitive.
Jefferson went on to say that Britain had broken the law.
The right of revolution is an assertion of the Declaration of Independence.
The meaning of American freedom was changed by the Declaration of Independence.
The shift from the rights of Englishmen to the rights of mankind was completed.
The British constitution and the heritage of the freeborn Englishman were not justified by the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God.
Liberty had become a universal entitlement after a set of specific rights, no longer a privilege to be enjoyed by a corporate body or people in certain social circumstances.
Jefferson tied the new nation's star to an open-ended, democratic process whereby individuals develop their own potential and seek to realize their own life goals when he replaced the "pursuit of happiness" with property in the Lockean triad.
Individual self-fulfillment, unimpeded by government, would become a central element of American freedom.
Americans could shape their society as they saw fit.
Nationality resting on American freedom was born in the Revolution.
The idea of "American exceptionalism", the belief that the United States has a special mission to serve as a refuge from tyranny, a symbol of freedom, and a model for the rest of the world, has occupied a central place in American nationalism.
This idea was repeated many times in sermons, political tracts, and newspaper articles.
America and America alone were the place where the principle of universal freedom could take root because of the oppression of the peoples of the Old World.
Jefferson addressed the Declaration to the opinions of mankind, not just the colonists.
According to legend, the first person to add his name to the Declaration of Independence was the president of the Second Continental Congress, a Massachusetts merchant named John Hancock.
The colony has a coat of arms.
1776 was a momentous year in North America, apart from the Declaration of Independence.
The first European settlement at San Francisco was established by Spain to block Russian advances.
Local Indians rebelled against Spanish rule in San Diego.
The Black Hills of North Dakota were home to the Lakota Sioux for the next century.
In 1776, no one knew that these places and peoples would eventually become part of the United States.
The struggle for independence spread around the globe.
Winning international recognition for their independence from Britain was more important to the American colonists than securing human rights for all mankind.
The signal of arousing men to burst the chains was hoped for by Jefferson.
For more than two centuries, the Declaration has been an inspiration to colonial peoples around the world who were denied the enjoyment of their natural rights.
The Declaration appeared in French and German, but not in Spanish, since the government feared it would inspire dangerous ideas among the peoples of Spain's American empire.
Many anticolonial movements have modeled their own Declaration of Independence on America's.
In places like China and Vietnam, where the revolution of 1911 and1945 took place, more than half of the world has such a declaration.
Jefferson's grievances against an imperial power were listed in many of these documents.
Jefferson invoked the pursuit of happiness, but few of these documents have affirmed the natural rights.
The Declaration in a global context has become an assertion of the right of various groups to form independent states, rather than a list of the rights of citizens that their governments could not abridge.