Discuss the legacy of the Intolerable Acts in American History.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the legacy of the Intolerable Acts extends both leading up to the Revolution and offering a blueprint of American political identity after it.  Naturally, the British response to the Boston Tea Party was something that the colonists found "intolerable."  The expansion of British centralized power into colonial life to make an example of the dissent voiced by the colonists was something that helped motivate the colonists to breaking free from England.  The closing of the Boston port, suspension of town hall meetings, ensuring that trials of colonists accused of crimes would be held in Britain, and increasing the power of the royal governor all stirred the anger of the colonists.  The meeting of the First Continental Congress was a response, indicating that the colonists were seeking to establish the initial chords of independence after the Intolerable Acts.  In this, one can see how the Intolerable Acts helped to move the nation closer to war, the declaration of independence.  Outside of this, much of the Intolerable Acts became the basis for what the framers wished to avoid in the construction of the Constitution.  The ideas of being able to peaceably protest without fear of retaliation, ensuring that centralized power could be checked by other institutional elements, and protecting the rights of the accused regardless of political context all become landmark elements of the Constitution.  This helps to demonstrate the importance of the Intolerable Acts and its legacy both within the time period and outside of it.


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