What were some of the Colonists' reactions to British actions?

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

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I think that one of the strongest examples of Colonial reaction to the British were the ones that forged a sense of unity amongst the Colonists.  For example, the establishment of the committees of Correspondence was one Colonial action that fostered a sense of unity within the Colonial struggle for independence.  Sam Adams' idea of writing letters to the other Colonists to ensure that all of them were made aware of what the British were doing helped to arouse anger, enabling the Colonists to see themselves as a collective element competing against England as opposed to a fragmented entity that stood little chance against the British Empire.  The meeting of the First Continental Congress in the face of the Intolerable Acts was another such action.  In this, the Colonists began to act like a government, realizing that the time in which reconciliation with England was long past and new course of action needed to be charted.  In these actions, Colonial resentment became more than private grievance and evolved into public declaration.

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saintfester | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

Hey lilstunna,

I think Akannan did a good job with his answer and I would like to add on to it.

I am assuming you mean the causes of the revoultion when you are referring to "response to British actions" so i'm going to mention some of the major causes of the revolution and go over the reaction to each. I hope this helps.

The Proclamation of 1763: Prevented settlement west of the Appalacian mountains to keep colonists and Native Americans from coming into conflict.

-Colonists disapporved of this measure because they felt they were being robbed of land they had won during the French and Indian War. Many settlers had already moved over the mountains and into Kentucky and Tennessee and were unwilling to move back. Despite the best efforts of the British, most colonists moved west anyways and refused to abandon their settlements until British soldiers forced them back across the proclaimation line.

The Stamp Act of 1765: Required the placing of a tax on most printed goods, such as legal papers, playing cards and newspapers.

- Colonists widely disapproved and resisted this tax on the grounds that they had no say in its passage. Up to this point colonial legislatures had been allowed to pass their own taxes. The Stamp Act marked an important turn where Parliment (the law making body in England) began passing taxes and since the colonies had no representation in parliment, they felt they had no voice in these new taxes. ("No taxation without representation" became a popular rallying cry) Wide spread protests were common in most colonies. Tax collectors were attacked and beaten. In Boston one unlucky tax collector was grabbed and threatend with burial while alive! Some colonies sent petitions to Parliment asking for the stamp acts repeal, and eventually all the protesting forced Parliment to repeal the law.

The Townshend Acts - An act that placed taxes on most manufactured goods imported from Britain.

When this act was passed the colonies responded with a general boycott of British goods (a boycott is when you protest by refusing to buy things) which hurt businessmen in Britain. To offset the lack of British goods available for purchase in the colonies, many colonists began making their own things. They would knit their own stockings, mix their own paints and even try to forge their own tools to try and support the boycott.

The Tea Act - An attempt by the British to help keep the British East India company from going bankrupt. A small tax was added to a large shipment of tea being sent to the colonies.

In most areas, the tea was simply not allowed to be unloaded when it arrived in port. In Boston, the group known as The Sons of Liberty (which included people like Sam Adams and Paul Revere) orcistrated a famous protest by dumping the tea into Boston Harbor. This became known as the Boston Tea Party and eventually resulted in Boston being placed under military rule with the Intolerable Acts.

I hope this helps. Feel free to contact me if you need more details.

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