The Grievances of the Colonists

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How did the British government respond to the colonists' protests against the Townshend Acts of 1767?

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The colonists were unhappy with the passage of the Townshend Acts. This was another example of a tax the colonists felt was unfair. It placed taxes on imported goods, and the person importing the product paid the tax that was then passed on to the colonists. As a result of this law, the colonists agreed to boycott British goods and to make their own products. The British merchants were concerned about the colonists making their own products. This had the possibility of the merchants permanently losing customers, especially if the colonists were successful in making their own products.

While the British merchants were concerned about the loss of customers, the British government really didn’t respond to the actions of the colonists. While the number of British troops in the colonies increased, it wasn’t until the Boston Massacre occurred that the British took action regarding these taxes. After the Boston Massacre, the British removed most of the taxes created by the Townshend Acts. The only tax Parliament left in place was a tax on tea. Some colonists felt that by keeping this tax in place, the British were subtly informing the colonists the British could do whatever they wanted since these were their colonies. Then removal of most of these taxes did prevent the crisis caused by the Boston Massacre from erupting into something much bigger at that time. However, future events would eventually lead to Revolutionary War.

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The ultimate response of the British government to these protests was to repeal the Townshend Acts.  They revoked all of the taxes imposed by these acts except for the tax on tea.

When the Townshend taxes were imposed, there was a great deal of protest in the colonies.  The British reacted to this with some degree of force.  They sent troops to Boston, which eventually led to the Boston Massacre.  However, the force did not work and did not last.  The colonists’ non-importation efforts started to hurt British merchants.  These merchants put enough pressure on the government that they eventually repealed almost all of the taxes.

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