The events leading up to the Declaration of Independence
Long before the United States of America was even formed, the country was a colony of the British Empire. The British were very controlling and they had a tendency to raise taxes on the colonists living there. The first tax, called The Stamp Act, was forced on the colonists in 1765 by Parliament. This act stated that colonists were required to pay for an official stamp when they bought paper items. The colonists were not in agreement with Parliament and they repealed it soon after because they thought it violated their rights. However, that did not stop Parliament from passing another tax. The Townshend Acts were enacted to force the colonists to pay for glass, paper, tea, lead, and paints. The colonists were not going to take that so they started boycotting against British goods. As a result, British soldiers were sent to Boston to restore order and to ensure that Parliament’s laws were carried out. When they arrived, Bostonians saw them as a threat. They began to shout insults and throw snowballs at the troops. Then a soldier fired into the crowd killing three men and two others. The soldiers were charged for murder but were found innocent. This injustice made the colonists angry with Britain and the next thing they did will be a day remembered in history forever. The Parliament passed another Act called the Tea Act. This allowed the British East India Company to sell tea directly to the colonists. Some merchants and smugglers feared that they would go out of business. Ships arrived from the company to the Boston Harbor. On December 16, 1773 some colonists were disguised as Indians and sneaked onto the ship. They dumped over 340 tea chests into the Boston Harbor. This event was known as the Boston Tea Party. The colonists rejoiced in their rebellious actions but their joy was short lived. Parliament decided to punish not just the colonists who had dumped the tea but all of Boston for this rebellion. They wanted them to receive the message that they were not playing around and if someone did something wrong everyone would get punished. They wanted to make sure that they were in control. They therefore passed the Intolerable Acts. These Acts closed down the Boston Harbor until the ruined tea was paid for. The Massachusetts’s charter was canceled, and a new Quartering Act was required. Other Acts were involved as well that would change the colonists life. The British thought that by doing so order would be restored to the colonies but it had quite the opposite effect. The closing of the Boston Harbor was the last straw for the colonists. This sparked the beginning of the Revolutionary War in which America strived toward independence from Britain.
Colonial leaders gathered to discuss the relationship that existed between America and Britain in a meeting known as the First Continental Congress. Some thought that it was not right to have violence and that another way...