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I'm Ms. Mirzai. Welcome to our discussion on the "Road to Revolution." Now, the picture on the screen in front of you shows colonists protesting a tax on tea, by tarring and feathering a British Customs official and forcing him to drink tea. In this lesson, you're going to learn more about the events that led the colonies to rebel against Britain. So now, we're going to review how American colonists got on
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that road to revolution. So let's get started.
Section 2
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1607 and 1732, the 13 American colonies were established. Now, their original purpose was to grow Britain's economy. The way they were going to do that was to provide the British with raw materials and agricultural products, such as tobacco. Now the colonies were British but they were increasingly becoming American. Now, they practiced self-government, that means
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the British let the American colonists have their own style of government and this type of colonial reign is called indirect rule. So the British let the American colonists take care of the day to day things going on in the colonies. They also developed their own businesses and industries. There were merchants of various kinds. There were agricultural industries.
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There were shipbuilding industries. People had smithshops, where they worked with various types of metals. They also enjoyed salutary neglect, which means [? basically ?] there were long stretches of time when the British neglected to enforce strong control over the colonies. So, in short, they were becoming more independent and
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when time came for the British to reassert their control over the colonies, these colonies would rise up in protest.
Section 4
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At the end of this lesson, you should be able to explain the contribution of Enlightenment thinkers, describe the effects of the French and Indian War, and explain American colonial reaction to British policy from 1763 to 1774. So let's look at these in more detail.
Instruction
Section 1
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In this lesson, our goal is to answer the question, what caused American colonists to rebel against British rule? Now, to do this, we're going to talk about the Enlightenment. We're going to talk about the effects of the French and Indian War on the American colonies. And we're also going to talk about English taxes and the colonial protests and responses to those taxes.
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We're going to begin by talking about the ideas that were sparked by events in 17th-century England and how Enlightenment ideas came out of that time period. So let's take a look at these now.
Section 2
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King James II was beginning to tighten England's control over the colonies. Now, many citizens, both in the American colonies and living in Great Britain, didn't like many of James's policies. And some of the British citizens also didn't like that James was a Catholic. They wanted the throne to return to a Protestant king.
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So in 1688, the people overthrew James II during the Glorious Revolution, which was a peaceful revolution. They asked James's daughter, Mary, and her husband, William of Orange, who were in the Netherlands, to become the king and queen, the joint monarchs of England. Now, Americans saw that people could overthrow an unfair ruler. This really gave them the idea that they could do this, that
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the people could have power. The English Bill of Rights was passed by Parliament. And it was designed to limit the king's power. It made Parliament the ruling body of England. And it also limited royal power to act without Parliament's approval. So this meant that the monarch could not do something unless Parliament approved it.
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Finally, it provided a model of representative government, where representatives-- the members of Parliament, who represent the different districts of the country-- would make decisions for the people, for the greater good.
Section 4
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Glorious Revolution and creation of the English Bill of Rights is really going to give way to a broader movement called the Enlightenment, or the Age of Reason. It's a cultural movement of 18th-century thinkers in Europe and America. And these Enlightenment thinkers used reason to understand and improve society. Now, they asked questions like, where does a government
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get its authority? And are people born with any rights? And should governments respect the rights of citizens? Now let's look at how some Enlightenment thinkers answer these questions. Let's begin with John Locke. He believed that everyone was born with natural rights. And he said that these natural rights included life, liberty,
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and the right to property. He also said these rights aren't given to you by a government. So a government can't take them away from you. They're not the government's rights to take. They're your rights. They're your natural rights that you're born with. He also believed in an idea of the social contract.
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People give power to a government as long as that government protects their natural rights. So it's in effect saying that people will allow a government to govern over them, to have power over them, to some extent as long as it's protecting their natural rights and not trying to take those rights away from them. Now let's take a look at some other Enlightenment thinkers including Rousseau, Baron de Montesquieu, and Voltaire.
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Now, Rousseau, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, believed a government gets its authority from the people-- very similar to Locke. Now, he also believed that if a government is unjust, the people have a right to reject it. Now, the Baron de Montesquieu believed in a separation of powers. And this is to say that a government should be split
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into several branches. This allows the branches to perform checks and balances on one another, limiting any one branch from becoming too powerful and becoming harmful to the people. And then Francois-Marie Voltaire promoted the idea of religious freedom. He believed that people should be allowed to worship as they wished without persecution.
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Now, these ideas made their way to the American colonies. And they were very influential to American leaders in the 1700s who picked up on the idea of that social contract, the idea of the separation of powers, and of religious freedom. And these ideas particularly influenced Thomas Jefferson-- on the screen in front of you is pictured. And he argued that people should have a say in how they
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are governed. Now, the ideas on the screen in front of you are actually going to make their way into the US Constitution. And that's because these ideas really resonated with early American leaders, with our founding fathers, because they were very important.
Section 6
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--how enlightenment ideas influenced American colonists. Next, we're going to talk about a European war that was fought on American soil and how that war changed the relationship between the American colonists and the British government. This is going to help us answer our lesson question, what caused American colonists to rebel against British rule?
Section 7
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Well, there very European rivals in North America. Really, by the mid 1700s Great Britain, France and Spain all claimed land in North America. Let's actually take a look at this map. You can see any areas that are in this orange color here, look along the eastern seaboard, that's English territory. Now French territory is all of this here.
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Well, the Spanish territory that you can see on the East coast, because there is other Spanish territories to the south and to the west, this territory here is in the green color. But what it's important to see are these disputed territories. These areas with the multiple lines. This we're marking here, this is showing lands that are
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disputed between the English and the French. So you see the two different European countries who are already fighting a war in Europe also disputed territories here. And this is going to lead to war on American soil between France and Britain in 1754. Now American Indians are going to choose sides. This is why the name for this war is going to become the
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French and Indian War. That is to indicate that the American colonists are fighting a war, because they're on the side of Britain because they are British subjects, they are fighting a war against the French and Indians, American Indians. So there are American Indians already living in lands claimed by Europeans, right? You know this from your study of American history that
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Europeans were not the first ones to the Americas. In order to preserve their territory, some groups allied themselves with Europeans. They were hoping that after the war was said and done, they might be able to keep portions of their territory. It might improve relationships between the British or the French, depending on which side won, and it might be good for them.
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So the Iroquois Confederacy allied with the British, and then the Algonquin and the Huron groups allied with the French. So there's going to be American Indian involvement in this war that the British and American colonists are going to wage against the French.
Section 9
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France and Great Britain had claimed the Ohio River Valley. And in 1750, these competing claims are going to lead to armed conflict. Now, George Washington, who you see on the screen in front of you, actually led a colonial militia on an ambush of French forces. He is defeated by a joint force of American Indians and French soldiers.
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But he becomes a hero in the eyes of American colonists. This is going to be important later on, when he's chosen to lead the Continental Army against the British during the Revolution. So keep this in mind, because this is the first time many Americans are hearing about him. But to them, he's a hero. Now, the French and Indian War was actually part of a larger
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global conflict that was being fought in Europe, in Canada, of course, and the American colonies of Britain. France and Britain fought each other in Europe. And the war that was going on in Europe is called the Seven Years' War. So the French and Indian War is part of this larger Seven Years' War that had been raging on in Europe. William Pitt is going to turn the tide for Britain.
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Because early on, French forces, who were very well-trained, were stronger early in the war. And they were winning some of the early battles. But Pitt is going to become prime minister of Great Britain. And from 1758 to 1760, the British, under the leadership of Pitt, are going to turn the tide. Why?
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Well, colonists are going to be forced to serve in the army, which is going to expand the size of the army. They're also going to send more British troops to America. Now, these are professional soldiers, so they've been very well-trained. So they are going to come over to help out. And as a result, we're going to see that the British begin
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to win major victories. Now, the Treaty of Paris in 1763 is going to end the war. And it's going to be signed by Britain, France, and Spain. France is going to give Great Britain its empire in North America. So let's take a look at the gains made by Great Britain. Now, here is the original 13 colonies that Great Britain had.
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If you look at this large orange mass-- and it goes up into Canada-- that's the territory that Great Britain is going to gain from France. If you look at this map key, you'll notice that France isn't even listed on the key for North America. Now, it's also important to note that this area was ceded by the French to the Spanish.
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The Spanish were a French ally. And they wanted to make sure that Great Britain didn't get too powerful and get all of their territory. So they ceded that to Spain. So you can see that Spain is making some gains here, as well. Britain now controlled the entire continent east of the Mississippi.
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Now, there's an important impact on the colonies. At this time, colonial economy was booming. The Proclamation of 1763, though, would halt westward expansion, which means that colonists are not going to be allowed to settle past this point. The British government was also heavy in debt. And they wanted to rectify this. They wanted to get out of this debt.
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And their idea was that the colonists should help pay for some of this debt. So the government is going to turn to taxes in order to help get out of debt, help ease their financial burden. And the colonists are going to be the ones who are going to be expected to pay that.
Section 11
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The Indian War was a victory for Britain and its colonies. But it was only the beginning of trouble for Britain with its colonies. Now we're going to take a look at how English taxes led to colonial protests and how this affected the relationship between Great Britain and its American colonies. This is going to help us answer our lesson question, what caused American colonists to rebel against British rule?
Section 12
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After the French and Indian War, the British government was in financial difficulty, so they turned to the colonies to try to get the colonists to pay for some of the financial losses they had incurred during the war. And they thought the war was fought on American soil, so it's really only right that the colonists should have to pay towards it and to pay for future defense. So Britain decided they were going to tax the colonists.
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The Sugar Act of 1764 enforced a tax on sugar and molasses imported into the colonies. Now colonists could no longer avoid the tax by buying smuggled goods, so they protested the tax. They were very upset about this because this tax resulted in higher priced goods. Now the Stamp Act was passed in 1765, and it taxed paper products such as newspapers or playing cards, and also
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official documents in the colonies. And the stamp on the screen in front of you would go on those documents to show that the tax had been paid. Now parliament refused to hear a colonial petition against the tax. Colonists were particularly upset about this tax because it was the first tax that they directly had to pay each time they went into a store, for example, to buy a newspaper or
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to buy some playing cards, they had to pay the tax right then. Whereas the Sugar Act was paid by the supplier, and that tax affected colonists in that they had to pay a higher price for their goods. It was a new tax and it was very, very unpopular among the colonists. Now colonists reacted strongly to the Stamp Act.
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Patrick Henry, who you see on the screen in front of you, and Sam Adams spoke out against it. Colonists boycotted British goods. They rejected the idea of taxation without representation. This was really a rallying cry by many of the colonists because they believed that it wasn't fair that they were being taxed when they didn't have any say in the laws that
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were affecting them, these taxes that were affecting them. They didn't have a representative in Parliament from the colonies, so they thought they were taking being taken advantage of. The Sons of Liberty protested in Boston, and it became a very difficult for the British government to hire any tax collectors in the city of Boston because they were so
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harassed that no one actually wanted to do the job. So you can see that they were becoming very effective at letting the British government know what they liked and what they didn't like. And they will firm in letting the government of Britain know that they did not like this taxation, and they didn't like taxation without representation.
Section 14
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The Townshend Acts of 1767 were passed after the repeal of the Stamp Act, which Parliament decided they weren't going to fight that battle, so instead they were going to pass these Townshend Acts. The Townshend Acts placed taxes on everyday items, including lead, glass, paper, paint, and tea. Colonists boycotted the purchase of these goods in protest, because they were still angry.
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This is the same idea. They are still being taxed without representation. So it's going back to that rallying cry; there's no taxation without representation. And the British government is still throwing taxes at them, so they're even more agitated than they were initially. And now they're taxing even more things. Rather than just taxing a few items, now they're taxing
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glass, paper, paint, tea, lead. So it's becoming increasingly frustrating for the colonists. We've talked about the Sons of Liberty. Well, the Daughters of Liberty were a successful group of colonial women protesters. They participated in boycotts of British goods like the Sons of Liberty did. Mercy Otis Warren, who is pictured here, held protest
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meetings in Boston. The Daughters of Liberty also did things like refuse to serve tea in their home, and they served coffee to their guests instead. Sometimes they would do what they could by buying local cloth or local cotton so that they could make their own goods, make their own fabrics, make their own clothing, whatever they could do to avoid buying British goods.
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The Boston Massacre occurred in 1770, when British soldiers opened fire on a crowd of American protesters in Boston. Five colonists were killed on that day, and it became known as the Boston Massacre. These protesters were hurling insults at the British soldiers and throwing things, including snowballs, at them, and someone opened fire. Tensions increased between British troops and American
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colonists and the British government. So tensions were rising very high, and this negative energy could be felt all around you. And this is very likely why something like people throwing snowballs at troops is going to end in bloodshed, because tensions are so high. It's a very stressful time in the colonies, particularly in Boston, Massachusetts.
00:02:23
The Boston Tea Party occurred in 1773, and it was one of the most famous of protests against British tax policies. The Tea Acts was a tax on tea, and it actually taxed tea twice. Basically, it forced the Americans to pay for the tax, again, when they were buying it, and that they had to buy their tea from an English company. They continued to boycott the tea, and the Sons of Liberty
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dumped about 45 tons of tea into Boston Harbor. This is the equivalent, in that day, of 10,000 British pounds, a monetary system, which is equal to about $1 million in today's money. So this was a lot of tea, and the British East India Company was going to be losing a lot of money. And that was going to affect, again, the British government in revenue going into England.
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So this was a huge deal. This was a massive protest. The Intolerable Acts of 1774 were passed by Parliament as a response to the Boston Tea Party. And they were really meant to isolate Massachusetts from the rest of the colonies and force Massachusetts to pay for what had gone on in the Boston Tea Party. They included the forcing of colonists to house soldiers, a
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new quartering act, which meant that people had to take British soldiers into their homes. It gave the governor the ability to move trials out of Massachusetts. He could move the trial to another colony or send the person on trial back to England. It also established martial law in Massachusetts, which meant that it was under a military government.
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And it closed Boston Harbor. By closing Boston Harbor, it meant that goods could not go in or out of Boston Harbor, which meant that many people could not get food and other necessities or supplies that they might need. So this was a very stern response by Parliament , and it's why the colonists nicknamed these series of acts the Intolerable Acts.
Section 16
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The Intolerable Acts really created worry throughout the colonies. Other colonies responded to those by helping Massachusetts out, sending food and other important supplies via roadways. But the colonists also worried that perhaps, if Britain could do this to Massachusetts, they might just do it to them. So in 1774, colonies sent representatives to the First
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Continental Congress in Philadelphia. And there, Congress issued official protests against British taxation and other policies. Now, Lexington, Concord, and Cambridge-- what are these? Well, in 1775, on April 19, British soldiers marched from Boston to Concord. They went to Concord because they believed that there was a weapons supply there, an armory, that colonists were
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preparing for something. They arrested patriot leaders and seized weapons that were stored in the town. But they never really found the amount of weapons they believed to be there. They battled with colonists in Lexington and Concord. And they were forced to retreat. And they did so under fire from colonists who hid behind
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trees and behind walls, shooting upon them. They returned to Boston after heavy fighting in the town of Cambridge, which is neighboring to Boston. The Revolutionary War had begun at this time. The first shot was fired in Lexington. And now the Revolutionary War was underway. The colonies now couldn't really turn back. They were on their road to revolution.
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The revolution had begun.
     
 
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