Monday, April 29, 2013

After the French and Indian War

After the French and Indian War, Britain had around 10,000 troops to North America to protect its colonists from attacks by the Native Americans. The British had spent millions of pounds to fund the war and by the end, they were in debt 140,000 pounds, an enormous amount of money in that era.

After the war, the British issued a series of proclamations and taxes to the people living in areas they controlled to try to cover the war debt. In 1763, the Proclamation of 1763, a treaty which tried to protect the Native Americans from further encroachment by the settlers, was issued. The proclamation established a western boundary for colonial settlement along the Appalachian Mountains; to the west of the mountains, the land was reserved for the Natives. The colonists responded to the proclamation with a combination of anger and disdain. They were angry with the government for interfering and trying to limit their economic growth. They also felt as though there was very little the government could do to enforce the proclamation because they believed there was no way Britain could stop the natural movement of the colonists westward. 

The second British action was to issue a series of taxes. In 1764, the British passed the Revenue Act, also known as the Sugar Act, which actually lowered the tax on molasses, a key import of the colonies, probably in hopes that the colonies would import more molasses and thus spend more money which would benefit the Mother Country and its holdings. However, the this new act provided strong methods on enforcing the tariff on molasses, as well as placing a tax on the importation of other items such as silks, wine, and potash. Other taxes include the Stamp Act, which was a tax on all paper products and a stamp would be placed on the product to show you paid the tax; the Townshend Acts, which were a series of taxes to raise revenue for the Crown, including the infamous tea tax; and later, the Intolerable Acts, which were a series of acts enacted upon the colonists in response to the Boston Tea Party—including the Boston Port Act, which closed down the Port of Boston; the Massachusetts Government Act, which altered the government of Massachusetts to bring it under control of the British government, and all governing colonial positions were appointed by the governor or the King; the Administration of Justice Act, which allowed the governor to move trials of accused royal officials to another colony or even to Britain if he believed the official could not get a fair trial in Massachusetts; and the Quartering Act, which sought to create a more effective way of housing British troops in North America by providing them housing.

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