Important Events Leading up to the Declaration of Independence

  • Paris Peace Treaty of 1763

    Paris Peace Treaty of 1763
    The Treaty of Paris of 1763 formally ended the French and Indian War (Seven Years War). It was signed by Great Britain, France, Spain, and Portugal. The port of New Orleans and the Louisiana Territory west of the Mississippi were ceded to Spain and France lost their control and land in North America. Britain gained dominance in North America. However, accompanying this British Victory was the British war debt.
  • Pontiac's Rebellion Begins

    Pontiac's Rebellion Begins
    Post-war colonist expansion and the loss of the French and any other European groups in North America put Native Americans in a precarious position. In response, Ottawa Chief, Pontiac, led several tribes and some remaining French to participate in a violent rebellion. They occupied most of the British posts west of the Appalachian mountains. Approximately 2,000 soldiers and settlers were killed. British answered this demonstration by spreading infected blankets and with the Proclamation of 1763.
  • Proclamation of 1763

    Proclamation of 1763
    Pontiac's rebellion aroused the London Government to designate a border between the Natives and the "rambunctious" land hungry colonists. This Proclamation forbade settlement west of the Appalachians. Although the colonists, believing they deserved the land, were upset, the Proclamation of 1763 wasn't intended to be oppressive or dictatorial. This proclamation was drawn up to prevent and solve violence with Indians, tie the colonists to the authority and keep them local for easier taxing.
  • Sugar Act 1764

    Sugar Act 1764
    Prime Minister George Grenville directed this parliamentary tax to raise colonial revenue for the crown. It increased a duty on foreign sugar, targeting the sugar most colonists imported from the West Indies. The taxes were considerably lowered after aggrieved protests from colonists. This along with the reinforced and newly strict Navigation Laws, was basically the start of tax and policy based resentment towards the British government.
  • Currency Act

    Currency Act
    In the colonies there was often confusion about getting and printing currency and the value individual bills held. This act forbade the supplying of any new bills and the resupplying of any existing currency. Parliament made a "hard" currency system using the pound sterling and they abolished the bills. The act also instituted and expanded Vice-Admiralty courts' authority. Colonists felt mistreated through this act.
  • Stamp Act is passed by Parliament

    Stamp Act is passed by Parliament
    Issued by notorious Grenville, the Stamp Act was issued to raise money for the new military force. It required a stamped paper or a stamp to be attached to various items, ranging from bills, legal documents, licenses, playing cards and newspapers. Although the government intended it to be a small payment for their own defense, American felt that their economic and personal rights had been stepped on. This Act initiated more Vice Admiralty Courts use, unfairly trying its violators without jury.
  • Quartering Act 1765

    Quartering Act 1765
    The Quartering Act of 1765 commanded by law that specific colonies supply food and shelter/quarters for members of the British troops. This was another of the rules imposed under Prime Minister George Grenville that sparked anger and distrust. Grenville's acts also began to spark the claim of taxation without representation among colonists.
  • Period: to

    Stamp Act Congress, or First Congress of the American Colonies

    The Stamp Tax sparked furor and the cry "no taxation without representation" was repeated. An American paranoia that the British were out to get them also developed and protests occurred. The most prominent form of resistance was the Stamp Tax Congress, which brought 27 eminent men from 9 colonies to NYC where they drew up a statement explaining their offended rights and requested for repeal of the act. The congress foreshadows the increasing intercolonial unity and cooperation.
  • Daughters of Liberty

    Daughters of Liberty
    In the year 1766, many orders of the group "Daughters of Liberty" began to pop up. These brave and defiant women exemplified their loyalty to the American colonies via active boycotts and substituting British goods with their own homemade textiles and other products. Their work is an important minority input and a unique contribution from patriotic women. They promoted resistance to the crown in the atmosphere of the homestead.
  • Repealing of the Stamp Act and Passing of the Declaratory Act

    Repealing of the Stamp Act and Passing of the Declaratory Act
    Commotion included nonimportation agreements, boycotts, actions of the Sons of and Daughters of Liberty, and harassment of stamp agents. When the act was supposed to go into effect, there weren't any stamp selling agents. Manufacturers and shippers who were hit hard by the nonimportations demanded back to parliament for a repeal. After a debate, the Stamp Act was repealed and the Declaratory Act passed on the same day. The new act dictated parliament's total right to legislate, lead and tax them
  • Townshend Revenue Acts

    Townshend Revenue Acts
    "Champagne Charley" Townshend convinced Parliament to issue this import duty on glass, white lead, paper, tea, and paint. It was ingeniously made an indirect port tax at colonial ports. This tax didn't even greatly burden colonists, because it was light and they could still successfully smuggle or boycott. However, taxation without representation (no matter how light) along with the suspension of the New York Legislature provoked colonial sense of mistrust and fear.
  • Massachusetts Circular Letter

    Massachusetts Circular Letter
    The Massachusetts circular letter was drafted by Samuel Adams and passed by the Massachusetts House of Representatives in February 1768. Adams argued that the Townshend Acts were wrongful because of improper and unsatisfactory representation in Parliament. He persisted that their own colonial assemblies should tax and govern them. In return, the assembly in Massachusetts was ordered to dissolve, which sparked more protest.
  • Period: to

    British Troops Begin Arriving in Boston

    In late September and early October the first two regimens of British troops arrived in Boston. They were sent by the British government to enforce the Townshend duties and enact law and order. (The British knew that colonists weren't complying with their tax because of its failure to produce revenue and money.) Many of these soldiers acted in a foul and drunken manner. Colonists, especially those of Boston, hated them and their presence, and often harassed and teased them.
  • Boston Massacre

    Boston Massacre
    The hard feelings about troops being placed in Boston escalated even more on March 5, 1770. A group of around 10 soldiers were confronted by a crowd of approximately 60 Bostonians armed with clubs and taunting them. No order to fire was given, but the group was pressured, outnumbered, and provoked so they fired. 11 "innocent" citizens were wounded or killed by British hands; This didn't make the British look any better than their already "spiteful" image in the patriotic colonists' eyes.
  • The Gaspée Affair

    The Gaspée Affair
    HMS Gaspee was a British schooner that was sent to Narragansett Bay to monitor Rhode Island ports that weren't complying with mercantilist policies. Lieutenant Dudingston was commanding the men to search a local boat the Hannah. After Captain Lindsey of the Hannah had the Gaspee stuck at low tide, some Rhode Islanders and members of the Sons of Liberty conquered the ship and set it on fire. This event shows that the passionate colonists wouldn't let anything or anyone scare or stop them.
  • Period: to

    Committes Of Correspondence Begin Forming

    The first Committee of Correspondence was formed in November by Samuel Adams in Boston, and they expanded over time. They were conventions of leading men of most of the colonies. Those who attended dealt with the current issues experienced by the colonists. These issues included the Townshend and Tea Acts. The assemblance of these committees was a fundamental beginning step to intercolonial unity.
  • The Tea Act is passed by Parliament

    The Tea Act is passed by Parliament
    Because the British East India Company was bordering bankruptcy, the London government could lose lots of money. The Tea Act was to sell BEI's unsold tea at rollback prices to colonists via British agents. Instead of celebrating this finance-savvy move of the British government, the colonists remained angry at the tax and felt deceived.
  • Boston Tea Party

    Boston Tea Party
    Colonists at ports throughout the colonies refused the tea or boldly made the ships return to Britain full. At the Boston port, the Massachusetts governor refused to budge or be persuaded and the tea ships were ordered not to leave until their cargo was unloaded. Annoyed and rowdy, a group of men disguised as Indians boarded these ships and dumped 342 chests of tea into the Boston harbor. Some praised them for their bold and zealous demonstration, while others remained disgusted.
  • Period: to

    The Intolerable Acts Are Passed And Become Effective

    Passed on March 24th and effective on June 2nd, the Coercive Acts were a parliamentary punishment, especially aimd at the region of Boston. This series of acts came to be known as the Intolerable Acts by Americans, and dubbed "The Massacre of American Liberty." They include the Boston Port Act, Administration of Justice Act, Massachusetts Government Act, and the Quartering Act. The latter, as the only one aimed at all the colonies infuriated the people even more than its issuing in 1765.
  • The Intolerable Acts Are Passed by Parliament

    The Intolerable Acts Are Passed by Parliament
    In March of 1774, Parliament passed a set of laws called the "Coercive" or "Intolerable" acts. These laws consisted of the Quartering Act, the Boston Port Act, Administration of Justice Act, and the Massachusetts Government Act. These acts were passed in response to the Boston Tea Party in 1773, and caused great outrage and resistance in the colonies, because the American colonists felt as if these new acts violated their rights.
  • Quebec Act is Passed

    Quebec Act is Passed
    The Quebec Act was passed by Parliament in 1774, giving Catholic French religious freedom and restoring the French form of civil law. Also, this act extended the boundaries of Quebec as far south as the Ohio River and as far west as the Mississippi River. This act frustrated colonists because it extended French territory into the American colonies and allowed for French Roman Catholic institutions.
  • Period: to

    First Continental Congress

    Meeting in fall of 1774, The First Continental Congress in Philly discussed a means of defense to the Intolerable Acts. This congress included about 55 leading men representing 12 of the 13 colonies (not Georgia) as an early "governing" body, They called for a boycott and created petitions and documents (ex: Suffolk County Resolves and Declaration of Rights and Resolves). Sam and John Adams, George Washington and Patrick Henry played important parts in the decisions and writings of this congress
  • Battle at Point Pleasant

    Battle at Point Pleasant
    This is also known as "Battle of Kanawha". It was a conflict between a Virginia militia and the Shawnee and Mingo tribes. It was located along the Ohio River, and was tedious and violent. The Indians were trying to prohibit the advance of Col. Lewis into the Ohio Valley. The Shawnee Chief Cornstalk eventually retreated. This battle is an example of a minority's part in the war because it shows how Americans always had to combat and keep watch over Native American forces.
  • Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress is adopted

    Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress is adopted
    This was a statement responding to Parliament's Intolerable Acts reviewing the offenses of the acts, explaining colonists' objections, and providing a small bill of rights. It was ended by a summary of the congress' plans: to boycott via the Association until the acts were repealed, to petition to the king, and to appeal to the British people. In response to this declaration, King George III remarked to Lord North "they must either submit or die."
  • Continental Association becomes active

    Continental Association becomes active
    Created on Oct. 20, the "Continental Association", commonly called the Association, was a system of boycott in attempt to bait the British Government to redress their offenses, especially Intolerable Acts. It was created in the First Continental Congress and stopped the trading and purchasing of British goods. Because it actually negatively affected British trade, the English responded with the New England Restraining Act. It required them to only trade with Britain and The British West Indies.
  • Patrick Henry Delivers his "Give me liberty or give me death speech"

    Patrick Henry Delivers his "Give me liberty or give me death speech"
    Patrick Henry delivered a speech to the Virginia House of Burgesses in a successful effort to persuade the colony of Virginia into joining the revolution against Great Britain. He is still known for his bravery and courage because of the significant phrase still referred to today: "Give me liberty or give me death!" This speech was delivered in front of the VA House of Burgesses.
  • Battles of Lexington and Concord

    Battles of Lexington and Concord
    The Battles of Lexington and Concord marked the first military conflict in the Revolutionary War. British troops were given secret orders to seize military supplies from the colonial militia and arrest leaders John Hancock and Samuel Adams. At Lexington, the British troops and colonial militia met in armed conflict, where the British put down the colonial rebellion and advanced to Concord. At Concord, the colonial Minutemen fought and defeated the British troops.
  • The Capture of Fort Ticonderoga

    The Capture of Fort Ticonderoga
    A group of Green Mountain Boys, a local militia, was led by Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen to surprise, capture and ransack the garrisons at Ft. Ticonderoga and Crown Point. The British were surprised. This victory is significant because the patriots gained a large supply of cannons, weapons, and equipment which later helped their success for Dorchester Heights and at the siege of Boston.
  • Period: to

    Second Continental Congress Meets

    Compared to the First Continental Congress, this Cont. Congress met for a greater timespan and convened for a larger chunk of the American Revolution. Leaders from all of the 13 colonies attended it to manage war effort, communicate with Britain, organize/lead the colonies, and command strategy. The achievements include: the Olive Branch Petition, making a postal system, writing the Declaration of Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms, and appointing George Washington as the leader of the army.
  • George Washington is chosen to lead continental army

    George Washington is chosen to lead continental army
    George Washington was chosen by the Second Continental Congress to lead the poorly trained and loosely organized Continental Army. George Washington had shown previous acts of bravery, courage, and leadership in the French and Indian war. This is important because George Washington’s keen sense of leadership eventually accomplished important outcomes like the crossing of the Delaware and attack in Trenton, and boosted the morale of his men,
  • The Battle of Bunker (Breed's) Hill

    The Battle of Bunker (Breed's) Hill
    In June 1775, patriots seized Breed's Hill. This position was significant to their success in this battle. As the British entered from Boston, they headed into an onslaught of colonial bullets. The colonists had the upper hand in this battle until they ran out of supplies and were forced to abandon the approaching redcoats. This battle is significant because it exemplifies the constant colonial lack of supplies.
  • Period: to

    Invasion of Canada

    These invasions began in 1775. They were some of the first main actions of the newly assembled continental army. The patriots' objective was to acquire control of Quebec and persuade the French Canadians to join their cause. These invasions include the battles of Quebec, Ft Ticonderoga, and Ft St. John's. This is an important marker in the Revolutionary War because it was a notoriously disastrous defeat for the Americans, including the death of Montgomery and injury of Benedict Arnold.
  • The Olive Branch Petition is submitted to King George

    The Olive Branch Petition is submitted to King George
    The Olive Branch Petition was adopted on July 5 and submitted by the Second Continental Congress on July 8 of 1775. This was the colonist's last attempt in asserting their own rights while maintaining loyalty to the British crown to resolve issues. King George refused to open the petition and declared the colonies to be in a state of rebellion.
  • Dunmore's Proclamation

    Dunmore's Proclamation
    Lord Dunmore was the British Royal Governor of VA, a colony where slavery existed largely in business, production, and everyday life. Dunmore offered freedom to slaves who would abandon their masters and join the British forces. This American disadvantage is one way that a minority group had a part in the American revolution.
  • Prohibitory Act

    The Prohibitory Act is an act issued by Parliament. It declared a naval blockade against American ports. This event is significant because it leads to the introduction of the American practice of privateering. Privateering is the act of using privately owned ships to seize or attack British naval vessels.
  • Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" is published

    Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" is published
    Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" used clear and simple language to explain reasons for independence from Great Britain. This gave the colonists an argument for freedom, especially those who were in a neutral position at the time. This was political event because it used American political philosophies of John Locke.
  • Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge

    Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge
    This Battle took place around Wilmington, NC, and it was a quick confrontation between southern loyalists and southern patriots. In fact, it included swords-on-musket action and the patriots had few casualties. One was dead and one was wounded! This battle showed the role of patriot vs loyalist reality of the American Revolution's warfare..almost like brother vs. brother. It's also significant because it helped shape political support for the war in America.
  • Period: to

    Battle of Nassau

    This is a battle in which the newly established Continental navy raided Nassau in attempt to confiscate a stockpile of gunpowder and other essential supplies. Lt. John Paul Jones led the patriots to this Island in the Bahamas. This was one of the first quests of the Continental navy!
  • Evacuation Day in Boston

    Evacuation Day in Boston
    George Washington and John Thomas together fortified Boston where the British were residing. Patriot forces sieged and surrounded Boston, starting at the outskirts and working their way in. They even used the cannons gathered from the Capture of Fort Ticonderoga! This is an important victory for George Washington. This "bloodless victory" is an important day because it marks the end of the resented British occupation of Boston.
  • Period: to

    Lee's Resolution to the Formal Adoption of the Declaration Of Independence

    Independence was initially introduced by VA delegate Richard H. Lee to the Second Continental Congress. A small group including John Adams, Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson were selected to draft this in a formal document. Jefferson crafted it including Locke's natural rights and the king's violations of American rights. This officially self-declared the Americans as rebels and sealed their official goal as independence. After being formally adopted, this document was published and read widely.
  • The Virginia Declaration of Rights is adopted

    The Virginia Declaration of Rights is adopted
    This is a document by George Mason that announces and asserts the natural rights of men; including the right to rebel, revolt, or claim grievances of a faulty government that is compromising the people's rights. This is important because it foreshadows the growing universal belief of unalienable rights and the use of documents to portray this belief. (especially, the Declaration Independence)