The Stamp Act was passed by Parliament in early 1765. It required that all colonists buy special tax stamps to be placed on newspapers, contracts, and other documents. Delegates from nine colonies met in New York for the Stamp Act Congress where they sent a petition. This demanded the end of the Stamp Act.
The Parliament passed the Sugar Act on 1764. It put a duty or import tax on several products including molasses and sugar. It also called for harsh punishment of smugglers. Colonial merchants, who sometimes traded in smuggled goods, protested.
Boston Tea Party
In 1773, the British Parliament passed the Tea Act. It granted the British East India Company a monopoly of tea sales in the American colonies. The colonists were unhappy because the monopoly hurt colonial merchants. Many of them sold Dutch tea that was smuggled into colonies. They would not be able to compete with the lower-priced East India Company tea.
On March 5, 1770, in Boston, an angry crowd of workers and sailors surrounded a small group of soldiers. They shouted at the soldiers and threw snowballs and rocks at them. The soldiers fired into the crowd, killing five and wounding six people. Governor Thomas Hutchinson had nine soldiers involved in the shooting arrested and tried for murder. John Adams defended them and only two British soldiers were convicted.
On December 16, 1773, members of the Sons of Liberty protested the Tea Act. They disguised as Native Americans and boarded the tea ship.They threw 342 cases of tea into the harbor. The raiders destroyed 90,000 pounds of tea worth thousands of dollars. This outraged King George III and the British government.
Patrick Henry was one of the most eloquent spokesperson for independence. He said "No taxation without representation." This quote means when a taxing authority imposes taxes on its citizens without a political voice through elected representatives. Benjamin Franklin was an inventor, community leader, and diplomat. He was a writer and started a newspaper called Pennsylvania Gazette which was the most widely read newspaper in the colonies. Thomas Paine was a political philosopher and writer. He wrote Common Sense which convinced colonies to take up arms against England. He argued that representational government was superior to a monarchy.