For more than a decade before the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1775, tensions had been building between colonists and the British authorities.
Colonial resistance led to violence in 1770, when British soldiers opened fire on a mob of colonists, killing five men in what was known as the Boston Massacre.
After December 1773, when a band of Bostonian´s dressed as Mohawk Indians boarded British ships and dumped 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor, an outraged Parliament passed a series of measures (known as the Intolerable, or Coercive Acts) designed to reassert imperial authority in Massachusetts
In response, a group of colonial delegates including George Washington of Virginia, John and Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, Patrick Henry of Virginia and John Jay of New York met in Philadelphia in September 1774 to give voice to their grievances against the British crown.
This First Continental Congress did not go so far as to demand independence from Britain, but it denounced taxation without representation, as well as the maintenance of the British army in the colonies without their consent, and issued a declaration of the rights due every citizen, including life, liberty, property, assembly and trial by jury
On April 19, local militiamen clashed with British soldiers in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, marking the first shots fired in the Revolutionary War