Causes of the American Revolution

French And Indian War- In 1754 colonists claimed that the French were taking land west of the colonies New York and Pennsylvania. The British, colonists, and Iroquois went to war with the French and other Native Americans. The war cost the British tons of money. The British decided after the war to tax the colonies to pay back the war debt. They also signed a treaty with the Iroquois agreeing to stay off their lands west of the Appalachian Mountains.

Proclamation Line of 1763- Colonists were not allowed to move west of the Appalachian Mountains.

“No taxation without representation”                                                   

  • Stamp Act- A British tax on all paper goods used within the 13 colonies. Examples: receipts, forms, letters.
  • Sugar Act- Colonists paid taxes on molasses, a sweat gel sugar used for baking.
  • Tea Act- A tax colonists had to pay on British tea.
  • Intolerable Acts/ Coercive Acts- Laws and taxes imposed on the colony of Massachusetts to punish them for their boycotting of British goods and the Boston Tea Party. They also closed Boston Harbor.
  • Writs of Assistance- Allowed British soldiers to search colonial homes and shops to look for smuggled goods.
  • Quartering Act- Allowed British soldiers to stay in colonial homes without colonial permission.

Massachusetts’ Protests

  • Boycott- Colonists protesting the taxes without representation boycott, did not buy, British products that were taxed. Note: Colonists were only allowed to buy British goods.

  • Boston Tea Party- Boston citizens board a British Tea trade ship in Boston Harbor dressed as Native Americans and throw the tea into the harbor. They were members of the Sons of Liberty and Daughters of Liberty. They were protesting the taxes on British tea without representation.

  • Sons of Liberty- A group of Massachusetts colonists who used violence to protest British rule. John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Paul Revere were members.
  • Daughters of Liberty- A group of female colonists who supported the actions of the Sons of Liberty.
  • Boston Massacre- A group of British soldiers shot and killed five colonists in Boston. The Sons of Liberty used propaganda with this event to gain support for war with Britain.

Heroes and Villains

  • Militias- Community members in the colonies formed part-time soldiers to help defend the colony when needed. They were everyday farmers, blacksmiths, and lawyers.

  • Red Coats- A nickname for British soldiers. It was named after the large red coat British officers wore.
  • Tory/ Loyalist- Colonists who support the British before and during the American Revolution.
  • Patriot- A colonist who fights against the British during the Revolution.
  • Paul Revere- Went on the famous midnight ride to warn the Massachusetts colonists that the British were coming before the battle of Lexington and Concord.
  • Samuel Adams- Leader of the Sons of Liberty who spread anti-British feelings in the colonies.
  • John Locke- Lived during the age of enlightenment in Europe and was the first person to write about the idea of Natural Rights, rights that all men are born with. His views later spread and helped influence the American Revolution and the founding of American freedom.

  • Thomas Paine- He wrote “Common Sense”. It was a pamphlet that took John Locke’s ideas a step further. Paine wrote how a people have the duty to overthrow their government or King if it or he is not protecting the freedoms of the people. He lived in Boston and was a member of the Sons of Liberty.


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