The Townshend Acts and the committees of...

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The Townshend Acts and the committees of correspondenceIn 1767, a new wave of taxes on the American colonists led to renewed protest, and the formationof committees of correspondence to rally opposition to British policies.The Townshend Acts, passed in 1767 and 1768, were designed to raise revenue for the BritishEmpire by taxing its North American colonies.They were met with widespread protest in the colonies, especially among merchants in Boston.The Townshend Acts renewed a fierce debate over the British Parliament’s right to tax thecolonies.In 1772, Boston revolutionary Samuel Adams urged the creation of a committee ofcorrespondence to communicate with other colonial assembliesEducate townspeople about their political rights, and rally opposition to British rule.Colonial opposition to the Townshend ActsAfter a century and a half of salutary neglect of its North American colonies, Britain sought toimpose tighter control over them.After the Seven Years’ War ended in 1763, leaving the British Empire in financial distress,The British Parliament sought to fill its coffers by taxing the colonies.The Stamp Act, which levied taxes on all printed material in the North American colonies, hadprovoked so much unrest that Britain was ultimately forced to repeal it.The British Parliament passed the Declaratory Act, which asserted Britain’s ultimate right ofcontrol over the colonies. The repeal of the Stamp Act stopped the protests and rioting, and thecolonists did not at first oppose the Declaratory Act—until the British began to enforce it.In 1767, Charles Townshend, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, imposed a series of newtaxes designed to raise revenue. These actions became known as the Townshend ActsThe colonists protested, “No taxation without representation,” arguing that the British Parliamentdid not have the right to tax them because they lacked representation in the legislative body.Colonists organized boycotts of British goods to pressure Parliament to repeal the TownshendActs.The Townshend Acts were especially reviled in Boston, where the Customs Board washeadquartered.Merchants in Boston signed a nonimportation agreement, which suspended all imports of Britishgoods.The British responded by sending naval and military officials to Boston to enforce the Acts,setting the stage for the Boston Massacre in 1770.Committees of correspondenceIn 1772, Boston revolutionary Samuel Adams responded by urging Massachusetts to employ acommittee of correspondence to contact townspeople and stay apprised of events occurring attown meetings throughout the area.By 1774, every colonial assembly had created a committee of correspondence.Adams’s effort was successful. The committee forged unity among the towns and intensified theirresistance to British rule.
The Boston massacreOn March 5, 1770 an angry altercation between British soldiers and American colonists inflamedpassions that would eventually lead to revolution.

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Term
Spring
Professor
Garcia
Tags
American Revolution, British Parliament

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