on to three British ships in Boston harbor and dumped their cargo of tea overboard. 13To punish Massachusetts for the vandalism, the British Parliament closed the port of Boston and restricted local authority. The new measures, dubbed the Intolerable Acts, backfi red. Rather than isolate one colony, they rallied the others. All the colonies except Georgia sent representatives to Philadelphia in September 1774 to discuss their“present unhappy state.” It was the fi rst Continental Congress. Colonists felt a growing sense of frustration and anger over British encroachment on their rights. Yet by no means was there unanimity of thought on what should be done. Loyalists wanted to remain subjects of the king. Moderates favored compromise to produce a more acceptable relationship with the British government. And revolutionaries wantedcomplete independence. They began stockpiling weapons and mobilizing forces — waiting for the day when they would have to fi ght for it. Revolution The American Revolution — its war for independence from Britain — began as a small skirmish between British troops and armed colonists on April 19, 1775. The British had set out from Boston, Massachusetts, to seize weapons and ammunition that revolutionary colonists had collected in nearby villages. At Lexington, they met a group of Minutemen, who got that name because they were said to 14 The protest against British taxes known as the “Boston Tea Party,” 1773. 16 Artist’s depiction of the fi rst shots of the American Revolution, fi red at Lexington, Massachusetts, on April 19, 1775. Local militia confronted British troops marching to seize colonial armaments inthe nearby town of Concord. 18 Drawing of revolutionary fi rebrand Patrick Henry (standing to the left) uttering perhaps the most famous words of the American Revolution — “Give me liberty or give me death!” — in a debate before the Virginia Assembly in 1775. James Madison, fourth president of the United States, is often regarded as the “Father of the Constitution.” His essays in the debate over ratifi cationof the Constitution were collected with those of Alexander Hamilton and John Jay as The Federalist Papers. 19 be ready to fi ght in a minute. The Minutemen intended only a silent protest, and their leader told them not to shoot unless fi red on fi rst. The British ordered the Minutemen to disperse, and they complied. As they were withdrawing, someone fi red a shot. The British troops attacked the Minutemen with guns and bayonets. Fighting broke out at other places along the road as the British soldiers in their bright red uniforms made their way back to Boston. More than 250 “redcoats” were killed or wounded. The Americans lost 93 men. Deadly clashes continued around Boston as colonial representatives hurried to Philadelphia to discussthe situation. A majority voted to go to war against Britain. They agreed to Alexander Hamilton, secretary of the treasury in the administration of President George Washington. Hamilton advocated a strong federal government and the encouragement
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