American Archives

Politics and Causes of Revolt

Documents that expose the key reasons and events that led the Whig-Patriots to declare independence. Economic motivations (taxation) and political motivations (British laws, new American political institutions like committees) are both included.

  • British taxation: Arguments linking taxation (Stamp Act, Intolerable Acts) to rebellion or revolution.
  • Continental Association: ways the Continental Association boycotts of British imports (and colonial exports) paved the way for revolt.
  • Elections and voting: elections of committees, provincial congresses or conventions, or Congress as giving legitimacy to new, shadow governments.
  • Intolerable Acts (coercive acts): political and economic impact of closing the port of Boston, revocation of the Massachusetts charter and reduction of town meetings to one a year, allowing some cases to be tried in distant courts, and easing requirements for lodging British soldiers in American homes.
  • Navigation Acts: complaints about the operation of the navigation acts and the duties and restrictions on free trade they included.
  • Political rumor: rumors, particularly of impending invasion or depravation, as leading colonists to consider revolt.
  • Provincial meetings: how provincial meetings created new governments, undercutting colonial assemblies and governors.