Episode 043: Colonies React to the Coercive Acts

May 6, 2018

Gen. Gage travels to Boston to replace Hutchinson as the new Governor of Massachusetts.  The tough talking Gage had assured officials in London he could use firmness to enforce colonial compliance with the Coercive Acts, most of which were still under debate when he left London.  Gage soon discovers that the threat of force only goads the heavily armed colonsits to threaten force of their own.  Gage soon finds himself behind barricades in Boston, having lost control of the rest of the colony.  The Port of Boston is closed, but other changes mandated by London cannot be enforced outside of Boston.

Over the summer and fall of 1774, Massachusetts and the other colonies only hear more news of intolerable acts passed in London.  Calls for cutting off all trade with England entirely leads to the call for a Continental Congress to discuss colonial options in developing a united response.

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Episode 042: The Coercive Acts

April 29, 2018

In response to the Boston Tea Party, Parliament gets tough by passing several acts designed to punish Massachusetts. The Boston Port Act closes Boston Harbor until the city compensates everyone for damages related to the destruction of tea.  The Government Act gives power to the Crown appointed Governor to fill most government positions and bans town meetings to discuss issues.  The Administration of Justice Acts takes away the colony's right to try soldiers or other officials for murder.  The Quartering Act permits soldiers to take over colonial buildings for their use.  Parliament also passes the Quebec Act, giving Canada control over all disputed lands in the Ohio Valley.

Parliament hopes these laws will show the colonists that they cannot get away with flouting the authority of the King and Parliament.  Colonists must accept Parliament's control or suffer serious economic and political consequences.

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Episode 041: Tea Party Aftermath

April 22, 2018

Despite the open destruction of private property, the colonies generally seem to approve of Boston's reaction to the tea ships.  When another tea ship arrives a few months later, locals dump its chests in Boston Harbor as well.  Other towns up and down the coast destroy or force the removal of tea.  Soon, even drinking untaxed tea becomes unacceptable.  Colonists hold tea burnings and refuse to allow anyone to sell or possess tea. 

The immediate reaction in London is that this is completely unacceptable.  It requires more than a criminal investigation.  Rather, the entire colony needs to be punished.  In a stroke of bad timing, London learns of Franklin's release of private letters to Boston radicals months earlier.  The Privy Council summons him and attacks him relentlessly for hours, destroying his reputation in England.

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Episode 040: The Boston Tea Party

April 15, 2018

Parliament tries to win the fight over tariffs by greatly reducing the cost of tea, and maintaining only a nominal three pence per pound tax on tea.  Officials hope the lower prices will end the tea boycott. Radical colonial leaders see this, correctly, as London's attempt to establish that tariffs on imports to raise revenue are legal.

Patriots are caught off guard as the tea arrives only weeks after they learn about the terms. Officials think they have beaten the protesters. Once the ships enter the harbor, the tax must be paid. Otherwise, customs can seize the tea 20 days. On Dec. 16, 1773, the day before the tax is due, colonists dressed as Indians storm the three ships, break open the crates, and dump the tea into the harbor. A crowd of thousands, along with the British army and navy, stand by and watch.

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Episode 039: The Politics of Tea

April 8, 2018

After several years of calm in the colonies, Parliament changes the way tea is distributed and taxed throughout the Empire.  Mostly, this is an attempt to bail out the East India Company which had too much tea and not enough cash.  The Tea Act of 1773 reduced or eliminated almost all taxes on tea, and also allowed the East India Company to sell tea directly to the colonies, rather than having to go through expensive middlemen.  The result would be a massive drop in the price of tea. 

With all duties eliminated accept for a small 3 pence per pound tarriff, tea in the colonies would be much cheaper than ever before.  But the Sons of Liberty feared this was an effort to break the back of the already failing non-importation agreements.  Once colonies accepted this tiny tariff, the precedent would be set to tax the colonies whenever Parliament wanted.

In late 1773, seven ships loaded with tea headed for Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston.  The colonist had barely learned about hte new system before the tea would arrive.  This left everyone guessing what their next step would be.

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Episode 038: The Green Mountain Boys

April 1, 2018

After New Hampshire issues thousands of land grants in a disputed region, New York gets the King to declare the land part of the New York colony.  New York then declares all the property owners living on land grants from New Hampshire to be illegal squatters who need to buy their land again or leave.  After legal and political efforts lead nowhere, the land owners with New Hampshire grants form a militia that becomes the Green Mountain Boys.  Ethan Allen becomes the best known leader of the group, using violence and intimidation to force out New York claimants.

Several New York Governors attempt to resolve the problem, but let their own greed in land speculation prevent any fair resolution.  New York attempts to crush the resistance, but events leading to the outbreak of war between England and the colonies prevents any final showdown.  The fight moves into the war itself.

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Episode 037: Committees of Correspondence and the Colony of Vandalia

March 25, 2018

As events quiet down after 1770, London tries to make many minor behind the scenes changes to the colonial power structure, making it harder for the colonies to resist the next confrontation.  Samuel Adams works with others to set up Committees of Correspondence, so Patriots can keep track of these changes across the colonies and develop strategies to resist.

Also, land speculators attempt to set up a new colony in western lands, reserved by the King for native American tribes.  The attempted land grab leads to the resignation of Lord Hillsborough as Secretary of State for Colonial Affairs and the appointment of Lord Dartmouth to replace him.

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Episode 036: Sinking the HMS Gaspee

March 18, 2018

Rhode Island colonists, like just about all other colonists, greatly resented the new tough enforcement of trade laws by British officials.  It made profitable trade virtually impossible.  The HMS Gaspee and its commander Lt. Dudingston developed a reputation for being one of the worst in terms of strict enforcement and poor treatment of civilians.

One night in 1772, the Gaspee ran aground on a sandbar in Naragansett Bay.  That night, locals rowed out to the ship, shot Dudingston, removed the crew, and burned the ship to the waterline.  Officials tried to get tough and ship some of the attackers back to London for a treason trial.  But the colonial code of silence prevented the government from being able to prosecute any of the attackers.

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Episode 035: Carolina Regulators and the Battle of Alamance

March 11, 2018

In both North and South Carolina, colonists on the western frontier run into conflicts with the east coast dominated government.  Westerners in each state form Regulator movements to enforce the law locally as they see fit.  In North Carolina, this leads to open warfare with the colonial government.  Regulators and militia do battle in 1771 near Alamance Creek.

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Episode 034: Massacre Fallout and Townshend Acts Repealed

March 4, 2018

After British Regulars kill five colonists and injure others at what becomes known as the Boston Massacre, local radicals force the government to relocate the soldiers to Castle Island, out in Boston Harbor.  The Massacre becomes an example for why standing armies should not be maintained among a free people.

For months following, both sides prepare for trials, in which John Adams, among other patriot lawyers, represents the British soldiers.  A jury acquits Captain Preston and five of the seven soldiers involved in the shooting.  The Jury finds two soldiers guilty of manslaughter and had the court brands their thumbs as punishment.

Even before word of the Massacre reaches London, Lord North begins a partial repeal of the Townshend Acts, eliminating most taxes on the colonists.  However, to make a point about Parliament's tax authority, North retains a tax on tea.

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