During the French and Indian War (1756-1763) and Pontiac’s Rebellion (1763-1766), England’s national debt skyrocketed—in part, from the high cost of supplying its military to the American colonies to fight these two wars. After these wars ended, England recognized a need for the continued defense of its colony and kept an army on American soil.
|England's red coated soldiers|
In June 1767, the British imposed the Townshend Revenue Acts on the colonies. These Acts imposed taxes for necessities such as glass, lead (used in bullet-making), paper, and tea. Unfortunately, the colonies were experiencing economic hardships as a result of the two recent wars, and these new taxes did not sit well with the Americans.
Provoked colonists began purchasing imported tea from sources other than England’s East India Company. The ripple effect was that East India Company’s tea sales plummeted, and the company asked the British government for help.
|Loose black tea|
The colonists saw this Act as yet another means of England trying to control the American colonies. The result was that colonists refused to unload tea from East India Company ships in the ports of New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston.
Colonists in Boston took things one step further. On December 16, 1773, Patriots boarded the East India Company’s ships anchored in Boston Harbor and threw thousands of pounds of tea—costing about $1,000,000 in today’s money—into the water. We know this action as “The Boston Tea Party.”
Outraged at The Boston Tea Party, Parliament passed the Coercive Acts in 1774 which were specifically designed to punish the citizens of Massachusetts for their role in ruining the tea in Boston Harbor. Incensed, the Americans renamed these "The Intolerable Acts." These Intolerable Coercive Acts removed Massachusetts’ self-governing rights, prompting the start of a colony-wide revolt that began the American Revolutionary War.
|American soldiers of all ages joined in the fight for their independence|
Cynthia Howerter is a descendant of Colonel John Kelly. An American Patriot, Major John Kelly fought with General George Washington and the Continental Army and American Militia at the 1776 and 1777 Battles of Trenton and the 1777 Battle of Princeton. He was promoted to Colonel after the Battle of Princeton. During that battle, Kelly single-handedly destroyed a bridge that prohibited the British Army from crossing Stony Brook and annihilating the American forces. After those strategic battles, Colonel Kelly was sent to Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, where he led a Militia in the defense of Pennsylvania’s frontier.
Cynthia is currently writing a historical fiction novel set in 1777 in Pennsylvania, and is also the co-author of God’s Provision in Tough Times which has been on Amazon Kindle’s best-selling books numerous times. Carrie Fancett Pagels, founder of Colonial Quills, is one of the book’s contributing writers.
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All photographs ©Cynthia Howerter