- Free Essays, Term Papers & Book Notes

The Intolerable Acts - the Effects of the Intolerable Acts on the American Revolution

By:   •  Research Paper  •  1,474 Words  •  January 7, 2009  •  3,522 Views

Page 1 of 6

Essay title: The Intolerable Acts - the Effects of the Intolerable Acts on the American Revolution

The Intolerable Acts

The Effects of the Intolerable Acts on the American Revolution

Throughout the eighteenth century, tension between the bold and ambitious American colonists and the British Parliament increased drastically. This tension led to harbored resentment towards the Parliament and was mainly a result of a feeling of violation from the British on the new American citizens. The colonists felt themselves to be every bit the equals of those living in Britain, although they were treated as inferiors? The Intolerable Acts spurred some of the most significant revolts and rebellions that eventually led to the American Revolution. The British instilled the Intolerable Acts upon colonists, specifically Massachusetts, to discourage the other colonies from opposing British rule. "Yet nothing was done until Lord North, confronted with what he regarded as the insufferable unruliness of the Bostonians, determined in 1774 to purge the Massachusetts Constitution of its crudities --- by which he meant its democracy – and, by giving it a large dose of aristocratic monarchical principles, to restore the authority of the mother country and put the ‘respectable characters' of the province in power." [1]The Intolerable Acts were not merely laws passed by the British Parliament, but laws that heavily fueled the outrage against British rule in the colonies.

Four of the five Intolerable Acts were instilled upon the American colonists in response to the Boston Tea Party. At the Boston Tea Party, the Sons of Liberty disguised themselves as Narragansett Indians and destroyed many crates of tea by breaking them open and emptying them into the waters of the Boston Harbor. Another act of rebellion in Delaware was when another seven hundred chests of tea were destroyed. Samuel Adams was one of the leaders of the Boston Tea Party and exploited the idea of undermining their own current version of democratic self-rule. However, the Delaware Tea Party did not have Sam Adams to make it popular. The king set his sights on Boston and in 1774, passed the Intolerable or Coercive Acts.

The first of the Intolerable Acts was in direct response to the Boston Tea Party which stipulated that Boston be closed from all ocean-borne trade and was to remain closed until the East India Company was fully reimbursed by the town for the destruction of the tea. Boston was entirely dependent on their port, therefore, the closing of the port economically strangled the city. Colonists of Boston found this act outrageous because not every citizen of Boston participated in this destruction. Word soon spread that the government would be taking action without giving Boston the chance to defend itself. Little did the colonist know, the British still had "bones to pick".

The second of the Intolerable Acts is commonly known as the Massachusetts Government Act which stated that the appointment of nearly all positions in the colonial government were to be made by the king. The act also critically limited activities of town meetings in Massachusetts. "In simple terms, the Act converted the Massachusetts government into a royal affair: the House would continue as an elective body but the Council from August on would be nominated by the Crown; the governor would appoint and remove, if he wished, most civil officials; towns would no longer meet except with royal permission; and sheriffs---not freeholders---would select juries. Obviously this act considerably reduced local control in Massachusetts…"[2] This effected colonists outside of Massachusetts for they feared that their governments, too, could also in turn be changed by the command of British Parliament. The colonists felt and feared for their rights as Englishmen and their rights for self-government were being revoked, which caused more outrage than the Boston Port Act and further pushed colonists to revolt.

The Admiration of Justice Act was the third of the Intolerable Acts, although it was instilled upon the colonists, its primary focus was on the British officials within the colonies. This act allowed the governor to send accused royal officials over the sea to Great Britain, or to another colony, for a fair trial. However, colonists could not afford to abandon their jobs to cross the sea in order to testify in a trial. George Washington called the Admiration of Justice Act a "Murder Act", for it allowed British officials to harass the colonists and escape true justice. In addition to these fallacies, this act also removed jurisdiction power from Massachusetts, once again removing the rights of self-government.

The fourth of the Intolerable Acts served as an adjustment to the Quartering Act. The Quartering Acts of 1765 stated that soldiers were to be housed by authorities. The next year, it was amended again, stating

Download as (for upgraded members)  txt (9.1 Kb)   pdf (119.2 Kb)   docx (13.5 Kb)  
Continue for 5 more pages »