The story of American history is a long and fascinating journey. A journey that endured many complications and sacrifices by some of the first Americans. Even some Europeans had to endure hardship in the discovery of America. In October in 1943 a young man named Christopher Columbus discovered this new world. From there he made a few more journeys to Central America and South America.
Years later a boom of American colonization starts with the pilgrims journey across the Atlantic on the Mayflower headed to the American colonization, and found themselves in the south end of Massachusetts bay. They set built the Plymouth colony on the site of Pawtuxet1. Half of the original pilgrims died of malnutrition or disease before the spring of 1621.
Even with these tragic tales, still more settlers made their way to the new world. Settling in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Connecticut.
While making a home and fending there land from the savages, the settlers still had to live by the Kings rule. Many settlers felt that the King should not have such a long reach to the colonies. While the settlers struggled to stay alive, the King imposed several Acts to impose Taxes and Rules for the colonials to follow. One of these was the Navigation Acts. In 1651 while Oliver Cromwell was the leader of England, the first of the famous Navigation Acts was passed. The chief provisions were, that no goods grown or manufactured in Asia, Africa, or America should be transported to England except in English vessels, and that the goods of any European country imported into England must be brought in British vessels, or in vessels of the country producing them. The law was directed against the Dutch maritime trade, which was very great at that time. But it was nowhere strictly enforced, and in New England scarcely at all. In 1660 the second of the Navigation Acts was passed, largely resembling the first just adding to it. It forbid the importing into or the exporting from the British colonies of any goods except in English or colonial ships and it forbid certain items. Many more of these terrible acts would come later.
Along with worrying about what was to come next from European leaders, settlers also had to worry about the Indians. The Indians had been a major part in the colonization of American. The Indians thought the early settlers how to harvest and hunt the land. Even with all this help from the Indians the settlers still considered them savages paying to false Gods. During the French and Indian war, British forces used an early form of germ warfare. They saw to it that blankets used by smallpox victims fell into the native’s hands. The war lasted seven years from 1756-1763 and to most colonists ended in Quebec with the signing of The Treaty of Paris in 1763. In the treaty, British redrew ownership lines on the map of North America.
After the war the Proclamation Act of 1763 was put into effect. This act forbid settlers from purchases west of an imaginary line between the sources of the rivers that emptied into the Atlantic and those that flowed into the Ohio-Mississippi system. No one saw this as anything more then a temporary drawback when it came to land purchase. Few people still purchased land from western tribes, while still many settlers started to grow impatient. The west was where there fortune was to be found.
In 1964 the cost of colonial governing cost had nearly doubled to $350,000 a year. This higher cost left Parliament in serious financial difficulties. The job of find more revenue fell in the hands of George Grenville, who became prime minister in 1763. Grenville began with a series of acts begging with the rewriting of the ineffectiveness of the Molasses Act of 1733. He then imposed the Sugar Act of 1764, which took care of both the revenue problem and the problem of enforcing import duties. Grenville did not stop at the Sugar Act. The English already had been paying a stamp tax for legal documents. Purchasing of the paper was constituted as payment of the tax. Grenville’s Stamp Act of 1765 went further then English law. It would require that in addition to colonial legal documents, all newspapers, pamphlets, handbills, be printed on government paper. Grenville tried to gain colonial favor for the act by telling colonials that the money raised was to be used solely for defending, protecting, and securing colonies. Needless to say this Act would anger the colonist.
Once word of approval from parliament of the Stamp Act reached the colonies, a string of retaliation would occur. Some of the Sons of Liberty took violent action. When the stamped paper was delivered to the warehouses, mobs broke in and lit bon fires.
Relations between colonist and the crown grew uneasy. In May of 1773 Parliament enacted the Tea Act, a law that led directly to the American Revolution. This acts primary purpose was to bail out the East India Company from going bankrupt. Most of the company’s money was in 17 million pounds of tea in a London warehouse for which no buyers could be found. The company decided to sell tea to the colonies. The company’s directors even went as far as to ask that all British taxes on tea be repealed. Prime minister at the time, Fredrick, Lord North met the company part of the way. His tea act eliminated all taxes except the Townshend levy. Lord North did not think much of colonial protest.
When first shipments of tea arrived to American ports. They were greeted by an anger mob. Tea Act tea might have been cheap but it had done so because it was granted a legal monopoly to a private company from Parliament. If they could do this the colonist wondered how much further on regulations would go in the futer. Thomas Hutchison, governor of Massachusetts tried to legally seize the tea from the company claim non-payment of import tax. Before he could do this, Samuel Adams came up with an idea to dress some 60 Sons of Liberty as Mohawk Indians. They then boarded the tea ships and dumped 342 chests of tea worth $10,000 into the Boston harbor.
Lord North retaliated to the Boston Tea Party with the Coercive Acts of 1774, which the Americans called the Intolerable Acts. The acts first closed the Boston harbor till the debt for the lost tea was paid by the city. It also empowered a new governor, army general Thomas Gage. He transferred the trials of soldiers and other British officials, accused of killing protesters out of the colony. This seemed to be a pretty open invitation for soldiers to shoot anyone the wanted.
With the new acts being imposed many colonials wanted to end this peacefully with a boycott of British trade till the laws were repealed. King George III and Lord North were determined to stand there ground and hold on to the new laws.
Secretly colonials met to train local military units and elect officers. On April 19, 1775, General Gage decided to seize rebel supplies at Concord. He sent 700 troops to seize the munitions and arrest Samuel Adams and John Hancock. The Americans colonials were warned by Midnight riders, Paul Revere, William Dawes, and Samuel Prescott bringing the new that “the British are coming.” The British were met in Lexington by a small band of 70 rebels in a poor battle formation. The British ordered twice that the band disburse. Then without warning a single shot was fired. No one knows from this day who fired the first shot. But the vastly out numbered rebels lost that battle. The British soldiers continued on to Concord where they were met by a larger group of American soldiers who surprised them. The British were ordered to retreat to Boston. All the way back to Boston, British soldiers were being sniped by colonials behind trees and fences. The British soldiers reached Boston with more then 250 dead or wounded.
After the Battle of Concord, other battles emerged. The Battle of Bunker Hill was an American Strategic victory. Other bands of colonial rebels took Fort Ticonderoga and other small Forts virtually with little or no trouble.
At this time the Second Continental Congress was in session discussing the actions being taken by colonials and possible victory or defeat.
Thomas Pain, an Englishmen and friend to Benjamin Franklin wrote “Common Sense” a propaganda pamphlet that would change the colonial view of life with the crown to life of independence.
After weeks of delegates debating the issue of independence from the crown, most colonies gave in to the idea.
A committee was organized, consisting of Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Robert Livingston to come up with a Declaration of Independence. The actual writing of the document was left to Jefferson who was widely known for his writing style. For two weeks Thomas Jefferson stayed in his room writing the document. Then when he was done he came out with his masterpiece. Benjamin Franklin and John Adams changed a few words and congress made some alterations. Then on July 4th 1776 the signing of the Declaration of Independence began.
The story of American history is a never-ending one. There will always be new obstacles and confrontations to face. But the sprit of the everyday American who will always rise to the call of duty will make the sacrifices of so many last forever.