When we learned about the American Revolution, it was easy to see it all as a single time period. Please keep in mind that the events that led to the Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776 had begun nearly 12 years before.

As a result of the French and Indian war (1756-1763), the British were taxing the colonies(notably the Stamp Act of 1765, the Townshend Acts of 1767 and the Tea Act of 1773).

In early 1770, more than 2,000 British soldiers occupied the city of Boston with its 16,000 colonists and tried to enforce Britain’s tax laws. This led to skirmishes between colonists and soldiers—and between separatist colonists and colonists loyal to Britain (loyalists)—were increasingly common. To protest taxes, separatists often vandalized stores selling British goods and intimidated store merchants and their customers.

On February 22, a mob of separatists attacked a known loyalist’s store. Customs officer Ebenezer Richardson lived near the store and tried to break up the rock-pelting crowd by firing a warning shot through the window of his home. His gunfire struck and killed an 11-year-old boy named Christopher Seider and further enraged the separatists.

Several days later, a fight broke out between local workers and British soldiers. It ended without serious bloodshed but helped set the stage for the bloody incident yet to come.

The Boston Massacre took place on March 5, 1770. Months of unrest followed.

The Boston Tea party was in December of 1773.

The British responded with the Intolerable Acts.

The First Continental Congress met in September of 1774 and presented a list of grievances to the Crown.

The Second Continental Congress was supposed to have met in May of 1775, but the events of  April 19, 1776 interrupted that. The Battle of Lexington and Concord began the Revolutionary war- more than 10 years of escalating tensions and violence led to open warfare.

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