Capital: Raleigh Population: 8,407,248 (2003) Governor



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North Carolina facts:

Capital: Raleigh
Population: 8,407,248 (2003)
Governor: Bev Perdue (D, to Jan. 2013)
Nickname: Old North State or Tar Heel State
Motto:
Esse quam videri
"To be, rather than to seem."
Entered the Union: November 21, 1789 as the 12th State
Postal Abbreviation: NC
State Flower: Dogwood
State Bird: Cardinal

The Tar Heel State had a mysterious beginning. The first Europeans reached North Carolina's coast in 1524, when the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano landed near Cape Fear. He made no real attempt to establish a colony, and it wasn't until 1585 that the first attempt at colonization was made. This effort was known as the Roanoke Island settlement, and it was accomplished under the direction of Sir Walter Raleigh. The settlement had high aspirations and good intentions, but soon met with difficulties. Within two years, Raleigh sent a second expedition with more supplies across the ocean to aid the struggling colony. However, when the expedition arrived it found nothing. The settlement had vanished, and to this day nobody knows for certain how it happened. Was there a violent attack? Had disease destroyed the group? Did the settlers move inland to a better area? The only clue left behind for the expedition team was the word "Croatoan" scrawled on a timber. It's a mystery, and still an intriguing part of the North Carolina lore!

Originally an English colony, North Carolina eventually joined the American Revolution. By the middle of the 1600s, settlers had come from Virginia and helped to expand the region further inland. North Carolina's mother country, England, oversaw and financed continual expansion for her own economic good. However, by the 1760s, colonists were increasingly concerned with unjust taxation. England was confused by the disgruntled citizens, and this perplexity grew until North Carolina joined the uprising that eventually led to the Revolutionary War. Among the original thirteen states, North Carolina was the twelfth, joining the ranks of the Union on November 21, 1789.

The state has a mysterious nickname... and is home to the first flight. The name North Carolina means "of Charles," or Carolus, in Latin. This title honored King Charles I. North Carolina's original nickname was, "The Old North State," but it was replaced later by, "The Tar Heel State." It is unclear exactly how that name came to be, but one interesting anecdote relates the story behind it. In the 1800s North Carolina was known for its principal products of tar, pitch, and turpentine. During the Civil War, on one particularly fierce day of battle, the column of troops supporting the soldiers from North Carolina gave way, but the North Carolina boys held their ground. After the battle, the soldiers from North Carolina happened upon the troops that had let them down and were asked if there was any tar left in the Old North State. The immediate response was that, no, there was not any, because Old Jeff (presumably Jefferson Davis) had bought it all. Of course, the other soldiers asked why he would ever need tar, to which the North Carolina boys responded by saying that Old Jeff was going to put it on their heels so they would stick better in the next fight. Later, Robert E. Lee, hearing the story, called them the Tar Heel Boys. This story is not a fact, but it has survived the test of time as the explanation of the unusual name. North Carolina is also known as being "first in flight." This phrase, which is found on the North Carolina license plate, came from the historical moment on December 17, 1903, when the Wright Brothers first successfully flew their airplane from a sand dune near Kitty Hawk.

Diversity reigns in North Carolina's economy. Though the Tar Heel State suffered great financial losses from the Civil War, they have patiently rebuilt their economy, making a magnificent economic comeback. In the 20th century, North Carolina has become a major manufacturing center of the South, especially for textiles and furniture, though it remains primarily an agricultural land. Tobacco cultivation is still a significant part of the North Carolina economy, though this influence has decreased in recent years. Tourism is always a strong aspect of the economy, and banking is a vital business within the state. In addition, many large hog farms contribute to the diversity of the state.

When it comes to geography, North Carolina has it all. North Carolina is bordered by Tennessee to the west, Virginia to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and South Carolina and Georgia to the south. The western portion of North Carolina contains the magnificent Appalachian Mountains. In fact, North Carolina lays claim to having the highest mountain east of the Mississippi River: Mt. Mitchell, reaching 6,684 feet above sea level. From the mountainous terrain in the western portion of the state, the land gradually flattens as it stretches toward the coastal regions. The flatter, central portion of the state contains most of its major cities, including the largest, Charlotte, and the state capital, Raleigh. As you reach the Atlantic Ocean, you will find 301 miles of beautiful coastline, including the famous Outer Banks. Throughout the state you will find numerous waterways, from natural lakes to rivers to swamps. In fact, some parts of North Carolina are subject to flooding, especially during hurricane season, giving the state a history of natural disasters

  • Fine a map of NC and save it to your computer.

  • Which of these states does NOT border North Carolina?

  • Tennessee
    Georgia
    South Carolina
    Kentucky
    Virginia



  • North Carolina is the nation's leading producer of __________.

  • corn
    wheat
    tobacco

The body of water on North Carolina's eastern border is the Ocean.

North Carolina joined the Union on November 21, .

The Wright Brothers first successfully flew their airplane from a sand dune near .

Whom did the name North Carolina originally honor?

North Carolina's nickname is The Tar Heel State.

True
False

The state's capital city is:

Charlotte


Asheville
Raleigh
Winston-Salem

The central portion of North Carolina is very mountainous and sparsely populated.


True
False

When North Carolina joined the Union, it was the state of the thirteen original colonies.

North Carolina contains all of the following EXCEPT:

swamps
desert
mountains
coastline

Mt. Mitchell is the highest mountain:

in the western hemisphere
west of the Mississippi River
in North America
east of the Mississippi River
in the lower 48 states

VIRGINIA
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The struggling Jamestown colony had survived its first year under the able leadership of John Smith. With the help of the Indians, the settlers stored up sufficient food supplies to weather the second winter. Homes had been built and secured against possible blizzards. However, John Smith was injured in a gunpowder explosion and was forced to return to England for medical attention. Without the direction of their proven leader, the colonists suffered many deaths during the following winter. Affairs continually grew worse until the arrival of Sir Thomas Dale. Appointed by the London Company as governor, Dale--like Smith--set up fair laws and enforced them. As an incentive to work, he gave each colonist three acres of land, knowing a man would work hard to protect and farm his own property. The plan proved to be very effective. It ended the bickering and increased production.



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John Rolfe found a way to help the colony prosper when he was given tobacco seeds by the Indians in 1612. He planted it successfully and found a way to cure it that removed some of the bitterness. The new crop gave the colonists a way to make their settlement profitable. Bringing high prices in England, the tobacco was in such demand that it soon became Virginia's main crop.

Jamestown had survived its early years due to the aid of the local Indians, led by the chief named Powhatan. During that time, John Rolfe met and later fell in love with the chief's daughter, Pocahontas. She converted to Christianity and married him in 1614. She later died of smallpox during a visit to England. However, her son Thomas returned to be an important settler in the Virginia colony.

Although the English settlers had survived largely due to the generosity of the Indians, they did not always treat the Indians with the same respect or compassion. In 1607, Powhatan asked John Smith why the English used force when dealing with the Indians. Click to the right to hear his questions.

The demand for tobacco also presented a problem. There was a need for more workers to grow it. Many Europeans wanted to come to the New World but couldn't afford to pay their way. Therefore, in exchange for their passage to America, they pledged to work as servants for four or more years. At the end of their term, they were to be set free, sometimes given seeds and land to begin on their own. The system using these indentured servants dealt primarily with white men; however, the Dutch brought twenty Africans to Jamestown in 1619. They initially worked under the indenture program also. A law was passed later establishing lifelong black slavery. The law increased profits on agricultural products.

In 1619, the London Company applied changes to make life in the Jamestown community more enjoyable. In addition to making land available for ownership, the London Company sent women to the colony to marry and set up homes, ending the almost army-like existence of the men. The Bible tells us, "It is not good that the man should be alone" (Genesis 2:18). When the women came to Jamestown, morale greatly improved, and the colony began to grow and prosper. Deciding that even more people would be attracted if they were given a voice in their government, the company allowed the colonists to elect men to represent them. Each town sent two representatives called "burgesses" to the general assembly, known as the House of Burgesses. Meeting at the Jamestown church on July 30, 1619, the colonists shared for the first time in making their laws, giving self-government a beginning in the New World.

In England, everyone was required by law to belong to the Anglican Church and to pay money for its support. Some people met in secret to worship differently, knowing that they faced imprisonment if they were caught. Just as the children of Israel were enslaved in bondage in the land of Egypt, these Separatists were bound to a religion that they did not believe. The Separatists dreamed of finding a place where they could worship as they pleased, without fear of persecution. Seeking such a haven in Holland, a group of these Separatists, called Pilgrims, lived for a time among the Dutch. Soon, they were faced with another problem. Although the colonists were able to worship as they pleased, their children were growing up with Dutch customs rather than English customs. Searching for the answer to their dilemma, they found the solution in America. They believed that America was their Promised Land just as the Israelites found the land promised to them by the Lord in Palestine. The Separatists received permission from the London Company to settle in Virginia, north of Jamestown. Borrowing money for a ship and supplies, they promised to pay back their debt by farming and fishing in the New World.

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On September 6, 1620, an overfilled ship called the Mayflower set sail across the Atlantic with one hundred hopeful Pilgrims. Landing at Plymouth on the New England coast, they knew they had landed farther north than Virginia. Since a bad storm had set them off course, extending their voyage much longer than expected, they knew time for planting sufficient crops for winter was running short. Therefore, bravely declaring that no one but God had power to command them not to settle where they were, they drew up and signed an agreement called the Mayflower Compact to govern their group. Promising to obey whatever government was established and to live in peace under the laws and officers of their own choosing, the Pilgrims established law and order in New England.

During the first winter, half of the Pilgrims died from starvation, cold, and sickness. Among the dead was John Carver, the first governor, who was replaced by William Bradford. Helped by Squanto and Samoset (two English-speaking natives), the surviving Pilgrims learned to plant corn and hunt game in the nearby woods. By the end of the first summer, a plentiful harvest had been produced. Giving thanks to God for their new home, new friends, and good harvest, the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving, joined by ninety Indians and their chief, Massasoit. In the following years, additional settlers came to the area. By 1643, ten towns had been established around Plymouth, supported by farming and fishing.

Soon after the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts, another group who also was persecuted for its religious beliefs joined them. Unlike the Pilgrims who wanted to separate themselves from the Anglican Church, the Puritans had remained within the church, hoping to replace the elaborate traditional ceremonies with simple, sincere worship. Instead of changing the church, they were persecuted by it, and they soon sought a place where they too could enjoy their own way of worship. While some Puritans found such a refuge in the West Indies, John Endicott set out for America with sixty fellow believers. Landing fifty miles (80 km) north of Plymouth, they founded Salem. During the following year, the Massachusetts Bay Company was formed in England, in which the Puritans bought the controlling interest. After receiving a charter from the king to establish and govern a colony, eleven ships were launched from England in 1630 with nearly one thousand people aboard the ships. Having settled at Boston, the colony soon spread to additional settlements. Within ten years, over six thousand were living in the area. Because the Massachusetts Bay Colony was started by Puritans for Puritans, only members of the Puritan Church could take an active part in government. Officeholders, such as the governor and representatives, were selected from the church body by those possessing membership, uniting church and state as one body.






Quaker

A member of the Society of Friends, a religious group teaching brotherly love.




toleration

Recognition of the rights of an individual to his own opinions and customs.

Like the Pilgrims and Puritans, English Roman Catholics were persecuted by the Church of England for their beliefs as well. Upset by this, Lord Baltimore, himself a Catholic, was determined to establish a colony in the New World where Catholics could worship without fear. Receiving a land grant north of Virginia, he named the area Maryland, in honor of the Queen. Lord Baltimore died before his dreams became a reality, but his son carried out his plans. In 1634, two ships with over two hundred people landed on the shores of the Potomac River where the settlement of St. Mary's was founded. The Toleration Act of 1649 put Lord Baltimore's desires into action, promising not only Catholics but also Protestants of all beliefs the freedom to worship their own

Like the Pilgrims and Puritans, English Roman Catholics were persecuted by the Church of England for their beliefs as well. Upset by this, Lord Baltimore, himself a Catholic, was determined to establish a colony in the New World where Catholics could worship without fear. Receiving a land grant north of Virginia, he named the area Maryland, in honor of the Queen. Lord Baltimore died before his dreams became a reality, but his son carried out his plans. In 1634, two ships with over two hundred people landed on the shores of the Potomac River where the settlement of St. Mary's was founded. The Toleration Act of 1649 put Lord Baltimore's desires into action, promising not only Catholics but also Protestants of all beliefs the freedom to worship in their own way. When colonists asked to share in Lord Baltimore's right to govern and make laws, they were given the opportunity to do so. Blessed not only with religious freedom and self-government but also with rich soil and a mild climate, the settlement grew quickly. Surplus tobacco, corn, and grain crops were soon bringing in handsome profits and supporting the growing colony.

The English did not like the fact that the Dutch held the Hudson River Valley and the excellent harbor at New Amsterdam in the middle of the otherwise English Atlantic coast. Therefore, they sailed four warships equipped with cannons into the harbor to take New Amsterdam in 1664. A written document was sent demanding the surrender of the colony, promising no physical harm to the colonists and assuring the Dutch possession of their personal belongings. The Dutch governor, Peter Stuyvesant, angrily ripped the decree into pieces, declaring he would never surrender.c:\aop\sh2012curric\aop.com.history.0800.2011\historyandgeography8002011\2\groupi11.gif

Picking up the pieces and fitting them together, one of his men read the terms of surrender to the gathering crowd. The colonists already hated the demanding, hot-tempered governor for restricting their personal rights. Faced with British warships blocking their harbor, the Dutch settlers accepted English rule. The colony and harbor were renamed New York after its first English governor, the Duke of York.

An assembly representing the colonists of New York drew up a Charter of Liberties in 1683, guaranteeing religious freedom, trial by jury, and election of officers by property owners. Although signed by the Duke of York, the charter did not receive royal recognition until the Duke of York himself became King of England. In 1685, he made New York a royal colony, appointing a governor and council in his behalf and allowing an assembly of landowners some voice in their government.

Little was known about the land south of Virginia in the mid-1600s. In 1663, King Charles I of England gave the territory from Virginia to Spanish Florida to eight noblemen friends, who named it Carolina in his honor. Hunters and lumbermen from Virginia, drawn to the forest-covered land, soon moved into the region. English settlers who founded Charles Town, shortened to Charleston in 1670, later joined them. When the settlers became upset with the high taxes and poor government under their noble officials, the king took control of the territory, dividing it into the separate colonies of North and South Carolina. The two colonies soon developed lifestyles of their own. Settlers in North Carolina, interested only in farming for themselves, divided the land into many small individual farms. South Carolina, on the other hand, was made up of large farms where slaves worked in the rice and cotton fields, producing large surpluses for profit.

James Oglethorpe established the last English colony in America. He had compassion for the poor in England who were in prison for being in debt. In 1732, he received land south of Carolina from King George and named the territory Georgia in the king's honor. This meant South Carolina colonists had to give up land already granted to them. However, they were glad for the additional settlements between themselves and Spanish Florida. These new settlements would provide a buffer between Carolina and Spanish Florida, which some viewed as a potential threat. Settlements in the new colony of Georgia were seen as providing safety from attacks.

In 1733, Oglethorpe led one hundred colonists to the mouth of a large river, where they founded Savannah. Religious freedom, escape from prison life, and the opportunity to own land attracted many to the colony. Discontentment soon arose concerning colony policies. Land grants were too small, self-government was not allowed, and although workers were needed, slavery was forbidden. In 1752, the king took over the colony, ending the settlers' problems by deciding many of the complaints in their favor. Georgia began to prosper as the energy used for bickering was transferred into hard work.

Although started later than the Spanish and French settlements, the English colonies grew quickly. Holding the Atlantic coast from French Canada to Spanish Florida, England had solidified its land claims by the mid-1700s.

The birth of American industry. Although the people of New England were mainly farmers, neither the land nor its climate allowed for profitable agriculture. Barely producing enough food for the colonists' personal needs, the rocky soil was not very fertile. Long, cold winters allowed only a short growing season, adding to the hardships already experienced by farmers. Although unable to produce a surplus, the small farms could raise enough for each family's use: a field of flax for cloth, and vegetables, fruits, rye, and oats for nourishment.

The New Englanders were a resourceful people. For a livelihood, the colonists turned to New England's plentiful natural resources. Taking advantage of the nearby seacoast, New Englanders fished the abundant waters, drying for market the fish they did not use for themselves. Knowing they could bring in much larger catches by deep-sea fishing, colonists were eager to try that enterprise, but they could not afford to purchase ships from England. Finding skilled shipbuilders among their own population, the New Englanders took advantage of the nearby forests that were full of trees waiting to be cut into planks. Shipbuilding yards soon appeared along the coasts, bustling with the activity of ships being readied for launching. These fine ocean-going vessels enabled colonists to sail far out into the ocean, including trips to the fishing grounds off Newfoundland.

Wheat's sustaining surplus. Unlike New England, the Middle Colonies boasted a land and climate favorable to farming Although wheat was the main product, other crops, such as corn, beans, and peas were raised. Farm animals provided butter, cheese, lard, and meat. With the large surpluses of wheat and other farm products, trade, too, became a booming business. An increasing number of merchants shipped products to port cities like Philadelphia for sale or exchange. Farm products from the Middle Colonies were soon being enjoyed as far away as England, Europe, and the West Indies. They were given the name "Bread Colonies" by these areas, and the demand for their farm products increased. By doing what they enjoyed most--farming--colonists carried on a profitable business for their livelihood.c:\aop\sh2012curric\aop.com.history.0800.2011\historyandgeography8002011\2\h802_37b.gif

MID-ATLANTIC LIFESTYLES

Unlike the set pattern of the New England community or the Southern plantation, Mid-Atlantic lifestyles varied. Colonists from many different nations and backgrounds had settled in the Middle Colonies. The Dutch, Swedish, French, German, and English now considered this area their home. With them, each nationality had brought its own lifestyles, religions, and customs, adjusting them to life in the New World. Across the Middle Colonies, life could be experienced as it was lived in many parts of the world.

Wednesdays and Saturdays were filled with excitement as farmers joined the city dwellers for market days. Divided into booths, the long sheds on Market Street were filled with farm products and homemade goods. An unusual sight, colonists from many countries stood side by side, dressed in native costumes and speaking different languages. Apart from the active buying and selling, market day was quite a social event, especially for the farm families, who caught up on the latest news and coming events.

SOUTHERN PLANTATIONS

Because its land and climate favored large-scale production of crops, much of the South was divided into large, independent plantations where life resembled that of a small community complete with shops, homes, and farmland.

Settlers who could afford it bought land around a waterway, sailing to its end, settling there, and planting crops along the water. Much work went into the planning and development of these large farms known as plantations. Because tobacco required a great amount of growing space, large tracts had to be painfully cleared of trees. Many of these trees provided the boards from which the plantation home and additional buildings were constructed. With such large crops and an almost year-round growing season, much help was needed to farm the tobacco. At first, indentured servants were used. They were brought across the Atlantic in exchange for four or more years of labor. As the desire for tobacco increased, plantations expanded to allow for the growing demand, but the need for additional workers could not be met.

In the lower South, the first settlers hoped to farm plantations also, but met difficulty in finding appropriate crops. After much experimentation, rice and indigo, a plant used in dying cloth violet-blue, were raised with a profitable surplus. These Carolina crops were usually sent down the rivers to Charleston, which developed from the growing trade. British merchants soon stopped at the port city, selling cloth and slaves in exchange for the rice and indigo


THE BRITISH SITUATION IN 1763
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Prior to 1763, France and England had been involved in several wars that had spilled over into their American colonies. The last and best known of these was the French and Indian War (1754-1763). This war actually began in America and spread to become a global war between England and France, the two great 18th century powers, and their allies. The war had several important results. It was a training ground for American military officers who served with the British army in the colonies. George Washington, for example, established himself as a capable military leader at that time. The war created a need for greater communication and interaction between the colonies. This began the long, difficult process of breaking up regional distrust among the colonies. Most importantly, the war ended the French threat to the colonies, putting an end to their dependence upon Britain for protection.

The English colonies in the New World had grown substantially since their establishment. By the year 1763, most of the region known today as Canada was under British control. Britain had acquired Canada through the Peace of Paris in 1763, which officially ended the French and Indian War (called the Seven Years' War in Europe). At the same time, Great Britain acquired Florida from Spain, who had been an ally of France during the war. Later, these two allies would become the allies of America in its struggle for independence. Other land under British rule in the New World included the thirteen colonies of the Atlantic seaboard and the eastern basin of the Mississippi River. The land along the Atlantic was acquired by settling colonists in the New World to protect land claims made by earlier explorers. Like the Canadian land, the Mississippi land was obtained from the French in the Peace of Paris. Much of this territory also experienced Indian uprisings and was still considered wilderness.

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The British Empire in 1763

The French and Indian War had increased the English national debt by about $350 million. Since the colonists had benefited the most from the war, the British felt that they should help pay off this debt. The British government knew more money could be raised from the colonies by a stronger enforcement of its trade regulations. In 1763, the British began enforcing the Navigation Acts, which required the colonies to trade only with England on English ships. The new king, George III, also thought that the colonies were too independent of England. He wanted to bring them under more direct and strict control.

For these reasons, the English carried out a new colonial policy. It included the passing of the Sugar and Molasses Act, the Stamp Act, the Declaratory Act, and the Townshend Program. These acts and programs added fuel to the small flame of colonial resentment that was beginning to burn brighter every day.

Sugar and Molasses Act. The first law ever passed to raise revenue from the colonies was the Sugar and Molasses Act of 1764. A tax was placed on sugar and molasses coming into the colonies from ports other than those of the British Empire. Since molasses was needed to produce rum, an export of some of the northern colonies, the tax increased the cost of production. This act had a ruinous effect on American exports of rum and, therefore, lessened the colonies' ability to pay taxes to the English. In simple terms, the British were defeating their own purposes.

Stamp Act. The Stamp Act, the first direct, visible tax on the colonists, was passed in March 1765. It required a prepaid tax stamp to be affixed to all colonial deeds, bills of sale, leases, advertisements, mortgages, wills, pamphlets, newspapers, contracts, and other legal papers. This act stirred colonial hatred more than any previous act. The tax affected all the people in the colonies, not just the merchants that had been the focus of previous legislation. Moreover, the colonists had no say in the British legislative process that created the law. Violence against the tax collectors prevented the stamps from even being sold in most places.

The Quartering Act. The Quartering Act of 1765 also increased colonial anger. This law required the Americans to house and feed British troops.

COLONIAL RESISTANCE
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The British government viewed these measures as a fair attempt to have the colonies pay their share of the expenses caused by the recent war. After all, taxes were even higher in England. However, the colonists feared that the English were trying to choke off their traditional liberties. Particularly frightening was the fact that violators of the laws were to be tried in admiralty courts where the defendant was assumed guilty and would not be tried by a jury. This was a violation of long-standing, basic English rights.


Resistance by the colonists was immediate and intense. In a speech before the Virginia House of Burgesses, Patrick Henry made such stirring statements that many conservatives began to echo "Treason." When the hall quieted down Henry added, "If this be treason, make the most of it." Patrick Henry's resolutions to oppose the laws were passed and put into effect by the other colonies. One of the main resolutions required the boycotting of goods imported from England. Trade with England dropped as much as 25 percent in one year. That got the attention of the English government as merchants in the mother country were hit by the loss of trade.

Declaratory Act. Although the repeal of the Stamp Act was a victory for the colonists, it was followed by the passage of the Declaratory Act by Parliament. This Act stated that Parliament had every right to tax the people of America as it deemed best. This was a pompous statement made by an angry English Parliament.

Townshend's Acts. In 1767, Charles Townshend persuaded Parliament to pass the Townshend Acts, which would levy smaller taxes on glass, paper, paints, and tea. Charles Townshend had no love for the colonists. He regarded the colonists' refusal to listen to Parliament as nonsense. He promised that these taxes would bring plenty of revenue from the colonies. The money was to be used to pay the salaries of English officials in the colonies. This would deprive the colonists of the control they had gained over those officials by having paid the officials' salaries from local taxes voted on by colonial assemblies.

None of the English leaders understood the Americans and their passionate love of liberty. In fact, no serious attempt was made to understand them, and the animosity between the two sides continued to grow. As their chief method for defeating the Townshend Acts, the colonists resorted to boycotting English goods again. Names of merchants who carried English goods were published in the papers, and they were considered a disgrace. Radicals attacked many of these merchants; their homes and businesses were damaged as hostility toward the English grew.


COLONIAL RESISTANCE

The boycott of English products in protest of the Townshend Acts was eventually successful. In the two years following the establishment of the Acts, more and more colonial merchants refused to buy English products, and the people supported the merchants. Sales of British products fell off by almost half, as the boycott spread throughout the colonies. England was forced to send troops to Boston to keep order there. The Sons of Liberty, a secret organization of colonists who were opposed to taxes, was winning popular support. Eventually, all of the Townshend taxes were removed except for the one on tea.

Boston became an important center of opposition to the British laws. The British troops sent to keep order there were understandably unpopular. The troops were taunted and treated with scorn by the Boston populace. Tensions ran high, and only a small spark was needed to cause a major incident.

Here is your goal for this lesson:


  • List the results of the Boston Tea Party and Boston Massacre upon the colonies


Boston Massacre. On the night of March 5, 1770, a false alarm from a fire bell sounded, and nearly sixty youths ran into the streets of Boston. Realizing the alarm was false, the youths began throwing snowballs at a British sentry who was guarding a nearby Custom House. Soldiers were then sent by the commanding officer to aid the sentry. These soldiers were welcomed with snowballs and other flying debris that they answered with gunfire. Five youths were killed and six others wounded. As news of the riot reached the townspeople, they stormed into the streets to capture those responsible for the deaths. This incident, known as the Boston Massacre, highlighted the tensions between the two sides. The colonists were further angered when only two of the soldiers were found guilty of manslaughter and punished by branding on the hand.

Boston Tea Party. The most famous of the pre-war incidents was the Boston Tea Party in 1773. The English government had allowed the British East India Company to have a monopoly on the American tea trade. This allowed the tea to be sold very cheaply, even with the taxes added. If the colonists purchased tea with the tax, even though it cost far less than the tea smuggled from Holland, they would have been admitting to Parliament's right to tax the colonies. The enflamed colonists felt that the cheaper tea was simply a ploy to get them to accept the tax.

On December 16, 1773, three groups of fifty young men dressed as Indians attacked three British tea ships in Boston harbor. The tea was thrown into the sea. The British government was outraged by this public destruction of personal property. However, rather than try to find and deal with the individuals involved, they overreacted.



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Intolerable Acts. When the Bostonians refused to pay for the tea, the British, as one of a series of acts passed to quell the rising colonial insurrection, closed the port of Boston. This act only succeeded in strengthening the growing unity of the colonies. Colonies as far away as Georgia sent supplies to help the people in Boston overcome the embargo. Other laws passed in response to the Tea Party included the forbidding of town meetings without the governor's consent and the depriving of the legislature of the right to choose the governor's council. These also included the quartering of English soldiers in Boston (called the Quartering Act) and the ordering of any officer or soldier of the crown accused of an act to be sent to another colony or back to England for trial. These laws, plus the closing of the port of Boston, were referred to as the Intolerable Acts.

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