Introduction - Intolerable ActsIn order to punish the American colonist for the Boston Tea Party, which took place in December of 1773 in response to the Tea Act, the British Parliament passed a group of laws in 1774 which were dubbed the Intolerable Acts by the American colonist. These laws outraged the colonist and persuaded many of them to join the movement for independence from Britain. The passing of these laws was one of the major events leading to the American Revolution. Facts about these punitive laws are listed below along with a summary of each including information on what effect they had on the Americans, why they enraged the colonist, and how the American colonist reacted.
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Interesting Facts about the Intolerable Acts
- The Boston Tea Party followed by the passing of the Intolerable Acts was part of a series of events (causes) that led up to the American Revolution. The relationship between Britain and its thirteen American colonies had been growing worse and worse after the end of the French and Indian War (Seven Years War) in 1763. It was at this point that Britain looked to the colonies for tax revenue to help pay down the huge debt it incurred to pay for the war.
- Great Britain passed these Acts in the hopes that it would establish their authority over the colonist and their colonial assemblies. This plan backfired and gave strength to Americas move towards independence. It prompted the colonist to form the First Continental Congress and to form a boycott of British goods.
- The American colonist dubbed these laws the Intolerable Acts; in Great Britain they were referred to as the Coercive Acts.
List of Laws Included in the Intolerable Acts
- Boston Port Act - This Act closed Boston's port until the East India Company was reimbursed for the tea destroyed during the Boston Tea Party. British ships set up a blockade of the harbor. The residents of Boston felt that all of them were being punished for the actions of the few who participated in destroying the tea. This one act pulled together the 13 colonies as had never been seen before; other colonies sent supplies to Massachusetts to aide them.
- Quartering Act - Forced the colonist to house British soldiers when necessary. Read more about this at Quartering Act Facts.
- Impartial Administration of Justice Act - Expanded the powers of the royal governor of a colony to transfer trials of royal officials, accused of a crime involving the enforcement of laws, to another British colony or to Great Britain if he thought this was necessary for a fair trial. George Washington dubbed this the "Murder Act", he said it allowed British officials, accused of wronging the colonist, to escape justice. The colonist pointed out that after the Boston Massacre in 1770 the British soldiers accused of murder had been given a fair trial.
- Massachusetts Bay Regulating Act - Required all town meetings to have the approval of the royal governor and required all law officers to be appointment by the governor.
- Quebec Act - This law dealt with the religious freedoms of Catholics in Quebec; which was a British colony. It was not passed as a punitive act towards the colonist but most colonist did oppose it.