Introduction - Quartering ActOn May 15, 1765, the British Parliament passed the Quartering Act, where several rules and regulations were put forth so that British soldiers who remained in North America would be given adequate room and board. It was expected that colonial families, complete with wives and children, make room in their homes for British soldiers if and when it was necessary. When this act was passed it outraged the colonists who were already not happy being under British rule. In fact, out of all of the 13 colonies, Pennsylvania was the only one to comply with the act. Read the lists below for more interesting facts about this act including why it was one of the major cause of the American Revolution.
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Quartering Act Basic Facts
- The Quartering Act was actually an extension of the Mutiny Act of 1686 which had clauses pertaining to the housing of British soldiers in homes in the American colonies.
- When enacted by the British Parliament in 1765 this act required the colonist to not only provide shelter for the British soldiers but also to provide food, bedding, beer, candles, salt, cider, firewood, and eating utensils.
- The British Parliament passed this act due to the request of British General Thomas Gage, who was the commander of the British forces in North America, and other commanders. These commanders found the colonist uncooperative in providing shelter for them and their soldiers.
- When the French and the British fought for possession of North America in The French and Indian War or the Seven Years War (1754-1763), American colonists housed many British soldiers. They were not prepared to do this during times of peace.
- By the end of the French and Indian War, the British had to find a way to deal with the massive debt they had amassed due to the war. By keeping British soldiers housed and fed in America, they felt they could both avoid the hefty cost of sending them back home and use the army to collect taxes from the colonists.
- The Quartering Act stated that American colonists were to find accommodations for British soldiers which could include barracks, Inns, private homes, barns and even livery stables. It also stated that the soldiers were to be given food and bedding, as well as candles, firewood, alcohol and other associated items at the cost of the colonist.
Quartering Act Resistance
- The colonists felt that the Quartering Act of 1765 violated the 1689 English Bill of Rights.
- In 1766 1,500 British soldiers sailed in New York Harbor. The New York Colonial Assembly disliked being ordered to house and feed the British and refused to do so. The British soldiers had to remain on their ships. The British Parliament responded by making any further legislation from the governor of New York and the New York assembly invalid until the assembly had complied with the Quartering Act.
- The Quartering Act was one in a series of events that caused the American Revolution. Some of the other events include the Townshend Acts of 1767 and the Boston Massacre in 1768. All these events would added to the tension between the colonist and the British government which would boil over in 1775 with the outbreak of the American Revolution.