Causes of the American Revolution Essay Worksheet

Potential Essay Question

In 1763 Americans were proud citizens of the British empire but by 1775 they had taken up arms against the “mother country.” What key crises led to such a dramatic change of attitude and why did it lead to an erosion of allegiance to the Crown?


Think about (1) British Actions (2) Colonists Reactions (3) The results of both the British and Colonists actions


I. Identify the problems that Great Britain faced after the French and Indian War

  1. How would they govern the newly acquired territory?

    1. Native Americans: Proclamation of 1763 (3-4, p. 88)

    2. Stationing British Troops in Colonies (3-4, p. 88)

    3. Writs of Assistance to reduce Colonists’ smuggling practices  (3-4, p. 88)

  2. How would Great Britain pay for the costs of the French and Indian War?

    1. King George III / George Grenville (why are they important?)

    2. Sugar Act (3-4, pp. 88-89)


II. Identify the major British policies imposed on its colonies in an effort to gain revenue

  1. Sugar Act (see above)

  2. Stamp Act (4-1, p. 96)

  3. Townshend Acts (4-1, p. 97)

  4. Tea Act (4-1, p. 99)

  5. Coercive Acts / Intolerable Acts (4-1, p. 99)

    1. Shutting down Boston Harbor

    2. Quartering Act

    3. Criminal Defendants could be sent to Great Britain for trial

    4. British General Thomas Gage made Governor of Massachusetts / Imposes Martial Law


III. Describe the different ways the colonists organized to protest British imperial policies

  1. How did the colonists collaborate and organize to protest / appeal the British imperial policies?

    1. Political Society: Sons of Liberty (4-1, p. 97)

    2. Colonial Government Assemblies issue Declaration of Rights and Grievances (4-1, p. 97)

    3. “Taxation without Representation” (4-1, p. 97)

    4. Protests and Boycotts (4-1, p. 97)

    5. Committee of Correspondence (4-1, p. 99)

    6. First Continental Congress (4-1, p. 99)


IV. How did Boston become the epicenter of colonial unrest?

  1. Boston Massacre (4-1, p. 98)

  2. Boston Tea Party (4-1, p. 99)

  3. Lexington and Concord (4-1, p. 100-102)

  1. Identify and describe examples of political propaganda used by colonists to gain widespread support for the Patriot cause.

    1. “The Bloody Massacre” engraving by Paul Revere

    2. “Taxation without Representation”

Renaming the British Parliament-created Coercive Acts as the Intolerable Acts