The Thirteen American Colonies

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American History Glossary
Clickable map of the 13 Colonies with descriptions of each colony
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The First European Settlements in America
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Part 3: Beliefs and Revolution

The Pilgrims in Massachusetts and the Quakers in Pennsylvania were examples of people who had left England so they could practice the religion they chose. Maryland and Rhode Island passed laws of religious toleration (meaning that people couldn't be harmed just because their religion was different from other people's).

These American colonists also believed that they had a right to govern themselves. More and more, they believed that they shouldn't have to pay so much in taxes to England, especially since they couldn't serve in the English government and have a say on how high or low those taxes were.

As more and more Americans voiced their concerns over higher and higher taxes, a conflict began to build. The English response was to isolate the colonies from each other, in hopes that the American people would not pull together as a whole. An example of this is the Intolerable Acts, which singled out Massachusetts in general and Boston in particular. One provision of these Acts was to close the port of Boston entirely. This was serious business. Boston was one of the largest ports in America. Closing it meant that Americans couldn't get food and other essentials from England or anywhere else, unless they paid extra for it to be transported from other ports, like New York.

But the punishment of Boston backfired. The Americans pulled together as never before. They took up arms against their English governors and fellow soldiers. Even though they had fought for England in the French and Indian War (George Washington included), they now fought against England for the right to govern themselves. The result was the Revolutionary War, which ended in American victory.

A new nation was born, one that had its roots in the conflicts between several European nations. That new nation would have to make its own way in an angry world.

First page > Coming to America > Page 1, 2, 3

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