The Intolerable Acts

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Colonial Times

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The Intolerable Acts were a series of laws sponsored by British Prime Minister Lord North and enacted in 1774 in response to the Boston Tea Party.

The laws were these:

  • Impartial Administration of Justice Act, which allowed the royal governor of a colony to move trials to other colonies or even to England if he feared that juries in those colonies wouldn't judge a case fairly
  • Massachusetts Bay Regulating Act made all law officers subject to appointment by the royal governor and banned all town meetings that didn't have approval of the royal governor
  • Boston Port Act, which closed the port of Boston until the price of the dumped tea was recovered, moved the capital of Massachusetts to Salem, and made Marblehead the official port of entry for the Massachusetts colony.
  • Quartering Act, which allowed royal troops to stay in houses or empty buildings if barracks were not available
  • Quebec Act, which granted civil government and religious freedom to Catholics living in Quebec.

These Acts were the harshest so far of all the Acts passed by Parliament. The closing of Boston's port alone would cost the colony (and the American colonies as a whole) a ton of money. The Regulating Act was aimed at curtailing revolutionary activities. The Quartering Act angered colonists who didn't want soldiers (especially Redcoats) in their houses. And the Quebec Act was a direct insult to Americans, who had been denied the same sorts of rights that the Quebec residents now got.

Rather than keep the colonists down, the Intolerable Acts stirred the revolutionary spirit to a fever pitch. Less than a year later, the first shots were fired at Lexington and Concord.

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David White