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Intolerable Acts

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• American Revolution
Boston Tea Party
Sugar Act
Stamp Act
Tea Act
Continental Congress
King George III
Lord North


Definition: 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.

Related Resources:
The Development of the Revolution
An examination of life in the 18th Century and how it led to the Revolution.

Revolutionary Intents
Reading what the revolutionaries felt is a first step toward truly understanding what they did. This site offers a wealth of personal papers, letters, and documents to help you put the Revolution in perspective.

Elsewhere on the Web:
Details on the Intolerable Acts
Trace the history of resistance to these and other Acts passed by Britain and protested by Americans.

Origins of the Revolution
See how it all began in this series of fun, interesting stories. You can even take a quiz to reinforce what you learned!

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