The Coercive Acts – The Intolerable Acts

join-or-die-flagThis is a brief down-and-dirty, so to speak, on the Coercive Acts/Intolerable Acts.  Just a quick overview to refresh your memory.  April 19th didn’t happen in a vacuum and sometimes we have to step back and look at the forest.

The Boston Tea Party occurred on December 16, 1773.  Obviously, the act was not well received back in London and the Parliament felt compelled to do something to punish the people of Boston.  The result was The Coercive Acts.  That’s what Parliament called them.  The Colonists called them The Intolerable Acts.  Here’s what they did:

  • 1.  Closed the port of Boston to ships coming or going.
  • 2.  Disbanded the Massachusetts Provincial government.
  • 3.  Any official accused of a crime would be taken back to England for trial.
  • 4.  Forced the Colonists to quarter British soldiers in their homes.

We hear over and over and over – well you get the picture – that Colonists revolted because of “No taxation without representation.”  Hogwash.  There was a minute element of that but the Intolerable Acts pushed them over the top.  The people of the Colonies watched as Boston was strangled.  Innocent people were being punished by the King for acts committed by just a few.

Had it not been for the Boston Committee of Donation working non-stop to get out their rallying cry – “we suffer in the common cause” – and engaging all the Colonies in the mission, the working class people of Boston would have starved to death.  (I’ll post another blog on this topic soon.)

Disbanding the Provincial governments was also a big deal.    This was, in Captain Levi Preston’s words, how the Americans had “always ruled ourselves.”

These Intolerable Acts took effect in June, 1774.  If things were shaky before these Acts, now they were positively explosive.