Since its official establishment, June 14, 1775 — more than a year before the Declaration of Independence — the U.S. Army has played a vital role in the growth and development of the American nation. Drawing on both long-standing militia traditions and recently introduced professional standards, it won the new republic’s independence in an arduous eight-year struggle against Great Britain. At times, the Army provided the lone symbol of nationhood around which patriots rallied.
MARCH 25, 1774
Boston Port Act — Start of the Intolerable Acts
In the wake of the Boston Tea Party, the British Parliament closed the port of Boston to ships with its passage of the Boston Port Act, which took effect June 1, 1774. It was the first of the Coercive, or Intolerable Acts, five laws passed by the British Parliament to suppress resistance to its authority over the American colonies.
MAY 20, 1774
Massachusetts Government Act
The second act, the Massachusetts Government Act of May 20, 1774, stripped the colony of its sovereignty. Many throughout the 13 colonies viewed this act as the most egregious of the Intolerable Acts and feared the British might impose similar laws on each of the rest of the colonies.
Tensions heightened when Lt. Gen. Thomas Gage, the commander in chief of British forces in North America and royal governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, invoked the new law in October 1774 and dissolved the provincial assembly. In response, colonists formed their own alternative government — the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, which controlled the entire colony outside of Boston — and prepared for a possible military confrontation with the forces that occupied the capital….
- Nearly a century and a half of self-government in the Massachusetts Bay Colony ended.
- The British Parliament effectively abrogated the colonial charter.
- The royally appointed governor and the council were granted wide-ranging powers.
- Local officials were no longer to be elected by their town meetings, but appointed by the governor. Instead of being elected by representatives of the lower legislative house, the king appointed the members of the provincial council, or upper house, of the General Court as the charter granted in 1691 had established.
- All of the colony’s officials were to be paid by the crown, not by the elected and decidedly Whig lower house of the Assembly.
- The upper house of the legislature was henceforth to be nominated by the governor and appointed by the king. Judges, sheriffs and other court officers also to be appointed or dismissed by the governor in the king’s name.
- Town meetings were allowed only with the governor’s consent.
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