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- Explain how the American Enlightenment helped shape the values and attitudes of the American people.
- Understand how the First Great Awakening influenced the Americans' desire for independence.
- List the causes and effects of the French and Indian War.
- Discuss the formation of organized resistance, such as the Sons of Liberty and the Stamp Act Congress.
- Describe the British policies that led to the Boston Massacre.
- Learn about the Boston Tea Party, the Intolerable Acts and the First Continental Congress.
1. The American Enlightenment: Intellectual and Social Revolution
For a thousand years, Europe had been living in the Dark Ages until a series of philosophical, religious and scientific movements helped turn on the lights. The Enlightenment began in Europe, but quickly spread throughout America in the 1700s and helped set the stage for a revolution against British rule.
2. The First Great Awakening: Religious Revival and American Independence
While the Enlightenment was shaping the minds of 18th-century colonists, another movement, the First Great Awakening, was shaping their hearts. With freedom of conscience at its core, the Awakening led Americans to break with religious traditions and seek out their own beliefs while sharing common values.
3. The French and Indian War: Causes, Effects & Summary
In the mid-1700s, the Seven Years' War involved all of the world's major colonial powers on five continents. The biggest fight was between France and Great Britain, and the victor would come away with control of North America.
4. Sons of Liberty: Resistance to the Stamp Act and British Rule
In 1763, British Prime Minister George Grenville passed new legislation aimed at solving some of the empire's problems stemming from the French and Indian War. The colonists cried, 'Taxation without representation is tyranny!' They organized boycotts, the Sons of Liberty and the Stamp Act Congress until some of the new taxes were lifted.
5. Boston Massacre: Colonists and the Declaratory and Townshend Acts
After overturning the hated Stamp Act, Parliament asserted its right to tax the colonists without representation by passing the Declaratory Act. When the Townshend Acts imposed import duties, the colonists went into action again. An escalating cycle of violence ended with the Boston Massacre, resulting in the cancellation of all duties except the one on tea.
6. The Boston Tea Party, Intolerable Acts & First Continental Congress
Three years of calm followed the Boston Massacre and the repeal of most Townshend duties. But no sooner had Parliament passed a new tax on tea than the colonies were in an uproar again about taxation without representation. What followed were the Boston Tea Party and the fateful last steps leading to war.
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