AP American History
Revolution as defined by Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition is:
a: a sudden, radical, or complete change
b : a fundamental change in political organization; especially : the overthrow or renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another by the governed
c : activity or movement designed to effect fundamental changes in the socioeconomic situation
d : a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something : a change of paradigm
e : a changeover in use or preference especially in technology
If we take into account definitions c and d we can agree with John Adams that "The American Revolution did not begin with the first shots fired at Lexington and Concord, but rather, the revolution began in 1763."
The French and Indian war or as the Europeans called it, "The Seven Year War," ended in 1763 with the signing of the Peace of Paris. In this document France gave-up all of North America save for two small islands near Newfoundland. Though Britain had won the war and gained great expanses of land in the Americas, they still had to carry the burden of war debts incurred while they were at war. Thus, they taxed the colonies believing that they had fought to protect them and for their safety. Because of this, Great Britain tightened their Imperial controls on the Americas.
In April 1764, the Sugar Act was passed by parliament. This Act placed tariffs on sugar, coffee, wines, and other goods imported into the Americas. This law also doubled the taxes on good imported via Britain to the Americas. The Sugar Act and the restriction of printing paper money in the colonies deeply upset Americans. With the passage of the Sugar Act the Americans begin to craft the noose that would eventually used against the ignorance of Great Britain.
The colonists denounced this taxation without representation, however an offer of a reasonable number of seats in Parliament would not have satisfied them. Over the course of colonial history Americans had taken a very narrow view of imperial concerns. They were opposed in principle to taxation without representation. However, they failed to agree on a common plan of resistance.
Then in 1765, the noose was tightened, the Stamp Act was passed in Parliament. The Stamp Act placed stiff excise taxes on all kind of printed batter including newspapers, legal documents, licenses, and even playing cards. When the petitions of the colonial assemblies were ignored, more vigorous protests quickly followed. In some colonies stamps were snatched by mobs and torched while the crowds rejoiced. Besides refusing to use stamps, the Americans also responded to the Stamp Act by boycotting British goods. The law was repealed in March 1766, showing that the colonists could stand-up to the imperial Great Britain.
On the same day that the Stamp Act was repealed, however, the Declaratory Act was passed stating that the colonies were "subordinate" and that Parliament could pass any law they wished regarding the colonies. This law was practiced when the Townshend Duties were passed in June 1767. These duties included levies on glass, lead, paints, paper and tea imported into the colonies. The colonists responded to this with the a new boycott on British goods. In 1768, the Massachusetts General Court sent the legislatures of the other colonies a "Circular letter" expressing the opinion that the British were infringing their rights by passing the Townshend Acts. The colonists viewed Britain as tyrannical as stated by John Raynell, "if the Americans are to be taxed by a Parliament where they are not...represented, they are no longer Englishmen but Slaves."
In Boston on March 5, 1770, the conflict between Britain and the colonists came to fruition with blows. On this afternoon a group of British soldiers guarding the Custom House were attacked by a crowd using snowballs. The soldiers panicked and fired their muskets, killing five Bostonians. While this was not the last step to revolution, it was the start of protest with physical consequences.
Within a decade the colonists had brought themselves together via common ideals. Through this alliance within the colonies was created a nation and a defense against Britain. The British hung themselves with ignorance, forcing the colonists to rise up against them with common policies and later with arms. Thus, the American revolution "did not begin with the first shots fired at Lexington and Concord," but rather ended with physical violence which came about due to the ignorance of the imperialistic attitudes of British Parliament.