U.S. History
Material Type:
Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
  • History
  • Ohs0432
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Media Formats:

    Imperial Reforms and Colonial Protests 1763-1774

    Imperial Reforms and Colonial Protests 1763-1774


    The government’s formerly lax oversight of the colonies ended as the architects of the British Empire put these new reforms in place. The British hoped to gain greater control over colonial trade and frontier settlement as well as to reduce the administrative cost of the colonies and the enormous debt left by the French and Indian War. Each step the British took, however, generated a backlash. Over time, imperial reforms pushed many colonists toward separation from the British Empire.

    Learning Objectives

    • Discuss the status of Great Britain’s North American colonies in the years directly following the French and Indian War

    • Describe the size and scope of the British debt at the end of the French and Indian War

    • Explain how the British Parliament responded to the debt crisis

    • Outline the purpose of the Proclamation Line, the Sugar Act, and the Currency Act

    • Explain the purpose of the 1765 Stamp Act

    • Describe the colonial responses to the Stamp Act

    • Describe the purpose of the 1767 Townshend Acts

    • Explain why many colonists protested the 1767 Townshend Acts and the consequences of their actions

    • Describe the state of affairs between the colonies and the home government in 1774

    • Explain the purpose and results of the First Continental Congress

    Module Supplemental Readings/Videos

    Glossary of Key Terms

    Boston Massacre: Clash between unruly Bostonian protestors and locally-stationed British redcoats, who fired on the jeering crowd, killing or wounding eleven citizens

    Boston Tea Party:  Protest against the British East India Company's monopoly on the tea trade.  Disguised as Indians, colonists dumped 342 chests of tea into Boston harbor, prompting the Coercive Acts from the British Parliament.

    Coercive/"Intolerable" Acts  Series of punitive measures passed in retaliation for the Boston Tea Party, closing the Port of Boston, revoking a number of rights in the Massachusetts colonial charter, and the Quartering Act to allow for the lodging of soldiers in private homes.

    committees of correspondence: Local committees established across Massachusetts, and later in each of the thirteen colonies, to maintain colonial opposition to British policies through the exchange of letters and pamphlets.

    Declaratory Act: Passed alongside the repeal of the Stamp Act, it reaffirmed Parliament's sovereignty over the North American colonies.

    First Continental Congress:  delegates from the colonies that met in response to the Coercive Acts.

    nonimportation agreements: Boycotts against British taxation policies in the colonies.

    Pontiac's uprising: Campaign waged by Ottawa chief Pontiac to drive the British out of Ohio Country.

    Proclamation of 1763: Decree issued by Parliament in the wake of Pontiac's uprising, prohibiting settlement beyond the Appalachians. Contributed to rising resentment of British rule in the American colonies.

    Quartering Act: Required colonies to provide food and quarters for British troops.

    Quebec Act: Allowed the French residents of Québec to retain their traditional political and religious institutions and extended the boundaries of the province southward to the Ohio River.

    Stamp Act: Tax on an array of paper goods, repealed in 1766 after mass protests erupted across the colonies. Colonists developed the principle of "no taxation without representation."

    Sugar Act: Duty on imported sugar from the West Indies. It was the first tax levied on the colonists by the crown and was lowered substantially in response to widespread protests.

    Townshend Acts: External, or indirect, levies on glass, white lead, paper, paint and tea, the proceeds of which were used to pay colonial governors, who had previously been paid directly by colonial assemblies.

    vice-admiralty courts: designed to resolve disputes among merchants and seamen.

    Instructor Resources


    See attached PDF for details