A Connecticut Response to the Coercive Acts

On December 16, 1773, Bostonians dumped 340 chests holding 92,000 pounds or 46 tons of East India Company tea into the harbor. Due to the distance news had to travel across the Atlantic Ocean and then for the gears of government to crank a response, it was not until March of 1774 that Lord Frederick North, his administration, and Parliament passed the Coercive Acts.

The Coercive or Intolerable Acts as they were referred to in the American colonies were actually four acts in total, including the Boston Port Act, which closed the port to all commerce, the Massachusetts Government Act, restricting town meetings and changed the governor’s council to an appointed body, the Administration of Justice Act, which gave immunity to British officials from prosecution in Massachusetts, and lastly the Quartering Act, ordering colonists to house British troops when demanded.

Side note: A fifth act, the Quebec Act extended freedom of worship to Canadian Catholics and this decree was looped into the Intolerable Acts by the colonists.

Understandably the response in Massachusetts was one of defiance, protest, and angst and the acts are credited with promoting momentum toward independence. What was not truly appreciated by the British government was the outcry from other colonies.

On this date in 1774, the town of Farmington, Connecticut showed what the passage of the Coercive Acts meant. On May 19, a handbill, a small printed advertisement or notice, was distributed around the town inviting the inhabitants to a gathering to honor “the immortal Goddess of Liberty.”

Northwest View of Farmington from Round Hill – John Warner Barber, 1836
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Surrender at Yorktown

On this date, in 1781, the British army marched out of their entrenchments at Yorktown and surrendered to General George Washington and the combined Continental and French armies.

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Modern view of the “Surrender at Yorktown” site (P. Greenwalt)

Although the victory did not conclusively end the war, the victory prompted British Prime Minister, Lord Frederick North, to exclaim,

“Oh, God, it is all over!”

Approximately two years later, with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on September 3, 1783, the American Revolutionary War was truly over.

What is not truly over is the efforts to preserve, interpret, and educate the current and future generations about the importance of Yorktown and the American Revolution. In the spring, the new American Revolution Museum of Yorktown will open its doors, updating the Victory Center at Yorktown Museum.

From the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation website, the museum’s goals are to;

“Through comprehensive, immersive indoor exhibits and outdoor living history, the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown offers a truly national perspective, conveying a sense of the transformational nature and epic scale of the Revolution and the richness and complexity of the country’s Revolutionary heritage.”

For more information about the museum, what it entails, and the opening date, click here.