Salutary neglect - This term had been used to describe the British Parliament's attitude toward the thirteen colonies until approximately the end of the French and Indian War (1754-1763). Although legislation such as the Navigation Acts (1650-1750) imposed restrictions of trade and manufacturing, such laws were poorly enforced. Colonial merchants were thus able to flourish economically without much British intervention. This general policy ended when the British Parliament, in debt after the French and Indian War, began to exert greater control over the colonies, especially regarding the collection of duties.
Second Continental Congress (1775 - 1781) - Having agreed at the First Continental Congress (1774) to meet again if their grievances regarding the Coercive Acts (1774) were not addressed, delegates from all the colonies except Georgia met in Philadelphia. The Congress convened less than a month after the Battles of Lexington and Concord, with John Hancock (1737-1793) as president of the Congress. The delegates decided to resist British forces until their grievances were addressed. They established the Continental Army for the colonial defense, but were initially reluctant to completely sever the connection with Britain, sending an Olive Branch Petition to the British King George III (1738-1820). Finally, in 1776, delegates signed the Declaration of Independence and led the nation through the Revolutionary War until the ratification of the Articles of Confederation, which set up the first national government for the new nation.
Seven Years' War (1754-1763) - An extension of the European wars between France and England, the Seven Years' War broke out in North America and spread to Europe. Also called the French and Indian War, it pitted French troops, French colonists, and their Native American allies against the British, their colonists, and their allies. The Treaty of Paris (1763) ended the war. The British emerged from the war victorious, but heavily in debt. This debt burden was the major reason for the end of British policies of salutary neglect.
Sons of Liberty - This secret patriotic society, created by Samuel Adams (1722-1803) in 1765, organized protests against the Stamp Act (1765). Initially, its members had pledged to preserve the rights of Englishmen, while maintaining reverence to the King and the Constitution of Britain. Later on, however, members became strong supporters of the struggle for independence. The Sons of Liberty harassed stamp agents with threats and violence, as well as burning the homes of officials. Due in part to their protests, the Stamp Act was repealed in 1766.
Stamp Act (1765) - Because of the recommendation of George Grenville, First Lord of the Treasury in Britain (April 1763-July 1765), Parliament passed the Stamp Act, which placed a tax on newspapers, almanacs, legal documents, and other paper items. Stamps had to be purchased and attached to any paper purchased in the colonies. One of the earliest British taxes to affect a large portion of colonial society, it sparked fierce resistance. Because of these protests, including those organized by the Sons of Liberty, Parliament repealed the act on March 18, 1766.
Stamp Act Congress (1765) - After the passage of the Stamp Act (1765), twenty-eight delegates from nine colonies convened in New York City for the Stamp Act Congress. They agreed that measures had to be taken to force the repeal of the law. The delegates drew up a series of resolutions which asserted that they had the rights of Englishmen, that taxation without representation was a violation of those rights, and that Parliament, having no colonially-elected representatives, had no right to tax the colonies.
Suffolk Resolves - Joseph Warren (1741-1775) presented the Suffolk Resolves to the Suffolk County convention, in Massachusetts, in 1774. This document, later adopted by the First Continental Congress, protested the unfairness of the Coercive or Intolerable Acts (1774).
Sugar Act (1764) - George Grenville, First Lord of the Treasury in Britain (April 1763-July 1765), convinced Parliament to pass the Sugar Act. The law raised taxes on refined sugar, textiles, and other goods imported from countries other than Britain or British colonies; lowered the duty on molasses to discourage smuggling; and added items to the list of goods that colonial merchants could only sell to England. Along with the Sugar Act, Grenville enforced the Navigation Acts more effectively by sending more customs officers to the colonies and setting up royal inspectors and naval patrols to eliminate smuggling.