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Episode 035: Carolina Regulators and the Battle of Alamance

In both North and South Carolina, colonists on the western frontier run into conflicts with the east coast dominated government. Westerners in each state form Regulator movements to enforce the law locally as they see fit. In North Carolina, this leads to open warfare with the colonial government. Regulators and militia do battle in 1771 near Alamance Creek. For more text, pictures, maps, and sources, please visit my site at


Episode 034: Massacre Fallout and Townshend Acts Repealed

After British Regulars kill five colonists and injure others at what becomes known as the Boston Massacre, local radicals force the government to relocate the soldiers to Castle Island, out in Boston Harbor. The Massacre becomes an example for why standing armies should not be maintained among a free people. For months following, both sides prepare for trials, in which John Adams, among other patriot lawyers, represents the British soldiers. A jury acquits Captain Preston and five of the...


Episode 033: The Boston Massacre

Over the winter of 1769-70, locals in Boston make life as uncomfortable as possible for the British Regulars occupying the city. Fights break out regularly. The local courts would not punish locals and the army would not punish soldiers for fighting. Street brawls become more frequent. A mob chases customs informer Ebenezer Richardson into his house and threatens his life. He fires into the crowd, killing a young boy. A few weeks later, a British soldier on guard at the Customs House...


Episode 032: The Battle of Golden Hill

During the winter of 1769-70, New Yorkers fight with British Regulars. When New York failed to come up with sufficient money to quarter the soldiers, British Regulars destroy the Liberty Pole. Isaac Sears, a leader in the local Sons of Liberty Chapter tries to make a citizen’s arrest of several soldiers a few days later. Both sides quickly escalate the event into a massive street brawl involving thousands of soldiers and civilians. Dozens are wounded. Both Sears and Alexandar McDougall who...


Episode 031: Wilkes and Liberty & Tar and Feathers

Radical John Wilkes returns from France in 1768 to face the charges for seditious libel. He would spend the next two years in prison, during which time he would be elected to Parliament, which refused to seat him, as well as other goverment positions. As much as the King and Parliament hated Wilkes, the people of England loved him as a defender of liberty. The colonists also took up Wilkes as a hero of the fight for liberty. As the sides harden between Parliament and the colonies. Prime...


Episode 030: The Occupation of Boston

With officials in Boston unable to control the people and enforce the law, Secretary of State Hillsborough decides enough is enough and orders four regiments of British regulars to occupy the town. Radical colonists debate resisting the troops by force of arms, but decide in the end to back down. Instead, they simply send protests to London. Locals harass the soldiers at every opportunity, and make the occupation as difficult as possible. The Navy attempts to impress (force) local sailors...


Episode 029: The Liberty Riot

The American Board of Customs arrives in Boston in 1767 ready to enforce the new Townshend duties. With the backing of the British Navy, the Board tries to show who is boss by seizing a ship belonging to the wealthiest merchant in Boston and a leader of the tax protests, John Hancock. The seizure of Hancock’s ship Liberty results in a riot and the beatings of several customs officials. The Board learns that they are not the boss and must flee to Castle William, an island in Boston Harbor, to...


Episode 028: Letters from a Pennsylvania Farmer

Following passage of the Towshend Acts in 1767, the colonists are unsure how to respond. These are import tariffs, not taxes, which was the line they drew over the earlier Stamp Act. They don’t want to pay but have trouble articulating a good argument that everyone accepts. John Dickinson writes a series of 12 letters, purportedly from “a farmer in Pennsylvania” explaining why these new laws are just as objectionable. His letters push the colonists into real opposition to the new laws....


Episode 027: Prime Minister Pitt Falls from Power

Prime Minister William Pitt’s illness prevents him from running his administration. The Duke of Grafton becomes acting Prime Minister for over a year and eventually take the office officially when Pitt resigns in 1768. Although Grafton is a moderate on colonial issues, he moves hardliners like Lord North and the Earl of Hillsborough into his cabinet. The Ministry also adds to the Townshend Acts by creating several new Admiralty Courts in America to enforce the Townshend Acts and other...


Episode 025: Tensions Simmer

Following the repeal of the Stamp Act in 1766, colonial protests stopped and trade resumed. Parliament is not happy about the pushback and seems determined to find a way to put the colonies in their place. The colonies are unhappy about the Declaratory Act and Parliament’s assertion of complete tax authority over the colonies, despite a lack of colonial representation in Parilament. The colonists and the English people begin to view their interests as in competition with one another. During...


Episode 024: Stamp Act Repeal and Declaratory Act

The Stamp Act took effect on November 1, 1765. But colonial opposition prevented the use of any stamps. Protesters forced newspapers, courts, and ports to operate without stamped paper. Creditors could not go to court to collect on debts and trading vessels stop going to England. As a result, English merchants joined in opposition to the Act. Prime Minister Rockingham replaced Grenville and immediately set about to repeal the law. The problem was, Parliament did not want to look like it was...


Episode 023: The Stamp Act Congress

Colonists at all levels of society protested the Stamp Act of 1765. Newspapers railed against it. Mobs marched in the streets, and destroyed the homes of tax agents and other supporters. Colonial politicians not only spoke out against the Act but organized the Stamp Act Congress to coordinate a unified response to this tax. At issue was “taxation without representation.” Parliament, for the first time, was imposing a direct tax on the colonists, even though they had no representation in...


Episode 022: The Stamp Act and Quartering Act of 1765

In 1765 Prime Minister Grenville led passage of the Stamp Act through Parliament. He designed the tax on newpapers, legal documents and a host of other paper to collect revenues from the colonies. Although some radical whigs like William Pitt opposed the new taxes, the law sailed through Parilament with relative ease. Parliament wanted to pay off its war debt and thought the colonies needed to contribute more. To help with enforcement, Parliament also passed the Quartering act, forcing...


Episode 021: The Colonies React to Taxes

Following the passage of the Sugar Act in 1764, the British colonies in North America begin to organize opposition. The new taxes and trade enforcement policies hits the colonies just when they are experiencing other economic problems. Brtiain’s removal of war subsidies leads to growing unemployment and a general lack of jobs. The Currency Act contributes to exisiting money shortages. The Wheelwright Scandal makes all of this worse. British restrictions on western lands cuts off a...


Episode 020: The Sugar Act & Currency Act of 1764

In 1764, with Britain under a massive debt from the Seven Years War and with increased costs of maintaining its new colonies, the Grenville Ministry passes the Sugar Act to raise revenue from the colonists. The Act itself actually cuts tariff rates, but also institutes enforcement measures to ensure the colonists cannot evade the taxes as easily as they did in the past. Parliament also passes the Quartering Act, to make colonies pay for the quartering of British Regulars within their...


Episode 019: Suppressing the Indians

In 1764, in response to the Native American attacks known as Pontiac’s War, the colonists strike back at the Indians, killing the guilty and innocent alike. Gen. Amherst approves use of smallpox against the Indians. He proposes a campaign of terror and slaughter against the tribes. At the insistence of Indian agent Sir William Johnson, London recalls Amherst, leaving Gen. Thomas Gage in charge. Gage follows through on Amherst’s attack plan, sending out two expeditions to destroy Indian...


Episode 018: Pontiac’s War

By 1763, France has left Canada after losing the the French and Indian war. British soldiers and colonists continue to occupy land west of the Allegheny mountains in violation of promises. To save money, Britain stops making annual gifts to the tribes. The Indian tribes unite and rise up against these continuing violations of treaties. The tribes sieze mulitple forts and besiege others. Soldiers and colonists hunker down in forts, flee the region, or die horrible deaths. For more text,...


Episode 017: Parsons Cause, Bishops, and Trade

As the Seven Years War comes to an end, Britain and her colonies begin bickering over issues unrelated to the war. In Virginia, a new lawyer named Patrick Henry convinces a jury not to pay ministers the wage required under the law. The Archbishop of Canterbury is thwarted in his attempts to force New England to accept an Anglican Bishop. James Otis Jr. becomes an early advocate against the enforcement of trade tariffs through the use of general warrants. For more text, pictures, maps, and...


Episode 016: Treaty of Paris & Wilkes Affair

The French try for one last land claim in North America at the Battle of Signal Hill. Following the end of combat, the British army in America shrinks, removing men and money from the colonies. Britain finally ends the Seven Years War with France and Spain through the Treaty of Paris in 1763. British politician John Wilkes learns the hard way that although the King has gotten involved in politics, you cannot criticize the King like any other politician. He goes on to become a hero for the...


Episode 015: Cherokee Uprising, Fighting in West Indies & Spain joins the War.

The Cherokee go to war against the settlers in the Carolinas who are encroaching on their land. Britain captures French colonies in the West Indies (what we today call the Caribbean). Newcastle and Pitt leave the government as the Earl of Bute takes charge. Spain finally joins France in the war against Britain, only to lose some of its own colonies. For more text, pictures, maps, and sources, please visit my site at