In the aftermath of the French and Indian War, the relationship between Great Britain and its colonies had been severed. With an immense influx of war spending in order to fight off the French in the New World, the British were forced to place some of that burden on the colonists who, in their mind, initiated the war in the first place. This notion did not bode well with the colonists. Up until this point, that British had largely left the affairs of the colonies to the colonists and practiced a method of salutary neglect. The discontent of the colonists became the foundation of a push for independence which would lead to a revolutionary war and eventually a federal government to unite the colonists.
The first step in the push for Independence was entirely nonviolent and consisted of movements, protests, and noncooperation. Although the colonists were unhappy with the governing of the British crown, the time was not yet ripe for revolution. Many still believed that this was an issue that could be reconciled and thus, began to protest in a way that would demonstrate their disagreement while not leading to a civil schism. The most important legal implementations which spurred colonial dissent were the Stamp Act, the Townshend Acts, and the Coercive Acts. All of these Acts were implemented in order to increase colonial revenue and ensure that the colonists would have to pay a tax on certain aspects of their life which they had become accustomed to. While these new laws infuriated many of the colonists, the independence movement still remained peaceful through the end of the 1770's. As opposition began, it appeared in many different forms including demonstrations and protest. One such protest took place in Wilmington, North Carolina to protest the Stamp Act and make clear that their opposition was against British Parliament as a whole rather than the specific piece of legislation. This protest helped to highlight this as an early push towards independence rather than simply a discontent with paying more taxes.