How "Revolutionary" was the American Revolution?.
By the middle of the 18th century there were growing difference in thought, life and interests between Britain (known as the "mother" country) and the growing colonies that would eventually form the United States. Local political institution and practice diverged significantly from English ways, while social customs, religious beliefs and economic interests added to the potential sources of conflict. The British government of the time favored a policy of mercantilism, although laws such as the Navigation Act were only loosely enforced to regulate commerce in the British interest.
This all changed abruptly in 1763. The Treaty of Paris removed a long-standing threat to the colonies (from the French) while at the same time Great Britain, under George Grenville undertook a new colonial policy intended to tighten political control over the colonies and to make them effectively pay for their defense and return income to England. While the tax levied on sugar and molasses in 1764 was smaller than the one already on the books, the promise of "stringent enforcement" was not appreciated by the colonists.
In 1765 the British Parliament passed the Stamp Act, which roused a violent colonial outcry. After much protest from leaders such as James Otis, Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry which included the threat of boycott and the refusal to import English Goods Parliament repealed the Stamp Act in 1766, but passed an act formally declaring its right to tax the colonists.
The right of Britain to tax the colonists became a serious issue throughout 1766-mid 1770's. Incidents such as the seizure of a ship belonging to John Hancock (1768), the Boston massacre in 1770 and the burning of the H.M.S.Gaspee in 1772 kept the flame of rebellion lit. By the time of the Boston tea Party (1773) Britain were taking stronger measures than ever to ensure that they received what they perceived to be rightfully theirs.