The Boston Massacre

The British imposed the Townshend Acts in 1767, which placed taxes on goods that America imported, such as tea, glass, paint and lead. This caused the tensions and protests to continue and in 1770 a Boston mob, protesting at the Townshend Acts confronted a group of British soldiers at the Customs House. The stories of the event were told by both sides with exaggeration and bias, but we do know that one colonist provoked a soldier with a wooden stick,  which caused the soldier to call a few other soldiers and also caused the colonist to call to more colonists who were hiding behind the Customs House. Thousands of colonists went to the soldiers and the soldiers were now outnumbered. The soldiers then opened fire and five innocent people in the mob were killed. This is called the Boston Massacre. 

The soldiers were defended in court by the future US President John Adams. He was able to get all of them acquitted of murder.

This led to even more anger among the Americans.

The Boston Tea Party

After the Boston Massacre, the British withdrew all the Townshend Acts and other taxes - except a small tax on tea imports, to show they had the right to tax the colonies. However, in 1773 they passed the Tea Act, which exempted the East India Company from paying the tea tax. In December 1773, a group from the Sons of Liberty dressed as Native Americans and dumped 342 crates of East India Company tea into Boston Harbour, an event later known as the Boston Tea Party.

In response, the British government imposed what Americans called the 'intolerable act' on Boston and the colony of Massachusetts. The port of Boston was closed until compensation was paid for the tea, the city was put under military rule and the colony's assembly was suspended.