Between 1763 and 1776, the relationship between the American colonies and Great Britain steadily declined, due to differences in social, political, economic and religious thought. But the majority of differences centered around the imperial policies issued by the English monarchy and the subsequent initiation of these policies by the British Parliament, yet despite a general lessening of tensions by 1770, specific conflicts arose and with each new disagreement, the colonists moved ever closer to the impending clash between England and America which by 1775 seemed unavoidable.
THE ROYAL PROCLAMATION:
The first of these imperial policies took effect in February of 1763 when King George III signed the Royal Proclamation which reorganized the policies and administrations of the American colonies. Faced with vast new responsibilities following the costly French and Indian War, the British government sought to restrict white settlers to the Atlantic side of the Appalachians as a way to bring order to the confused state of affairs with the Indians. Thus, all land claims west of the Appalachians were annulled and no new claims, settlements or travel was allowed without royal permission. As a result, many Americans who wished to expand settlements westward were forbidden to do so which brought about the beginnings of the American Revolution.
THE BRITISH ACTS AGAINST THE COLONIES:
In April of 1764, the Revenue Act, known in America as the Sugar Act, became law and marked an attempt by the new British ministry of George Grenville to deal with a 140,000,000 pound debt from the French and Indian War. To Grenville and his associates, this act was a reasonable method of finance, but to the American colonists it was a complete outrage, for an important segment of the colonial economy, especially in New England, was based on importing molasses from the West Indies and distilling it into rum. Moreover, the new customs tax was intended to raise revenue directly from the colonies which the Americans saw as an economic intrusion. It was from the results of this act that the famous slogan "No taxation without representation" first arose.
In March of 1765, the English government passed another revenue-raising act that required the colonists to purchase stamped paper as a tax on all legal documents, including legal papers, licenses, printed material and even playing cards. Known as the Stamp Act, this touched off widespread protests among the colonies that saw it as a direct revenue tax levied without their approval. Moreover, despite the provision that colonists were to be named stamp masters, violations of the law were to be tried in juryless admiralty courts. This act influenced nearly every person in colonial society and engendered much wider protest than the Sugar Act. Within weeks of the Stamp Act's passage, organized resistance, bordering on civil disorder, grew throughout the colonies. Colonial assemblies universally condemned the act and their courts were shut down rather than agreeing to use the hated stamps.