American Revolution: presence of British troops

Exam task

Section A Question 1/2 – American Revolution


“How did the garrisoning and presence of British troops in the American colonies contribute to a revolutionary situation in America between 1763 and 1776?”

Student response

“The presence of British troops in a time of peace was crucial in prompting tensions and hostilities that would lead to revolution. After winning the French-Indian War (1754-63) the colonists believed that standing armies would be removed from the continent. Despite this ‘Redcoats’ were employed throughout the colonies to help enforce the Proclamation Act (1763), Sugar Act (1764), Stamp Act (1765) and Townshend Acts (1767). The Quartering Act of 1765 allowed for this to happened and provoked discontent in the colonies as not only were they forced to confront troop on a regular basis but they were also compelled to provide their accommodation. Samuel Adams would issue widespread propaganda, including the ‘Journal of Events’, that would help turn the Boston crowd against the 4,000 strong ‘Redcoats’ operating in a town of just 10,000. The Boston Massacre (1770) took place with Paul Revere’s depiction of the event helping turn more conservative members of society in favour of revolution. Street brawls would continue adding to resentment, however with the Coercive or ‘Intolerable’ Acts (1774) and a new Quartering Act (1774) fighting broke out at Lexington and Concord (April 1775). The Continental Congress was forced to declare independence (1776) as the British troops had restricted the liberties of the colonists in times of peace.”

Teacher feedback

This response contains most of the relevant points for this question, including the garrisoning of soldiers in America after the French and Indian War, tensions in Boston and the Boston Massacre of 1770. The response could have been improved and given greater depth by briefly explaining the background to some of these events. Why did the British feel compelled to garrison troops in America after 1763? What were Samuel Adams’ grievances against British soldiers? What happened at the Boston Massacre? The Committees of Safety and Correspondence, the formation of colonial militias, the recruiting of ‘Minutemen’ and the Powder Alarms of 1774 might also have been mentioned. The response is book-ended by good sentences that address the question directly. This response would score in the region of 8/10.

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