1761 George Washington inherits the plantation Mount Vernon in Virginia from his half-brother Lawrence. Mount Vernon, after Alexander Robertson, aquatint by Francis Jukes, c 1800
George III becomes king of England, Ireland and the colonies
1.5 million colonists living in America.
British General Lord Jeffrey Amherst (1717-1797) captures Montreal and ends French resistance in Canada.
New York requires that all physicians and surgeons pass a test and be licensed to practice medicine.
Benjamin Franklin invents the first bifocal lenses for eye glasses.
New Jersey prohibits the enlistment of slaves in the militia without their master's permission.
The Bray School for African-American children is established in Williamsburg.
College of William and Mary students petition for better food; they ask for salt and fresh meat for dinner, and desserts 3 times a week.
Thomas Jefferson (1723-1826) enters the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
Much of Boston is destroyed by a raging fire.
George Washington inherits the plantation Mount Vernon in Virginia from his half-brother Lawrence.
The first liturgy for the Evening Services for Rosh-Hashanah and Yom Kippur are published in New York.
Abigail Adams (1744-1818) keeps her correspondence and the Letters of Mrs. Adams, the Wife of John Adams, which would be published in the 1840s. Her letters, starting in 1761 and ending in 1814, span the Revolutionary and Early Federal eras. Adams displays a rather strong feminist bent throughout.
England declares war on Spain, which had been planning to ally itself with France and Austria. The British then successfully attack Spanish outposts in the West Indies and Cuba.
Elizabeth Eliza Lucas Pinckney’s letters are collected into The Letterbook of Eliza Lucas Pinckney, 1739-1762, containing details of her life, including her changing politics; ideas on slave education; voracious reading habits; an happy marriage; and her devotion to her children. As a married woman, Eliza manages her father's large plantation holdings, pioneers large-scale cultivation of indigo in South Carolina, and develops into a fervent patriot. The collection would be published in 1972.
The Treaty of Paris is signed by France and Britain, ending the French and Indian War. England now owns all the territory from the eastern coastline west to the Mississippi.
In Virginia, Patrick Henry presents the theory of a mutual compact between the governed and the ruler.
In North Carolina, A group of white men from Edgecombe, Granville, and Northampton Counties petitions the General Assembly to repeal a 1723 law that heavily taxes free African Americans upon marriage. The petitioners state that the tax leaves blacks and mixed-race people “greatly impoverished and many of them rendered unable to support themselves and families with the common necessaries of life.”
Ottawa Native Americans under Chief Pontiac begin all-out warfare against the British west of Niagara, destroying several British forts and conducting a siege against the British at Detroit. In August, Pontiac's forces are defeated by the British near Pittsburgh. The siege of Detroit ends in November, but hostilities between the British and Chief Pontiac continue for several years.
The Proclamation of 1763, signed by King George III of England, prohibits any English settlement west of the Appalachian mountains and requires those already settled in those regions to return east in an attempt to ease tensions with Native Americans.
The synagogue building of Congregation Jeshuat Israel of Newport, Rhode Island, (later known as the Touro Synagogue), the oldest synagogue building still in use in America, is dedicated.
The Sugar Act is passed by the British, forbidding American importation of foreign rum and taxing imported molasses, wine, silk, coffee, and a number of other luxury items. Parliament, desiring revenue from its North American colonies, passed the first law specifically aimed at raising colonial money for the Crown. The act increased duties on non-British goods shipped to the colonies. It doubles the duties on foreign goods reshipped from England to the colonies and also forbids the import of foreign rum and French wines. Great Britain : Parliament - The Sugar Act; September 29
The English Parliament passes a measure to reorganize the American customs system to better enforce British trade laws, which have often been ignored in the past. A court is established in Halifax, Nova Scotia, that will have jurisdiction over all of the American colonies in trade matters.
Currency Act. This act prohibited American colonies from issuing their own legal tender, paper money. This act threatens to destabilize the entire colonial economy of both the industrial North and agricultural South, thus uniting the colonists against it. Great Britain : Parliament - The Currency Act; April 19
American colonists responded to the Sugar Act and the Currency Act with protest. In Massachusetts, participants in a town meeting cried out against taxation without proper representation in Parliament, and suggested some form of united protest throughout the colonies. By the end of the year, many colonies were practicing nonimportation, a refusal to use imported English goods. Petition from the Massachusetts House of Representatives to the House of Commons; November 3
Boston lawyer James Otis publishes The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved. And Boston merchants begin to boycott British luxury goods.
Petition of the Virginia House of Burgesses to the House of Commons: December 18, 1764
The Stamp Act is passed by the British, taxing all colonial newspapers, advertisements, leases, licenses, pamphlets, and legal documents. This was Parliament's first direct tax on the American colonies, this act, like those passed in 1764, was enacted to raise money for Britain. It taxed newspapers, almanacs, pamphlets, broadsides, legal documents, dice, and playing cards. Issued by Britain, the stamps were affixed to documents or packages to show that the tax had been paid. For the first time in 150 years, the Americans will pay tax not to their own local legislatures in America, but directly to England. Great Britain : Parliament - The Stamp Act, March 22
The British further angered American colonists with the Quartering Act, which required the colonies to provide barracks and supplies to British troops. Great Britain : Parliament - The Quartering Act; May 15
Patrick Henry presents seven Virginia Resolutions to the House of Burgesses claiming that only the Virginia assembly can legally tax Virginia residents, saying, "If this be treason, make the most of it."
Resolves of the Pennsylvania Assembly on the Stamp Act, September 21
Resolutions of the Congress of 1765; October 19
New York Merchants Non-importation Agreement; October 31
Connecticut Resolutions on the Stamp Act: December 10
Growing resentment amongst the predominantly Scottish frontier settlers in Pennsylvania is turned towards the Indians and those Quakers still on good terms with them. The Paxton Boys, a vigilante group, kill the remaining Conestoga Indians of Lancaster County and then march on Philadelphia. The Quakers had removed a band of Moravian Indians there and many of the citizens of Philadelphia came to their defence. Many Quakers took up arms, forgetting their scruples about violence, and the meetinghouse was used as a barracks. Peaceful solutions prevail, however, and Benjamin Franklin heads a delegation which manages to mollify the Paxton Boys sufficiently that they leave without the Indian scalps.
In North Carolina, the Moravians establish Salem in present-day Forsyth County.
The first medical school in America is founded, in Philadelphia.
Mary Katherine Goddard and her widowed mother become publishers of the Providence Gazette newspaper and the annual West's Almanack, making her the first woman publisher in America. In 1775, Goddard became the first woman postmaster in the country (in Baltimore), and in 1777 she became the first printer to offer copies of the Declaration of Independence that included the signers' names. In 1789 Goddard opened a Baltimore bookstore, probably the first woman in America to do so.
Sons of Liberty, an underground organization opposed to the Stamp Act, is formed in a number of colonial towns. Its members use violence and intimidation to eventually force all of the British stamp agents to resign and also stop many American merchants from ordering British trade goods.
A mob in Boston attacks the home of Thomas Hutchinson, Chief Justice of Massachusetts, as Hutchinson and his family narrowly escape.
The Stamp Act Congress convenes in New York City, with representatives from nine of the colonies. The Congress prepares a resolution to be sent to King George III and the English Parliament. The petition requests the repeal of the Stamp Act and the Acts of 1764. The petition asserts that only colonial legislatures can tax colonial residents and that taxation without representation violates the colonists' basic civil rights.
In New York City, violence breaks out as a mob burns the royal governor in effigy, harasses British troops, then loots houses.
King George III signs a bill repealing the Stamp Act after much debate in the English Parliament, which included an appearance by Ben Franklin arguing for repeal and warning of a possible revolution in the American colonies if the act was enforced by the British military. Great Britain : Parliament - An Act Repealing the Stamp Act; March 18 And on the same day, it repealed the act, the English Parliament passes the Declaratory Act stating that the British government has total power to legislate any laws governing the American colonies in all cases whatsoever.
Great Britain : Parliament - The Declaratory Act; March 18
Violence breaks out in New York between British soldiers and armed colonists, including Sons of Liberty members. The violence erupts as a result of the continuing refusal of New York colonists to comply with the Quartering Act. In December, the New York legislature is suspended by the English Crown after once again voting to refuse to comply with the Act.
The Townshend Act, named for the British secretary of the treasury, are passed, taxing the colonists on imported paper, glass, lead, and tea. Items taxed also included imports such as paints. The Act also establishes a colonial board of customs commissioners in Boston. Great Britain : Parliament - The Townshend Act, November 20
Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon complete a four-year survey to establish the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland—The Mason Dixon Line.
The Virginia House of Burgess boycotts the British slave trade in protest of the Townsend Acts. Georgia and the Carolinas follow suit.
Anonymous: The Female American; or, The Adventures of Unca Eliza Winkfield. An adventure story depicting Virginia settlers, relations with the Indians, and the heroine's education in England, shipwreck, and work as a missionary.Anne Catherine Hoof Greene begins publishing The Maryland Gazette. Following the death of her husband, widow Anne Green (c. 1720-1775) quickly takes over the printing of the weekly newspaper of the colony, with the help of her son, William. The masthead reads "Anne Catharine Green & Son," and, by the end of the year, she would be acknowledged as the "printer to the province of Maryland"--a position formerly held by her late husband.
Samuel Adams of Massachusetts writes a Circular Letter opposing taxation without representation and calling for the colonists to unite in their actions against the British government. The letter is sent to assemblies throughout the colonies and also instructs them on the methods the Massachusetts general court is using to oppose the Townshend Acts. England's Secretary of State for the Colonies, Lord Hillsborough, orders colonial governors to stop their own assemblies from endorsing Adams' circular letter. Hillsborough also orders the governor of Massachusetts to dissolve the general court if the Massachusetts assembly does not revoke the letter. By month's end, the assemblies of New Hampshire, Connecticut and New Jersey have endorsed the letter. Massachusetts Circular Letter to the Colonial Legislatures; February 11, 1768 and Circular Letter to the Governors in America; April 21, 1768
British warship armed with 50 cannons sails into Boston harbor after a call for help from custom commissioners who are constantly being harassed by Boston agitators. In June, a customs official is locked up in the cabin of the Liberty, a sloop owned by John Hancock. Imported wine is then unloaded illegally into Boston without payment of duties. Following this incident, customs officials seize Hancock's sloop. After threats of violence from Bostonians, the customs officials escape to an island off Boston, then request the intervention of British troops.
The governor of Massachusetts dissolves the general court after the legislature defies his order to revoke Adams' circular letter. In August, in Boston and New York, merchants agree to boycott most British goods until the Townshend Acts are repealed. Boston Non-Importation Agreement, August 1, 1768
In September, at a town meeting in Boston, residents are urged to arm themselves. Resolutions of the Boston Town Meeting; September 13, 1768 Later in September, English warships sail into Boston Harbor, then two regiments of English infantry land in Boston and set up permanent residence to keep order.
Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson (1737-1801) writes a poem "The Dream of the Patriotic Philosophical Farmer." arguing for an American embargo on British goods. The Philadelphian was the hostess of the most distinguished literary salon in colonial America.
Milcah Martha Moore writes "The Female Patriots. Address'd to the Daughters of Liberty in America, 1768"
A set of resolutions written by George Mason is presented by George Washington to the Virginia House of Burgesses. The Virginia Resolves oppose taxation without representation, the British opposition to the circular letters, and British plans to possibly send American agitators to England for trial. Ten days later, the Royal governor of Virginia dissolves the House of Burgesses. However, its members meet the next day in a Williamsburg tavern and agree to a boycott of British trade goods, luxury items and slaves.
Daniel Boone (1734-1820) was born near Reading, Pennsylvania. After moving through Virginia into North Carolina, Daniel Boone agreed with the Transylvania Company to establish a road for colonists to travel into Kentucky and beyond. On a hunting trip over the Cumberland Mountains in 1769, Boone found a route which came to be known as the Cumberland Gap.
Charleston Non-Importation Agreement; July 22
Yale Law School, The Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History, and Diplomacy. New Haven, CT.Burt, Daniel S., editor. THE CHRONOLOGY OF AMERICAN LITERATURE: AMERICA'S LITERARY ACHIEVEMENTS FROM THE COLONIAL ERA TO MODERN TIMES. Houghton Mifflin Internet.
HISTORY MATTERS. American Social History Project / Center for Media and Learning (Graduate Center, CUNY) and the Center for History and New Media (George Mason University). Internet.