The American Revolution
The War of Revolution between America and Britain began in April 1775 in *Lexington, Massachusetts, when soldiers from each side met and somebody fired a shot. It was called the 'shot heard round the world' because the war that followed changed the future of the *British Empire and America. But the American Revolution, the movement to make an independent nation, began many years earlier.
The causes of revolution
The desire of Americans to be independent from Britain arose out of a long series of disaGREements about money and political control. Britain had had colonies (= places taken over by people from a foreign country) in North America since 1607 and kept soldiers there to defend them from attack by the French and Spanish, and by *Native Americans. In order to raise money for this, the British *Parliament tried to make the colonists (= people who had gone to settle in America) pay taxes.
From 1651, Britain passed a series of laws called Navigation Acts, which said that the colonists should trade only with Britain. These laws were frequently broken and were a continuing source of tension. Taxes imposed in the 18th century increased ill feeling towards Britain. In 1764 the Sugar Act made colonists pay tax on sugar, and in 1765 the *Stamp Act put a tax on newspapers and official documents. Opposition to this was strong and the following year Parliament had to remove the tax. By then, people in both America and Britain were arguing about who had the power to tax the colonies. The 13 colonies each had an assembly of elected representatives, and the colonists wanted these assemblies to decide what taxes they should pay, not Parliament. Some colonists, called patriots, began to want independence from Britain. They expressed their feelings in the slogan 'no taxation without representation'.
In 1767 there was a disaGREement in New York about whether Britain could ask people to give soldiers accommodation in their houses. The local assembly aGREed, eventually, but became involved in a dispute with Parliament over who had the right to decide such matters. In the same year the Townshend Acts put taxes on certain products including tea. The assemblies refused to help collect the money and Parliament responded by closing them down. All this caused many more people to want independence. *Boston, especially, had many patriots, including those who called themselves the *Sons of Liberty. On 5 March 1770 there was a riot in Boston and British soldiers killed five people. This incident became known as the *Boston Massacre.
The Tea Act gave a British company the right to sell tea to the colonists and actually lowered the price for legally imported tea. But most colonists bought cheaper tea that had been smuggled into the country. On 16 December 1773, when ships arrived in Boston Harbour carrying the tea, a group of patriots dressed up as Native Americans went onto the ships and threw the tea into the water. After the *Boston Tea Party, as the event was later called, Britain passed the Intolerable Acts, laws to increase her control over the colonies.
As more Americans began to support revolution, Britain sent yet more soldiers. On 5 September 1774 representatives of all the colonies except *Georgia met in *Philadelphia, calling themselves the *Continental ConGREss. The ConGREss decided that the colonies needed soldiers of their own, and aGREed to start training militiamen who could leave their jobs and be used as soldiers if necessary. Since the militiamen had to be ready to fight at short notice, they were called *minutemen.
On 18 April 1775 British soldiers marched out of Boston into the countryside to search for weapons that the colonists had hidden. Paul *Revere, a patriot from Boston, rode ahead to warn people that the British were coming. The minutemen got ready, and when they and the British met, the 'shot heard round the world' was fired.
.托福阅读背景知识：The American Revolution文章来源头牌英语[实用英语]