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Why did Parliament pass the Coercive Acts?

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Quick Answer

The British government passed the Coercive Acts as a punitive measure to deal with colonies refusing to pay taxes. These taxes were intended to reclaim some of the money they spent defending the colonies during the Seven Years' War. French colonists and indigenous tribes were threatening to encroach on British-controlled territory and bring harm to the colonists, so Britain sent military aid to fight the French in the Americas.

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Full Answer

The Coercive Acts included the Stamp Act, which taxed stamps and other paper products; the Quartering Act, which required colonists to house British soldiers; and other events such as the closing of the port of Boston and a law forbidding town meetings. Previously, the British had imposed a very unpopular tea tax on all non-British imported tea, and the colonists responded with the Boston Tea Party, dumping hundreds of crates of a recently arrived shipment into the Boston Harbor. This cost the British government untold amounts of money and undermined their perceived authority over the American colonies. Therefore, the British decided the colonists needed an object lesson in obedience and imposed the Coercive Acts. This action, along with other events such as the Boston Massacre in 1770, led to the American Revolution.

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