Updated:
Original:
Year
1774
Month Day
March 28

British Parliament adopts the Coercive Acts in response to the Boston Tea Party

Upset by the Boston Tea Party and other blatant acts of destruction of British property by American colonists, the British Parliament enacts the Coercive Acts, to the outrage of American Patriots, on this day in 1774.

The Coercive Acts were a series of four acts established by the British government. The aim of the legislation was to restore order in Massachusetts and punish Bostonians for their Tea Party, in which members of the revolutionary-minded Sons of Liberty boarded three British tea ships in Boston Harbor and dumped 342 crates of tea—nearly $1 million worth in today’s money—into the water to protest the Tea Act.

Passed in response to the Americans’ disobedience, the Coercive Acts included:

The Boston Port Act, which closed the port of Boston until damages from the Boston Tea Party were paid.

The Massachusetts Government Act, which restricted Massachusetts; democratic town meetings and turned the governor’s council into an appointed body.

The Administration of Justice Act, which made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in Massachusetts.

The Quartering Act, which required colonists to house and quarter British troops on demand, including in their private homes as a last resort.

A fifth act, the Quebec Act, which extended freedom of worship to Catholics in Canada, as well as granting Canadians the continuation of their judicial system, was joined with the Coercive Acts in colonial parlance as one of the Intolerable Acts, as the mainly Protestant colonists did not look kindly on the ability of Catholics to worship freely on their borders.

More important than the acts themselves was the colonists’ response to the legislation. Parliament hoped that the acts would cut Boston and New England off from the rest of the colonies and prevent unified resistance to British rule. They expected the rest of the colonies to abandon Bostonians to British martial law. Instead, other colonies rushed to the city’s defense, sending supplies and forming their own Provincial Congresses to discuss British misrule and mobilize resistance to the crown. In September 1774, the First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and began orchestrating a united resistance to British rule in America.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

President Eisenhower dies

Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States and one of the most highly regarded American generals of World War II, dies in Washington, D.C., at the age of 78. Born in Denison, Texas, in 1890, Eisenhower graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1915, ...read more

Spanish Civil War ends

In Spain, the Republican defenders of Madrid raise the white flag over the city, bringing to an end the bloody three-year Spanish Civil War. In 1931, Spanish King Alfonso XIII approved elections to decide the government of Spain, and voters overwhelmingly chose to abolish the ...read more

First American citizen killed during WWI

On March 28, 1915, the first American citizen is killed in the eight-month-old European conflict that would become known as the First World War. Leon Thrasher, a 31-year-old mining engineer and native of Massachusetts, drowned when a German submarine, the U-28, torpedoed the ...read more

Baltimore Colts move to Indianapolis

On this day in 1984, Bob Irsay (1923-1997), owner of the once-mighty Baltimore Colts, moves the team to Indianapolis. Without any sort of public announcement, Irsay hired movers to pack up the team’s offices in Owings Mills, Maryland, in the middle of the night, while the city of ...read more

Congress censures Jackson

On this day in 1834, President Andrew Jackson is censured by Congress for refusing to turn over documents. Jackson was the first president to suffer this formal disapproval from Congress. During his first term, Jackson decided to dismantle the Bank of the United States and find ...read more

Funeral held for the man behind the guillotine

The funeral of Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, the namesake of the infamous execution device, takes place outside of Paris, France. Guillotin had what he felt were the purest motives for inventing the guillotine and was deeply distressed at how his reputation had become besmirched ...read more