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Coming of the American Revolution: Document Viewer
Massachusetts Historical Society
America's oldest historical society, founded 1791.

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"To the People of Great Britain ..." and "To the Inhabitants of the Colonies ..."

`To the People of Great Britain ...` and `To the Inhabitants of the Colonies ...`

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"Your own Salvation ... Depends Upon Yourselves"
Delegates to Congress know they will need broad support to carry out their plan of commercial resistance and to succeed in persuading Parliament to repeal the Coercive Acts. Hoping to find (or create) willing collaborators, Congress resolves to address the inhabitants of Britain as well as fellow British colonists in North America. Recognizing the divergent interests and sympathies of these two populations, Congress drafts two quite different letters. Will these disparate appeals find the right audience?

Questions to Consider

1. Describe the tone of the address "To the People of Great Britain." Describe the tone of the address "To the Inhabitants of the Colonies." Use words and phrases from the documents to support your answer. How are they similar? How are they different?

2. What fate do the colonists fear will befall them (and the people of Great Britain) if their grievances are not acknowledged?

3. According to the address "To the People of Great Britain," what caused the Boston Tea Party? How does Congress describe Parliament's reaction to the Tea Party? Do you agree or disagree with Congress's depiction of the event and its aftermath?

Further Exploration

4. Imagine that you are a young person living in London. Write a brief essay describing your reaction to the "Address to the People of Great Britain." Do you find it persuasive? Why or why not?