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

Back to The Coercive Acts

"From the Supplement to the Pennsylvania Journal, June 29 All of the Printers ..."

From the Supplement to the Pennsylvania Journal, June 29 All of the Printers ...

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An Act to Enforce Obedience
Aggrieved by recent acts of Parliament that closed Boston harbor and altered the Massachusetts colony's government structure, Americans are further agitated by the Quebec Act and the Quartering Act. Although not considered punitive measures by the British government, the timing of their passage in the spring of 1774 leads American colonists to protest them along with the others. This deluge of parliamentary acts prompts a variety of responses within the colonies and abroad. Writing from London, Benjamin Franklin applies his satirical wit to the current situation while playing on Britain's growing concern over the rapidly expanding population of the American colonies.

To examine all four pages of this newspaper, please see the online display of the The Boston-Gazette, and Country Journal, 11 July 1774.

Questions to Consider

1. What is the title of this satirical act?

2. Under the terms of this act what is the fee for getting married? For having a male child? For having a female child?

3. What is the fee for having a child outside of marriage? Who pays the fee? What is the punishment for murdering a child born outside of marriage?

4. What is the amount of the duty place on flour? On wheat? Under what conditions must the duty be paid?

5. What is the purpose of imposing these duties?

Further Exploration

6. Why would British leaders be wary of America's population growth? Why might a large American population be a threat to Britain?

7. What are the terms of the Quartering Act of 1774?

8. What are the terms of the Quebec Act? Why might residents of the other North American colonies be upset by this Act?