What Was The Administration of Justice Act?
The act was passed on 20th May 1774.
This was basically created to protect royally appointed officials from the allegations of crime in the Massachusetts province.
Under this law, the royally appointed Governor could order to send accused (criminal) royal officials to Great Britain or any other place of their empire, if he feels that the defendant could not get a fair trial in the province of Massachusetts.
Other words, the act indirectly allowed royal officials to do crimes in that province and ran away to Britain or somewhere else in the empire.
The British Parliament mainly passed this law to reduce unrest in Boston.
Because after the Boston tea party, it became the center of unrest in the 13 North American colonies.
But How Did The Administration of Justice Act Affect The Colonists?
First of all, American colonists considered this act as one of the worst Intolerable acts of 1774.
Initial days, it created fear among common people.
Revolutionary leaders like George Washington started naming it the ‘Murder Act’ or ‘Murdering Act’.
This action from the British authority proved that they had never been considering colonists as their own British citizens.
Because the ‘Administration of Justice Act’ was fully against the ‘Bill of Rights’, through which all British citizens enjoyed special human rights.
But the imposition of the act proved that Britain had no sympathy for colonists.
However, later anger started blowing up against this law. And this anger led colonists to the great Revolutionary War of America’s independence.
How Did Colonists Respond To It?
The people of the colonies responded to this Intolerable Act through the First Continental Congress.
The same year, from September 5th to October 26th, 12 of the 13 British American colonies united in Philadelphia at the First Continental Congress.
Here they decided to impose a heavy economic sanction on British goods’ import to the colonies.
This sanction remained very successful.
It reduced British goods import to the colonies by 97 percent till the end of 1775.
Also, in this meeting, the delegates of the colonies decided to set up their own militias for probable armed conflict against the British army.
All in all, this meeting started the journey to the birth of a new nation and as you can guess, it was the United States of America.
What Was Britain’s Main Motive Through This Act?
There are two main reasons, why the Parliament of Great Britain brought this law. They are:
1. To Contain The Growing Unrest Within Boston: Under the rules of the Massachusetts Charter 1691, the people of the province enjoyed more independence than the rest 12 colonies of America.
Therefore, the British authority’s intervention here was a little less.
Due to this reason, whenever the British Parliament passed some bad laws to the colonies, people here easily used to organize a lot of protests.
From the year 1765 to 1774, Massachusetts’ main city ‘Boston’ became the center of these unrests.
This turbulence started getting bigger and bigger when the two major events, Boston Massacre and Boston Tea Party took place.
The English authority was afraid that if the unrest would get spare to the other parts of the colonies then it would become much difficult for them to calm it down again.
Hence, in 1773 on 16th December, when the Boston Tea Party incident took place, they got an amazing chance to contain the unrest via the act.
2. To Prove The Authority of Great Britain Over The 13 Colonies: The main incident before the Parliament passed this act was Boston Tea Party.
This incident was like an attack from the colonists’ side over the authority of Great Britain on the 13 colonies.
They knew very well if they soon wouldn’t take any tough actions against the colonists (or revolutionaries), then Britain’s authority here would be emaciated.
This was also a major reason, why they passed the Administration of Justice Act.