What Was The Administration of Justice Act?
The British Parliament passed it on 20th May 1774.
They created this act to protect royal officials from 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 part of their empire, if he feels that the defendant could not get a fair trial in Massachusetts province.
In other words, the act indirectly allowed royal officials to commit crimes in that province and run 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, the city transformed into 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 one of the worst Intolerable acts of 1774.
Initial days, it raised 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 never considered colonists as their own British citizens.
Because the Administration of Justice Act was fully against the Bill of Rights, which privileged British citizens to enjoy some special civil 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.
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How Did Colonists Respond To It?
The people of the colonies responded to this Intolerable Act through the First Continental Congress.
In 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’ supply to the colonies.
This sanction remained quite successful.
It reduced British goods import to the colonies by over 97 percent till the end of 1775.
Also, in this meeting, the delegates of the colonies decided to set up their own militias for inevitable armed conflict against the British Red Coats.
All in all, this meeting started the journey to the birth of a new nation. 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 bad 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 North America.
Therefore, the British authority’s intervention here was a little less.
Due to this reason, whenever the British Parliament passed some bad laws on the colonies, people here easily 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 when the two major events took place. The first one was Boston Massacre and the second one was Boston Tea Party.
The English authority was afraid that if the unrest would get spread to the other parts of the colonies then it would become much more difficult for them to calm it down once 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.