What Were The 5 Laws of Intolerable Acts?


What Were The 5 Laws of The Intolerable Acts?

The British Parliament passed the 5 Intolerable Acts to punish American colonists; especially, for punishing Bostonians for the Boston Tea Party. The British Parliament passed all these laws in 1774. 

Now we need to see what the 5 laws were and how the British Parliament imposed them on the colonists.

So, let’s dive right in.

Answer In Short & Quick:

  • Boston Port Act
  • Massachusetts Government Act
  • Administration of Justice Act
  • Quartering Act
  • Quebec Act

The 5 Laws of The Intolerable Acts – Step By Step

1. The Boston Port Act

The Parliament of Great Britain passed the Boston Port Act to close all trade that happened through Boston Harbor, Massachusetts.

The Parliament’s main motive was to make Bostonians oblige for paying all the compensation for the loss during the Boston Tea Party. 

The bill became law on March 31st, 1774, and then came into effect on 1st June 1774. The British authority also demanded colonists apologize to the English King George III for the guilt they have made.

However, the colonists never stepped down. Contrary, their demand made them angry.

They even argued saying that the Parliament was imposing the laws with a feeling of vengeance towards them.

Their argument was – Not all people of Boston were involved in the Tea Party. So there was no reason for the British government to punish all the people that way. They criticized the Parliament saying that they were trying to violate their Englishmen’s rights.

What Were The 5 Laws of The Intolerable Acts

2. Massachusetts Government Act

The British Parliament passed the Massachusetts Government Act to abrogate the Massachusetts Charter of 1691. Under this act, the British authority appointed their military general as the new governor of this province.

The new act got royal approval on 20th May 1774. It almost took away all the powers of Massachusetts’ people to effectively participate in their own governance system.

The new law allowed the British governor, Parliament, and the English King to appoint all significant positions in the colonial government of Massachusetts.

Especially, using the power of this law, the royally appointed governor could easily dismantle the provincial assembly.

For example, in October 1774, English Governor Thomas Gage dissolved the provincial assembly without any big reason.

Although it was enacted only in Massachusetts, it caused fear in the other 12 colonies too.

According to many historians, the British brought it to contain the growing unrest within the land segment of Massachusetts, especially within Boston city.

The English authority was afraid that if the unrest would get spread to the other parts of the whole 13 colonies, it would become tough for them to calm it down again.

So, they found taking control of the governance system of Massachusetts a much better idea.

The Five Intolerable Acts

3. Administration of Justice Act

Act for the Impartial Administration of Justice, infamously known as the Administration of Justice Act of 1774, was the cruelest act in the group of the Intolerable Acts.

This was also known as the Murder Act or Murdering Act. The Parliament of Great Britain passed it on 20th May 1774.

The act allowed Royal Governor to send accused British officials to Great Britain or any other places of their Empire if he believes that the defendant could not get a legitimate trial in the province of Massachusetts.

For this reason, patriotic leaders like George Washington named it the Murder Act. They believed, if the criminal is taken away to some other place, then the person who has been victimized by that crime would fail to get justice.

In other words, the act encouraged royally appointed officials to commit crimes in the 13 colonies and run away.

Under this law, the British authority intended to contain the growing unrest of the American Revolution within the land segment of Massachusetts province.


4. Quartering Act

The Quartering Act of 1774 was the 2nd version of 1765’s Quartering Act. This law allowed British troops to find shelter in colonists’ private homes. Even it privileged English soldiers to forcefully occupy colonists’ private homes.

It was quite scary for the colonists.

The Quartering Act of 1765’s responsibility was given to local legislatures. However, they were not cooperative in its enforcement.

So, in 1774, the responsibility transferred to the royally appointed Governor’s hand. Although the British Parliament passed it for all 13 colonies, it mainly targeted the Massachusetts province.


5. Quebec Act

The British North America Act, also known as the Quebec Act, got royal assent on 22nd June 1774.

This one intended to increase the land area of Canada’s Quebec province towards the 13 colonies’ midwest region. Present-day, the areas are associated with Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin states.

The act also tried to increase religious distances between Christian Catholics and Protestants.

Its main reason was, it tried to provide more beneficial facilities to Christian Catholics than other communities.

On the other side, it also attacked the faith of the Protestant people, such as by removing the Protestant oath of allegiance for officials.

The leaders of the 13 colonies were afraid that the law would cause religious clashes in the upcoming years. American Colonists considered it one of the worsts Intolerable acts.


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