Disaffection: The First Continental Congress and American Identity

Critical Thinking Questions

Was reconciliation between the American colonies and Great Britain possible in 1774? Why or why not?

Look again at the painting that opened this chapter: The Bostonians Paying the Excise-man, or Tarring and Feathering (). How does this painting represent the relationship between Great Britain and the American colonies in the years from 1763 to 1774?

Why did the colonists react so much more strongly to the Stamp Act than to the Sugar Act? How did the principles that the Stamp Act raised continue to provide points of contention between colonists and the British government?

History is filled with unintended consequences. How do the British government’s attempts to control and regulate the colonies during this tumultuous era provide a case in point? How did the aims of the British measure up against the results of their actions?

What evidence indicates that colonists continued to think of themselves as British subjects throughout this era? What evidence suggests that colonists were beginning to forge a separate, collective “American” identity? How would you explain this shift?