A brief introduction to the American Revolution
All of Europe fought in the Seven Years' War. The war raged around the globe, from Europe to India, the Pacific to the Americas. At the end of it, Great Britain gained all of France's holdings in North America. The expense of fighting this war, partly to defend Britain's American colonies, would contribute substantially to the events that followed.
At the dawn of the Revolution, Britain's holdings in the modern day United States stretched from the Atlantic seaboard to the Mississippi, but American colonists were not allowed to expand west of the Appalachian Mountains due to British policies. This bothered the colonists enormously, and Britain sought to make profit off of her colonies using mercantilist trade policies.
When British policies did not lead to sufficient financial returns, taxes were levied on the Americans. These taxes ranged from a tax on paper to a tax on tea and sugar, both key imports from other British colonies and goods in great demand among Americans. These taxes were resisted mightily by the colonists, with a rallying cry of "No Taxation Without Representation".
The taxes were repealed after major protests in North America, leading to widespread celebration. However, only a couple of years later even harsher taxes were levied on the colonies. The colonies protested and tensions rose in Boston. A fight broke out between colonists and British soldiers, in an event that became known as the Boston Massacre, although only five colonists were killed. Relations spiraled downwards between the mother country and her colonies. When Britain lowered taxes on tea, colonists nonetheless took the opportunity to stage an event later known as the Boston Tea Party, throwing pounds worth of tea into Boston harbor.
In response to continued revolt by the colonists, the British government passed laws that came to be known as the "Intolerable Acts". The passage of these acts was met by strong resistance, particularly in Massachusetts, and the colony was officially declared to be in revolt in 1775. The battles of Lexington and Concord followed shortly thereafter, and the Revolution was on.