Portrait of King George III by Allan Ramsay.
Portrait of King George III by Allan Ramsay.

Coercive Acts


The Coercive Acts, also known as the Intolerable Acts, were five laws passed by the British Parliament in 1774, which prompted the calling of the First Continental Congress.


At the urging of King George III, the British Parliament enacted five laws in 1774 in response to recent colonial actions flaunting British authority, particularly the Boston Tea Party. The British referred to the legislation collectively as the Coercive Acts or the Restraining Acts.

Late-nineteenth century American historians introduced the term “Intolerable Acts” when writing about the Coercive Acts. Basically punitive in nature, the Coercive Acts closed the port of Boston, restructured the government in Massachusetts, provided greater protection for British officials charged with crimes while performing their duties, revised an earlier act forcing colonists to provide housing for British troops in the colonies, and rewarded the loyal colony of Quebec by reestablishing its borders and granting it land in the Ohio Country at the expense of other colonies.

The Coercive Acts provided further ammunition for a growing radical element in the colonies and prompted the calling of the First Continental Congress on September 5, 1774.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Coercive Acts
  • Coverage 1774
  • Author
  • Keywords coercive acts, intolerable acts
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date January 18, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update November 30, 2020