At the urging of King George III, the British Parliament enacted five laws in 1774, in response to 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. In the American Colonies, they were called the “Intolerable Acts.”
In September 1774, representatives from Boston and other Suffolk County towns met in Milton, Massachusetts to craft a response to the Coercive Acts. Dr. Joseph Warren drafted a series of resolutions, known as the Suffolk Resolves, which were passed by a unanimous vote of the Suffolk County towns on September 9.
The key points of the Suffolk Resolves:
- Declared the Coercive Acts to be unconstitutional and void.
- It called for British officials who were responsible for enforcing the illegal acts to resign.
- Urged Massachusetts leaders to establish a separate state until the Coercive Acts were repealed.
- Advised Massachusetts leaders to retain all future tax collections, rather than passing them on to Great Britain.
- Urged colonists to boycott British goods and trade with Great Britain.
- Advised the people of Massachusetts to appoint militia officers and begin arming their local forces.
- Warned British officials that efforts to arrest citizens on political charges would result in the detention of the arresting officers.