College of Arts and Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)


Robert G. Slater


Pine Tree Riot, Gaspee, Fort William and Mary, American Revolution, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Wentworth, Wonton, Revere, Vice-Admiralty Court, legal history, Road to Revolution, Regulator Movement, Lexington and Concord




Britain and the colonies quickly were at odds with one another after the French and Indian War. With every new tax levied at the expense of the colonies, swift backlash met the British government. The colonial court system played a crucial role in inadvertently assisting resistance in the colonies. The men responsible for the Pine Tree Riot in Weare, New Hampshire were sentenced to a small fine for heinous crimes against a sheriff and deputy working to enforce Crown acts. Just weeks later, the HMS Gaspee was set on fire off the coast of Rhode Island due to the actions of a overzealous tax enforcement officer who was detested by the locals in Providence. Outrage grew by the government officials in the colonies. King George III’s outrage was met with an inconclusive investigation to apprehend the responsible parties. Through the course of legislation and investigation, tensions increased throughout the colonies. A year after the Boston Tea Party, the seizure of Fort William and Mary, along with the ammunitions of weapons and gunpowder, resulted in no one being punished for these acts against the King and Crown. The colonial courts’ inability to justly sentence treasonous crimes made them an unwitting accomplice to colonial resistance.

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