The majority of modern Americans think of July 4th as “Independence Day.” The more historically astute note the Continental Congress actually declared independence on July 2, 1776. The documented prepared to explain that declaration to the English was merely signed on the Fourth.
But Americans had already declared their independence more than a year earlier, on April 19, 1775. The amateur politicians had spent the intervening months attempting to test the winfs, and playing catch up.
“Stamp Act.” “Taxation without representation.” The Boston Tea Party. These are the things schoolchildren are usually told led to the War for Independence, and it’s — incompletely; with a million people, you’ll find a million and a half motives — true, so far as it goes.
Ah, but the shooting. What ticked off the Colonials enough to abandon legal challenges, parliamentary action, and civil disobedience? To start the war proper?
On the aforementioned April 19th, the British attempted to ban and confiscate American weapons and supplies. Specifically, they tried to confiscate and destroy “military-style,” “military grade,” weapons held by citizens.