Fueled by legislation from across the Atlantic Ocean, Great Britain's North American colonies slowly aligned their sentiments and agreed on revolution. Virginians were well aware of events in England and in the other colonies. Beginning with the Stamp Act of 1765, Parliament imposed taxes on the colonists to raise revenue to help fund the cost of the Seven Years' (or French and Indian) War (1754–1763). Colonial legislatures organized opposition and persuaded Parliament to repeal the Stamp Act and most of the so-called Townshend Duties of the 1760s and early 1770s. Parliament passed the Tea Act of 1773 to assist the East India Company in getting out of financial difficulties. The act required payment of a tax when the company's tea entered a colonial port.
In December 1773, residents of Boston, Massachusetts, tossed three shiploads of tea into the harbor rather than let the tea come ashore or the tax be paid. In the spring of 1774, Parliament retaliated and passed the Coercive Acts—known in the colonies as the Intolerable Acts—that among other things, closed the Port of Boston to all commerce effective June 1, 1774, until the tea was paid for and restitution made to royal officials. The Massachusetts Government Act altered the charter of Massachusetts to allow the king to appoint a military governor in place of the governor that the colony's assembly, called the General Court, elected. Another of the acts, entitled the Administration of Justice Act (called the Murdering Act in the colonies), provided for trials in England of colonial protestors charged with violating acts of trade and navigation. The hardships in Boston sparked sympathetic protests and supportive demonstrations in other colonies and convinced many colonists of the need for independence.
To show Virginia's support for the Bostonians, the House of Burgesses called for a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer, causing the royal governor John Murray, earl of Dunmore, to dissolve the House of Burgesses. Groups all over Virginia banded together to make declarations, like the Fairfax Resolves, summarizing their feelings toward the British government. In September 1774, the First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and passed an official nonimportation act.