Thomas Gage (ca. 1719–1787) was the commander in chief of the British army (17631774) and military governor of Massachusetts (17741775). He helped shape the British colonial policies that led to the American Revolution. Early in his command, Gage successfully managed colonial matters with little issue. As colonial resistance to British policies grew in the early 1770s, however, Gage began to lose control of the colonies. As the foremost British figure in North America, Gage reported on colonial resistance and made recommendations to Parliament. His influence resulted in Parliament’s retaliatory Intolerable Acts (Coercive Acts) of 1774, which closed the port of Boston and required colonists to quarter soldiers in their homes. When it became apparent that the Intolerable Acts were largely unenforceable, Gage recommended their repeal. Parliament declined and instead ordered Gage to forceably suppress the American rebellion. On April 19, Gage led the British troops to Lexington and Concord, where he inadvertantly sparked the Revolutionary War. Gage again led the British in June 1775 at Breed’s Hill (or Bunker Hill), where he suffered heavy losses that bolstered American morale. He was soon replaced by General William Howe.

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