Beginning in 1754, the French and Indian War (known as the Seven Years’ War in Europe) resurrected religious tension in the colony as some suspected Maryland Catholics of aiding Catholic France against them. The war also afforded the assembly an opportunity to assume greater control of the colonial budget, arguing that additional funds would strengthen the colony against French attack. In fact, Maryland provided little assistance to the British war effort.
Like other British colonies, Maryland experienced the distinct change in British imperial policy following the end of the French and Indian War in 1763. Most Marylanders were hardly bothered by the Sugar Act and Currency Act of 1764, but they loudly protested the Stamp Act of 1765. Assemblymen led demonstrations at which colonists burned in effigy the royal stamp distributor. Local chapters of the Sons of Liberty formed to coordinate protests. Daniel Dulany, Jr., published an inflammatory pamphlet asserting that Parliament had erred when it issued the Stamp Act.
Opposition to parliamentary rule in Maryland was less than in other colonies. Protestors belatedly drafted a nonimportation agreement in 1769 and, a year later, formed the Baltimore Association to enforce adherence to this agreement. The relative quiet of the early 1770s ended in 1774 when colonists learned that Parliament had closed Boston Harbor. A new nonimportation association formed, and, in October of that year, Marylanders burned the ship Peggy Stewart and its cargo of tea.
Anti-British radicals created an illegal convention to administer the colony, created Committees of Correspondence, and named delegates to the Continental Congress. For the next two years, Maryland experienced dual government as the convention legislated for the colony, and the governor, Robert Eden, continued to direct colonial officers. In 1775, the convention created a militia to defend the colony against the British military. Governor Eden left Maryland in June 1776 as fighting increased throughout the colonies.