The American revolutionary era began in 1763, after a series of victories by British forces at the conclusion of the French and Indian War that ended the French military threat to British North American colonies. Adopting the policy that the colonies should pay a larger proportion of the costs associated with keeping them in the Empire, Britain imposed a series of direct taxes (later known as the "Stamp Act"), followed by other laws intended to demonstrate British authority, all of which proved extremely unpopular in America. Because the colonies lacked elected representation in the governing British Parliament, many colonists considered the laws to be illegitimate and a violation of their rights as Englishmen. In 1772, groups of colonists began to create Committees of Correspondence, which would lead to their own Provincial Congresses in most of the colonies. In the course of two years, the Provincial Congresses or their equivalents rejected the Parliament and effectively replaced the British ruling apparatus in the former colonies, culminating in 1774 with the coordinating First Continental Congress. In response to protests in Boston over Parliament's attempts to assert authority, the British sent combat troops, dissolved local governments, and imposed direct rule by Royal officials. Consequently, the Colonies mobilized their militias, and fighting broke out in 1775. First ostensibly loyal to King George III and desiring to govern themselves while remaining in the empire, the repeated pleas by the First Continental Congress for royal intervention on their behalf with Parliament resulted in the declaration by the King that the states were "in rebellion", and the members of Congress were traitors.