The colonists had reached a sense of their own identity and unity as Americans by the eve of the revolution, due to England's neglect of free trade and taxation of the colonies, the colonies' ability to support themselves after the French and Indian War, and an altered view of life from their English counterparts. Within this period of time, the colonists began to feel this way by banding together to stand up to the 'almighty British empire' and all it's iniquities.
The era of "Salutary Neglect" was from the years 1680 thru 1763; during which Britain was defending the colonies from the French and the Native Americans on the western frontier. While the British were busy fighting, they had no time to enforce any laws they had on trading, such as the Navigation Acts. Because of this many middle class merchants were becoming wealthy. Now once the British had finally defeated the French, they were able to enforce their laws; which was much to the colonist's disliking.
But now the British government was in debt from all the wars they've been in. So to compensate for their losses, parliament decided to tax the colonies, and enforce them this time. In 1765 parliament passed the Stamp Act, the first direct tax, in which came the turning point of the revolution. The colonists banded together for the first time in the Stamp Act Congress and boycotted British goods. The Stamp Act was soon repealed due to the effectiveness of the boycott. Next came the Townshend Duties. The main point about the Townshend duties was that the tea tax was lowered from six cents to three cents. The only problem being that before, due to free trade the colonists didn't even have to pay the tax due to salutary neglect.