By attempting to strengthen the British Empire, successive ministries in London had succeeded only in weakening it. Legislation to raise revenue in the colonies had convinced most Americans that their liberties were under threat and encouraged boycotts of British goods and widespread civil disobedience. Resistance to British encroachments had inspired an unprecedented level of unity among the colonies. No one initially desired a rupture between Britain and her American colonies. A series of crises would harden attitudes on both sides of the Atlantic, until gunfire on a Massachusetts village green transformed a constitutional dispute into a war.