Causes Of The American Revolution


How England Instigated The American Revolution

Soon after England established the colonies in the New World, it began a period of salutary neglect. The English rarely intervened with colonial business. It was during this time that the colonies began gradually to think and act independently of England. This scared England, and initiated a period in which they became more involved in the colony's growth. Parliament tried to establish power in the New World by issuing a series of laws. The passage of these laws undermined the Colonist’s loyalty to Britain and stirred the Americans to fight for their freedom.

Before 1763, the only British laws that truly affected the colonists were the Navigation Acts, which monitored the colony’s trade so that it traded solely with England. As this law was not rigidly enforced, the colonists accepted it with little fuss. The colonies also accepted England’s right to monitor trade. The change of course in 1767 was what really riled the colonists. England began to slowly tighten its imperial grip to avoid a large reaction from the colonists. Additional problems began when England passed the Writs of Assistance, which gave British officials the right to seize illegal goods, and to examine any building or ship without proof of cause. This was a powerful weapon against smuggling, but most importantly to the Colonists; it allowed the invasion of their privacy. This was crossing the line and violating the rights of an English man. The Colonists even went so far as to hire a lawyer, but the court ruled against him.

During the Seven Years War, the British sent over ten thousand troops to America to deal with property problems at the frontier. This cost a large amount of money, and Britain did not want to see the sum come out of its own pocket. To pay for some of the expense, Britain began to pass acts to tax the colonists and lighten the severe debt the empire was in. The Sugar Act of 1764 was an example of a tax that had many affects on the Colonial lifestyle. The act stated that any foreign exportation of lumber or skin had to first land in Britain. It also raised the price of imported sugar from the Indies. This act was accompanied by a strict enforcing of the former Navigation Acts due to the sudden increase of smuggling. This enhanced the tension between England and the New World. The law also changed trials for offenders; they were held away from the place of the crime, and the judge was awarded 5% of confiscated goods, increasing the number of guilty sentences handed down. In reality, the laws were so regulated it was hard not to make an error! The Quartering Act in 1765 was a burden to all the colonists; it required certain colonies to provide food and housing to the British Troops on demand. This was viewed by many as an indirect tax, though an inexpensive one. While the previously passed laws caused some protest, the one which brought out the most public opposition was the Stamp Act in 1765. The Sugar Act had failed to produce enough money, and Parliament was forced to pass the Stamp Act. The Act stated that all Americans must used specially stamped (watermarked) paper for printing bills, legal documents, even playing cards!

England saw these taxes as reasonable; after all, the Americans were merely paying for the soldiers in their colonies, a measure for their safety. As Americans did not deem the soldier’s presence as necessary in the New World, obviously they despised the tax. And worst of all, these taxes were decreed without any word from an American, as there was no representative for the New World in the British parliament. Americans believed it was understandable for the British to legislate when the subject involved the Empire as a whole, such as trade, but only Colonists could tax colonists, not the British government, 3,000 miles away and deaf to the American views. The Prime Minister claimed that the Colonists were "virtually represented" in parliament: each member stood for the empire as a whole. The Colonists disagreed because they believed that Parliament did not care about or understand them and therefore did not have the American people’s best interest at heart.

The acts imposed by England to try to control and monitor America only succeeded in furthering its independence. The Colonists were left with two options as a result of the Stamp Act, neither of which were very appealing; either confront parliament, and risk a fight with the much larger and more powerful mother land of England, or succumb to the act without complaining and possibly give up the right to self govern for good. Many groups were founded by the Colonists, among them, the Sons and Daughters of Liberty, whose soul purpose was to intimidate the officials who mandated the Stamp Act in America into quitting. They rightfully assumed that if the officials who issued the act resigned the act would be stopped in its tracks. In 1765, the Stamp Act Congress met and decided that Parliament can not tax the colonists or deny their right to a trial by jury. This Congress was the first step towards colonial unity.

The congress, led by the elite upper class, was careful to control the rebellion to avoid having troops sent to put the people in check. Merchants of the colonies began to boycott British goods, and as they constituted 45% of Britains consumer population, this made a large impact in England. The business community appealed to parliament to repeal the stamp act or have all the merchants go bankrupt. In March of 1766, the Stamp Act was revoked, marking the first victory in the long journey to America’s independence. But, it was a small one and this was not to be the end of the struggle. In its place, the declaratory act was placed. It was a subtly worded act, which confirmed Parliament’s right to legislate over the colonies always and in all cases. The Americans interpreted this in a positive way and did not rebel, viewing it as unimportant. The British Parliament had meant it literally: the Colonists had no more excuses and had to obey all laws passed by Parliament, including taxes. The colonists wanted to forget about all the troubles from the past, and were grateful for the repeal of the stamp act. They believed their rebellion had made Britain realize their vitality to the empire and all the anti-act groups disbanded. As time wore on the colonists gradually began to realize that the purpose of the Acts was to undermine their right to self-govern.

In 1766, a new Prime Minister, William Pitt, was appointed who opposed taxing the colonies. His health was poor, and his duties were soon taken over by former treasurer Charles Townshend. He had been a former follower of Pitt, but when he controlled the power, he began to urge parliament to tax the colonies. Protest to the quartering act caused much hostility in parliament, who believed the repeal of the stamp act was gift enough to the Americans. Townshend was so angry at the protest that he passed the Suspending act, which nullified all acts from New York after October 1st if they refuse to pay their expenses for the soldiers. The building tension would soon undermine the colony's loyalty to England.

At this point, one of the most important weapons America held in the Government was that it paid the salaries. Townshend proposed a series of acts be passed, known as the Townshend acts. There was a light duty on glass, paint, paper and tea and the revenue collected would pay the salary of the governors in the colonies. The purpose of this was to switch the control of the Colonial Government into the hands of England. The colonists abhorred the act, as it was merely another effort to control them. The fact still remained they were being taxed without representation. Despite their objections, there was little objection at the time, for the tax was light and tea was easily smuggled. In 1768, to control the outbreak against order, two regiments of troops were landed in Boston. In 1770, the Boston Massacre took place, in which a few Colonists were killed after provoking a group of soldiers. This was arguably the first blood spilled in the name of the American Revolution. More and more British Soldiers were sent off America to enforce the Navigation act, to the continued irritation of the Colonists. Committees were established to promote opposition to England and its intolerable acts. A letter was written to rile the colonies into shunning the acts, and Great Britain, seeing it as the beginnings of a rebellion, ordered all colonies to disown the letters. When the colonies refused, England insisted the Royal Governors disband the legislatures, which they do. This spurred the Colonies to band together against this threat to self-government and taxation without representation. The colonies also refused to import British goods, urging the British merchants to place pressure on parliament to repeal the Townshend acts. In 1770, a new Prime Minister, Lord North, was elected and he disbanded the Townshend Acts but kept the tax on tea.

In 1770 there was a drastic change in the arguments made by the colonists. The cry of the colonists no longer sounded no taxation without representation, but no legislation without representation. This change was a result of some 1,700 troops being sent into Boston. Mere military presence provoked the people. By 1773, almost all British loyalty had dwindled dangerously low in the Colonies. The Americans were completely ignoring the tea tax, merely smuggling in foreign tea. Despite the cancellation of many acts, in reality no constitutional problems had been resolved.

The Colonies had been collecting muskets and various weapons and storing them in Concord, Massachusetts, awaiting the inevitable war between themselves and Britain. A group of soldiers were disbanded to collect the arms, and were confronted by a group of Colonial Minute Men. Eight Americans were killed and several wounded. This is known as the Lexington massacre. In January of 1776, Thomas Payne published Common Sense, a letter that stated that kingship is dangerous to liberty and it is undemocratic. It basically stated that all Americans should disown the king. At this point the Americans were ready for a full-fledged revolution.

The road to revolution was irreversible when the Stamp Act was passed. It was at this point that the different views of the Americans and the British really began to show through. When this happened, the Americans had already developed such a sense of independence that nothing the British could have done could have destroyed it. Once this self-reliance was obtained there was nothing the British could do to repress it.

The road to the American Revolution was long and difficult. Britain insisted on passing act after act to tax the colonies and ruin their devotion to the crown. Through all of the trouble the acts caused it pushed the colonies into merging with each other. Once together as a whole, the colonies were able to develop their own individuality and defeat the British army for their independence.

Events leading to the American Revolution

During the late seventeen hundreds, many tumultuous events
resulted in Colonial opposition to Great Britain. The conditions
of rights of the colonists will slowly be changed as the
constriction of the parliament becomes more and more intolerable.

During the Seven Years' War England was not only alarmed by the
colonists' insistence on trading with the enemy, but also with

Boston merchants hiring James Otis inorder to protest the
legality of the writs of assistance (general search warrants)
used to hunt out smuggled goods. "let the parliament lay what
burthens they please on us, we must, it is our duty to submit and
patiently bear them, till they will be pleased to relieve
us....". This is a very strong dictum, that in 1764, the
colonists were of a submissive nature, and were weakly pleading
for self-autonomy. This small fire of anger will become a huge
conflagration as the rights are slowly rescinded.

On October 19, 1765 the Stamp Act Congress and

Parliamentary Taxation committee's passed some laws that
attempted to strengthen the grip of the English crown.

"I.That his Majesty's subjects in these colonies, owe the same
allegiance to the Crown of Great Britain that is owing from his
subjects born within the realm, and all due subordination to
that august body, the Parliament of Great Britain."

This statement can be used as a summation of the entire document
that the Stamp Act Congress had initiated. The statement depicts
the colonists has having to be submissive and servile in the view
of Great Britain, this policy angered the colonists very much, and
was another component of the transition of the colonists'
rights and liberties.

When the Declatory Act was passed in March of 1766, many
colonies were attempting to claim that they were "seceding" from

England.

"Whereas several of the houses of representatives in his

Majesty's colonies and plantations in America, have of late,
against law, or to the general assemblies of the same, the sole
and exclusive right of imposing duties and taxes upon his

Majesty's subjects in the said colonies....be it declared ....,
that the said colonies and plantations in America, have been,
are, and of right ought to be, subordinate unto, and dependent
upon the imperial Crown and Parliament of Great Britain;".

The Parliament of course denounced the attempt at independance
and still dogmatilcally passed the following law to show that the
colonists were still british subjects. Again, the colonists were
infuriated and later will resist the british imperialism on the
colonies.

"All before, are calculated to regulate trade, and preserve
prpromote a mutually beneficial intercourse between the several
constituent parts of the empite"", yet those duties were always
imposed with design to restrain the commerce of one part".

This statement by the colonist (John Dickinson), shows that th
sole rason for new taxes is just for the British gov't to make
money, at the expense of the economy of the colonies. Dickinson
makes a important distinction between the rights of the colonies
and the authority of the parliament. Dickinson's comments were
ubiquitous among the colonists, and thus infuriated them to
rebellion, and the seizure of basic democratic rights.

"From necessity of the case, and a regard to the mutual
interest of both countries, we cheerfully consent to the
operation of such acts of the British parliament as are bona fide
restrained to the regulation of our external commerce, for the
purpose of securing the commercial advantages of the whole empire
to the mother country , and the commercial benefits of it's
respective members excluding every idea of taxation, internal or
external, for raising a revenue on the subjects in America
without their consent ...."

The continental congress had presented it's colonial rights.

These rights enable the colonies to be more autonomous with
exception to those several states who are under the british
control. One important element of the document, is the idea of
taxation without representation; the said that raising taxes
without consent was illegal and that the commercial benefits of
the colony should be shared within the colonies, instead of

England becoming more and more economically prosperous.

The whole idea of mercantilism was about to be crushed, due to
this idea, of self-autonomy with respect to colonial economics.

"Ye that oppose independence now, ye know not what ye do, ye
are opening a door to eternal tyranny....". This statement made
by Thomas Paine shows the foreshadowing, of what colonists would
do. The British are trying to prevent independence, and from
doing so, they are being tyrannical. Again, the rights of the
colonists are being questioned and rebellion shortly will be
forthcoming.

"That whenever any form of Government becomes destructive
of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to
abolish it, and to institute new government, laying it's
foundations on such principles and organizing it's powers in such
form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety
and happiness.". What the declaration is really saying, is that a
society who has no or little rights (such as the colonies) should
be destroyed, thus separation from England. A new society would
follow, where the people of the society would have these rights
necessary for self-autonomy. The Declaration of Independence was
a strong justification for revolution. The Revolution follows the

Declaration of Independence, where a transition occurs. The
transition has to do with the rights of the colonists. The
colonists acquire their rights through resistance to british
imperial conformity, by resisting certain policies detrimental to
the inalienable rights of a democracy. The transitional period
was from 1760's to 1770's. This is a crucial period of time,
because this is where the center of power is transferred from the
british government (Parliament) to the colonial citizens. A major
component to this center of power was the rights of the
colonists, the colonists gained their rights through resistence
to an imperial power. This transition is depicted through the
progression of time in the documents.

Instigations of the American Revolution

Soon after England established the colonies in the New World, it began a period of salutary neglect. The English rarely intervened with colonial business. It was during this time that the colonies began gradually to think and act independently of England. This scared England, and initiated a period in which they became more involved in the colony's growth. Parliament tried to establish power in the New World by issuing a series of laws. The passage of these laws undermined the Colonist’s loyalty to Britain and stirred the Americans to fight for their freedom.

Before 1763, the only British laws that truly affected the colonists were the Navigation Acts, which monitored the colony’s trade so that it traded solely with England. As this law was not rigidly enforced, the colonists accepted it with little fuss. The colonies also accepted England’s right to monitor trade. The change of course in 1767 was what really riled the colonists. England began to slowly tighten its imperial grip to avoid a large reaction from the colonists. Additional problems began when England passed the Writs of Assistance, which gave British officials the right to seize illegal goods, and to examine any building or ship without proof of cause. This was a powerful weapon against smuggling, but most importantly to the Colonists; it allowed the invasion of their privacy. This was crossing the line and violating the rights of an English man. The Colonists even went so far as to hire a lawyer, but the court ruled against him.

During the Seven Years War, the British sent over ten thousand troops to America to deal with property problems at the frontier. This cost a large amount of money, and Britain did not want to see the sum come out of its own pocket. To pay for some of the expense, Britain began to pass acts to tax the colonists and lighten the severe debt the empire was in. The Sugar Act of 1764 was an example of a tax that had many affects on the Colonial lifestyle. The act stated that any foreign exportation of lumber or skin had to first land in Britain. It also raised the price of imported sugar from the Indies. This act was accompanied by a strict enforcing of the former Navigation Acts due to the sudden increase of smuggling. This enhanced the tension between England and the New World. The law also changed trials for offenders; they were held away from the place of the crime, and the judge was awarded 5% of confiscated goods, increasing the number of guilty sentences handed down. In reality, the laws were so regulated it was hard not to make an error! The Quartering Act in 1765 was a burden to all the colonists; it required certain colonies to provide food and housing to the British Troops on demand. This was viewed by many as an indirect tax, though an inexpensive one. While the previously passed laws caused some protest, the one which brought out the most public opposition was the Stamp Act in 1765. The Sugar Act had failed to produce enough money, and Parliament was forced to pass the Stamp Act. The Act stated that all Americans must used specially stamped (watermarked) paper for printing bills, legal documents, even playing cards!

England saw these taxes as reasonable; after all, the Americans were merely paying for the soldiers in their colonies, a measure for their safety. As Americans did not deem the soldier’s presence as necessary in the New World, obviously they despised the tax. And worst of all, these taxes were decreed without any word from an American, as there was no representative for the New World in the British parliament. Americans believed it was understandable for the British to legislate when the subject involved the Empire as a whole, such as trade, but only Colonists could tax colonists, not the British government, 3,000 miles away and deaf to the American views. The Prime Minister claimed that the Colonists were "virtually represented" in parliament: each member stood for the empire as a whole. The Colonists disagreed because they believed that Parliament did not care about or understand them and therefore did not have the American people’s best interest at heart.

The acts imposed by England to try to control and monitor America only succeeded in furthering its independence. The Colonists were left with two options as a result of the Stamp Act, neither of which were very appealing; either confront parliament, and risk a fight with the much larger and more powerful mother land of England, or succumb to the act without complaining and possibly give up the right to self govern for good. Many groups were founded by the Colonists, among them, the Sons and Daughters of Liberty, whose soul purpose was to intimidate the officials who mandated the Stamp Act in America into quitting. They rightfully assumed that if the officials who issued the act resigned the act would be stopped in its tracks. In 1765, the Stamp Act Congress met and decided that Parliament can not tax the colonists or deny their right to a trial by jury. This Congress was the first step towards colonial unity.

The congress, led by the elite upper class, was careful to control the rebellion to avoid having troops sent to put the people in check. Merchants of the colonies began to boycott British goods, and as they constituted 45% of Britains consumer population, this made a large impact in England. The business community appealed to parliament to repeal the stamp act or have all the merchants go bankrupt. In March of 1766, the Stamp Act was revoked, marking the first victory in the long journey to America’s independence. But, it was a small one and this was not to be the end of the struggle. In its place, the declaratory act was placed. It was a subtly worded act, which confirmed Parliament’s right to legislate over the colonies always and in all cases. The Americans interpreted this in a positive way and did not rebel, viewing it as unimportant. The British Parliament had meant it literally: the Colonists had no more excuses and had to obey all laws passed by Parliament, including taxes. The colonists wanted to forget about all the troubles from the past, and were grateful for the repeal of the stamp act. They believed their rebellion had made Britain realize their vitality to the empire and all the anti-act groups disbanded. As time wore on the colonists gradually began to realize that the purpose of the Acts was to undermine their right to self-govern.

In 1766, a new Prime Minister, William Pitt, was appointed who opposed taxing the colonies. His health was poor, and his duties were soon taken over by former treasurer Charles Townshend. He had been a former follower of Pitt, but when he controlled the power, he began to urge parliament to tax the colonies. Protest to the quartering act caused much hostility in parliament, who believed the repeal of the stamp act was gift enough to the Americans. Townshend was so angry at the protest that he passed the Suspending act, which nullified all acts from New York after October 1st if they refuse to pay their expenses for the soldiers. The building tension would soon undermine the colony's loyalty to England.

At this point, one of the most important weapons America held in the Government was that it paid the salaries. Townshend proposed a series of acts be passed, known as the Townshend acts. There was a light duty on glass, paint, paper and tea and the revenue collected would pay the salary of the governors in the colonies. The purpose of this was to switch the control of the Colonial Government into the hands of England. The colonists abhorred the act, as it was merely another effort to control them. The fact still remained they were being taxed without representation. Despite their objections, there was little objection at the time, for the tax was light and tea was easily smuggled. In 1768, to control the outbreak against order, two regiments of troops were landed in Boston. In 1770, the Boston Massacre took place, in which a few Colonists were killed after provoking a group of soldiers. This was arguably the first blood spilled in the name of the American Revolution. More and more British Soldiers were sent off America to enforce the Navigation act, to the continued irritation of the Colonists. Committees were established to promote opposition to England and its intolerable acts. A letter was written to rile the colonies into shunning the acts, and Great Britain, seeing it as the beginnings of a rebellion, ordered all colonies to disown the letters. When the colonies refused, England insisted the Royal Governors disband the legislatures, which they do. This spurred the Colonies to band together against this threat to self-government and taxation without representation. The colonies also refused to import British goods, urging the British merchants to place pressure on parliament to repeal the Townshend acts. In 1770, a new Prime Minister, Lord North, was elected and he disbanded the Townshend Acts but kept the tax on tea.

In 1770 there was a drastic change in the arguments made by the colonists. The cry of the colonists no longer sounded no taxation without representation, but no legislation without representation. This change was a result of some 1,700 troops being sent into Boston. Mere military presence provoked the people. By 1773, almost all British loyalty had dwindled dangerously low in the Colonies. The Americans were completely ignoring the tea tax, merely smuggling in foreign tea. Despite the cancellation of many acts, in reality no constitutional problems had been resolved.

The Colonies had been collecting muskets and various weapons and storing them in Concord, Massachusetts, awaiting the inevitable war between themselves and Britain. A group of soldiers were disbanded to collect the arms, and were confronted by a group of Colonial Minute Men. Eight Americans were killed and several wounded. This is known as the Lexington massacre. In January of 1776, Thomas Payne published Common Sense, a letter that stated that kingship is dangerous to liberty and it is undemocratic. It basically stated that all Americans should disown the king. At this point the Americans were ready for a full-fledged revolution.

The road to revolution was irreversible when the Stamp Act was passed. It was at this point that the different views of the Americans and the British really began to show through. When this happened, the Americans had already developed such a sense of independence that nothing the British could have done could have destroyed it. Once this self-reliance was obtained there was nothing the British could do to repress it.

The road to the American Revolution was long and difficult. Britain insisted on passing act after act to tax the colonies and ruin their devotion to the crown. Through all of the trouble the acts caused it pushed the colonies into merging with each other. Once together as a whole, the colonies were able to develop their own individuality and defeat the British army for their independence.