The American Revolution Essay Sample
Beginning in 1650, Great Britain started to control and restrict the colonists in America by forcing them to adhere to the Navigation Acts. Between 1650 and 1776, many more restrictions were placed on the colonists and they finally united and rebelled against their home country. Both physical and verbal assaults from America were directed towards the British. Parliamentary taxation, restriction of civil liberties, and the legacy of colonial political ideas all played an equal role in the incitement of the American Revolution.
Parliamentary taxation was a major factor prompting the American rebellion. In 1764, Great Britain placed a tax on sugar, molasses, silk, wine, coffee, and indigo in order to raise the tax revenue for the crown and pay back the debt of the Seven Years’ War. This Sugar Act enraged the Americans and they began to protest “no taxation without representation.” The first direct tax that the British set up was the Stamp Act in 1765, where they mandated the use of stamps in order to support the new military force. Everything printed in the colonies had to have a stamp including legal documents, playing cards, newspapers, and marriage licenses. As the colonists’ tempers rose, it only got worse when the British started the new Tea Act. This act states that the British East India Tea Company can sell their tea free of tax to the colonies, which forces the colonial merchants to pay. This also cuts colonial merchants out of the tea trade. The Americans’ main complaint to Britain was that they were being taxed but had no representation in Parliament. The Sugar Act, Stamp Act, and Tea Act were all parliamentary taxation placed on the colonists, which is one factor in their unity to rebel.
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Another factor that influenced the colonists to rebel is the restriction of their civil liberties. Every citizen is entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness but the British inhibited these natural rights. In 1795, the Quartering Act demanded that certain colonies provide food and quarters for British troops.
This act took away the colonists’ privacy and made the colonists feel resentment towards Prime Minister George Grenville. The Proclamation of 1763 prohibited the settlement in the area beyond the Appalachians. Although this law was not meant to oppress the colonists but instead compromise with the Indians, the colonists still felt limited. The Americans felt that the land west of the Appalachians was their birthright and they had earned it with their blood in the French and Indian War. A couple years before the American Revolution, the British began the Intolerable Acts as a response to the Boston Tea Party, a rebellion in which the colonists dumped 15,000 pounds of tea into the Boston Harbor. The Intolerable Acts included the Boston Port Act, where the British closed the Boston Harbor until all debt is paid back to Britain and order is restored. The Intolerable Acts also revoked the Massachusetts charter. The Quartering Act, Proclamation of 1763, and the Intolerable Acts all restricted the civil liberties of the American colonists.
Finally, the legacy of colonial political ideas lead to the American Revolution. Starting with the Townshend Acts in 1767, the British placed regulations on the import duty of glass, white lead, paper, paint, and tea. The new Townshend revenue now paid the salaries of the royal governor and judges in America, so now the colonists had no monetary control over the governor. In the Coercive Acts of 1774, the governor places restrictions on town meetings, allowed to transfer British soldiers to England to stand trial, and colonists have to house soldiers enforcing the act. Also, in 1774, the Quebec Acts anger the colonists so much that they unite and form the First Continental Congress. The Quebec Acts allow the king to appoint the governor council and Quebec received the territory of Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin. This prompted the Americans to join as a country and completely boycott all British goods. The Continental Congress was held in September of 1774 in Philadelphia, it was at this convention that twelve of the thirteen states agreed to fight against the British as a country.
In conclusion, many varying factors enraged the colonists to the point that they rebelled against Great Britain. The American Revolution was a result of parliamentary taxation, restriction of civil liberties, and legacy of colonial political ideas. These three factors played an equally significant role in the steps towards the separation of Great Britain and America in the American Revolution.
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America’s decision to declare independence form Great Britain was both due the change of economic policies and to the development of refining life and liberty. After driving the French out, with help from the Indians and British troops, colonist began to quarrel with Parliament’s insistence of testing the limits of their power in North America. Their control was made difficult when residents decided to smuggle and boycott goods. Eventually, the colonies resistance and loss of patience would lead them directly to independence.
The Proclamation of 1763 was the first to anger the colonist. In order to assure the Indians that settlers would not invade tribal lands, Britain emphasized colonist not to expand to the westward region. Shortly after, the use of writs of assistance, which allowed customs to search anywhere without the used of a warrant, placed a major infringement upon colonial natural rights. The Sugar Act (established at the same time) was an attempt to discourage smuggling by lowering the price of molasses below smugglers cost. It also stated that exports could only go through British ports before being sold to foreign countries. When merchants were accused of smuggling, they faced a jury-less trial and were often convicted. Violators of the Stamp Act of 1765 also faced the same when they did not buy special watermarked paper for newspapers and all legal documents. Because the Stamp Act was an internal tax on the colonies, it motivated the first actual structured response to British impositions.
Violence eventually broke throughout the colonies, forming such colonial groups as the Loyal Nine and the Sons of Liberty to organize the resistance and assemble the citizens in attempts to stress Parliament to revoke the act. Because of the overwhelming protest of businessmen (and the forced evacuation of stamp distributors), Britain’s economy was severely damaged and they were forced to cancel the act. However it was not long before Parliament tugged on the strings of the colonist again. The Quartering Act of 1765 demanded colonial assemblies to pay for supplies for troops residing within their colonies. The act did not affect much of the colonies except New York. New York at the time had a significant amount of troops stationed and refused to comply with the law. Parliament in returned threatened to nullify all laws passed by the New York colonial legislature, taking away what self-government they had. To avoid more hardships, New York decided to obey Parliament.
Finally, the colonies bit their last lip when a man named Charles Townshend assumed the duties of Britain’s treasurer. Britain’s House of Commons decided to cut their taxes by one-fourth and proposed to make up for the loss by passing the Revenue Act of 1767. Townshend drew a plan that put taxes on glass, lead, paint, paper, and tea entering the colonies. Though it only raised 37,000 pounds, compare to the 500,000 pound pay cut in the treasury department, Townshend duties was very effective in arousing political dispute that had laid inactive since the withdraw of the Stamp Act. The revolution was growing strong and would finally be established after an incident in Boston in 1770.
Because of continued violence in Massachusetts, British troops were brought in towards the end of 1768 to relieve tension. Ironically, situations grew worse and the troops were very unwelcomed by the colonist. The colonist felt as if rights were under the watchful eye of the king. In 1770 and irritated customs officer shot an eleven year-old boy for throwing rocks at his house. Though the troops were not responsible for the shooting, they were usually under fire for hostility toward British power. After the boy’s funeral, violence erupted outside Boston’s custom office, and after the conflict, five colonists were dead. The news spread through the colonies as the Boson Massacre. To cool down the hostility of the colonist, the Townshend duties were soon erased.
Despite the fact that the British were deciding to pursue less controversial policies, colonist could no longer bare the abuse of their rights that Britain trampled on. They were soon to be democratic nation and were tired of supporting an empire center around monarchy. Every colony united and rebelled against is abusive mother country, creating the American Revolution.
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