AP Revolutionary Essay
There comes a time when a student outperforms his teacher, this is also the case in the colonization of the American Continent. It took a while for the inhabitants to realize that they were better off without the British monarchy, but the colonists did not realize this immediately; it took years of British oppression to cause the colonists to rebel.The primary reason that the colonists rebelled was that they were sick of heavy unfair taxes, and restrictions on trade. There were also several other contributing factors.
The main factor that caused the colonists to rebel was the heavy taxation. The colonists were taxed heavily from the beginning, but the taxes that caused the most strife occurred in the 1760s. Due to the fact that George III suffered from bouts of insanity, Prime Minister George Greenville had almost total control of the parliament. He agreed with the prevailing opinion within Britain that the colonists had been too long indulged and that they should be compelled to obey the laws and to pay off parts of the cost of defending and administering in the empire.The Greenville ministry made a number of the efforts to increase England’s control of the colonies. Greenville sent British troops to be stationed permanently in the provinces; and under the Mutiny Act of 1765 the colonists were required to assist in serving and maintaining the army. The next law that the Greenville ministry would create was the Sugar Act of 1764, which was designed to eliminate the illegal sugar trade between the Continental colonies and the French and Spanish West Indies. It lowered the tax on molasses and raised the tax on sugar.This new act also established a New Court system in America to try accused smugglers; this was an effort to avoid the benefits of a local trial by sympathetic peers.The Currency Act of 1764 required the colonial assemblies to stop issuing paper money, and to retire all the paper money already in circulation. The most grievous law of all, the Stamp Act of 1765, imposed a tax on every printed document in the colonies: pamphlets, deeds, wills, licenses, newspapers, and almanacs. This new imperial program was an attempt to reapply to the colonies the old principles of mercantilism. In many ways, it was very effective. British officials were now collecting more than ten times as much annual tax in America has before 1763. But the cost on the lives of the people was much worse.
The response of the colonists to wall of the new laws wasn’t quiet submission, rather it was open protest.In 1763, a band of Pennsylvania frontiersmen known as the Paxton Boys went to Philadelphia to demand relief from taxation. There was no bloodshed due to the response of the colonial government. This conflict ended in peace, but others were not as fortunate. In 1771, a small “Civil War” broke out as a result of the Regulator movement in North Carolina. The Regulators were farmers who were nice to oppose the high taxes that local shares collected. The western counties were badly underrepresented in the Colonial Assembly, and the Regulators failed to win a compensation of their grievances there. Finally they armed themselves and began resisting tax collections by force. To suppress the revolt, Gov. William Tryon raised an army of militiamen, who defeated a band of 2000 Regulators in the Battle of Alamance. Nine men on each side were killed and hundreds of others were wounded.
The results of these heavy taxes began to create some common resentment among virtually all colonists that to some degree equalized their internal divisions. Under the Greenville program, as the American saw it, all people in all classes, in all colonies, would suffer. Thus began the downfall of the colonial British Empire.
The factor that I believe played the second most important part in prompting the Colonists to rebel 1776 was the restriction of their civil liberties.When the Treaty of 1776, England was truly at peace for the first time in more than 50 years. Since the British government wasn’t distracted by war they could turn their attention to the organization of their empire. Since England had enormous debts from many years of fighting, England was just desperately in need of new revenues from its empire. When England gained great amounts of territory in 1763, the area of the British Empire was doubled and controlling the newly acquired lands was made many times more complex. Some argued that the empire should restrain rapid settlement and development of the Western territories. Others wanted to see the new territories open for immediate development, but they disagreed among themselves about who should control the western lands. Others argued that controls should remain in England, the territories should be considered in turn the new colonies, unlinked to the existing settlements. These choices would be decided later.
And this very important moment between the mother country and the colonies, the government of England was thrown into turmoil by the ascension to the throne of the new king. George III took over in 1760 after the death of as a grandmother. He brought two unfortunate qualities to the office. First of all, unlike the two leaders beforehand he wanted to reassert the authority of the monarchy. Although the king had to deal with many problems the conflicts in the West when the most urgent. To prevent Indian attacks the British government issued a proclamation forbidding settlers to advance beyond a line drawn along the mountain divide between the Atlantic in the interior. This was The Proclamation Line of 1763.Although the original emergency soon subsided, the new principles of the proclamation remained intact, but principles of controlling the westward movement of population. After announcing this new temporary policy in 1763, the English government soon extended it and made it more complicated. A definite Indian boundary was to be located and from time to time relocated in agreement with various tribes. Western lands were to be opened up for occupation gradually, and settlement was to be carefully supervised to see that it proceeded in the compact and orderly way.The next law that would reduce the civil liberties of the people was the Mutiny Act of 1765. It’s forced the colonists to house and feed the English soldiers. This angered many because they believed that no one should have the right to invade a home for a reason such as that.
The third most important factor prompting the colonists to rebel was caused bye the British military measures. One great example was the Boston massacre.The harassment of the new customs commissioners in Boston has grown so intense that the British government had placed for regiment some of regular troops within the city. The presence of the “Red coats” was a constant affront to the colonists sense of independence and a constant reminder of British oppression. Everywhere they went, Bostonians encountered British soldiers: arrogant, intrusive, sometimes course and usually provocative. On night of March 5th, 1770, a few days after a particularly intense skirmish between workers at a ship-rigging factory and British soldiers would try and find work there, mob of angry workers, Liberty Boys, began pelting the guards with snowballs and rocks. A few more troops were called in by Captain Thomas Preston to protect the building. There was a small scuffle, and the soldiers fired into the crowd during the confusion, killing 5 people. This odd incident, most likely the result of panic and confusion, sparked the minds of many. It was sensationalized as an organized murder, and people believed this. Due to the Boston Massacre, many people became united against the British for this reason, and this reason alone.
The fourth and least important reason for the American Revolution was the legacy of colonial, religious, and political ideas. John Adams once said, “The revolution was accomplished before the war began”. This directly relates to the ideas of the colonists. Since many people who lived in colonial America weren’t even from England, they felt no ties to this country, and believed they were a separate nation, even before independence was official.Another reason that Americans felt few ties with the British, was the fact that the bonds with England were very weak. The English culture was not carried over completely, and the new American culture was formed.Most people thought of monarchy as tyranny, and wanted a republic. If they remained under the control of the British, they would have no say in the government. Many people came to the colonies based on the idea of the they would be free, free from oppression, and they would get a new start. Unfortunately, under the British rule, their preconceived notions of the Tokyo would never be formed. They would have to fight for their freedom.
The primary reason the colonists rebelled was to be free, free from taxes, free from restrictions, and free from the British tyranny. All these factors by themselves were oppressive in their own right, but the period before the actual revolution was anything but one. A revolution, as seen throughout history, is always deeply rooted in the peoples mind long before the sudden burst of revolt. Therefore, this revolution, like most others, started long before 1776, it was the result of Britains slow institution of new unjust acts, taxation, military measures, and the propaganda/ideals in favor of revolutionary actions.