The American Revolution

This article concerns the causes of the American Revolution and how thirteen separate British colonies gave birth to a new nation, the United States of America.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Apart from introducing Navigation Acts in 1651-63, London had exercised little influence over the American colonies until 1675 when for a brief period they showed more interest, but with the overthrow of King James II of England in the "Glorious Revolution" of 1688 (the start of modern parliamentary democracy) they effectively left the colonists to continue as before.
So the colonists became used to running their own affairs, which meant with little to stop many of their merchants from openly flouting the trade restrictions in these Navigation Acts by smuggling and trading with Britain's competitors/enemies for up to 68 years.

Related Topics: - The Navigation Act - The Glorious Revolution

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~

Seven Years War (French & Indian War)
When Austria (France's ally) declared war on Prussia (Britain's ally) in 1754 it caused a chain of conflicts that spanned the globe, including in 1756 Britain having to defend her American colonies against the French and her Indian allies. Although thousands of colonists volunteered to fight, without the British they were nearly always overwhelmed and defeated. This brought the colonies into sharp focus because they had become very prosperous over the years, with New Englanders probably the wealthiest people in the world, whereas Britain although having prevailed militarily, had by war's end inherited a crushing debt.
In addition to this Britain had taken possession of France's vast Ohio territory, which was mainly occupied by Indians who had sided with the French and still posed a considerable threat to the 13 colonies. This meant two things, first those Indians allied to Britain had to be kept on side by agreeing to protect their land from further settlement and secondly the military presence required to police the area had to be paid for.

Related Topics: - Seven Years War

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~

Basis of Main Colonial Grievances
Britain had introduced the Navigation acts to both prevent the Dutch from undercutting British trade with the colonies, and raise the revenue for administering the colonies, including paying the Royal governors their salaries
However as smuggling increased its revenue decreased and the governors were forced to rely on the colonial legislatures to be paid. But before they would agree to do so, they always challenged any royal objections, e.g. western expansion (which meant having to sanction British protection from the inevitable Indian retaliation). They also always wanted to use their own paper currencies for credit, which they (except Pennsylvania) kept devaluing to negate the debts.
Grievance 1 - So when Britain introduced other ways to raise revenue by taxation it meant they could no longer coerce the Governors, giving rise to the slogan "No Taxation Without Representation".
Grievance 2 - No doubt the colonists generally thought the revolution of 1688, ushering in parliamentary democracy included them as well and therefore it was hypocritical of London to levy taxes on the colonists without their consent, but the colonies were placing an increased debt burden on the British and from the colonial legislatures track record, negotiation would inevitably involve royal objections.
Grievance 3 - One in four of those signing the Declaration of Independence were merchants, 90% of colonial merchants were smugglers, smugglers used bribery and violence to secure their ends and England had been too lax for too long enforcing the law, so to then do so, of course threatened most merchants with bankruptcy.
Grievance 4 - The war with France in America was mainly caused by land speculation to satisfy the pressure of an ever-increasing growth in population that wanted to expand ever westwards of British colonies. George Washington used his position as royal surveyor to locate land for speculators which of course then increased enormously in value, but when Britain extended Canada's border south to retain these lands for the Indians and preserve the fur trade (Britain's only profit in the colonies), it cut off their claims. An indication of the loss to these speculators, Washington alone was losing 30,000 acres of prime land.
Grievance 5 - Also worth mentioning is, whereas the colonists generally had respect for Britain's laws, customs, manners, fashions and treated the English with affection, the English considering many leading colonists as audacious & fly, gave them the impression in return they were treated as subjects of subjects, vagabonds, descendant's of convicts, unworthy, which prompted John Adams to write 'We won't be their Negroes' and Benjamin Franklin writing 'They appeared to have scarce discretion enough to govern a herd of swine.'

Related Topics: - Causes of the American Revolution - Pennsylvania - Buried history of the ..

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Political and Religious Changes
With France no longer a threat, disgruntled colonists started promoting alternative political & religious models to popularized support for independence. By definition Christians are loyal & Quakers are pacifist, so an assortment of other faiths that reject hierarchies were favored e.g. Presbyterian, Deists. Also to appeal to the masses, political rhetoric was leftwing, but by emphasizing the rights of the individual and coupling this with the ideology of republicanism, that vest all power in parliament, the combination would give the freedom they so coveted.

Related Topics: - The Non-Christian Founding Fathers - Republicanism

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The grievances of rich colonists were then cleverly disguised by propaganda e.g. "No taxation without Representation" disregarded how impractical commuting between the colonies and London was (at best a 3 month round trip). The false indignity over tax on tea to hide it had become cheaper than smuggled tea. The contrived 'Boston massacre' to portray redcoats as despots etc. Propaganda was used to turn everything on its head, Thomas Paine's leftwing 'Common Sense' was read aloud to incite & indoctrinate those they could influence, with the unconvinced suppressed by violence & terrorism, in fact mob rule continued for decades.

Related Topics: - Common Sense (Full Text) - Independence by Propaganda

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Declaration of Independence
On July 4 1776 the Second Continental Congress adopted a Declaration of Independence to cut all ties with the mother country, their reasons of the individual's right to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness were bogus as they already had these, but more meaningful was that power should be derived from the consent of those governed, as 'all men are created equal'

Related Topics: - Declaration of Independence (Full Text) - Freedom

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Consequence - America's First Civil War
The Declaration intensified an internal political struggle between those colonists who were demanding complete independence from Britain and those wishing to remain within the British Empire. This struggle tore communities apart dividing friends, neighbors, families, brother from sister & father from son, the result was military conflict in all of the 13 colonies.

Related Topics: - American Revolutionary War - Battles of the Revolutionary War

blogspot visitor counter