American Identity before the Revolution
Before 1765 if someone had told Great Britain that the colonies would revolt they would probably have been labeled as crazy. The American colonies were well known for squabbling amongst each other about land, religion, representation, and ethnic issues. Britain, who was busy with the French and Indian war, treated the colonies with salutary neglect allowing them to thrive economically, a situation that the colonists found ideal. But after the end of the war, Britain realized that it was not getting its fair share of the thriving American economy and decided it was time that the colonies pay for their own defense and return much needed revenue to the mother country. Britain began by ending their years of salutary neglect with a tax levied on the import of sugar and molasses caused concern amongst those in the rum business. Even though the tax itself was not above the one already in effect, Britain promised that this one would be much more heavily enforced. It wasn't until Britain put the Stamp Act into effect however, that the colonies became really concerned about their economic freedom. Its direct demand for revenue caused widespread colonial outrage, encouraged by the wealthy merchants, lawyers, and newspaper publishers whom it affected most. This outrage led to the early organization of groups such as the Sons of Liberty who would later on be crucial to the cause of the revolution. The colonies angered by what they saw as a breach of their rights as loyal British citizens, threatened to boycott all British goods and imports. Parliament quickly repealed the Stamp Act, but passed another act establishing their right to tax the colonies. The colonies, after having been pretty much left to themselves for so long, did not take kindly to being brought to task, so to speak. The Sons of Liberty and similar organizations grew as did the colonists displeasure with what they perceived as an increasingly oppressive and...
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