The year 1763 marked the end of the French and Indian War, the final defeat of the French and their Native American allies in America. For America's English colonists, this was a cause for great celebration and pride in their English identity. Expressions of English patriotism were widespread. But only twelve years later, these same American colonists found themselves locked in a bitter and violent conflict with the mother country that had so recently been the object of their proud respect. To this day, now over two hundred years later, the reasons behind this abrupt transition of England and its American colonies from allies to enemies are debated.
The following documents address the question of whether the American colonists were really justified in waging war against England. Examine each document carefully, and answer the question or questions that follow.
This excerpt is from "Considerations ...," a pamphlet written by Thomas Whately, Whately was an advisor to George Grenville, British Chancellor of the Exchequer (1763-1765) and the author of the Stamp Act. In this pamphlet, Whately explained why the British were justified in levying taxes on their American colonists. We are not yet recovered from a War undertaken solely for their [the Americans'] Protection ... a War undertaken for their defense only ... they should contribute to the Preservation of the Advantages they have received....
1. Why did Whately (and probably most other English officials) feel that the American colonists should be willing to pay higher taxes to Parliament?
These excerpts are from Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania by John Dickinson. Dickinson was a Pennsylvania political leader who served in the Stamp Act Congress of 1765. Later in his career, he served in the Continental Congress, and later still, in the Constitutional Convention. In the following statement, Dickinson condemned some of the new taxes being imposed by...