Causes of the American War of Independence

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s): 550
  • Published: October 25, 2005
Read full document
Text Preview
The American Revolution is usually seen as being the same thing as the American War for Independence, starting in 1775 with the battle of Lexington and ending in 1783 with the treaty of Paris. This popular misconception has lead to the most important has lead to the real revolution being forgotten, the change in the way countries are governed and the ideas that lead to it.

With the end of the French and Indian wars, the first worldwide war, the British found themselves with a huge national debt. The only reason they won the war was that their treasury lasted longer than the French treasury. As part of the agreement for peace, the French offered to give all their holdings in America to the British. These new acquisitions were a problem for the British parliament because now they needed to stop settlers from the British colonies going into the new land in fear that the Indians would attack them. Therefore, to defend the colonists from Indians (and vice versa) the British parliament decided that the colonists should pay a small tax (compared to was paid in England) to pay a less than half of the money needed for the army that would be permanently stationed in the Americas, so parliament introduced the Sugar Act.

The Sugar Act was something that actually reduced the tax on molasses eliminating the incentive to smuggle thereby increasing the amount of people willing to pay duty. This reduction, although a good idea, did not make much money. So, the British parliament brought in the Stamp Act. The parliament assumed that because the British people had been living with the tax for about 70 years and there had been no revolts in Britain that the Colonists would accept it. Unfortunately, they were wrong.

The Colonists were angry about the new tax because it covered so many things and they did not get any representation in the matter. The Americans saw the new tax as a way to enslave them, to deprive them of the very reason that may came to the Colonies freedom. The Americans started to think that they were the last bastion of English rights because the British had "obviously" lost theirs. So the Americans began to complain about the taxes to King George III and may secret organisations such as the Sons of Liberty, the Americans even boycotted British goods. When the British repealed the act the Americans had thought that they made a difference but the real reason the British parliament changed their decision was that the exports to the American Colonies had fallen by $3 million reducing the amount of tax they could get off their merchants at home. This ended the boycott on Britain, but at the same time did something monumentally stupid the released the Declaratory Act which in the end made the Americans angrier.

When the Townshend acts were introduced the following year, the Declaratory Act had sunk into the American's minds and they realised the implications. British thought that because it was an external tax that the Americans would not mind, but now the Americans were distrustful of parliament there was a quick boycott of British goods. Because of this boycott the officials were under threat in Boston so the parliament sent two regiments of soldiers to protect them.

This only made the problem worse because the Americans resented this so they attacked the soldiers who defended themselves by shooting at the crowds. This Minor incident where only 6 were killed but a man named Samuel Adams managed to turn into propaganda for a resistance group that ended up causing much more dire effects.

Because of the boycott on English tea, the East India Trading Company had mountains of tea piling up in warehouses that needed to be sold otherwise the company would go bust and there would be no English tea at all. So the tax on other goods was removed and they left a reduced tax on tea thereby undercutting the smugglers prices. The tea smugglers realised this so they said that if they were forced out of...
tracking img