25 November 2012
AP US History
Mr. Gowen Pd. 7
Colonial Oppression and The American Revolution
By the 1760’s the colonies were becoming more and more discontented with the influence of Great Britain. The Seven Years War left Britain in a difficult situation. With an army in the new world and debt to be paid, Britain was forced to impose a number of taxes and policies on the new world colonists. These policies would help Britain maintain a military in the new world and pay off debt, but ultimately spelled the doom of their hold on the North American colonies. The policies infuriated the colonists. It was only a matter of time before the colonists did something about it.
The Seven Years War caused Britain to spend beyond its means in order to secure North American land. As a result of this, the nation found itself in terrible debt. Considering how Britain helped support and develop the colonies into thriving societies, Parliament decided it was time for the colonies to help support Britain financially. The colonists thought completely differently. Taxation was seen as a threat. The British government sapped wealth from other territories in Scotland and Ireland among other colonies. The Colonists feared, and rightfully so, that the same would be done to them. Parliament lacked colonial representation, which meant the colonists were subject to the will of the British government. The colonists were in danger of becoming nothing more than Britain’s piggy bank. Before British imperial policies angered the colonists, it was the Seven Years War that set the table for the American Revolution.
The Seven Years War was over and the colonial oppression was about to begin. One of the first acts that affected the colonists was the Proclamation of 1763. After The Seven Years War, the colonists were excited to explore the vast frontier that awaited them towards the west. However, this proclamation prevented them from doing so. “The proclamation provided that all lands west of the heads of all rivers which flowed into the Atlantic Ocean from the west or northwest were off-limits to the colonists. This excluded the rich Ohio Valley and all territory from Ohio to the Mississippi rivers from settlement.” (ushistory.org pg.1) The Proclamation of 1763 confined the colonists and prevented any attempt of westward expansion. It prevented the colonists from invading Native American territory, and parliament claimed the act was passed to mend relations with Native Americans. The colonists felt that the act was meant to make it easier for the military to regulate and control the colonists. Both of these reasons were true, but nonetheless it began the colonial resentment for Britain. English settlers had no respect for the Native Americans and had no interest in adhering to the Proclamation of 1763. Parliament established trading and manning posts along the border between the colonies and Indian Territory. These posts enabled Parliament to enforce the Proclamation and prevent the colonists from entering Indian Territory. Parliament claimed that these posts were set up for colonial defense; hence the colonists were forced to pay to maintain these posts. This further angered the colonists, as they felt they were being forced to pay to help Parliament regulate policies that negatively affected them. Parliament didn’t stop with this first Proclamation. Shorty after in 1764, Prime Minister, George Greenville, authorized the Sugar Act. Parliament hoped to gain revenue to pay off the debt from the Seven Years War with this act. The Sugar Act lowered the tax on molasses, but prevented the colonists from importing rum from foreign territories. Parliament hoped the cut in taxes would encourage the colonists to purchase molasses from the British West Indies rather than evade taxes and smuggle from the French West Indies. However, this attempt failed. Although it would’ve been cheaper to purchase molasses from the British West Indies,...