The demand for no taxation without representation was the primary force motivating the American revolutionary movement, and for many it became a symbol for democracy. Throughout the late 18th century, the British colony of America was oppressed by Parliament from "across the pond". This oppression included unequal rights compared to English citizens that lived on the mainland, unneeded taxation, and no representation in Parliament, which resulted in many laws that were unfavorable to the American colonists. It was this "taxation without representation" that was a powerful catalyst in firing up the American revolutionary movement. America was "all grown up", and no longer needed to be monitored on by Britain. The origin of England's dependence on the colonies began during the French and Indian war, in the 1750s-1760s. In this war, the British were quite inexperienced; their European style of fighting did not work against the guerilla-warfare fighting style of the French. The British wore bright red coats, marched in long lines, often lugging cannons around with them, while the French hid behind trees and picked them off one by one. General Braddock relied on his force of ill-disciplined American militiamen, who used behind-the-tree methods of fighting in order to fight the Indians. After many years of fighting, the British finally came out victorious. Although England emerged from this war as one of the biggest empires in the world, it also possessed the biggest debt. They had poured much money and resources into these colonies in order to keep them as their own, and it was time for the colonies to give something back to the British for protecting them from the Indians. They finally realized what a precious gift the colonies were, and how useful they would be. In this war, the British realized that the colonies were their pawns in a global game of chess. At any time, the British felt that they had the right to impose taxes on the colonies, in order to make up for money that was lost in the French and Indian War to defend them. They had the view that because they had done so much to help the colonies, that the colonies had to repay them.
One way of the British controlling the colonies was to impose trade regulations on them. They forced the colonies to trade only with them, as dictated by the Navigation Acts and the mercantile system. The colonies were forced to trade in what was the best interest of the mother country, rather than what was in the best interest of themselves. This system always guaranteed a market for their products, but a market that was not always the most beneficial. The colonies could always depend on the British buying their goods, but they were denied the right to trade to other European countries that might pay more for the same goods. This also worked the other way. Goods sold to America were shipped to England first, where customs duties could be collected, and British middlemen would boost the cost of the product in order to earn a cut of the profit. The colonies were being "milked" by the British, but these trade regulations did not do enough to cut the war debt, and Parliament soon resorted to internal taxes.
These trade restrictions soon led to taxes imposed directly on the people of the colonies, rather than just merchants. A series of these were imposed by Prime Minister George Grenville, and were known as the Grenville Acts. The first of these was the Sugar Act of 1764, which was the first law ever, passed for raising tax revenue in the colonies for the crown. IT mainly increased the duty in foreign sugar imported from the West Indies. This act was soon repealed due to protest by the colonists, but was followed very shortly by the Quartering act of 1765. It required certain colonies to provide nourishment and shelter for British troops. Needless to say, the colonists were not too happy about the whole idea of it. Finally, to top it all off, Grenville passed...
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