American History to 1877
13 March 2012
The Inevitability of the American Revolution
The British colonies began on a loose foundation with the failure of Roanoke then the harsh reality Great Britain faced with the Jamestown colony. When the number of colonies grew in the New World so did Britain’s control over it’s people. The British Empire thrived off the natural resources but the continuous involvement in wars such as the Second Hundred Years’ War, and the Seven Years’ War made the British focus more on their domestic affairs rather than the colonies. The neglect of the colonies was just one of the many reasons the American colonists revolted and declared their independence in 1776. The events that led to American independence was salutary neglect, the events of the Seven Years’ War, the colonies economy following the war which led to the British imposing heavy taxation, the ideas of the Enlightenment and the conflicts in the colonies such as the Boston Massacre and Boston tea party.
Britain’s first prime minister Robert Walpole said,"If no restrictions were placed on the colonies, they would flourish." Walpole then created the unofficial policy known as “salutary neglect,” which relaxed enforcement of regulations and trade law in the American colonies. Salutary neglect enabled the American colonies to prosper by trading with non-British entities, and then to spend that wealth on British-made goods, while at the same time providing Britain with raw materials for manufacture. This gave the colonists independence while still under British control, so when the British tried to enforce new stipulations on the colonies the people of America revolted in response. Salutary neglect was beneficial for England because it gave them an opportunity to focus on European and domestic affairs while still benefitting from American trade. The colonists profited because they had the independence to do as they wished with their economy for over a hundred years until England tried to regain power over their independent colonies in 1763.
Many historians credit the Seven Years’ War as the first of many incidences that led to the American revolution. The Seven Years’ War ended when France ceded all of Canada to the British as well as all territory east of the Mississippi except the city of New Orleans. East and West Florida were also awarded by Spain to the British, who now controlled virtually all of eastern coast. By removing the threat of French Canada, with its incitement of Indians, all of North America east of the Mississippi was under British Control. The colonists were no longer dependent upon the might of the British Empire to secure their borders. The Seven Years’ War dispersed many French colonist back to their homeland but many fled to the British Colonies along with Spanish Louisiana and the Caribbean. The French refugees living in the British colonies were forced to live among the citizens of the Empire in which they were just defeated. When the time came for independence in the colonies the numbers of French outcasts helped fuel the animosity toward the English monarchy.
At the end of the Seven Years’ War the British found themselves in debt to the tune of 140 million pounds.In 1763, George Grenville, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, reckoned that Britain's budget deficit was in excess of £122 million. Desperate to find new sources of revenue, Grenville looked to the colonies  to reestablish Britain’s economy. In 1765 the British crown enforced the Quartering act which demanded that the colonist must house and feed British soldiers stationed in North America. In march the Stamp act was implemented which stated almost anything formally written or printed would have to be on special stamped paper for which a tax must be paid. Among the items covered by the tax were wills, deeds,...