A Tradition of British Neglect Towards America

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Some of the earliest settlers in America, Puritans under the leadership of John Winthrop, came to New England in hopes of inspiring their fellow countrymen in England and furthermore saving the nation. "The City on the Hill" was an unsuccessful set of reformed churches conspicuous to the sinful mother country. The attempt failed merely because the mother country paid no mind the settlement. England paid little attention to all of the colonies. Charles S. Miller and Natalie Joy War write in History of America, Vol. 1, "The English government wrongfully assumed that once the colonies were establish, often without any help other a written charter they could be ignored much of the time. Most people in England had little interest in the colonies" (Miller and War 94). This period of "salutary neglect" officially was instituted under George I reign. Charles Sellers, Henry May, and Neil R. McMillen write in A Synopsis of American History, Vol. 1, "Sir Robert Walpole, who became the king's chief minister in 1721, believed that it was England's interest to let the colonies flourish without interference; and his policy of ‘salutary neglect' continued until the 1760s" (Sellers, May, McMillen 21). The colonies, however, had been easily ignored from their birth. Rossiter writes in First Amiercan Revolution that the long distance and English indifference allowed numerous colonies, such as Connecticut and Rhode Island, to form pseudo-independent governments and prosper with only as much as a charter. This period of benign neglect would develop the colonies culture of independence, recalcitrance, and liberty.

After the British victory in the French and Indian Wars, a massive fiscal predicament developed, a £137 million debt. It seemed natural that after spending so much blood and gold protecting the colonies throughout the war, the inhabitants pay a minuscule tax to help raise revenue. Compared to the average twenty-six shilling tax in Britain, colonists paid virtually no...
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