POLS208 Essay – 5a) American War of Independence and Revolution
When Abraham Lincoln sought to comprehend the significance of the United States, he looked back upon the American Revolution. In doing so, he knew that the Revolution had not only legally created the United States but in turn had produced all of the hopes and values of the American citizens . This essay will attempt to describe the social and political actors involved, analyse the main events and discuss in detail the constitutional outcome that was the result of the American War of Independence and Revolution which spanned from 1775 through to 1791.
The basic cause of the American War of Independence and Revolution was the fact that in the late 18th century, Great Britain had control and restriction over the American colonists. Resistance turned into rebellion in 1776, both physically and verbally toward the British. Parliamentary taxation, restriction of civil liberties and the legacy of colonial political ideas all played a major role in enticing an American War and will be discussed in terms of social and political actors swaying toward the cause of war.
The American Revolution was not caused by actual tyranny, unlike the French Revolution. However has been viewed by many as a rational and conservative affair, brought to life due to anticipation of oppression as opposed to actual oppression and by complete devotion to the mantra “no taxation without representation” . This mantra rallied by American protesters in order to protest the taxes and other legislation imposed on them by Parliament that contained zero American representatives. It was in 1764 that Great Britain introduced the taxation on items such as agricultural exports, sugar, wine, coffee – in order to raise governmental revenue so that the debt could be wiped that was left from the ‘Seven Year War’. Historians nowadays refer to this as the ‘Consumer Revolution’. However, many colonists preferred British goods as opposed to their own, thus were importing £500,000 worth of goods more than what they were exporting, hence continual trouble with trade debt within the Balance of Payments . The first direct tax that was set up was donned ‘The Stamp Tax’ which mandated the use of stamps in order to support the military. They later introduced the ‘tea tax’, which stated that, the British East India Tea Company could sell their tea free of tax , however this would mean that local merchants would be cut out of the trade and overall resulted in business failures and bankruptcies everywhere – all this happened prior to the time period of the American War of Independence and Revolution, however it is critical in understanding the conditions and how long the citizens put up with it for prior to rebelling against the British.
At the beginning of 1775, the British military was already preparing for action. And in May of the same year, colonies met in Philadelphia for the Second Continental Congress to take up where the first Congress had ended in the year prior. They continued the policy of resolves and reconciliation. They issued, what was known as, the Declaration of the Causes and Necessities of Taking Up Arms, it denied that Americans had any “ambitious design of separating from Great Britain, and establishing separate states”. In April, 1775 war broke out in Massachusetts, the British ordered General Gage, the appointed commander, to arrest the rebel leader, break up their bases and reassert royal authority over the American colony. On April 18th when Gage attempted to do so, the patriot leaders roused the farmers up and exchanged shots – at the end of this day 273 British and 95 Americans had been killed or wounded and the countryside had been lit on fire as an act of revolt . Two months later, at Bunker Hill, the first formal battle of the Revolution took place and the British suffered their heaviest loss of what was to be a very long war. At this stage as there was no formal American...
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