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British vs Colonists

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In 1763, a worldwide imperial conflict called the Seven Year's War ended in resounding victory for the British Empire, which smashed its European rivals to emerge from the conflict as one of the largest and most powerful empires in world history. During the war the British and Americans became a unifying force standing side by side, but short while later they were the ones in conflict with one another. England was left with an even larger debt, from the French and Indian War, than what they had started with. To compensate Britain started to heavily tax the colonies which lead to many events such as the Boston Massacre and boycott of British goods. But in this time period it was always England changing older policies and colonists complying with them. The colonists never strongly pursued the idea of independence, only to become a larger more representative force in England. The British were truly the revolutionaries leading up to the Revolutionary War, rather than the colonists, as seen by England's significant change on America's trading/taxing policies, and the colonists strong will to stay with old tradition until the very last moment. Eager southern farmers were speculating land grab, once the Seven Year's War was over, wanting to expand their plantations to the backgrounds of Kentucky and Tennessee. But England afraid of increased costs due to conflict with Indians established the Proclamation of 173, which prevented settlers from going West of the Appalachians. The proclamation also kept Native Americans under the wing of the king, who was interested in fur trade with them. Though many colonists were upset with this event, they took care of it quite peacefully and were able to negotiate with the French and mother country to expand the borders. Another event was the revoking of the famed "Salutary Neglect". For about a hundred years Britain had passed laws to regulate colonial trade in the best interest that the commerce benefitted themselves. One example of this law allowed Americans to only trade with English merchants. But the imperial forces in London allowed those laws to go unenforced giving the colonies freedom of trade. In 1763 English lawmakers had strongly enforced trade with Britain, taking away from the freedom of the colonists. In both these cases England is the first to start change, and stray way from traditions that were present before the French and Indian War. It would make sense that the more powerful country would be the one to start something new. These acts did not immediately vault the colonists into a revolution, but made them accept that change was happening, preparing them for the upcoming tax policies. England was in need of large sums of money, so they decided to take it from the Colonists who were thought to be well compensated for. The Sugar Act of 1763 strictly put high duties on sugar. Though some may argue that this was quite similar to the Molasses act of 1763, and it just gave the colonists an excuse to rebel it was actually not. The Sugar Act was strictly enforced and the Americans could be tried and accused of smuggling in courts. So though the colonists were unhappy with the act, they showed no signs of separation, even when England had changed most of the economic policies specifically in taxation. Another example is the Townshend Duties which came after the stamp act and sugar act. Since the colonists were not rebelling, and were doing quite well under the various taxes England decided to put another one. Even Benjamin Franklin himself said "Americans would not object to external taxes", meaning that they weren't going to fight over some small change, because England was a valuable partner to them. This act put tax on British import goods, and though the colonists boycotted it wasn't because of wanting to separate they only wanted more representation. It was actually seen that most were opposed to the few violent conflicts that happened here and there. Most of the upper and middle class were worried about the tactics of the lower class because they thought that it would disturb the peace established. Many settlers actually defended British soldiers that were found in the middle of conflict, such as Samuel Adams because they knew that it was themselves that had hurt the British crown. It was England, most of the time, that brought upon change in the colonies. And in most cases the colonists always went with the option that brought them the least conflict/ change with the mother country. Benjamin Franklin created the Albany plan to achieve a more centralized government in the thirteen colonies, in hopes to colonists could create their own defense. But a majority of the people voted it down, because of the incompetence that they had displayed in Ohio. This was one of the first fires of independence but many of them did not want to go a long with the change and instead kept the safety o the British. Another example is in July 1755 the Continental Congress sent King George III the "Olive Branch Petition which reasserted American loyalty to the crown but asked for some leeway stating "with all humility submitting to your Majesty's wise consideration," hoping for "a happy and permanent reconciliation." Angered by the appeal King George declared any of his officers in America were to do anything to bring the traitors to justice. So in a sense it was the English who started this first surge of violence, not the colonists who just wanted to have peaceful relations. In October, the House of Lords voted more than two-to-one and the House of Commons by an even greater majority to support war against the rebellious Americans. In conclusion, it is observable that England was the one to bring about a majority of the change and the initiative to start war. The colonists complied to many of the new restrictions that were put upon them. They were unsure of their need for independence until the very last moment, and even that was because of the violence of England. This relationship shows how England was not yet ready to take control over such a large area of land and so many people, and that the colonists only became strove for freedom when they were backed up to a wall, and there was no other option. The slowly suffocating acts of the British caused the conservative colonists to flee.

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