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Causes for the American Revolution

Oct 08, 1999 1439 Words
The irregular and disorganized British rule of the American colonies in the previous years led to the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. Most Americans did not originally want to separate from mother England. They wanted to compromise and stay loyal to the crown. England's unwillingness to compromise, mismanagement of the colonies, heavy taxation of the colonists that violated their rights, the distractions of foreign affairs and politics in England and the strict trading policies that England tried to enforce together made the revolution inevitable. The British were definitely expected to win the dispute because they significantly over powered the Colonists in most areas. They had more money, weapons, people, etc. However the American's prevailed with the help of the French. Their involvement was largely based on the French losing the French and Indian War to the English.

The American Revolution was an inevitable conflict. The French and Indian War had major effects on the British and American colonists. This war doubled England's already existent debt. America's little financial and military help outraged many British officals during the war, which largely benefited the Americas. They were also bitter about the Colonists trading goods with enemies of the British. Because of this the British increased authority over the colonies after the war. The British began to tax the colonists to meet England's financial needs. England passed many Acts that were ill conceived and had long-term effects on the relationship between England and the colonies. The crown had never directly taxed the colonists before. This caused problems between the Colonists and the British. A few of the major Acts were the Sugar Act, Currency Act, Stamp Act, and Tea Act. The Sugar Act of 1764 was an effort to try and stop the illegal trade between the Colonists and the French and Spanish. The Currency Act was also passed in 1764. The colonists responded to the Sugar Act and Currency Act by protesting against the use of writs of assistance, or search warrants, which were filled out after the illegal goods were found, violating the Colonists rights. Alleged smugglers would be tried in the Admiralty Courts where the accused had no right to trail by jury and the judge pocketed 1/3 of the fines they imposed. The Stamp Act of 1765 enraged the colonists for this act was a direct attempt by the English to raise money from the colonists without the consent of the colonial assemblies. This tax was different from the rest because the other taxes were to regulate trade. Colonists reacted by riots, boycotts, the forming of the Stamp Act Congress, and Sam Adams organized the Son's of Liberty. The Stamp Act was the first external tax. The colonists felt that they were being taxed without representation.

In 1770 an extraordinary number of British troops were stationed in Boston. The Colonists didn't understand why there were so many troops after the war. This added to the already existent tension. The colonists taunted the Red Coats and on March 5, 1770 the colonists threw snowballs resulting a hasty decision by the Red Coats to fire at the colonists. Five colonists were killed and nine were wounded. This night is known as the Boston Massacre.

The Tea Act of 1773 was a tax on tea but, the British lowered the cost of tea significantly enough that even with the tax, British tea was cheaper than Dutch tea. Also to keep the price down, the British East India Co. got rid of the middleman in the colonies and opened up their own shops. If the colonists bought this tea, they would be accepting the fact that the British could tax without representation. On Dec. 16th 1773 the ships docked at the Boston ports. The Sons of Liberty dressed up as Indians and threw 324 chests of tea into the water. England responded to the Boston Tea Party by the Coercive Act of 1774.

In the fall of 1774 the first continental congress meet in Philadelphia. 55 delegates made a list of grievances and sent it to the King because they did not want to separate from the crown but just work within the system. In the spring of 1775 they realized that working within the system was not going to work. For months common people were training to be prepared to fight on a minutes notice, or the minutemen. General Gage was instructed by the British to get ride of the minutemen. The minutemen were waiting at Lexington for the British soldiers because of the help from Paul Rivere and William Dawus. No one knows who fired first but eight minutemen were killed and ten were wounded. "Shots heard round the world." The British soldiers moved on to Concord. The British burnt the powder supply and continued to Boston were on the way hidden common people continually fired at the Red Coats and resulted in the British losing almost three times as many people as the Americans. This is the beginning of the Revolution, which was not a war, but a rebellion.

Not all of the Colonists actually supported the rebellion. A third of the people were Loyalists meaning loyal to the crown. A third of the people were neutral. A third of the people were patriots. The Colonists didn't even have a unified army. The British Empire had money, an organized army, weapons and a great naval fleet. The Colonists had none of these. The only advantage that the Colonists had at the beginning of the rebellion was that England was across the Atlantic and the battle was in the colonies. Compared to the British who were one of the most powerful empires at this time the Colonists did not seem to have a chance.

Some of the major turning points of the war was the involvement of the French and the Battle of Yorktown. The French did not enter the war until late. The French got involved to spite the British after the French were defeated in the French and Indian war. The French brought the Colonists weapons, men, money and a naval fleet. The Americans now seemed to have a chance. With the help of the French, Washington won the final battle at Yorktown. The French and American troops trapped Cornwallis' army of more than 7,000 men between land and sea. Cornwallis excepted to find the British Fleet but instead found the French Fleet. After some resistance, Cornwallis surrendered.

The final settlement in my opinion was worth all the hardships. The Colonists could govern themselves and could control their own affairs without input from England. England at most times was more concerned with the colonies solving England's problems instead of helping the colonies solve their problems.

The historian's feelings about the Revolution are broken up into four groups, the Neo-Imperialists, the Anti-Progressions, the Neo Whigs, and the New Left. The Neo-Imperialists believe that the British are at fault and that they should have changed some laws and things could have worked out. The Anti-Progressions see the social classes as coming together for the same causes. The America's are a middle class society but all the classes work together for a common good. The Neo Whigs feel that the conflict was between good ideas and bad ideas and the good ideas always win. The New Left looks at how the Revolution affected the minorities and is not interested in any other parts.

In my opinion, the true nature of the conflict between the British and the Colonists was that the British had loosely governed the colonies in the beginning. Because of problems at home in England they did not strictly govern the colonies. The colonies formed their own governments around the loose laws of the British. When the British needed money they decided to bring in extra revenue by taxing the colonists. The colonists did not accept their taxation without representation, which caused the Colonists to seek independence from the crown. Even though in the beginning of the Revolution the Colonists did not seem to have a chance they came back in the end with the help of the French and dedication to their cause. The French entering the war was a major turning point. The final settlement turned out to be worth all of the Colonists hardships for they could finally govern themselves freely and could make their own decisions. Historians throughout the years have had many different views about what the Revolution was really about, but half of them feel that the Colonists came together for a good cause.

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