AP US History
26 September 2012
Causes of the American Revolution Essay
Leading up to the American Revolution, there were different types of causes including social, political and economic but the one that overall caused the revolution was the political influences. About twenty years before the outbreak of the war, the French and Indian War took place because of the French presence on the continent, near the settlements. From this, the colonists were rid of the French but the English were then burdened with a massive amount of war debt. In order to pay this off, Britain decided to raise certain taxes and acts in order to increase their revenue. As more and more money was being asked of the colonists, they started to change their opinions of the monarchy. Certain groups like the First Continental Congress started to form in hope of stopping the raising taxes and neglect from Britain. The colonists started to call themselves “Americans” and create a bond that the British soon discovered could not be broken. As the eve of revolution approached, the Americans started to become more independent from Britain causing King George III to try to regain a handle on the colonies, while they kept trying to separate from the monarchy. Like a child being told what not to do, the Americans began to realize that they could control themselves and did not need the mother country telling them how to do so which soon led the start of the American Revolution.
At the end of the French and Indian War, as stated previously, the British faced an immense war debt due to the need to ship supplies and soldiers from Europe because, they believed the colonists did not have the skill needed to fight the French. Although the British were victorious, the debt that they faced soon but them in a horrible situation. Before they assessed the economic problems the country faced, a law was passes, the Proclamation of 1763, that stated the colonists could not settle past the Appalachian Mountains. While the British politicians thought this would not cause unrest in the colonies because they had not passed this point on the continent before, the colonists took it as a way of constraining any power that they had. Soon there after, Parliament decided that the best way to raise revenue was to target their colonies in North America. Acts raising taxes like the Sugar Act of 1764 and the Stamp Act of 1765 were the main political causes that angered the colonists. Another important act passed was the Navigation Acts. This restricted the colonists with trading with anyone except countries located in Great Britain. This is a prime example of the Salutary Neglect of Britain towards the colonists. This policy, which lasted from about 1607 to 1763, was the undocumented law that allowed Britian to be lax about certain trading regulations, along with other political declarations, that were directed at the colonists in North America. Because the authority was not used constantly, the settlers began to govern themselves. The new enforcement from Britain was a shock to those living in the colonies. The colonists started to see themselves as being used in the way that Britain only interacted with them if the mother country was in need of something. Several more acts were pased like the Quartering Act that stated the colonists must house and feed any Britsh soldier, and the Townshend Acts which created new taxes on items such as glass and paper. This increased the amount of smuggling in the colonies which then lead to the agreement to send more British troops into the cities. The Tea Act was then passed creating a trade monopoly of tea after the fall of the British East India Company. In response to this, a group known as the Sons of Liberty in Massachusetts dressed up as native americans, boarded a british tea ship and dumped crates of the cargo into the Boston Harbor. The British retaliated with the Intolerable Acts, only directed at the Massachusetts colony. This closed their ports and banned all town meetings excluding one annual. Parliament was under the impression that the colonies did not affect one another. This idea was entirely wrong in all aspects. After the passing of the Intolerable Acts, the First Continental Congress met where twelve out of the thirteen colonies met in Philidelphia. This was the first political group unified under one cause which soon led to the creation of the boycott of British goods. This is the first political decision made by the “Americans”. Soon the ideologies from the Enlightenment started to influence the desicions made, especially John Locke's theory that the government serves the people and if they do not the citizens have the right to revolt.
Before the start of the American Revolution, the colonists and British had ongoing political tension that lead to the revolt by the “Americans”. The French and Indian War elimented the French presence from North America while also opening up new land for the colonists. The Proclamation of 1763 forbid the colonists from moving the settlements any further than tha Appalacian Mountains, which in turn angered the colonists. As Britian was engulfed in debt from the French and Indian War, Parliament used the Americans as a way of creating revenue by raising taxes on certain items. Various acts were then passed, and as each one was put into place, the colonists started to understand that they were not treated like equals but really as a way of making money. The passing of the Tea Act was the political act met with the most revolt. As punishment for this, the Intolerable Acts were accepted as a way to regain control on the colonies but in reality led the nation to revolution. By trying to eliminate the power that Britain believed the colonists had by using their own political power, the British an uprising that will be remembered all generations of Americans as the beginning of the United States of America and the freedom that they have.