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American Revolution and American revolutionary movement
1763 marked the beginning of the American revolutionary era. This came after a series of British forces victories at the end of Indian and French war that concluded the French military threat to the British Forces in the Northern American colonies. The British Empire adopted a policy that colonies within their territories should pay costs associated with their protection in the empire. In that respect, the British imposed a number of direct taxes in addition to a number of laws geared towards demonstrating the British authority over its colonies, all these proved unpopular in America. Since the colonies lacked representatives in the governing British parliament, most colonies considered the law to be illegitimate and a direct violation their fundamental rights as Englishmen.
In 1772, groups of colonies started creating Committees of Correspondence that consequently lead to the formation of respective Provincial Congress. In a span of two years, the Provincial Congress or their equivalent Communities rejected the British Parliament and in effect replaced the British ruling mechanism in their colonies, concluding in 1774 with the coordination of the First Continental Congress. While rejection the Boston protested against British Parliamentary efforts to assert authority over colonies, the British initiated direct rule via royal officials, dissolved local governments and stationed combat troops ready for action. In response, the colonies mobilized their private forces and a war broke lose in 1775. Prior to the commencement of the war, colonies loyal to King George III, sent their representative to inform about the First Continental Congress for the King to intervene on their behalf with the British parliament, but this resulted to the King’s declaration that the colonies were rebelling against mother England and the members of congress as traitors. The Americans won the war resulting in Declaration of Independence that rejected the British monarchy with its government. The Declaration of independence recognized the United States as a loose confederation governed by state elected legislation representatives. This paper seeks to give a historical account that culminated to the American Revolution.
The greatest strength of the American revolutionary movement was as a result of the American conviction that they were determined to engage in a struggle to attain the fundamental right of Englishmen. As a result, in 1772, the colonists began establishing committees of correspondence that lead to the formation of respective colony Provincial Congress. By 1774, the Provincial Congress deserted the British Parliament and substituted the British leadership in all colonies, concluding in 1774 with the call for the First Continental Congress. The way to revolution built slowly over time as several events led the thirteen colonies to seek independence from England the motherland and the road to Revolution was a gradual process.
As a result of the events that occurred in late eighteen century after the Indian/French Civil War and British engagement in the war, left the British in substantial debt; therefore, the British was looking for an easy way of raising money to cover the debt. In that respect, King George III issued a proclamation in 1763 after the acquisition of French Territory in Northern America at the end of the seven year Civil War. The Act prohibited settlement in Appalachia Mountains and beyond. Though the Act was not intentionally meant to harm the colonies, but to stabilize British relation with the American Natives; however, the colonist took offense over the order. In as far as the proclamation Act seemed not to harm the colonist, the Act came with a series of hidden and indirect taxes imposed on the colonies after he royal proclamation to generate revenue. This acted as a display of royal authority over the colonies.
Among the taxes introduced by the British parliament was the 1764 Sugar Act. The British was not happy that the Americans were not buying sugar from British West Indies as it was a requirement of the Good Mercantilist theory. They, therefore, influenced the parliament to pass the 1733 Molasses Act. The Act placed taxes on molasses (the form over which sugar was purchased) that was imported from non-British possessions. However, due to corruption and black market the colonies evaded the tax and this had a negative consequence to the British West Indies sugar market. The Sugar Act was modified and strict measures imposed.
Another problem exacerbated (as far as the British were concerned) by salutary neglect was the rising trend in the colonies to set up banks and issue paper currency. Most of the gold and silver from the colonies was sent to Britain to compensate for manufactured goods. As a result, there was currency shortage in the colonies, which was solved by issuing printed currency. The paper currency was lent to the farmers by the land bank keeping their land as collateral. The money was injected in general circulation. However, owing to the fact that a common standard of currency value, confusion arose, this confusion made the Parliament in 1764 pass the Currency Act, successfully taking over the complete colonial currency system. The American assemblies were banned from issuing paper currency. “When, in 1764, all the devices at the service of the Board of Trade having failed Parliament passed its act (the so called Currency Act) outlawing the use of legal-tender paper money in all the colonies. It was apparent that the crisis had been reached: whether it meant universal breakdown for the colonial economic life or not, England was going to insist that debts be paid in sterling pounds in order to protect English mercantile capitalism’’ (Wahlke 8). This Act along with the Sugar Act set the period for the insurgency at the imposition of the Stamp Act.
The Stamp Act of 1765 came as a direct tax imposed on the North American colonies by the British Parliament. The act required that the printed material be produced on a stamped paper which was a legal paper printed in London, and like all the previous tax money it had to be paid in British Currency, not in colonial paper money. “Designed to raise revenue, the Stamp Act of 1765 placed a tax on virtually all paper products, including newspapers, legal documents, pamphlets, and even decks of cards and dice. American reaction to this act was surprisingly hostile, largely because the most powerful and articulate groups; merchants and businessmen, lawyers, journalists, and clergymen; were most directly affected by it” (Findling and Thackeray 61).
In 1765, twenty seven delegates from the nine colonies came together in New York City with an aim of drawing up a statement of grievances and rights thereby bringing colonies as a unit to oppose the Britain parliament. Stamp Act brought at once a denial of the right of Parliament to tax the colonies “without representation.” All official statements such as the resolves of the Stamp Act Congress asserted this principle, conceding nothing but a willingness to acquiesce in the Navigation and Trade Act that had been enforced in 1763. Moreover, a number of colonial leaders at the time of the Stamp Act crisis or soon afterwards came to the conclusion that Parliament had no constitutional authority to legislate for the colonies (Wahlke 126). Other taxes imposed were the Townshend Act of 1767 which included duties on lead, paper and tea. This was to make the colony official independent of the colonists. Like all the previous taxes, this also caused a stirring among the colonists.
The first major event that led to Revolutionary war was the Boston Massacre that occurred in 1770. The fight began when approximately 50 demonstrators attacked a British soldier. The occurrence of 5th march 1770 had considerable influence in hastening the American Revolution.
The events following the Boston Massacre were the Tea Act of 1773, and the Boston Tea Party in which the colonists disguised as Indians disposed tea off the ships at Boston Harbor. In 1774, in response to the Boston Tea Party, Intolerable Act was passed which prohibited the colonists from engaging in any town meetings while granting the governor to control all town meetings. The British stationed troops, dissolved local governments, and imposed rule by Royal officials as a result of the series of protests in Boston over the British Parliament frequent attempts to claim authority. The colonies had to mobilize their militia to fight the British troops, and as a result, a full scale fight broke out in 1775. By the following year, in the Second Continental Congress, representatives from the original thirteen states voted collectively to implement a Declaration of Independence which completely rejected the British Monarchy and its Parliament. This attack on the monarchy was quite similar to what took place in France during her political and social upheaval.
Enlightenment Ideals played a crucial role in the American Revolution just like it did in the French Revolution. ‘’Quite literally, nothing was any longer sacred. All powers, all authorities, all institutions were now provisional, valid only so long as they could be justified in terms of rationality and utility. According to Doyle, the French Revolution represented the accomplishment of Enlightenment, and ushered in the mental world in which the Americans live today (Doyle 80). The response that came immediately after the Stamp Act was for the people to react violently in protest to what was considered to be an unfair treatment of the British government to the co.............
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