What caused the American Revolution
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What caused the American RevolutionIntroduction
American Revolution was the precursor of the national independence gained in 1776. It was a political upheaval that took place within 1765-1783, when there was no nation as such, but 13 colonies, which were run on company charters, and there was no unified political organization. It was under the umbrella of the British Empire. This was the beginnings of the New World, which was triggered off, with the discovery of Christopher Columbus. The American aristocracy was centered on the east coast mainly.
From 1765 onwards, the American colonial society revolted against the British Parliament authority for taxations, mainly on sugar and molasses. A most significant culmination of this attitude was the Boston Tea Party in 1773. The rebellious colonists were known as patriots. One of them the Suffolk Resolves, in 1775, managed to combat the Royal Govt of Massachusetts, and put the British in charge of only Boston city. King George III’s rule was considered to be highly tyrannical. In July 1776, the thirteen colonies were declared to be independent states. Liberalism and Republicanism were propagated to combat against monarchy and aristocracy. This was followed by the British capturing New York and other city ports, but Washington forces proved to be stronger (Cogliano 1770-80).
CAUSES OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
The main cause of this revolution was perhaps the taxation on colonies, by King George III for paying of his army debts, by taking an authoritarian attitude. This outraged the colonists and they began a boycott of British goods. Thus, money and taxation was the cause for this revolution to take place. They could not accept British interference directly. The origins of the British force at a distance to establish America, was fine, but not its arbitrary commanding style.
Next, the glaring cause was the Boston Tea Party. This followed from the British tax imposition. The British were sending tea through ship, on the Atlantic Ocean, and the ship stopped at a port in the Boston city. As a revolt, all colonists dressed as American Indians threw the cartons in the sea. Those who tried to smuggle it within themselves were tremendously humiliated, like being stripped off their clothes.
This induced the Intolerable Acts by the king, which made the revolution stronger. The effects of Intolerable Acts did display themselves, regardless of the revolution. The Boston port was closed down, till the Dutch East India paid for the tea. This was the Boston Port Act. Massachusetts was kept under British Control by the Massachusetts Govt Act. The Quartering Act demanded lodgings for British soldiers in the colonies, and the Quebec Act, fostering British expansion in Canada, made sure Roman Catholicism could be practiced. The former act was the most abhorred, since British soldiers were distrusted in so much proximity.
The subsequent event was the First Continental Congress. 55 delegates of 12 colonies out of 13, took part. The main issues discussed were separation from Britain, and killing their soldiers, using firearms in their cities and closing down the Boston sea port, testing their feasibility. The session lasted for two months, September-October 1774, signing a Declaration of Rights and Grievances, to be presented to King George, wanting their demands to be satisfied. The Suffolk reserves also came up, emphasizing freedom of Massachusetts, which was worst affected.
The King did not easily agree as was expected. The outcome was the Battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775. At the first war cry, 8 British men were killed, 10 wounded and there was one minor casualty. When the whole war was over, there were 300 British casualties, with 73 dead and 23 missing. In comparison, America had about 100 casualties.
There was a second Continental Congress meeting. At that point a peace offering of olive branch to the British was undertaken. The King most vehemently refuted it. This was the last straw. The colonies signed a declaration on Independence, and decided to fight a revolutionary war, to assert their national independence.
There were few more acts and events on the way like, French and Indian war, Proclamation of 1763, Sugar Act, Currency Act, Committees of Correspondence, Stamp Act, Stamp Act Congress, Sons and Daughters of Liberty, Townshend Act, Tea Act and Bunker Hill.
The mindset of the founding fathers was also a primary cause of the American Revolution and the War of Independence. These were mainly, the geographic distance, between USA and Britain, gave an isolated individual feeling of the colonists. Colonial legislatures like taxations, etc gave freedom from the Crown’s binding authority. Salutary neglect i.e. freedom from taxation in external trade, for commercial expansion, created an independent core within the colonists. Last but not the least the Enlightenment in Europe, induced the same kind of liberal ideas in the American colonists, specially the philosophical works such as, Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Locke and the Baron de Montesquieu.
The American Revolution was not an isolated affair at all. The Atlantic Ocean had created this independent space, but the aristocratic origins remain to be very WASP (White Anglo Saxon Protestant) to this date. It was the symbolical power of the crown in its tyrannical form, which made the colonists break away from the old and give way to something new. This was the age old human innovation was at work. Liberalism and republicanism were decided to experiment upon, which were again ancient Greek concepts. In spite of the WASP character, America is a land of immigrants, from all over Europe, Asia and Africa. Thus the Revolution is a beginning of ushering in further radical innovations, building upon the political foundations of the country, laid down in 1776.
Cogliano, Francis D. Revolutionary America. A Political History. British textbook. 2008. Print.
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