Economic And Political Causes Of The American Revolution
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Causes of the American Revolution Explained
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Essay Sample Check Writing Quality. It is easy to interpret the American Revolution simply as a struggle for freedom. The magnanimous phrases of the Declaration of Independence have embedded in our hearts and minds glorious images of the Founding Fathers fighting for the natural rights of man. The American Revolution, however, also had a darker side to it, the side of self-interest and profit. The signers of the Declaration represented various classes — the working class, the wealthy land owners and merchants, the intellectuals, and the social elite.
Each of these strata had its own set of expectations and fears, which lent a new dimension to the cause of the Revolution. The pressure of these internal, and often overlapping groups, combined with the oppressive external tyranny of the British Parliament gave momentum to the already snowballing revolt. My goal in this paper is not to diminish the cause or tenets on which this country was founded, nor to mar the character of those Founding Fathers, but rather to illustrate some of the political, social, and especially economical constraints of the American colonies that surrounded the events leading to the signing of the Declaration.
The Founding Fathers were also business men, and their revolutionary attitude wavered with economic irregularity. The series of taxation acts Parliament levied upon America to recoup its wartime debt took a serious toll on colonial businesses, increasing their debt and frustration with England. At the same time, colonial merchants also wanted to maintain ties with their primary consumer, England. After the French and Indian War, wealthy merchants had stock piles of inventory which had primarily been sold to British regiments that had been encamped throughout the colonies.
With their primary consumers gone, colonial merchants eagerly jumped on the bandwagon to boycott British goods, a way to maintain the sell of backlogged inventory to local colonies. After the Townshend Acts were repealed, however, these merchants were eager to continue their importation of British goods, in addition to selling their goods back out to the motherland. For the wealthy colonial merchants, the disruption of profit from the backlogged inventory led them to appear revolutionary as they boycotted British goods.
Once the economic tide turned, they were back to building good relations with Britain many becomin It is clear that there were many strata that were represented in the struggle for American independence. These strata were never united along the same lines, which is why it is remarkable that the American Revolution took flight in the first place. Were it not for trailblazers such as Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, and the other signers of the Declaration of Independence, who strived for an ideal greater than economics, we may not have had the war that we did, or won the war like we did.
Thomas Jefferson and Samuel Adams harnessed the frustration of the revolutionaries and rallied the colonies to transcend economic, social, and political dogma of the time and toward a single cause. References Berkin, C. Retrieved on July 7, Oates, Stephen. Portrait of America Vol. Eighth Edition. Get Access. Satisfactory Essays. Stamp Act Words 2 Pages. Stamp Act. Read More. Better Essays. The Causes of the American Revolution. Good Essays. French And Indian War. Perspective transformed the American Revolution Words 2 Pages. Perspective transformed the American Revolution. Rights: Procured through Independence Words 2 Pages. Rights: Procured through Independence. The Causes of American Revolution. Causes of the American Revolution Words 2 Pages.
Causes of the American Revolution. Second Continental Congress. Best Essays. His books helped to raise questions about the rights of the governed and the overreach of the British government. They spurred the "republican" ideology that stood up in opposition to those viewed as tyrants. These teachings included such new radical ideas as the principle that all men are created equal and the belief that a king has no divine rights.
Together, these innovative ways of thinking led many in this era to consider it their duty to rebel against laws they viewed as unjust. The geography of the colonies also contributed to the revolution. Their distance from Great Britain naturally created a sense of independence that was hard to overcome. Those willing to colonize the new world generally had a strong independent streak with a profound desire for new opportunities and more freedom. The Proclamation of played its own role.
The intent was to normalize relations with the Indigenous peoples, many of whom fought with the French. A number of settlers had purchased land in the now forbidden area or had received land grants. The crown's proclamation was largely ignored as settlers moved anyway and the "Proclamation Line" eventually moved after much lobbying. Despite this concession, the affair left another stain on the relationship between the colonies and Britain. The existence of colonial legislatures meant that the colonies were in many ways independent of the crown.
The legislatures were allowed to levy taxes, muster troops, and pass laws. Over time, these powers became rights in the eyes of many colonists. The British government had different ideas and attempted to curtail the powers of these newly elected bodies. There were numerous measures designed to ensure the colonial legislatures did not achieve autonomy, although many had nothing to do with the larger British Empire.
In the minds of colonists, they were a matter of local concern. From these small, rebellious legislative bodies that represented the colonists, the future leaders of the United States were born. Even though the British believed in mercantilism , Prime Minister Robert Walpole espoused a view of " salutary neglect. Walpole believed this enhanced freedom would stimulate commerce. The French and Indian War led to considerable economic trouble for the British government.
Its cost was significant, and the British were determined to make up for the lack of funds. They levied new taxes on the colonists and increased trade regulations. These actions were not well received by the colonists. New taxes were enforced, including the Sugar Act and the Currency Act , both in The Sugar Act increased already considerable taxes on molasses and restricted certain export goods to Britain alone. The Currency Act prohibited the printing of money in the colonies, making businesses rely more on the crippled British economy. Feeling underrepresented, overtaxed, and unable to engage in free trade, the colonists rallied to the slogan, "No Taxation Without Representation.
The British government's presence became increasingly more visible in the years leading to the revolution. British officials and soldiers were given more control over the colonists and this led to widespread corruption. Among the most glaring of these issues were the "Writs of Assistance. Designed to assist the British in enforcing trade laws, these documents allowed British soldiers to enter, search, and seize warehouses, private homes, and ships whenever necessary.
However, many abused this power. In , Boston lawyer James Otis fought for the constitutional rights of the colonists in this matter but lost. The defeat only inflamed the level of defiance and ultimately led to the Fourth Amendment in the U. The Third Amendment was also inspired by the overreach of the British government. Forcing colonists to house British soldiers in their homes infuriated the population. It was inconvenient and costly to the colonists, and many also found it a traumatic experience after events like the Boston Massacre in Trade and commerce were overly controlled, the British Army made its presence known, and the local colonial government was limited by a power far across the Atlantic Ocean.
If these affronts to the colonists' dignity were not enough to ignite the fires of rebellion, American colonists also had to endure a corrupt justice system. Political protests became a regular occurrence as these realities set in. His imprisonment and the Boston Massacre were just two infamous examples of the measures the British took to crack down on protesters. After six British soldiers were acquitted and two dishonorably discharged for the Boston Massacre—ironically enough, they were defended by John Adams—the British government changed the rules.
From then on, officers accused of any offense in the colonies would be sent to England for trial. This meant that fewer witnesses would be on hand to give their accounts of events and it led to even fewer convictions. To make matters even worse, jury trials were replaced with verdicts and punishments handed down directly by colonial judges. Over time, the colonial authorities lost power over this as well because the judges were known to be chosen, paid, and supervised by the British government. The right to a fair trial by a jury of their peers was no longer possible for many colonists.
All of these grievances that colonists had with the British government led to the events of the American Revolution. And many of these grievances directly affected what the founding fathers wrote into the U. These constitutional rights and principles reflect the hopes of the framers that the new American government would not subject their citizens to the same loss of freedoms that the colonists had experienced under Britain's rule. Schellhammer, Michael.