Why Did The American Revolution Happen
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6 Major Causes of the America Revolution
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According to Acemoglu and Robinson, once the path had been set for greater rule of law, development of inclusive institutions in society, property rights and lack of fear of creative destruction from ruling classes, the Industrial Revolution was all but guaranteed in the United Kingdom. But it had been bought and paid for in much blood and political struggle beforehand. Whilst inclusive institutions were vitally important to allow it to happen, they were not the whole story.
Other factors played their part too. The seeds were sown, quite literally, thanks to the agricultural revolution that enabled the production of food surplus and population growth. Almost simultaneously, any excess in labor was attracted to larger population centers in search of work and fortune. Inclusive institutions like the banks of the time could provide capital unimpeded to brave entrepreneurs to build new technologies and companies that they might not otherwise be able to afford to do.
Importantly, the rule of law and property rights also promoted investment and risk-taking. Large capital-hungry structures like factories could now be built on credit. The granting of patents was also wrestled from Monarchal whim to a formalized and legally binding system. This further created confidence for investors and inventors to take a gamble. Britain also happened to have a wealth of coal , iron, and other resources in a relatively small country, that would help kick start the revolution and feed it.
It's small, but growing Colonial Empire also provided a ready-made market for surplus goods, providing further impetus to entrepreneurs and new industrialists. In the wake of the Stamp Act crisis, Benjamin Franklin, who was working as a representative of the colonies of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Georgia, addressed the House of Commons at Parliament in and answered questions about taxation in America. During his address to Parliament, Franklin warned that enforcing the Stamp Act with military force would cause a colonial rebellion:.
Can anything less than a military force carry the Stamp Act into execution? I do not see how a military force can be applied for that purpose. Why may it not? Suppose a military force sent into America; they will find nobody in arms; what are they then to do? They cannot force a man to take stamps who chooses to do without them. They will not find a rebellion; they may indeed make one.
If the act is not repealed, what do you think will be the consequences? A total loss of the respect and affection the people of America bear to this country, and of all the commerce that depends on that respect and affection. Later in his testimony, Franklin explained that new laws and policies had already caused the colonists to lose respect for the British government:. A: No, it is greatly lessened. Q: To what causes is that owing?
The Revenue Act of placed a tax on British goods imported into the colonies such as glass, tea, lead, paints and paper and also paid the salaries of superior court judges, which used to be paid by the colonial assembly. Colonists opposed the Townshend Acts because they felt it was wrong to tax the colonies without representation in Parliament. They responded by organizing massive boycotts of British imports. Colonists also opposed the Vice Admiralty Act because it made it so that offenders of maritime law, such as smugglers, were tried in admiralty courts without juries.
In February of , the Massachusetts Assembly issued a letter, now known as the Massachusetts Circular Letter, written primarily by Samuel Adams, that called on all the colonial assemblies to unite and resist the Townshend Acts:. In response to the Townshend Act boycotts and the Massachusetts Circular letter, Lord Hillsborough, Secretary of State for the Colonies, dispatched two regiments, consisting of 4, troops, to restore order in Boston and enforce the new laws.
The troop ships arrived in Boston in September of In , the Tea Act was passed which allowed for tea to be shipped by the British East India Company duty-free to the colonies, thus allowing them to sell the tea for a discounted price but with a small tax. Even though British tea became cheaper, colonists still opposed the act because they were being taxed without representation and feared that the act would give the British East India Company a monopoly on the colonial tea trade. The tea act is what prompted the Boston Tea Party in December of , during which several hundred protestors boarded merchant ships in Boston harbor and destroyed millions of dollars of British tea by throwing it overboard.
In , the Coercive Acts, aka the Intolerable Acts, were passed, which were a series of four acts designed to restore order in Massachusetts and punish Boston for its rebellious activities. The Administration of Justice Act made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in Massachusetts. In the early s, more and more colonists became convinced that Parliament intended to take away their freedom. In fact, the Americans saw a pattern of increasing oppression and corruption happening all around the world. Parliament was determined to bring its unruly American subjects to heel. Britain began to prepare for war in early The first fighting broke out in April in Massachusetts. The movement for independence was now in full swing.
The colonists elected delegates to attend a Continental Congress that eventually became the governing body of the union during the Revolution.