Encouraged by successful wars in the Americans, Africa, and India, English traders imagined a new sort of empire. Instead of the freely governed commercial organization Of the past, they promoted centralized supervision by Parliament. Responding to resulting American displeasure, Lord Halifax declared, the colonists feel “entitled to a greater measure of Liberty than is enjoyed by the people of England. ” In Britain, the French and Indian War created a vast debt. This impelled King George Ill and his administrators to further the English fiscal and military state of the colonies.
Parliament swiftly substituted salutary neglect that ad emphasized trade and local self-government with the imperial system that focused on taxation and regulation. English generals and colonial leaders differed on military policy. The existence of 10,000 English troops on American soil exposed strong cultural dissimilarities. The war also uncovered the ineptitude of the royal authority. Governors had broad political power, as well as control of the colonial militia; but they shared authority with the colonial assembles, which infuriated English representatives.
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By positioning an army within the colonies, the English indicated its willingness to suppress Indians, as well as disobedient colonist. When George Greenville became prime minister in 1763, England was deep in debt and English citizens were providing more than four times as much in taxes as Americans. To augment revenue, Greenville introduced the Currency Act of 1 764, that forbid the Americans from using paper money as legal tender. In addition, he implemented the Sugar Act of 1 764, replacing the commonly disregarded Molasses Act of 1733.
John Hancock and other colonists had made a fortune smuggling French molasses. Merchants indicted as a result of the act were to be tried by a vice-admiralty court, run by a English approved judge which enraged colonists. To be fair, merchants charged with infringements in the past were tried by local magistrates, where they were often released by neighborly juries. In addition, indicted smugglers in England were tried in vice-admiralty courts too; therefore there was no prejudice against colonist.
In response to each colony assembly’s assertion that there shouldn’t be taxation without representation a policy that came as Patriots’ indignant surprise a British minister replied, “The rule that a British subject shall not be bound by laws or liable for taxes, but when he has consented to by his preventatives must be confined to the inhabitants of Great Britain only. ” An additional tax, the Stamp Act of 1765, ignited a great imperial calamity.
The tax was to be used as part of the cost of maintaining English troops in the colonies. Knowing that several colonist would resist the tax on a constitutional basis, Greenville first presented the subject openly in the House of Commons. When there were no objections, he administered the tax. At the same time, Parliament introduced the Quartering Act, that obligated American assembles to supply food and lodging for British soldiers. At this mint, popular American opposition took a violent turn.
Terrified collectors gave up their tax stamps, and livid American’s required English representatives to allow legal papers without the stamp. Complained a customs official, “What can a Governor do without the assistance of the Governed” In 1766, parliament compromised. Two parliamentary factions pushed for rescinding the Stamp Act. Newly appointed Prime Minister Lord Rocking felt that America was more essential for its “flourishing and increasing trade than its tax revenues. ” Another group complained that colonial trade boycotts were effecting English exports.
Rocking withdrew the Stamp Act and limited the duty on molasses forced by the Sugar Act but to placate Parliament he implemented the Declaratory Act of 1 766, which overtly ensured Parliament’s authority and power to create colonial laws. After Lord Rockiness’s ministry collapsed in 1 767 over domestic issues Charles Townsend became prime minister. Townsend pledged to find a new basis of income for the colonies. The results were the Townsend Act of 1767, which had financial and political objectives. The duties of the law were on colonial imports of tea, glass, paper and paint.
By utilizing government taxes to fund the imperial system, Townsend deliberately planned to destabilize colonial political assemblies. Downtrend’s Restraining Act insulted Americans a great deal more, proclaiming that the survival of colonial representative governments was at the prerogative of the Parliament. American resistance only amplified British willpower. Thankfully, Charles Townsend did not last, and he was replaced, in 1770, by Lord North who developed another compromise. Stating that it was imprudent to tax English exports to the colonies thus increasing the price ND lowering usage he abolished most of the Townsend duties.
This brought a temporary ease in tensions between the two countries. American Committees of Correspondents, however, rose up in the colonies as a result Of the Tea Act in May 1773. The act gave fiscal assistance to the East India Company. When the tea-loaded ship Dartmouth docked in Boston, citizens dressed as Indians threw the tea into the harbor; an act known as the Boston Tea Party. “This destruction of Tea must have been so important Consequences,” John Adams wrote in his diary, “that cannot but consider it as an Epoch in History. ”
King George Ill was outraged, “Concessions have made matters worse! The time has come for compulsion” As a result, in 1 774, Parliament passed four Coercive Acts. They closed Boston Harbor to shipping; forbade town meetings; mandated a new Quartering Act; and ensured high-crime trails were to be transported to Britain. Lord North forced a marine barricade on colonial trade with overseas countries and prepared the military to restrain colonial dissent. “Now the case seems desperate,” said the prime minister, Parliament would not could not concede. For aught he could see it must come to violence. ”
On the night of April 19, 1 775, six hundred British troops were sent off to detain American militiamen and provisions in Boston. American militiamen meet the British head-on. These initial conflicts took the lives of several men, but as the English withdraw the American militia continually ambushed them. In the end, 74 Englishman died, 173 were wounded, and 27 could not be accounted for. The English killed 49 minutemen and injured 39. The Revolutionary War had begun. The causes for the American Revolution began with Britain’s efforts to reform their imperial system, which was in contrast with Britain’s previous logic of salutary neglect.
They transformed from a laissez fairer approach to governing, to a strict fiscal and administrative set of policies. This resulted in ever increasing conflict. But the British were at times conciliatory, as when the Sugar and Stamp Acts were repealed. They also repealed the Townsend Act. It was when the Patriots dumped the tea in the Boston Harbor that England responded with the very harsh terms of the Coercive Acts. At this point there was no turning back. These actions from both the colonies and the British brought on the Revolutionary War. America had legitimate concerns for agreeing with British policies.