Examination of the American Revolution
The colonists living in America had enjoyed relative freedom from England since they arrived. They came to the New World, after all, to escape England, for whatever reasons they may have had—religious, economic, or social. So when England decided in the eighteenth century that they were going to crack down on the colonies, the announcement was not met with open arms. In fact, rebellion was inevitable.
Parliamentary taxation was a main source of the colonists’ anger. With the Sugar Act of 1764, they were forced to pay one-third of Britian’s French and Indian War costs. The Stamp Act was exorbitant for the colonists as well, but was met with much more hostility. They rebelled against these taxes because they were being taxed without representation in England; they felt the British had no right to tax their colonies when they themselves had no say in how they were ruled.
The civil liberties of the colonists were also restricted. The colonists were discouraged from buying foreign products and had restricted production as a result of mercantilism. In the hated Admiralty Courts, colonists were shipped back to England to be tried in a jury-less courtroom, assumed guilty until proven innocent. The British took advantage of the colonists, as became apparent with the Quartering Act: people in America would be forced to house and feed British soldiers any time they demanded it. This limited the colonists’ freedom and only spread more anger and defiance throughout the colonies.
The British military was unpopular in the colonies for many reasons other than the Quartering Act. In the Boston Massacre of 1770, British soldiers shot into a mob of revolting colonists and killed about twenty men. News of this horrific act reached the different colonies and spread the notorious reputation of the cold and murderous British.
The colonists weren’t just rebellious children throwing things in their parent’s face; they did try to reason with England. With the formation of the First Continental Congress, they attempted to settle their colonial grievances on their own, without England’s help. And when they sent the Declaratory Act to England to ask for reasonable rights, such as more hospitals and schools, King George III refused to recognize the document. This only fueled the colonists’ fire of growing resistance.
In 1775, colonial militia met the British troops at Concord and Lexington, and after the shot heard round the world was fired, a battle ensued that left many dead or injured. These battles began the American Revolution, when the colonists finally took their stand. They were rebelling against the controlling British and for a country of their own, with individual rights and representation.
After the battles, George Washington was appointed commander of the army, and a year later, Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence. This document was not the end of the war, but rather the beginning of the end.
England fought the colonies for nearly seven more years. Finally, in 1783, the Treaty of Paris was finally signed after peace negotiations that took two years. They had finally gained their independence.
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