Great Britain in the American Revolution - History of Massachusetts Blog
When the French and Indian War finally ended in , no British subject on either the prospects of peaceful relations with the Indian tribes were not good. had been on the books for generations, but American colonists were notorious for From the British point of view, it was only right that American colonists should. Books & Media · For the Home · Fashion & Beauty · Stationery · Gift Ideas · Shop All > The European countries of Spain, France and Britain all had important interests in North America, By the mid-eighteenth century, the British North American colonies were well-established settlements, Further information and links. Buy American Colonies: The Settlement of North America to (Penguin History New Ed by Alan Taylor (ISBN: ) from Amazon's Book Store.
This time the American reaction was not peaceful. It all started when Parliament for the first time granted an exemption from the Navigation Acts. In an effort to assist the financially troubled British East India Company Parliament passed the Tea Act ofwhich allowed the company to ship tea directly to America. The grant of a major trading advantage to an already powerful competitor meant a potential financial loss for American importers and smugglers of tea. In December a small group of colonists responded by boarding three British ships in the Boston harbor and throwing overboard several hundred chests of tea owned by the East India Company Labaree, Stunned by the events in Boston, Parliament decided not to cave in to the colonists as it had before.
Among other things these so-called Coercive or Intolerable Acts closed the port of Boston, altered the charter of Massachusetts, and reintroduced the demand for colonial quartering of British troops. Once done Parliament then went on to pass the Quebec Act as a continuation of its policy of restricting the settlement of the West.
The First Continental Congress Many Americans viewed all of this as a blatant abuse of power by the British government. Once again a call went out for a colonial congress to sort out a response.
On September 5, delegates appointed by the colonies met in Philadelphia for the First Continental Congress. Drawing upon the successful manner in which previous acts had been overturned the first thing Congress did was to organize a comprehensive embargo of trade with Britain. It then conveyed to the British government a list of grievances that demanded the repeal of thirteen acts of Parliament. All of the acts listed had been passed after as the delegates had agreed not to question British policies made prior to the conclusion of the Seven Years War.
Despite all the problems it had created, the Tea Act was not on the list. The reason for this was that Congress decided not to protest British regulation of colonial trade under the Navigation Acts. In short, the delegates were saying to Parliament take us back to and all will be well.
The Second Continental Congress What happened then was a sequence of events that led to a significant increase in the degree of American resistance to British polices. Before the Congress adjourned in October the delegates voted to meet again in May of if Parliament did not meet their demands.
Confronted by the extent of the American demands the British government decided it was time to impose a military solution to the crisis. Boston was occupied by British troops. In April a military confrontation occurred at Lexington and Concord. Within a month the Second Continental Congress was convened.
- Ben Baack, Ohio State University
- Great Britain During the American Revolution:
- Great Britain Before the American Revolution:
Here the delegates decided to fundamentally change the nature of their resistance to British policies. Congress authorized a continental army and undertook the purchase of arms and munitions. To pay for all of this it established a continental currency.
With previous political efforts by the First Continental Congress to form an alliance with Canada having failed, the Second Continental Congress took the extraordinary step of instructing its new army to invade Canada.
In effect, these actions taken were those of an emerging nation-state. In October as American forces closed in on Quebec the King of England in a speech to Parliament declared that the colonists having formed their own government were now fighting for their independence.
It was to be only a matter of months before Congress formally declared it. Economic Incentives for Pursuing Independence: Taxation Given the nature of British colonial policies, scholars have long sought to evaluate the economic incentives the Americans had in pursuing independence. In this effort economic historians initially focused on the period following the Seven Years War up to the Revolution.
It turned out that making a case for the avoidance of British taxes as a major incentive for independence proved difficult.
The reason was that many of the taxes imposed were later repealed. The actual level of taxation appeared to be relatively modest. After all, the Americans soon after adopting the Constitution taxed themselves at far higher rates than the British had prior to the Revolution Perkins, Rather it seemed the incentive for independence might have been the avoidance of the British regulation of colonial trade.
Unlike some of the new British taxes, the Navigation Acts had remained intact throughout this period.
The Economics of the American Revolutionary War
Building upon the previous work of HarperThomas employed a counterfactual analysis to assess what would have happened to the American economy in the absence of the Navigation Acts. To do this he compared American trade under the Acts with that which would have occurred had America been independent following the Seven Years War. Thomas then estimated the loss of both consumer and produce surplus to the colonies as a result of shipping enumerated goods indirectly through England. These burdens were partially offset by his estimated value of the benefits of British protection and various bounties paid to the colonies.
The outcome of his analysis was that the Navigation Acts imposed a net burden of less than one percent of colonial per capita income. From this he concluded the Acts were an unlikely cause of the Revolution. A long series of subsequent works questioned various parts of his analysis but not his general conclusion Walton, The work of Thomas also appeared to be consistent with the observation that the First Continental Congress had not demanded in its list of grievances the repeal of either the Navigation Acts or the Sugar Act.
British Government in the Colonial Era
American Expectations about Future British Policy Did this mean then that the Americans had few if any economic incentives for independence? Upon further consideration economic historians realized that perhaps more important to the colonists were not the past and present burdens but rather the expected future burdens of continued membership in the British Empire. The Declaratory Act made it clear the British government had not given up what it viewed as its right to tax the colonists.
This was despite the fact that up to the Americans had employed a variety of protest measures including lobbying, petitions, boycotts, and violence.
The confluence of not having representation in Parliament while confronting an aggressive new British tax policy designed to raise their relatively low taxes may have made it reasonable for the Americans to expect a substantial increase in the level of taxation in the future Gunderson,Reid, Furthermore a recent study has argued that in not only did the future burdens of the Navigation Acts clearly exceed those of the past, but a substantial portion would have borne by those who played a major role in the Revolution Sawers, Seen in this light the economic incentive for independence would have been avoiding the potential future costs of remaining in the British Empire.
The Americans Undertake a Revolution British Military Advantages The American colonies had both strengths and weaknesses in terms of undertaking a revolution. The colonial population of well over two million was nearly one third of that in Britain McCusker and Menard, The growth in the colonial economy had generated a remarkably high level of per capita wealth and income Jones, Yet the hurdles confronting the Americans in achieving independence were indeed formidable.
The British military had an array of advantages.
Was the American Revolution Inevitable?
With virtual control of the Atlantic its navy could attack anywhere along the American coast at will and would have borne logistical support for the army without much interference. A large core of experienced officers commanded a highly disciplined and well-drilled army in the large-unit tactics of eighteenth century European warfare. By these measures the American military would have great difficulty in defeating the British. Its navy was small. The Continental Army had relatively few officers proficient in large-unit military tactics.
Lacking both the numbers and the discipline of its adversary the American army was unlikely to be able to meet the British army on equal terms on the battlefield Higginbotham, British Financial Advantages In addition, the British were in a better position than the Americans to finance a war. A tax system was in place that had provided substantial revenue during previous colonial wars. Also for a variety of reasons the government had acquired an exceptional capacity to generate debt to fund wartime expenses North and Weingast, For the Continental Congress the situation was much different.
After declaring independence Congress had set about defining the institutional relationship between it and the former colonies. The powers granted to Congress were established under the Articles of Confederation. Reflecting the political environment neither the power to tax nor the power to regulate commerce was given to Congress.
Having no tax system to generate revenue also made it very difficult to borrow money. According to the Articles the states were to make voluntary payments to Congress for its war efforts. Americans, British officials concluded, benefited from the protection afforded by the British army and the Royal Navy, and it would only be fair if they contributed to their own defence.
So in Grenville, acting as prime minister, proposed a far-reaching tax for Americans and Parliament adopted a Stamp Act in March of Under the terms of the Act, scheduled to take effect on 1 November, almost anything formally written or printed would have to be on special stamped paper for which a tax must be paid.
Among the items covered by the tax were wills, deeds, diplomas, almanacs, advertisements, bills, bonds, newspapers, playing cards and even dice. Anyone who was involved in any legal transactions, purchased a newspaper or pamphlet or accepted a government appointment would have to pay the tax.
In short, the Stamp Act would affect nearly all Americans. Grenville intended, with the full agreement of Parliament, that the Stamp Act should not only raise revenue, it should clearly demonstrate that the British government through Parliament exercised political sovereignty over the colonies. Unsurprisingly, Americans responded negatively to the Stamp Act, arguing that they had contributed to their own defence during the late war by providing manpower, money and supplies to the British war effort.
They argued that they already paid taxes which were raised locally - each colony had its own assembly which levied local taxes. Colonists in America felt that they discharged their obligations when they paid colonial taxes and they resented being compelled to pay taxes levied by a Parliament in which they were not represented.
Moreover, they contended, the distance between America and Britain precluded American representation in Parliament.
And so, in the spring and early summer ofmost of the colonial assemblies adopted resolutions condemning the Stamp Act. The government in London was unimpressed by the constitutional arguments made by the colonists or the petitions and resolutions adopted by their assemblies. If the Americans wanted to register their dissatisfaction with the Stamp Act, they would have to resort to less subtle means.
Its major town, Boston, had a long tradition of rioting and popular demonstrations to defend local interests and it was particularly hard hit by the downturn. The combination of economic hard times, an unpopular and unprecedented tax as well as a local tradition of violent resistance was potentially dangerous.
American opponents of the Act rendered it a dead letter by the autumn. On 14th August, an angry mob attacked the house of Andrew Oliver - the local man rumoured to be responsible for collecting the tax. Then on the 26th they damaged the houses of colonial officials and completely destroyed the home of the colony's Lieutenant Governor. The demonstrations spread throughout the colonies and, through threats, intimidation and violence, American opponents of the Act rendered it a dead letter by the autumn.
Commercial boycott Having nullified the proposed tax on the streets, American protestors wanted to secure the repeal on the offending legislation in Parliament. In October several colonies sent delegates to New York to attend a 'Stamp Act Congress' which proposed a commercial boycott as means to pressure Parliament to act. American opponents of the Stamp Act would refuse to purchase British goods in order to put commercial pressure on Parliament to repeal the act.
In MarchParliament acquiesced and repealed the Stamp Act. Great Britain was once a part of the powerful and expansive British Empire, which ruled numerous continents during the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries before it was eventually dismantled due to the lack of resources necessary to keep the vast empire intact.
Great Britain Before the American Revolution: The British Empire was one of the most extensive empires in world history and was a product of the European Age of Discovery in the late 15th century. The British Empire can be divided into two categories: Coat of Arms of Great Britain, During the first British Empire, the British began colonizing other countries due to the need for trade and raw materials. It established thirteen colonies in North America, as well as colonies in the Caribbean and India.
During the early to mids, Great Britain adopted the policy of Salutary Neglectin which it left the thirteen colonies alone to self-govern in the hopes that they would flourish and that Britain would reap the benefits in increased trade, tax revenue and profits.
Both countries had colonies in North America and were trying to expand those colonies into the Ohio River Valley, which they both claimed as their own. In order to protect this new land, Great Britain sent a large number of British troops to the newly conquered land to prevent the French colonists from revolting against the British.
This was expensive and required a lot of troops and resources. Great Britain During the American Revolution: The American Revolution began after Great Britain passed a series of new taxes designed to generate revenue from the colonies in These new taxes were highly unpopular and were met with a lot of resistance in the colonies in the form of protests and riots.