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King George’s Taxes
The most fundamental reason for the American Revolution was the colonist’s outrage over taxation which led to a tax revolt launched by people who were tired of the burden of paying unfair taxes. The king placed taxes known as Townsend Acts, on the colonist’s tea, paper, paint, lead, glass, and many other items that were used daily and the colonists were against this taxing. The purpose of the Townsend Acts was to help pay the cost of government in America. Lawyer James Otis and other colonist rebels referred to King George as a tyrant. As stated by James Otis in The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved (1763), . . . “The very act of taxing exercised over those who are not represented appears to me to be depriving them of one of their most essential rights as freemen, and if continued seems to be in effect and entire
disfranchisement of every civil right.” James Otis’s point of view seemed to express concerns for the civil and constitutional rights and liberties of the colonists.
The problem for many American colonists was not that taxes were high (the taxes were actually quite low, particularly compared with those paid by ordinary citizens of Britain), but that the colonies were not consulted about the new taxes, as they had no representation in Parliament. The colonists did not have any voting rights with regards to the taxes and so in order to avoid having to pay the taxes imposed on them the colonist’s boycotted British goods. This eventually led to the Boston Tea Party and other boycotts.
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Britain were offered appropriate taxation, benefits of trial by jury, control over private homes as in where a soldier could not barge in to sleep and much more. The pamphleteer and journalist Thomas Paine published his widely influential pamphlet, Common Sense. Paine’s piece became a success in large part because Paine, fully acknowledging the constitutional context of the dispute between Britain and the colonies, crushed that perspective because he acknowledged that, as long as Americans remained within it, it would imprison them and prevent them from taking the final necessary step of ultimately concurring independence. Therefore, Paine destroyed the importance of the British constitutional system as a guarantor of liberty and as consistent with reason and human needs. He launched his enterprise with a withering attack on the pretensions of monarchy after the rejection of the Olive Branch Petition, the new focus of the Americans' sense of betrayal and wrath. Loyalty to the monarchy was not important to the Americans. By demolishing the monarchy, and exposing the British constitution as built on monarchy, Paine suggested that the Americans consider independence from the British monarchy. Additionally, by exploding the constitutional context, he also transformed the argument from being the sole province of those politicians learned in the law, customs, and usages of the British system to an argument in which all Americans could and should take part.
England Mercantilism Policy
The mercantilism policy gave more money and more power to Britain. Parliament enacted four types of mercantilist regulations. The first aimed at ending Dutch dominance
in England’s overseas trade. The second type of legislation pertained to trading. The third and fourth policy pertained to manufacturing products for the colonial market and subsidizing certain goods. Because of this policy, the colonists lost most of their hard-earned money to the king. The colonists sold their goods to Britain at low prices and bought back finished products at extremely high prices because it was products that could not be made by the colonists. Another part of mercantilism is that a nation must regulate its trade to sell more than it buys. This brought the Navigation Acts which said that anything that benefited the Empire and hurt other empires was good policy. These acts were to regulate trade for Britain’s own benefits and forced colonists to trade almost only with England. The colonist’s began to strongly feel that the king only cared about their money and not about them. And after decades of conflict between the British government and the colonists, the revolution began in order to declare the colonies independent from Britain.
The cause of the American Revolution stemmed primarily because of the disagreements between the English colonists, the British Parliament and its king, but the most significant cause was the king’s regulation over the economy of the colonies without consulting with the colonists and imposed unjustly taxes. Additionally, the colonists felt that they were not represented in the British parliament and that, ultimately led to a rebellion and the revolution.