Evaluate the relative importance of the following as factors prompting Americans to rebel in 1776:
Restriction of civil liberties
British Military Measures
The legacy of colonial religion and political ideas
The British colonies in America from the time they were established up until around 1763 had a policy of Salutary Neglect. Salutary Neglect meant that the British would not interfere with the colonies national or even international affairs. This benefitted the colonies, they got to experience some forms of democracy, and they also were able to experience independence in a way though they took it for granted. The British after the Seven Years War, which was fought on American soil, for the Americans protection, decided that the colonies should be required to pay for it in taxes. Britain was in debt, and their economy was in a recession, so the well off colonies tax money would have helped them considerably. The tax would only be the beginning to a long line of British policies further upsetting the colonial people.
Parliamentary taxes on the colonial peoples started with the Navigation Acts in 1660, but they were not an issue to the colonial people because they were too difficult to enforce. Then in 1764 the Stamp Act was passed, this was the first direct tax on the colonists. The Navigations Acts and the Sugar Acts of 1764, which was a tax placed on imported molasses and sugar, had not directly affected colonists, it affected the merchants. The merchants in hand would just raise prices. The stamp act was completely different. It said that any document or printed item would need to have a stamp placed on it purchased from the British government. The Stamp Act upset the colonist...
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...ited through their local governments though, because they wanted to stay colonies to Britain they still had no future plans for independence, the people believed that they would be able to either get representation in parliament or that the taxes on colonists would end.
The parliamentary taxes were primarily the main reason for colonial rebellion; the colonies if being taxed very simply wanted representation in parliament. The British military measures and restriction of civil liberties are next because they are really tied together. Without one there could not be the other, and then last comes the legacy of colonial religion and political ideas. The sudden end to salutary neglect would impact the colonists in ways that the British could not have imagined, and would eventually be a main cause for the American Revolution, and forming of a new independent nation.
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After the Seven Years Way England was broke for she had spent more money needed to win the war. Also winning the war gave the colonist a “we can do it spirit”. However because England now was facing debt she decided to tax the colonies. One the first acts passed was the sugar act passed in 1764. This Act was the raise revenue in American colonies. What it did was lowered the tax from six penses to three penses per gallon on foreign molasses. Molasses is a product made by refining sugarcane, grapes or sugar beets into sugar. This upset the colonist because before the sugar act they didn’t have to pay the tax so even if it was lowered that meant nothing for they now had to pay for it. A year later, in 1765, the Britain’s passed another act known as the Stamp Act. The Stamp Act put a tax on stamped paper, publications, playing cards, etc. Because it was on all paper products in a way it affected everyone; from the papers for the upper class such as lawyers, publications such as newspapers for the middle class, and playing cards for the lower class for entertainment. Next, the Townshend Act passed by Charles Townshend. This came in 1767, which imposed taxes on colonial tea, lead, paint, paper, and glass which just like the Stamp Act affected all of the classes in the colonist in the Americas. Though this act was removed three years later in 1770, it still left colonists with a warning that conditions may become worse. Around 1773, parliament passed the Intolerable Acts one of those acts which affected taxation was the Bost...
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The war had been enormously expensive, and the British government’s attempts to impose taxes on colonists to help cover these expenses resulted in chaos. English leaders, were not satisfied with the financial and military help they had received from the colonists during the war. In a desperate attempt to gain control over the colonies as well as the additional revenue to pay off the war debt, Britain began to force taxes on the colonies. Which resulted in The Stamp Act, passed by parliament and signed by the king in March 1765. The Stamp Act created an excise tax on legal documents, custom papers, newspapers, almanacs, college diplomas, playing cards, and even dice. Obviously the colonist resented the Stamp Act and the assumption that parliament could tax them whenever and however they could without their direct representation in parliament. Most colonials believed that taxation without their consent was a violation of their constitutional rights as Englishmen. Which is where the slogan “No Taxation without Representation” comes
The French-Indian War set Britain back a large amount in debt. Although the war was fought to protect the colonists and it is only just that Britain is reimbursed, their methods of regaining money were not. Up until the Stamp Act, taxes were only needed to regulate trade. The only reason for the imposed taxes were for raising money, an action which they did not have the authority to perform.(Document 2) Putting a tax on almost all daily purchases caused horrible living conditions. This unconstitutional act is justification enough to revolt. Britain and its Parliament has no rationalization in taxing and controlling all of the colonists’
The most important issue prompting Americans to rebel in 1776 is clearly parliamentary taxation. The first time a Parliamentary imposed tax threatened the livelihood of the colonies was in 1733 with the Molasses Act, stemmed from the loss of profit for the British West Indies under the Navigation Act. However, this act was avoidable and rarely paid. Following the long and harrowing French and Indian War, Britain was deep in debt and George Grenville was appointed British Chancellor. He was determined to pay off the debt by brutally taxing the colonies. He not only reinforced the ignored Navigation Acts, but he placed the new Sugar Act which was similar to the Molasses Act which put a tax on rum and molasses imported from West Indies, but this Act would be enforced. Needless to say, the colonists were not used to this intrusion of Parliament and felt that it was wrong because there were no members in Parliament to represent the colonies. They felt it was a direct violation of their civil liberties and the first whiff of resentment was beginning to spawn. Next was the Currency Act which disregarded the colonies paper money, forcing the colonist to pay in only silver and sending their economy into chaos. Perhaps the most important and controversial acts were the Stamps Acts that placed a tax on legal documents, almanacs, newspaper, pamphlets, playing cards and dice.
For a colony of the British government to rebel against the large, wealthy English country needed to take an extreme amount of resentment towards that group. The British themselves caused this resentment towards the English government. Act passes by the government caused this feeling; these acts began with the quartering acts of 1765. The quartering act of 1765 confirmed the colonist’s need for an independent, free nation because of subjugation of the colonists by the English government. This subjugation spurred a movement that ended in revolution.
Without colonial consent, the British started their bid to raise revenue with the Sugar Act of 1764 which increased duties colonists would have to pay on imports into America. When the Sugar Act failed, the Stamp Act of 1765 which required a stamp to be purchased with colonial products was enacted. This act angered the colonists to no limit and with these acts, the British Empire poked at the up to now very civil colonists. The passing of the oppressive Intolerable Acts that took away the colonists’ right to elected officials and Townshend Acts which taxed imports and allowed British troops without warrants to search colonist ships received a more aggravated response from the colonist that would end in a Revolution.
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.
Overall, the imperial policy of the British Empire urged the colonists into a state of total rebellion. The colonial economy, geography, and politics had all been subjected to unfair consequences. The acts that were passed served as a way for England to push the responsibility its debt and issues on the colonists. If the colonists’ grievances were appealed to, the colonists may have never rebelled against their mother country.
The British started to do direct taxation on the American colonies to pay off debt from the Seven Years’ War. This allowed the Parliament to earn money from the American colonies to pay off war debt and take control of trade, which profited the British. As for the colonists, this was found to be unreasonable due to the fact that the British were taxing the colonists because the British extra-curricular activities, such as the Seven Years’ War. This very much upset the colonists, but made the Parliament feel more at ease to gain money to pay off debt and make profit from colonial