An opportunity for a group of devoted citizens to further the political and economic dominance of their mother country, Britain. According to my good friend, Merriam-Webster, a colonist is an “individual living in typically distant country or area under the full control of another country.” Although from a modern-day perspective the early colonists are referred to as “American,” these individuals were still British. As British citizens, the colonists were entitled to the protections defined under the Bill of Rights, but they were also bound by the obligations of their citizenship. Parliament taxed the American colonists only when absolutely necessary, provided the colonists with an ingrained trade market, and extended colonists a fair amount of local represent... ... middle of paper ... ...d a few personal possessions. However, the government did not follow through with these promises.
In 1650 the first of these laws was aimed at keeping trade between the colonies limited only to their mother country, England. The law restricted trade of such shippers as the Dutch, by stating all goods must be transported on English vessels to or from the colonies. This helped keep money within British control, but also increased both England’s and the colonies’ merchant marine. Further laws were passed, but none that imposed strict regulations on the colonies. In fact the colonies received advantages from the mercantile system of England.
Prior to gaining its independence, America endured various controlling methods brought on by the Crown that were focused on directly benefiting Britain, rather than Britain providing much-needed support and assistance to the colonists attempting to settle the new rugged land. While attempts to control every aspect of daily life in the colonies was nothing new, the most critical and obviously selfish move was The Stamp Act of 1775 (Tindall & Shi, 2010). This tax, proposed by Chief Minister of Britain, George Grenville, and enforced by King George III, was the first law or tax passed without allowing any voice or opportunity for repeal from the colonists. The Stamp Act was proposed by Grenville as part of his strategy to raise revenue not in the colonies through trade, but from the colonists through taxes (Tindall & Shi, 2010). Grenville rationalized to King George II that the colonists needed protection from Britain’s soldiers from the French and the Native Americans and so the colonists should be taxed for this protection, rather than increasing taxes in Britain (Tindall & Shi, 2010).
The settlers of the Chesapeake and New England colonies, were foreigners to the land, established two exceptional but contrary societies due to the diversity of English citizens. Chesapeake and New England colonies, although from the same English background, developed distinctions from the very start of the sixteenth century; their reasons for fleeing Europe, political standards, family life, religions and use of land. With King James I offering a charter for the Virginia Company of London, a joint stock company, to prompt a settlement in the New World, profit filled English men couldn’t refuse this gracious proposal. A promise of golden lands and a new passage route through America to the West Indies, the hearty men embarked on a journey which to their eyes seemed to be through the vast unknown. Arriving on the shores of Chesapeake Bay in 1606, soon they were attacked by Indians.
Mercantilism, a theory that encourages a society to export more than import, was promoted by economists. Military weaponry became a major product of this shift in focus. The private companies that supplied the government with these goods benefitted from the steady demand as the government saw improvements in quality and innovation, due to the competitive market. The European governments, at this time, began to provision most of the military supplies and services; this brought more consistency and better organization. As the British Parliament gained sovereign power in England because of The Glorious Revolution of 16881, the government controlled even more of the military, and the cost to the states increased to sustain it.
By the eve of the Revolution the patriotism has built up to such an extent, that the colonists believed America was self-sufficient enough to exist as independent unit from England. At first, America existed just as any of the other English colonies. England provided financial and military assistance, and in turn America shipped goods that were to be sold in England. This mercantilist system worked out at first, but soon, as the population increased people began to feel that many of England's trade policies and laws were unfair. They also expected to be represented in the English Parliament.
Because of salutary neglect, the colonists were able to create their own governments, create a capitalist economy, have more religious freedom and could improve their lives by working harder. These vital principles that are rooted in American society, were uniquely developed by the British colonies to some extent by 1754. The British colonies created a unique society because the government became more democratic and more representative. The colonies were more representative because there was a lot of land that was available to the colonists for their use. More land would equal to more voters which leads to a more representative government.
Firstly, Britain had started their Industrial Revolution which gave them a greater advantage in development in Europe in the late 18th century. With Industrialization taking place they needed a constant flow of raw materials at cheap prices. It can be said that Britain created a land of milk and honey which they could not maintain by themselves. They showed that there was a flaw in their economic planning when their raw material reserves were diminishing at a fast rate. To maintain the high standard of living they had set they had to ensure that there was a constant flow of raw materials.
Both of these “unexpected victories at Princeton and Trenton saved the cause of independence.” (152) It is very evident that after winning battles the Continental army and the Patriot’s moral was high and led to subsequent reinforcements and victories. Likewise, the Battle of Saratoga came as another surprising victory, but it did much more to raise the morale of the revolutionary promise. The victory over the British at the Battle of Saratoga gained the attention and support of the French. It is said that the “…American victory at Saratoga was strategically important because it convinced the French to sign two crucial treaties…” with the Patriots. This major victory brought about first and foremost morale for the Continental army to continue to fight, but it also brought the reinforcements of the French.
Mercantilism was by far one of the greatest sparks of the American Revolution. The British wanted to dominate the flux of imports and exports to and from the colonies, making it clear that they felt they wanted to control the economy of the colonies. To the British, the Americans were just tenants residing on their own land, meant for purposes to boost the British economy. To enhance the mercantilist system, the Parliament passed the Navigation Laws, which said all commerce flowing to and from the colonies could be transported only in British vessels. Future laws said that any European products headed for the colonies had to pass through Britain and its tariffs, which effectively gave the British middlemen a good amount of the profits.