The Political Basis of the American Revolution

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The political basis of the American Revolution relied on three major congresses formed prior and during the revolution. These congresses were the Stamp Act Congress, the First Continental Congress and the Second Continental Congress.

The main reason the colonists revolted against the British was in response to the Stamp Act. The Stamp Act was a tax stamp which appeared on every newspaper, legal document, on every customs and shipping document, and on other documents such as tavern licenses and college diplomas. The tax largely affected the middle and lower classes. The act was passed by Parliament on May 22, 1765, but was not going to go into effect until November 1st of that year. This time period of six months gave the colonists time to react to the act. The first colony to respond was Virginia and Patrick Henry came forth with many resolutions. Four proposals include:

“that by charter and by inheritance the colonists possessed, and had never yielded, the rights of Englishmen and that these included the right to be taxed only by representatives of their own choosing” (Lacy 95).

Afterwards Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and South Carolina joined Virginia in their own declarations of revolt against the British. Before the Stamp Act was to go into affect, Massachusetts called a congress “to consider of a general and united, dutiful, loyal, and humble Representation of their condition to His Majesty and the Parliament; and to implore Relief” (Lacy 96). Although Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina’s governors did not permit delegates to be chosen, delegates from nine other colonies attended. By “asserting their rights as Englishmen and fr...

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...ia began to stock weaponry and to form local militias. After the Battle of Concord on April 19, 1775, the Second Continental Congress met on May 2nd and proceeded to make plans to gain their independence from Great Britain.

Works Cited

- Alden, John R. A History of the American Revolution. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999.

- Lacy, Dan. The Meaning of the American Revolution. New York: New American Library, 1964.

- Leder, Lawrence H., ed. The Meaning of the American Revolution. Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1999.

- Robson, Eric. The American Revolution: In Its Political & Military Aspects. Toronto: W.W. Norton, 20066.

- Wahlke, John, ed. The Causes of the American Revolution. Lexington: D.C. Health, 2003.

- Webkin, Robert H. The American Revolution and The Politics of Liberty. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 2008.
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