The is one of the key events that shaped the modernU.S. Although the available documents show that the revolutionstarted the mid of the eighteenth century, there are several eventsindicating that it began before the onset of the actual war. Thecolonists gained confidence to face the Great Britain after theIndian as well as the French war, which helped them realize that theyhad the capacity to counter any form of opposing threat (Linnekin598). They started seeing themselves as an independent entity fromthe Great Britain. This paper will provide a discussion of the keyeconomic, cultural, and social factors that contributed towards theoccurrence of the .
EconomicFactors that Caused the
Althoughthe onset of the has been attributed to manyfactors, economic concerns were paramount. The significance of theeconomic concerns is confirmed by the fact that colonists used thephrase “No taxation without representation” to oppose themeasures and legislations enacted by the British government. Themeasures and acts that generated economic concerns that motivated thecolonists to fight the British government are considered in thissection.
TheImpact of the Navigation Acts on Trade Opportunities
TheNavigation Acts were enacted in 1651 and 1663, and both of them wereformulated to protect the British investors while putting Americansat a disadvantage. The framers of these acts aimed to protect theEngland’s shipping industry, control trade, prevent smuggling, andgive the government a better opportunity to charge import tax(Mohanty 6). The acts stated that all good being imported intoEngland and the British colonies had to be transported using theEnglish vessels. It was easier for the colonial government to collecttaxes when all goods were shipped through vessels that were known andregistered in England. This was a strategy to exploit the Americantraders by collecting taxes that were used to develop England. Italso denied American merchants the opportunity to conduct trade withother countries since products (such as cotton and tobacco) thatcould not be manufactured in the mother nation were only supposed tobe transported to England or its colonies.
TheImpact of Sugar Act and the Stamp Act on Cost of Living
Thetwo legislations, unlike the Navigation Act that agitated themerchants, played a significant role towards the awakening of thecolonists. They had a direct impact on the economic progress andtrade opportunities. For example, the Sugar Act was enacted in 1764when colonists were experiencing an economic depression (Mohanty 3).The decision of the British government to impose taxes on colonistsreduced the profit margins of products (such as sugar, rum, andmolasses) whose market was already hit by the depression. The actalso empowered the warship owned by the British to contain smuggling,which affected the American merchants.
TheStamp Act, which was enacted in the year 1765, allowed the Britishgovernment to collect taxes directly from colonists. The act requireda wide range of products (including pamphlets, newspapers, decks usedwhen playing cards, and all official documents) to have a stump soldby the local administrators (Priest 876). The legislation increasedthe cost of living since the traders had to pass the burden of tax tocolonists. The direct economic impact that the two legislations hadon the lives of colonists spurred protests in major urban areas (suchBoston and Richmond) as colonists tried to pressure the colonialgovernment to withdraw the act. These protests are considered as partof the chain of activities that culminated in the AmericanRevolution.
TheImpact of the Townshend Acts on Disposable Income and Access to BasicItems
Theseacts provided the colonial government with a series of strategiesthat could help it raise taxes from colonists and transfer thefinancial burden of defense to Americans (Linnekin 607). Theserevenue generating strategies targeted goods (such as lead, tea,paper, and glass) that were consumed or used by the majority ofcolonists on a daily basis. The lack of fair representation inLondon, coupled with the fact that the Townshend Acts reduced theamount of disposable income resulted in the development of aperception that the gap between England and America had become toowide to be mended. This resulted in the outrage and rebellion thatcontributed towards the need for a revolution that could result inthe independence of the Americans.
Impactof the Tea Act on Fair Trade
Thecolonial government introduced the Tea Act in 1773, a few years afterrepealing the Navigation Act. The objective of formulating the TeaAct was to help the British East India Company that was going througha financial crisis (Bartkowski 303). The enactment of the act allowedthe company to export tea directly to America, which put the localtraders out of business. The colonists felt that the continuedprotection of the British-based company would destroy the Americaneconomy by reducing investment opportunities, employment, and marketfor the locally produced goods. The colonists reacted by organizingriots and throwing chests of tea into the sea. Instead of addressingthe complaints raised by colonists, the colonial government enactedseveral legislations (including the Boston Port Act and IntoleranceAct) in an attempt to force them to stop the violence (Bartkowski303). This reaction created a perception that the colonial governmentwas committed to continue supporting the British economy at theexpense of the American colonies, thus spurring riots that led to therevolution.
SocialFactors Leading the
Thelack of equal treatment
Thepolicies and legislations formulated by parliament in London favoredEngland while putting the colonist at a disadvantage. A largepercentage of the money collected through the provisions of the TeaAct and Stamp Acts was spent in England, which made the colonistsbelieve that they were being exploited (Mohanty 3). The aspect ofunequal treatment is confirmed by the fact that the colonists weretaxed, but they did not receive a fair representation in London. Thesentiments associated with unequal treatment motivated the coloniststo fight for independence by cutting ties with England.
Roleof the social class sentiments in the occurrence of the AmericanRevolution
Differentgroups forming the American colonies had different perceptions aboutthe presence of the British soldiers and the link between them andEngland. The American merchants had started accumulating wealth andmoving up the ranks in terms social class. They felt that thetaxation policies were foreign measures that affected their financialwell-being negatively. In addition, the American merchants were taxedfor similar businesses that the British companies were not charged(Mohanty 6). This made them feel that they were being treated as aninferior group. Therefore, withdrawal from the Great Britain wouldenhance their social position by helping them increase their wealth.The artisans felt that the acquisition of independence could givethem new opportunities to enhance their social standing. Enslavedpeople believed that the independence of America could give them thefreedom that they needed in order to advance their social position.
CulturalCauses of the
Althoughmost of the American colonists came from the Great Britain, a lot ofcultural transformation had taken place by the onset of therevolution. The British government created policies and legislationsthat forced the colonists to rely on goods that were produced inAmerica. However, tastes and preferences changed over time, whichcreated the need for Americans to produce goods that met their needs.In addition, the issue of individualism was more entrenched into theAmerican culture than in Britain (Bartkowski 309). Consequently,there was a great desire for the colonists to gain independence inorder to advance their cultural values.
Theoccurrence of the can be attributed to acombination of cultural, social, economic factors. However, policiesand legislations that demonstrate the economic oppression by theGreat Britain against the colonists were the major factors thatcontributed towards the revolution. Several legislations (includingthe Tea Act) were enacted to help the Great Britain collect morerevenues from colonies without increasing their representation inLondon. These legislations resulted in the development of aperception that the continued presence of the British military couldimpoverish, instead of helping the colonists prosper. In addition,the colonists felt that the government was not treating them equal tothe citizens of the Great Britain.
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Priest,C. “The Stamp Act and the political origins of American legal andeconomic institutions”. SouthernCalifornia Law Review88 (2015): 875-912. Print.