The American Revolution Essay
The American Revolution was the war between the British Crown and American colonies, which led to the formation of the independent United States. The American Revolution was an attempt to rewrite the norms of a daily life and to break away from monarchial system that guided both personal and political behavior. The beginning of the American Revolution can be traced back to the 1763 when the British Government began to reassert control over its American colonies. During this period, the British government was fighting to protect its colonies from its French and Native enemies.
As a result, British Government Pursued policies of the kind embodied in the proclamation of the 1763 and the Quebec act that gave Quebec the right to many Indian lands claimed by the American colonists to ensure future domestic tranquility (Sidney 54). Besides the Quebec act, The British Government also began to institute new taxes and enforce old ones in order to pay for its wartime expenses.
Many colonists opposed the new policies implemented by the British government as they felt that the British government was taking away their right and powers. This paper seeks to discuss the key rights and powers that the American believed were being taken way by the British Crown. The paper will also provide the evidences the colonist had to support their beliefs.
The key rights and powers that Americans believed were being taken away by the British government
While reasserting control over its American colonies in 1763, British government came up with various policies. Many Americans felt that these policies were taking way their rights and powers. The key rights and powers that the Americans believed were being taken away include the rights and powers to own land, and the right to pay taxes.
The right and power to own land
When the British government came up with the proclamation of 1763, many colonists felt that the British government was violating their fundamental rights. In regards to the proclamation of the 1763, the British government forbade settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains in an attempt to secure peace with powerful Native Americans neighbors. However, Colonists reacted to this policy in different ways. In their views, the proclamation of 1763 was the first of many imperial insults.
Many colonists believed that the Britsh Crown was taking away their key rights and powers to own land. As a matter of fact, when the British Crown came up with the proclamation of 1763, many eastern and western farmers were frustrated. Colonists felt that such actions cut off opportunities for land speculators and western farmers, many of whom were already coveting or squatting on these lands. From the vantage point of the colonialists, the British government seemed to be sacrificing the ambitions of the colonialist in favor of the Indians.
The colonialist, therefore, felt that the Crown was taking away their right to possess lands and giving them to Indians. As a result, colonists responded to the proclamation of 1763 and other new policies of the British crown through the written word. Sidney (89) reveals that the colonists wrote petitions, public letters, broadsides, and sermons. According to Sidney (90), the colonist sang songs, wrote poetries, and otherwise voiced their displeasures with the British crown and their growing desire of independence. The struggles over lands predated the revolution by more than a century, and they shaped the participation of white settlers and Native Americans during the war.
The Burden Taxes
Besides, the proclamation of 1763, the colonists also disputed the new tax policies that the British government implemented. When the crown implemented the new taxes, Americans took to the streets to protest them, and for more than a decade, they signed petitions to claim their liberties as loyal English citizens. For instance, the colonial response to the stamp act and sugar act demonstrated the power of the masses.
Many Bostonians took to the street in august 1765 to protest the new tax on stamps used for legal documents. The angry protestors destroyed the personal property of the stamp distributor for the colony and then hanged and beheaded him in effigy. The outrage spread throughout the colonies, as indebted colonists were now facing greater fees after they were taken to court.
Colonists were expressing their dissatisfaction with the tax policies because they felt that the stamp act and the sugar act violated the rights of levying taxes conferred by charter solely upon the state legislature. Tandem to this, the colonist had no direct representation in the British parliament, thus, they felt that it was unfair for them to be subject taxation without representation (Sidney 130).
In fact, Americans believed that the new tax policies demonstrated that the British government was not acting precipitately. Colonists saw that the government had no intentions to subvert colonial liberties but merely to raise revenue in the most expeditious and least burdensome manner possible.
Colonist’s dissatisfaction with the new tax system could also be witnessed four months later after the Boston riot. Many frustrated colonists engaged in similar public protest in all of the other colonies. Protestors from Carolina also demonstrated their opposition to the tax policy as well as their solidarity with protestors from Boston.
Small farmers and herders in the colonial backcountry similarly voiced their frustrations through various act of civil unrest. Because of the protests, many stamp distributors resigned forcing the British Crown to repeal the tax act (Goldfield, et al. 80). This protest had apparently made the Colonists intention clear. Obviously, they believed that the Crown was taking away their legal rights by implementing new tax laws.
The general warrants
Besides the burden tax, the British Crown had also issued a general warrant that allowed the British to search homes and seize property without specific search warrants. Many colonists felt that the British government was violating their personal rights. Therefore, they decided to oppose this act by demonstrating on the streets.
Tandem to this, the quartering of the British troops in personal homes, without the consent of the owners, was also a source of dislike towards the British Crown. From these three perspectives, one can justify that the American Revolution was fundamentally conservative as many colonists were fighting to protect the rights and powers they had.
Conclusively, According to Sidney (234), the dispute was waged over the nature of the British constitution and the rights of subject; the goals of the colonist were to reform the British Empire, not to withdraw from it. In fact, the colonists did not see themselves as revolutionaries; they saw themselves as English citizens who were only defending their rights to own properties. Therefore, in response to British action, the colonist established a continental congress in 1774 to organize their resistance effort and coordinate their policies towards the crown (Goldfield, et al. 89).
Goldfield, David, et al. American Journey: A History of The United States. 2nd Ed. Vol. 2 Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Publishers, 2011. Print.
Sidney, Barclay. American Revolution. Charleston, SC: BiblioLife Publishers, 2009. Print.
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