Reasons for the War of Independence and Colonial Victory Essay

Pages: 7 (2278 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: American History

¶ … War for Independence and colonial victory. Several items occurred at the right time in history to create the American Revolution. The colonists had several quarrels with Great Britain and how it was ruling the colonies, and they combined to create the perfect climate for revolution and change.

The Causes of the War

The Revolutionary War officially began on April 19, 1775, with the Battle of Lexington and Concord, but its roots drove far deeper into American history. When the colonists first came to the United States in the 1600s, they were colonists for the British crown, and they remained loyal to the British crown and government. However, after living in the New World for over 150 years, the people began to change. Many had left Britain because of religious persecution, and they developed new ideas and beliefs in their new homes. They began to draw apart from British traditions and beliefs, and began to create their own ideas about government, faith, and the economics of the colony.

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One of the initial causes of the dissatisfaction in the colony came after the French and Indian War ended in 1763. The colonists were assured they were safe from attack by the French, but Britain levied a tax on the colonies to help pay for its military defense. They fought alongside the British during the war, and they realized they could fight and win, something that helped change their attitude about war and needing the British for protection, which helped add to the growing call for revolution in the country as the British continued to attempt to control the colonies from afar.

TOPIC: Essay on Reasons for the War of Independence and Colonial Victory Assignment

The war taught them they could be independent, and as Britain attempted to control the colonies, the colonists began to resent their intrusion. In 1756, the British Parliament passed several laws that outlawed military volunteers forming militias for their defense or negotiating with Native Americans. They began to attempt to rein in the colonies from further advancement, and wanted to make them more dependent on the mother country, which many colonists resented and opposed.

In 1764, the British placed a tax on molasses and sugar, which merchants did not support, and further, Britain promised to strongly enforce the tax, something that had not occurred before with most of the levies Britain enforced on the colonies. The taxes were not much, but they were enough to gain the negative attention of most colonists. Even before this tariff, the Molasses Act of 1733 had placed a tariff on molasses, (which merchants used to make rum). The tariff banned the colonies from trading with anyone but Great Britain, and they had to pay a tax on all the sugar and molasses they imported from British islands in the Caribbean. The 1764 tax promised to be even more limiting to American merchants, and it was a source of anger and opposition.

After the French & Indian War, King George of England wanted to gain more control over the colonies, as well. King George created the Proclamation of 1763 which said the colonists could not move westward past the Appalachians. In 1764, they passed a law saying they could not print or use their own money. All of this angered the colonists, and created a real segment of the population that called out for change and revolution. The uproar over the taxes became a rallying cry throughout the colonies, and it lasted over ten years until the actual war began. The colonists were especially upset because the taxation benefited the British, and yet, no American sat on the Parliament, so they were taxed without representation. A history Web site notes, "The great question involved was the extent of the authority of the British Parliament over the English American colonies, which had no representative in that legislative body" (Editors). By 1768, several colonies were communicating with King George about their displeasure at the taxes and laws Parliament was creating, and as the British ignored these please, American sentiment turned more and more toward freedom.

Then, there was the Tea Act, which enraged Americans. Another author notes the Act was, "An Act to allow a Drawback of the Duties of Customs on the Exportation of Tea...' renewed the 3d. tea impost duty (first imposed by the Revenue Act of 1767) and aimed at ensuring a monopoly of tea sold in America by the British East India Company" (Ward 1). This led to the famous Boston Tea Party in 1773, where a group of Boston patriots dressed up like Indians and dumped a shipload of British tea into Boston Harbor in protest of the Act. It also led to increasing unrest and unhappiness throughout the colonies as Britain continued to demand more from the colonists.

By 1774, many colonies were preparing for war. The First Continental Congress had occurred, and many Americans felt war with Great Britain was inevitable. The editors continue, "Toward the close of 1774 the King issued a proclamation prohibiting the exportation, from Great Britain, of military supplies. As soon as the proclamation reached America, it created great agitation" (Editors). This was the final straw, and patriots throughout New England began to break into British forts and stations, stealing gunpowder and weapons, and this is ultimately what led to the altercation at Concord and Lexington that began the war.

Essentially, the war began over ongoing concerns about taxation and representation, but there was more to it than that. The colonists resented the iron hand that Britain wielded over the colonies. They wanted freedom, but they wanted to be free of laws they did not agree with and sanctions they could not condone. They wanted to be free to move across the country and settle it, negotiate their own treaties, choose who they wanted to engage in business and industry, and even to print their own money. The Revolution may have begun in the roots of taxation issues, and those issues smoldered for a decade, but other issues just fanned the flames, and ultimately led to the American Revolution. These issues were extremely important to the people, and it is important to note that they did attempt negotiation and protests with the British, in an attempt to work out the situation, but the British refused to negotiate. This directly led to the outbreak of war, so it can be said that in effect, Great Britain and her polices directly led to the Revolutionary War, so the government of the country could be seen as one of the causes, as well.

The Validity of the Colonists Beliefs

Were the colonists' beliefs valid? Yes, they were for the most part, because they represented real, concrete concerns that the British failed to recognize or acknowledge. The British Parliament put so many regulations and tariffs in place that the Americans had every right to feel angry and exploited. The fact that the British created laws that said who America could trade with, which affected their economy and their livelihoods, was outrageous considering that Americans did not even have a seat in Parliament. The British were creating legislation that affected the population, and yet, the population had no input or say in the outcomes. That still seems outrageous today, and it still would be a cause for dissatisfaction and revolution in most areas of the world.

The Revolution did not happen overnight, and the growing distrust of Great Britain and her methods did not happen overnight, either. The colonists had time to think about their actions, and Great Britain had many indications that there was growing unrest and anger in the colonies. They could have done something to appease the situation, but they continued to control the colonies forcefully, and they had a large part in creating the revolutionary spirit in the country.

The reasons the colonists' anger was valid is that they were adding to the British coffers, while Great Britain was not supporting the colony in any way, especially monetarily. All the taxes were flowing into Great Britain, but the money did not return to enhance the colonies. The colonies governed themselves, and they even had to pay the British Army sent to "protect" the colonies from attack. The editor notes, "When the Earl of Halifax proposed the payment of the salaries of colonial crown-officers directly from England, Grenville so strenuously opposed it that the dangerous experiment was postponed. The rapacity of crown-officers in America for place, money, and power was a chief cause of public discontent at all times" (Editors). Thus, the Americans were funding British businesses and the government, with nothing in return, and that would make just about anyone angry enough to revolt.

How American Forces Succeeded Against the British

The Americans won the war because they outwitted the British, they fought a "new style" of warfare that did not stand in a straight line and fire, and they knew the country better than the British did. Another author notes, "Ironically, the United States won its independence largely because its military and political power was… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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