America, with excellent economical bases and a strong government, is a place where golden opportunities are flowing everywhere in the air, and a country where everyone dreams to live. But the most important of all, America has offered a different life style, the life style where other countries do not provide. Not only that America has the freedom given to all persons, but also it is the only land that marks “all men are created equal”, an eminent phrase from the famous Declaration of Independence that our third US President Thomas Jefferson had written two-hundred-twenty-three years ago, which guarantees the equality and unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for all humans. Since the freedom and the equality, that avail in America, are what most humans have been searched for, therefore these advantages are also the reasons why so many people have desired to live on this land called America.
Nowadays, love of liberty is the predominant feeling of many people. It is of paramount importance that humans should fight for their liberty because “all men are created equal,” therefore all humans deserve freedom, liberty, and equality. That was what our forefathers did, they fought for their liberty and freedom against the “Red Coat” British soldiers. This was one of the most glorious and important wars in American history, the Revolutionary War. The American colonies declared their independence from Britain; and the very first time of working together, trying to achieve the same goal, the thirteen colonies, with France on their side aiding during the war, defeated British and received their freedom and liberty.
“The American Revolution is the central event in American history, it marks also the beginning of the distinctively modern period in world history.” Many historians declared that the Revolutionary War was an unavoidable war because there were a excessive amount of evidence to show the match of the war was going to light up by the frustrated, angry colonists no matter what. There are countless causes of the American Revolution, all most too many to choose from. But historians who were experts on the war came out with nine common causes which had motivated this glorious war: Navigation Acts, Sugar Act, Stamp Act, Townshend Revenue Acts, Boston Massacre, Tea Act, and Intolerable Acts.
According to Historian Charles M. Andrews, the beginning of mercantilism was the very first scene of the resentment. He stated, “The separation from the mother country began just as soon as the mercantile system of commercial control.” Andrews believed that colonists had the word independence in their mind way in the beginning as mercantilism started. Mercantilism, a belief in which the government sought to increase national wealth by discouraging imports and encouraging exports, led the English government to catch a device of passing acts called Navigation Acts when the government saw the colonies as a land of rich and wealth, therefore they wanted to prevent these profitable items and trades from leaking into the pockets of foreign rivals. These so-called Navigation Acts, historian Oliver M. Dickerson believed, “. . . confined the carrying trade between various parts of the British Empire to English ships, giving to them a complete legal monopoly . . . but it very greatly limited the trade of foreign vessels at English ports, and excluded them completely from colonial ports;” while historian Lawrence A. Harper pointed out another major intent of the Navigation Acts, “by means of the Navigation Acts England attempted both to keep foreign vessels out of the colonies and to enable English merchants to share in the more profitable parts of the trans-Atlantic trade,” The Navigation Acts surely provided the mother country England a promise of great wealth, but these acts also, not complete directly but intentionally, lit up the fire of hatred towards England.
As historian Dickerson mentioned, “when the laws were first enacted, there were protests from both Massachusetts, the chief shipowning province; and from Virginia, the chief tobacco colony. The laws threatened temporarily-increased freight rates to the Virginia tobacco planters . . . Massachusetts ultimately ratified the laws in 1674 when informed by emissaries from Charles II that obedience to them was expected;” and historian Harper had the idea that agreed with Dickerson, “the greatest element in the burden laid upon the colonies was not the taxes assessed. It consisted in the increased costs of shipment, trans-shipment, and middleman’s profits arising out of the requirement that England be used as an entrepot.” Such impact was strike on an insular land, Navigation Acts, according to what historian Harper believed, “. . . helped to create a fundamental economic unbalance, ” and very surprisingly “the colonists had lived under them for more than a century without desiring independence,”7 but the acts constructed an “ . . . agitation that was not directed toward revolution at first, but agitation by its very nature promotes conditions favourable for revolution-and revolution followed as a natural sequence.” Historians Charles M. Andrews, Oliver M. Dickerson and Lawrence M. Harper, each had a different point of view in terms of the first impetus of the Revolution, ended up with a common solution. All three of the historians believed that mercantilism in which that led to the event of passing the Navigation Acts had done a tremendous damage of the impressions that each one of the colonists had in their hearts toward their mother country England. Therefore, Navigation Acts was proven as one of the very first strokes of the American Revolution.
Generally speaking of George Grenville the first Lord of Treasury of Britain, as historian John C. Miller remarked, “was a man of business, stuff, opinionated, and dour, he enjoyed repute as a financier and . . . he considered himself as ‘a National saving of two Inches of Candle.’” It is easy to see that Grenville regarded himself as the only man who could save England after William Pitt had run through the treasury, but “the Gentle Shepherd,” as what Miller believed, took the wrong turning and never attained the promised land. Many Englishmen as well as Grenville saw that “the Americans took nothing from Britain which they could not do without.” Therefore Grenville, trying to put England’s finance in order and to find a way of paying off England’s war debt from the French and Indian War, directed through Parliament of enacting the Sugar Act, an act of imposing new duties on colonial imports of sugar, indigo, coffee, pimento, wine, and textiles, as Grenville stated his purpose of this act, for paying England in protecting its American possession. Historian Oliver M. Dickerson, standing on the very same ground with historian Miller, agreed that the Sugar Act was not appeared as a matter of protection for the colonies but it actually discussed as a taxation measure. Dickerson stated, “The Sugar Act was not only the first of the taxation measures, but it was the most burdensome of all.” The colonists did not welcomed Grenville’s actions, even threepence duty would drive their rum out of the market and the whole New England economy with it. Greville had thought that the Sugar Act, “ . . . dued by British standards the colonists were lightly taxed . . . the New England merchants were screaming, ‘See our poor starving! Our liberties expiring! Our trade declining.’” Even though this act was no where compare to the Stamp Act, but the Sugar Act, by enacting it, took a giant leap towards the issue of liberty and equality, and also started a little spark to the revolution.
Another lucid idea of why colonists had an excessive amount of hatred to their mother country was basically the enacting of the Stamp Act. This major tax measure, according to historian Oliver M. Dickerson, “ . . . was a part of the program to substitute a new plan of regulating colonial trade for revenue proposes and to use the proceeds to change the constitutional relations of the colonies to the home country.” The Stamp Act, called for taxes on every type of legal document and on newspapers, almanacs, playing cards, and dice. All of which had to bear a stamp, signified that the tax was paid. Grenville, thought himself as the savior of England’s financial crisis, was the target of victim in each and one of the very heart of the colonists. The colonists were stunned by Grenville’s actions and they believed that it was their rights of the English right not to be taxed except by their own elected representatives. While another historian, Wilbur H. Siebert, bringing along with the ideas of historian Dickerson, suspected that, “the most shocking aspect of Grenville’s measures was that they seemed to embody a new policy-a deliberate aim to disinherit the colonists by denying them the rights of the English.” The Stamp Act ran into intense colonial opposition, which was supported by the British merchants and manufacturers interested in the American trade. According to historian John C. Miller, “‘A Foreigner we could more cheerfully endure,’ exclaimed a Son of Liberty, ‘because he might be supposed not to feel our Distresses; but for one of our Fellow Slaves, who equally shares in our Pains, to rise up and beg the favor of inflicting them-is not that intolerable?’ While best friend refused to speak to them, the stamp masters found themselves the most hated men in America.” This was the kind of inspiration that colonists had. The Stamp Act was taking effect until a group of conspirators called the Sons of Liberty, resisting to the very last extremity, persuaded judges to try cases and customs officers to clear ships with unstamped bond and clearance papers, and these action were responsible to the nullification of the Stamp Act. Even though the repealing of the Stamp Act was done, but it intentionally gave the colonists a free lesson, if not, a review on John Locke’s political belief, a belief of overthrowing or altering a government that exceeded its authority.
No appointment could have been more welcome to Americans. In their eyes, William Pitt, after his assuming of the title of Lord Chatham, was the hero of the Stamp Act repeal. But under the shed light on the somber truth, Sons of Liberty were the people who had the extreme effect on the nullification of the Stamp Act. Without due respect from both loyalists in England and America, they suggested a more of a apt name for the Sons of Liberty, “Sons of Violence.” Many colonists thought, by the repealing of the Stamp Act, could stop and take a deep breath of the fresh air. Until this interesting man, or as what historian John C. Miller described him, “a man, who was the fair-haired boy of the House of Commons and became one of the flashiest politicians in England,” stood up in his quest of a colonial revenue. Charles Townshead, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, imposed taxes upon the colonies, and to him it was, “the most certain method of uniting Americans” as what historian Miller stated. Townshend advised that Parliament levy duties upon glass, lead, paint, paper, and tea. This was the infamous Townshend duties, or what some people may called, the Townshend Acts.
According to another historian Richard W. Van Alstyne, “Burke and Grenville both cast their votes against the act. Burke was in opposition because he relieved that the Townshend duties did not differ essentially from the Stamp Act and it would not be any different though the duties were called the external taxes. Grenville declared that the Townshend duties would do greater injury to British merchants and manufacturers than good to the British Exchequer: as taxes upon British commodities they were impolitic and uncommercial.” As historian Van Alstyne mentioned, the opposition of enacting the Townshend Acts was from the British government itself, and many members of Parliament wondered how the acts were passed. John C. Miller had clearly stated, “After the Townshend duties was passed, it had produced an explosion in the colonies that rocked the empire.” The colonists felt that England desired full on tyranny, and they expressed their contempt for them. Newspapers were printed to object the act. Radicals called for radical resistance and gave inflammatory speeches and publication. No real violence was occurred until March 5, 1770, when British soldiers fired into a mob, called Boston Massacre. By enacting the Townshend Act, the England government was gambling their chances and giving nutrient for the growth of colonial opposition. The historians, Miller and Van Alstyne, both agreed that “Charles Townshend carried the dispute between colonies and the mother country a long stride toward the impasse in which Americans were to find no alternative but to submit to the despotic control of Parliament or deny its jurisdiction altogether.”
While the enacting of the Townshend Acts can be describe as ringing the door bell of the entrance of independence; Lord North, the First Lord of the Treasury, repealed the Townshend duties except the duty on tea. The colonists, again, fell for the actions that North had done by taking him as “the savior of the colonies.” Finally Lord North, showing his evil horns, passed the Tea Act. The Tea Act lowered the prices of the tea in America. By doing so, he hoped that the colonists would step up their purchases and put the East India Company back on its feet. But Americans would still had to pay the tax imposed by the Townshend Act with a cheaper price on tea. According to historian Robert Middlekauff, “Lord North, it soon became apparent, had misjudged the colonists. By the Tea Act he lost whatever ground he had won in America by repealing the other Townshend duties. Merchant who had been importing tea themselves resented being shut out of the competitive market by a powerful, privileged company. Even the consumers, who would have benefited by the act, were hostile to it.” Lord North, who had enough troubles with Boston, drafted a series of unacceptable acts called the Intolerable Acts and Parliament passed those acts.
Intolerable Act, consisted four acts: the Boston Port Act, Massachusetts Government Act, Administration of Justice Act, and a new Quartering Act. According to historian Edmund S. Morgan, “The Boston Act closed down the ports to Boston until it paid its restitution for the tea in the Boston Tea Party. The Massachusetts Government Act altered the old constitution established by the charter of 1691. From that, only the king could elect the governors, the townmeeting could meet once a year and only by permission of the governor. The Administration of Justice Act gave the government officers, who were indicted for murder, the right to trial in England. A new Quartering Act authorized the quartering of troops in a town when desirable.” Another historian James H. Stark believed, “Intolerable Acts were the most powerful and yet the final acts on the colonies, the acts were to describe . . . as deeply and thoroughly to the context as it could be, . . . ‘intolerable.’” Looking into the historians’ point of views, they all agreed that the Intolerable Acts were the major, as well as the final impetus to the American Revolution.
The climax of the resentment between the mother country England and America was led to the glorious American Revolutionary War. The causes to the famous war, of course, were countless, but the general ideas of the separation were the ones indicated above, in which that many historians had the same grounds. Despite the fact that historians from different times of period, possibly, have some, if not, a little of interpretative differences in terms of their aspects toward the causes or the war, but the majority of the historians, as one believes, are trying to “hint” a common thesis to the question or problem. It can be seen as different seas and lakes, eventually, are going to end up into an ocean.
Therefore, with the same idea, historians, who wrote about the American Revolution, were hinting only one common cause to the war, taxation without representation. The colonists in America did not grumble about the idea of themselves being taxed by their mother country, because they felt the intention of aiding or assisting their mother country financially was correct. But the colonists later felt the unfairness because they had no representation in Parliament, in another words, they wanted to participate or have a say in the government since they were originated as the citizens of England. England, being a little too optimistic in terms of the relationship between the mother and child, failed to look at what the colonists had wanted, therefore, the excessive of disappointments from the mother country drove the American colonies toward the road of independence. As what historian Edmond Wright described the American Revolution,“Primarily, the American Revolution was a political and constitutional movement and only secondarily one that was either financial, commercial, or social. At bottom the fundamental issue was the political independence of the colonies, and in the last analysis the conflict lay between the British Parliament and the Colonial assemblies, each of which was probably more sensitive, self-conscious, and self-important than was the voting population that it represented. It was a political revolution.”Living under the taxation without representation, American colonists had been walking on a road to a political revolution. Therefore, the Revolutionary War could be concluded as an unavoidable war for all of its causalities.
- Esmond Wright, Causes and Consequences, Pg. 1
- Charles M. Andrews, Colonial Background, Pg. 86
- Oliver M. Dickerson, Navigation Acts, Pg. 8
- Lawrence A. Harper, Navigation Laws, Pg. 156
- Oliver M. Dickerson, Navigation Acts, Pg. 10
- Lawrence A. Harper, Navigation Laws, Pg. 157
- Lawrence A. Harper, Navigation Laws, Pg. 165
- Lawrence A. Harper, Navigation Laws, Pg. 161
- John C. Miller, Origins, Pg. 82
- John C. Miller, Origins, Pg. 83
- Oliver M. Dickerson, Navigation Acts, Pg. 185
- John C. Miller, Origins, Pg. 93
- Oliver M. Dickerson, Navigation Acts, Pg. 190
- Wilbur H, Siebert, Loyalists, Pg. 249
- John C. Miller, Origins, Pg.131
- Robert MiddleKauff, Glorious Cause, Pg.140
- John C. Miller, Origins, Pg. 241
- John C. Miller, Origins, Pg. 249
19.Richard W. Van Alstyne, History of England, Pg. 217
- John C. Miller, Origins, Pg. 250
- John C. Miller, Origins, Pg. 252
- Edmund S. Morgan, The Birth of the Republic, Pg. 226
- Robert Middlekauff, Glorious, Pg. 156
- Edmund S. Morgan, The Birth of the Republic, Pg. 229
- James H. Stark, The Loyalists of Massachusetts, Pg. 169
- Esmond Wright, Causes and Consequences, Pg. 78
- Andrews, Charles M. Colonial Background of the American Revolution. New Haven: Simon & Schuster, 1924.
- Dickerson, Oliver M. The Navigation Acts and the American Revolution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1951.
- Harper, Lawrence A. Navigation Laws and England. New York: Oxford University Press, 1939.
- Middlekauff, Robert. The Glorious Cause. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982.
- Miller, John C. Origins of the American Revolution. Kingsport: Kingsport Press, 1943.
6.Morgan, Edmund S. The Birth of the Republic. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1956.
- Stark, James H. The Loyalists of Massachusetts; and the other side of the American Revolution. Salem, Massachusetts: Salem Press, 1910.
- Wright, Esmond. Causes and Consequences of the American Revolution. Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1966.
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