Beginning in 1650, Great Britain started to control and restrict the colonists in America by forcing them to adhere to the Navigation Acts. Between 1650 and 1776, many more restrictions were placed on the colonists and they finally united and rebelled against their home country. Both physical and verbal assaults from America were directed towards the British. Parliamentary taxation, restriction of civil liberties, and the legacy of colonial political ideas all played an equal role in the incitement of the American Revolution.
Parliamentary taxation was a major factor prompting the American rebellion. In 1764, Great Britain placed a tax on sugar, molasses, silk, wine, coffee, and indigo in order to raise the tax revenue for the crown and pay back the debt of the Seven Years’ War. This Sugar Act enraged the Americans and they began to protest “no taxation without representation.” The first direct tax that the British set up was the Stamp Act in 1765, where they mandated the use of stamps in order to support the new military force. Everything printed in the colonies had to have a stamp including legal documents, playing cards, newspapers, and marriage licenses. As the colonists’ tempers rose, it only got worse when the British started the new Tea Act. This act states that the British East India Tea Company can sell their tea free of tax to the colonies, which forces the colonial merchants to pay. This also cuts colonial merchants out of the tea trade. The Americans’ main complaint to Britain was that they were being taxed but had no representation in Parliament. The Sugar Act, Stamp Act, and Tea Act were all parliamentary taxation placed on the colonists, which is one factor in their unity to rebel.
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Another factor that influenced the colonists to rebel is the restriction of their civil liberties. Every citizen is entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness but the British inhibited these natural rights. In 1795, the Quartering Act demanded that certain colonies provide food and quarters for British troops.
This act took away the colonists’ privacy and made the colonists feel resentment towards Prime Minister George Grenville. The Proclamation of 1763 prohibited the settlement in the area beyond the Appalachians. Although this law was not meant to oppress the colonists but instead compromise with the Indians, the colonists still felt limited. The Americans felt that the land west of the Appalachians was their birthright and they had earned it with their blood in the French and Indian War. A couple years before the American Revolution, the British began the Intolerable Acts as a response to the Boston Tea Party, a rebellion in which the colonists dumped 15,000 pounds of tea into the Boston Harbor. The Intolerable Acts included the Boston Port Act, where the British closed the Boston Harbor until all debt is paid back to Britain and order is restored. The Intolerable Acts also revoked the Massachusetts charter. The Quartering Act, Proclamation of 1763, and the Intolerable Acts all restricted the civil liberties of the American colonists.
Finally, the legacy of colonial political ideas lead to the American Revolution. Starting with the Townshend Acts in 1767, the British placed regulations on the import duty of glass, white lead, paper, paint, and tea. The new Townshend revenue now paid the salaries of the royal governor and judges in America, so now the colonists had no monetary control over the governor. In the Coercive Acts of 1774, the governor places restrictions on town meetings, allowed to transfer British soldiers to England to stand trial, and colonists have to house soldiers enforcing the act. Also, in 1774, the Quebec Acts anger the colonists so much that they unite and form the First Continental Congress. The Quebec Acts allow the king to appoint the governor council and Quebec received the territory of Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin. This prompted the Americans to join as a country and completely boycott all British goods. The Continental Congress was held in September of 1774 in Philadelphia, it was at this convention that twelve of the thirteen states agreed to fight against the British as a country.
In conclusion, many varying factors enraged the colonists to the point that they rebelled against Great Britain. The American Revolution was a result of parliamentary taxation, restriction of civil liberties, and legacy of colonial political ideas. These three factors played an equally significant role in the steps towards the separation of Great Britain and America in the American Revolution.
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