Paul Revere, Landing of the Troops, c. 1770. Courtesy American Antiquarian Society. Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAfavor 4.0 Internationwide (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.
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In the 1760s, Benjamin Rush, a native of Philadelphia, recounted a visit to Parliament. Upon seeing the king’s throne in the Housage of Lords, Rush said he “felt as if he walked on spiritual ground” with “emotions that I cannot define.”1 Throughout the eighteenth century, colonists had developed significant emotional ties through both the British monarchy and the British constitution. The British North American colonists had actually simply helped to win a people war and a lot of, favor Rush, had never before been even more proud to be British. And yet, in a small over a decade, those same colonists would certainly declare their self-reliance and break amethod from the British Empire. Seen from 1763, nothing would certainly have actually seemed as improbable as the American Revolution.
The Revolution developed institutions and also codified the language and concepts that still specify Americans’ image of themselves. Moreover, revolutionaries justified their brand-new country with radical brand-new ideals that adjusted the course of history and sparked an international “age of revolution.” But the Rdevelopment was as paradoxical as it was unpredictable. A radvancement combated in the name of liberty enabled slaextremely to persist. Resistance to central authority tied dispaprice swarms ever before closer together under brand-new federal governments. The rdevelopment developed political leaders eager to foster republican selflessness and also safeguard the public excellent yet likewise urged individual self-interemainder and also personal acquire. The “founding fathers” instigated and also combated a transformation to secure self-reliance from Britain, but they did not fight that rdevelopment to develop a “democracy.” To properly rebel against Britain, yet, required even more than a few dozen “founding fathers.” Typical colonists joined the fight, unleashing well-known pressures that shaped the Revolution itself, frequently in means not invited by elite leaders. But as soon as unleashed, these popular pressures ongoing to shape the brand-new nation and also indeed the remainder of Amerideserve to background.
II. The Origins of the Amerihave the right to Revolution
The American Rdevelopment had actually both long-term origins and also short-lived reasons. In this area, we will certainly look generally at some of the long-term political, intellectual, cultural, and also financial advances in the eighteenth century that set the context for the crisis of the 1760s and 1770s.
Between the Glorious Radvancement of 1688 and also the middle of the eighteenth century, Britain had greatly faicaused define the colonies’ connection to the empire and institute a meaningful routine of royal redevelop. Two factors contributed to these failures. First, Britain was at war from the War of the Spanish Succession at the start of the century with the Salso Years’ War in 1763. Constant war was politically consuming and economically expensive. Second, completing visions of empire divided British officials. Old Whigs and also their Tory supporters envisioned an authoritarian empire, based upon overcoming area and extracting sources. They sought to eliminate Britain’s prospering national debt by increasing taxes and cutting spending on the colonies. The radical (or patriot) Whigs based their royal vision on profession and also production instead of land also and also resources. They said that financial development, not increasing taxes, would certainly resolve the nationwide debt. Instead of an authoritarian empire, “patriot Whigs” suggested that the swarms should have equal status through the mom country. There were occasional attempts to reform the management of the swarms, however conflict between the two sides prevented systematic redevelop.2
Colonists emerged their own understanding of exactly how they fit into the empire. They experienced themselves as British topics “entitled to all the organic, important, natural, and also inseparable legal rights of our fellow subjects in Great-Britain.” The eighteenth century lugged considerable financial and demographic development in the swarms. This success, they thought, resulted partly from Britain’s hands-off approach to the colonies, an approach that has actually been dubbed salutary overlook. By midcentury, homesteaders thought that they hosted a one-of-a-kind place in the empire, which justified Britain’s hands-off policy. In 1764, James Otis Jr. created, “The homesteaders are entitbrought about as ample legal rights, liberties, and also privileges as the topics of the mommy country are, and in some respects to more.”3
In this exact same duration, the colonies occurred their own regional political institutions. Samuel Adams, in the Boston Gazette, described the colonies as each being a “sepaprice body politic” from Britain. Almany immediately upon each colony’s negotiation, they developed a colonial assembly. These assemblies assumed many of the exact same duties as the Commons exercised in Britain, including taxing inhabitants, managing the spfinishing of the colonies’ revenue, and also giving salaries to royal officials. In the early on 1700s, early american leaders unefficiently lobbied the British federal government to define their assemblies’ legal prerogatives, yet Britain was also inhabited via European wars. In the first half of the eighteenth century, imperial governors tasked by the Board of Trade attempted to limit the power of the assemblies, yet the assemblies’ power only prospered. Many kind of colonists pertained to watch their assemblies as having actually the exact same jurisdiction over them that Parliament exercised over those in England also. They understood British inaction as justifying their heritage of local governance. The Crvery own and Parliament, yet, disagreed.4
Political society in the nests additionally emerged in different ways than that of the mom nation. In both Britain and the swarms, land also was the essential to political participation, but bereason land also was more easily acquired in the nests, a greater propercentage of male homesteaders participated in national politics. Colonial political society drew impetus from the “country” party in Britain. These ideas—generally described as the ideology of republicanism—stressed the corrupting nature of power and the require for those involved in self-governing to be virtuous (i.e., placing the “public good” over their very own self-interest). Patriots would certainly should be ever vigilant against the increase of conspiracies, central manage, and also tyranny. Only a tiny fringe in Britain held these principles, but in the swarms, they were widely embraced.5
In the 1740s, 2 seemingly conflicting bodies of thought—the Knowledge and also the Great Awakening—started to incorporate in the colonies and also difficulty older concepts around authority. Perhaps no single thinker had actually a better impact on early american thinking than John Locke. In his Essay Worrying Person Understanding, Locke suggested that the mind was originally a tabula rasa (or blank slate) and also that people were developed mainly by their environment. The aristocracy then were well-off or effective bereason they had actually better access to wide range, education and learning, and patronage and also not bereason they were innately remarkable. Locke complied with this essay with Some Thoughts Concerning Education, which introduced radical new principles about the importance of education. Education would certainly develop rational humans qualified of reasoning for themselves and also questioning authority fairly than tacitly accepting heritage. These principles progressively involved have actually far-reaching results in the nests and also, later, the new nation.
At the exact same time that Locke’s concepts around expertise and education and learning spread in North America, the colonies additionally knowledgeable an unprecedented wave of evangelical Protestant revivalism. Between 1739 and also 1740, the Rev. George Whitefield, an enigmatic, itinerant preacher, traveled the colonies preaching Calvinist sermons to expensive crowds. Unfavor the rationalism of Locke, his sermons were designed to appeal to his listeners’ eactivities. Whitearea told his listeners that salvation might just be discovered by taking personal obligation for one’s very own unmediated relationship via God, a process that happened well-known as a “conversion” endure. He also said that the current Church hierarchies inhabited by “unconverted” ministers only stood as a barrier between the individual and God. In his wake, new traveling preachers picked up his message and many type of congregations split. Both Locke and Whitearea had actually empowered people to question authority and to take their resides right into their own hands.
In other methods, eighteenth-century homesteaders were becoming even more culturally similar to Brilots, a process regularly referred to as Anglicization. As colonial economic situations prospered, they conveniently ended up being a vital market for British manufacturing exports. Colonists through disposable income and also access to British markets attempted to mimic British culture. By the middle of the eighteenth century, middling-course homesteaders could additionally afford items formerly believed of as luxuries like British fashions, dining wares, and even more. The desire to purchase British items memelted via the desire to enjoy British liberties.6 These political, intellectual, social, and financial developments constructed tensions that rose to the surconfront as soon as, after the Salso Years’ War, Britain finally began to implement a regime of royal redevelop that conflicted via colonists’ understanding of the empire and also their area in it.III. The Causes of the Amerideserve to Revolution
Most automatically, the Amerideserve to Radvancement resulted directly from attempts to recreate the British Empire after the Seven Years’ War. The Salso Years’ War culminated almost a half century of battle in between Europe’s royal powers. It was truly a civilization battle, fought in between multiple realms on multiple continents. At its conclusion, the British Empire had actually never been bigger. Britain currently managed the North American continent east of the Mississippi River, including French Canada. It had actually also consolidated its manage over India. But the realities and also obligations of the postbattle empire were daunting. War (let alone victory) on such a range was costly. Britain doubled the national debt to 13.5 times its yearly revenue. Britain confronted considerable new expenses forced to secure and also protect its far-flung empire, specifically the western frontiers of the North Amerihave the right to swarms. These determinants led Britain in the 1760s to attempt to consolidate manage over its North Amerideserve to nests, which, in turn, caused resistance.
King George III took the crown in 1760 and brought Tories right into his federal government after three years of Whig dominion. They stood for an authoritarian vision of empire in which nests would be subordinate. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was Britain’s initially significant postbattle imperial action targeting The United States and Canada. The king forbade settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains in an effort to limit costly battles through Native Americans. Colonists, but, protested and also demanded access to the region for which they had actually fought alongside the British.
In 1764, Parliament passed 2 more recreates. The Sugar Act sshould combat widespcheck out smuggling of molasses in New England also by cutting the duty in fifty percent yet increasing enforcement. Also, smugglers would be tried by vice-admiralty courts and not juries. Parliament additionally passed the Currency Act, which limited swarms from creating paper money. Hard money, such as gold and also silver coins, was scarce in the colonies. The absence of money impeded the colonies’ significantly innovative transatlantic economic situations, yet it was specifically damaging in 1764 because a postbattle recession had actually already begun. Between the limitations of the Proclamation of 1763, the Currency Act, and the Sugar Act’s canceling of trials-by-jury for smugglers, some homesteaders started to are afraid a pattern of raised taxation and also restricted liberties.
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In March 1765, Parliament passed the Stamp Act. The act compelled that many kind of files be printed on paper that had been stamped to display the duty had been phelp, consisting of newsdocuments, pamphallows, diplomas, legal documents, and also playing cards. The Sugar Act of 1764 was an attempt to obtain merchants to pay an already existing duty, yet the Stamp Act produced a new, direct (or “internal”) taxation. Parliament had actually never before prior to directly taxed the colonists. Instead, nests contributed to the empire with the payment of instraight, “external” taxes, such as customs duties. In 1765, Daniel Dulany of Maryland also composed, “A ideal to impose an internal taxes on the nests, without their consent for the single purpose of revenue, is denied, a right to manage their profession without their consent out is, admitted.”7 Also, unchoose the Sugar Act, which primarily influenced sellers, the Stamp Act straight impacted numerous groups throughout colonial society, including printers, lawyers, college graduates, and also sailors that played cards. This led, in component, to broader, more renowned resistance.
Resistance to the Stamp Act took three develops, distinguimelted mostly by class: legislative resistance by elites, economic resistance by sellers, and also well-known protest by prevalent colonists. Colonial elites responded by passing reremedies in their assemblies. The a lot of well known of the anti-Stamp Act reremedies were the Virginia Resolves, passed by the House of Burgesses on May 30, 1765, which asserted that the colonists were entitresulted in “all the liberties, privileges, franchises, and also immunities . . . possessed by the human being of Great Britain.” When the Virginia Resolves were printed throughout the colonies, but, they often consisted of a few added, much more radical resolutions not passed by the Virginia Housage of Burgesses, the last of which asserted that only “the general assembly of this nest have actually any ideal or power to impose or lay any kind of taxation” and that anyone that argued in different ways “shall be considered an enemy to this his majesty’s colony.”8 These added items spcheck out throughout the swarms and helped radicalize succeeding responses in other colonial assemblies. These responses inevitably brought about the calling of the Stamp Act Congress in New York City in October 1765. Nine nests sent out delegates, that included Benjamin Franklin, John Dickinson, Thomas Hutchinboy, Philip Livingston, and James Otis.9