The Beginnings of the Revolution

Chapter Five
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six


As the dust settled and the cost of the war was reckoned with, a new perception formed in the motherland of the American Colonies. Britain’s King George III had a big problem after the French and Indian War. His government needed money. The War had been very costly. One solution was popular in his country: “Let’s make the colonies give us more money.”[1]

The general attitude of the King and the British Parliament was that their efforts in the French and Indian War had successfully protected the colonies from death and destruction and had even allowed them to expand their reaches, and therefore the colonists were indebted to England for the help they had rendered.  

The British government sent additional troops after the war to protect the new settlements, but also to keep the colonists from moving to far inland. The British government was concerned that if the colonists settled too far into the interior of the continent they might be less likely to export and import goods with Great Britain, because they would acquire new trading partners.

In 1764 the British Parliament under the leadership of Prime minister George Grenville passed the Sugar act which had an impact on the molasses which was used to make rum, the American’s largest export. This angered the industry.

The next year in 1765 Parliament passed the Stamp Act which was a tax on the Colony’s legal documents, newspapers and business documents. This new tax angered a large portion of the population who felt as though they had nothing to say about the whole situation.

The colonies had distinguished between the power to tax and the power to make laws. The latter they said, belonged to the Parliament for the whole empire, but the power to tax was the exclusive power of the local representative assembly in each part of the empire.[2] The American Colonies enforced this mentality by breaking off as much trade with Britain as possible.

This economic cramp placed the British government into a posture that eventually caused Parliament to repeal the Stamp act in March 1766. This combination of tax threats may have ended in the favor of the Colonies, but the need for money to support British governmental endeavors on the North American continent was not eliminated.

The tensions would continue to swell slowly over the next several years. Protests and riots would occasionally be displayed by the American patriots who were frustrated with the British politics that weighed in on their lifestyles. On the spring day of March 5, 1770 British soldiers in Boston leveled their arms at a crowd of citizens that they perceived to be a threat. Five Americans were mortally wounded. The event would earn the title we now know as the Boston Massacre.               

Three years later in December of 1773 a band of colonial patriots poorly disguised as Native American Indians boarded British ships that had landed at Boston, and dumped a large cargo of tea into the harbor’s water. It was as an act of rebellion against the taxes levied on them for that tea. These types of incidents, some more notable than others constantly eroded the relationship between King George III and his thirteen American colonies. 

By the early part of the 1770s there was an ever growing segment of the colonial population that had decided that if they were going to have to pay taxes to England they were going to have a say in it. This would not only mean that they would be represented in Parliament by their own people, but also that their acceptance in certain social circles by the British aristocracy would be guaranteed.

For those who truly understood the demographics and the geography involved in such political and social desires, it was not hard to understand how separation and independence as a result of the formation of a new nation was just a stone’s throw away. The real questions left to be answered were; “How best should this process take place?” and “Do we have the ability to endure until the end of such a process?”

The decade of the 1700s would mark World history with one major event. That event would give a chance for the ancient ideals of a republican government with democratic purposes and values to be tested once again by a little over two million people living in a somewhat unchartered geographical territory. It would showcase the forced division of a nation’s people by one of its own groups. This event and process would give rise to a lifestyle of self rule and freedom that was not yet being formally practiced by any nation known to the world at that time. The American Revolution would be an unparalleled event in World history that would give birth to the most powerful and technologically aggressive culture on the planet.              

[1] Isaacs, Sally Senzell  America in the Time of George Washington (Chicago, Illinois. Reed Educational & Professional Publishing. 1998) p.10

[2] Morgan, Edmund S.  The Stamp Act Crisis – Prologue to Revolution (Charlotte, North Carolina UNC Press, 1995) p.283

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