Causes of the American Revolution
Sarah Ruthven 1763-1776
Navigation Act and Sugar Act
The Navigation Act was meant to put the theory of mercantilism into actual practice. The Act required that all of the raw materials and resources from the Colonies had to go ONLY to Britain. A companion to this Act was the Sugar Act, which put a tax on sugar products such as cane sugar, molasses, etc.
The Proclamation of 1763
The Proclamation of 1763 was put into place to stop the colonists from settling in the land that was won by Great Britain in the French and Indian war. This land stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River and included the Appalachian Mountains . King George III issued the proclamation to help stop the Indian attacks that would come if the colonist settled in these lands because these Indian attacks where costly to Great Britain. This Act is what sparked the tension between Great Britain and the colonies.
The Stamp Act
The Stamp Act placed a tax on all forms of paper, books, and even playing cards! The way they monitored this Act was by the use of a stamp that was issued by the King. The stamp would be placed on the paper to indicate that the tax was already collected. If no stamp was on the paper, it meant that the paper had been illegally smuggled into the colonies. Samuel Adams and the Committees of Correspondence contacted other colonies to discuss the taxes and try to figure out how to fight them.
The Quartering Act was put in to place to try to save the King money by forcing colonists to house, clothe, and feed the British soldiers and the colonists were responsible for the expense. The soldiers had a blank warrant and could search anyone's house at any time they wanted. This made it harder for colonist to smuggle paper that was not stamped and tea that was not taxed. This made the colonists even more angry.
British Parliament passed the Townshend Act in 1767 as a way to tax items such as paper, glass and tea. The Daughters of Liberty helped by boycotting British cloth and made there own cloth out of wool and other materials. After the Townshend Act was repealed they still continued to tax the colonists on tea, which later lead on to the Boston Tea Party.
On March 5, 1770 the tensions between the colonist and Britain came to a tipping point and a riot was started by a colonist arguing with a solider. Soon, more soldiers and colonist gathered and joined sides. Only five people were killed in the fight, but this event was exaggerated by the colonist who stated that many were killed and that the Red Coats were the villains and that they caused the massacre. John Adams later became the lawyer representing the soldiers in the incident in an attempt to prove that in America everyone gets right to a trial by jury.
The Tea Act and the Boston Tea Party
The Tea Act was another British law which placed a tax on tea. The Act gave the British East India Tea Company a monopoly on selling tea to the colonist. Even though the price of tea was lower the colonist merchants refused to unload the tea from the British ships or sell the tea to the colonist. The Boston Tea Party occurred when the Sons of Liberty got on board the ships and dumped the tea into the harbor.
The Coercive Act (Intolerable Acts)
British Parliament implemented The Coercive Act in response to the Boston Tea Party. It was meant to enforce the The Townshed Act, The Tea Act, the Sugar Act, and Quartered Act were in place. This only made the colonists want to fight more then they did in the beginning. The Act gave all control of the colony to Britain and stopped all trade between Boston and Britain.
The tension between the colonist and Great Britain started after the French and Indian war when Great Britain started to notice that the colonies were not following the Monarchy. Taxes started to rise and the colonist only got more and more angry. All of this in addition to the social causes and economical policies listed above would soon lead to the American Revolution. The colonist thought that all the taxes were too high and the British thought that the taxes were too low, disagreement finally snapped the string and the American Revolution began. I think the colonist were justified in declaring independence from Britain because the colonist deserved a better government than what Great Britain was giving them. They already had a government system that was working well and that the colonist mostly all liked. The colonies were also providing substantial resources to Great Britain and receiving very little in return.