Causes of the American Revolution

Justification of the Colonial Rebellion by Makenzie Novak

After the French and Indian War

During the French and Indian War, the British fought and protected the colonists. Britain fell into debt following the war, so they began to tax colonists. They passed many acts such as the Stamp Act, Tea Act, Townshend Act, and, later on, the Quartering Act. Tension grew between Britain and the colonies as Colonists began attacking tax collectors and committing acts of war. The colonists were justified in rebelling because they were being taxed while having no representation in Parliament and they felt threatened.

No Taxation Without Representation

Due to the British saving the colonists in the French and Indian War, Parliament believed the colonists should help to alleviate some of their debt. Parliament Passed the Sugar Act, which placed a small tax on Sugar. This angered many colonists. In response, Parliament repealed this Act, but a short time later they passed the Stamp act. The Stamp Act taxed all paper products. More colonists began to see Great Britain as not so great. Adam Sowards writes, "colonists all over North America mounted organized and concerted protests against the hated tax, with these protests usually taking the form of mob actions" (Sowards). Once again, Parliament repealed the Act, yet they passed another one called the Townshend Act. This Act called for taxation on some of Britain's most popular products. The website of the U.S Department of State claims, " Enraged colonists responded by encouraging a general boycott of British goods"("Parliamentary"). Amidst all of the chaos, colonists shared one common thought, "No taxation without representation."

A Little About Parliament and King George III

We know a little bit about the colonists' feelings and intentions, but what about the British? You may be wondering, who and what is Parliament? Parliament is the legislature, or law-making group, in the government of Britain, now known as the UK. Parliament was passing all the Acts that enraged the colonists because they believed it was the least the colonists could do in order to repay them for saving the colonists' lives. King George was viewed as a monster in the colonies, but he was actually somewhat of a nice guy. According to "American History," "As a ruler, George had a deep sense of moral duty and wanted a direct role in Great Britain's politics. In particular, he hoped to reestablish some of the royal rights and privileges that his predecessors had allowed to pass to the British Parliament" (George III). King George never meant any harm to the colonists, but once they started attacking and rebelling, he and Parliament had no choice but to declare war.

Why the Colonists were Getting Angry

One thing that began catching the attention of colonists all over was the Boston Massacre. The Boston Massacre was a fight that broke out between colonists and British soldiers. Colonists began throwing things at the soldiers, and, in self defense, the British fired. But many colonists did not see it this way. Paul Revere's depiction of the scene shows the British in formation firing upon helpless colonists. America's Library writes, "The event in Boston helped to unite the colonies against Britain. What started as a minor fight became a turning point in the beginnings of the American Revolution. The Boston Massacre helped spark the colonists' desire for American independence, while the dead rioters became martyrs for liberty" ("Boston Massacre"). Succeeding the massacre, the Boston Tea Party took place. The Boston Tea Party was the result of British taxes and the colonists boycotting tea. They disguised themselves as Native Americans and boarded the ships. "A mob descended upon the harbor, divided into three groups -- one for each of the ships -- and began opening crates and dumping tea into the sea" ("How the Boston Tea Party Worked"). In response to this, the British passed the Intolerable Acts, which blocked the harbor, prohibiting anyone from coming or going. It also put Thomas Gage in charge of the town and took away some rights of the Boston colonists. The colonies saw more of their freedom being taken from them and began to see Britain as the enemy. Lastly, the Quartering Act was passed, which stated that colonists had to house and feed the British. This was the last straw for most Patriots and sparked the mutual desire for freedom.
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Why It was Justified

Some people claim that colonists were behaving irrationally, but this is due to the fact that they simply felt threatened. The British Soldiers were on their streets, watching their every move, with guns nonetheless. They felt their freedom, that their ancestors had risked everything to attain, was at risk. Furthermore, they were being taxed without representation. It truly was unfair, and the British did not seem to be listening to the colonists yet making things worse. This is why it was okay for the colonists to resort to rebellion.

Works Cited

Sowards, Adam M. "American Revolution." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2015. Web. 3 Dec. 2015.


"George III." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2015. Web. 3 Dec. 2015.


Newman, Jason. "colonial government and politics." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2015. Web. 3 Dec. 2015.


"The Quartering Act of 1765 - History Is Fun." History Is Fun The Quartering Act of 1765

Comments. 26 Mar. 2015. Web. 16 Dec. 2015. <http://www.historyisfun.org/blog/quartering-act-of-1765/>.


"Parliamentary Taxation of Colonies, International Trade, and the American Revolution, 1763–1775 - 1750–1775 - Milestones - Office of the Historian." Parliamentary Taxation of Colonies, International Trade, and the American Revolution, 1763–1775 - 1750–1775 - Milestones - Office of the Historian. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.<https://history.state.gov/milestones/1750-1775/parliamentary-taxation>.


"Boston Massacre." Boston Massacre. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.<http://www.americaslibrary.gov/jb/revolut/jb_revolut_boston_1.html>.


"How the Boston Tea Party Worked." HowStuffWorks. 26 Feb. 2008. Web. 16 Dec. 2015. <http://history.howstuffworks.com/revolutionary-war/boston-tea-party1.htm>.