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10 Reasons for American Independence
5 months ago
Legacy of the French and Indian War (1763) (p.138) About 25,000 British troops were in the colonies by the time the French and Indian War had ended in 1763. Much to the annoyment of the colonists, 10,000 British troops remained behind even after the war had ended. The colonists saw this as an infringement of their freedoms and an aggressive act by the British. The presence of these troops would stress the relationship between the ruler and the ruled, eventually leading to an uprising years later.
British National Debt (1762-1764) (p.138-140) In 1763 the British national debt had already increased to about 133 million pounds compared to about 75 million pounds in 1756. About 60 percent of the budget was going to military funding, this meant that the British government started to raise taxes, first in England, but it would soon spill over to the colonies as well. The British taxes on the colonists were funding the troops that the colonists did not want in their cities in the first place, causing ten
The Stamp Act (1765) (p.141-143) In 1765, the Stamp Act was passed which taxed everything from court documents to newspapers. The British used the Stamp Act to make money but also exert power over the colonies. Parliament knew it would anger the colonists. These taxes only furthered the already crumbling British-Colonial relations and the Stamp Act even had to be modified later because of the immense public outrage.
Sons of Liberty (1765) (p.144-145) By 1765, major demonstrations began in opposition to the Stamp Act, the most outspoken leaders of these demonstrations being the Sons of Liberty. The Sons of Liberty even beheaded an effigy of collector Andrew Oliver. This violence in the demonstrations was met with violence by the British troops who began becoming far too trigger happy during protests. Violence by British troops lead to more demonstrations and the viscious cycle continued.
Boston Massacre (1770) (p.150-152) The demonstrations only got more violent and rowdy as time went on. Finally, in March of 1770, a small group of British soldiers opened fire on demonstrators. Five men were killed, one of them being Crispus Attacks, an escaped slave. The Radical Whigs took the incident and called it a "massacre," claiming the soldiers had planned it. British soldiers had finally killed colonists in broad daylight, some may argue this was the true beginning of the rebellion.
Boston Tea Party (1773) (p.153-154) In 1773, the Tea Act was passed, which made it cheaper to buy (taxed) East India Company tea than the smuggled Dutch tea as colonists had done since 1768. Radical Patriots claimed this was a bribery by Britain to pay the Tea Tax. Disguised as Mohawk Indians, Colonists infiltrated a ship and dumped all the East India Tea into the harbor. This was one of the first open acts of rebellion and gave revolution a jump start.
The Second Continental Congress (1774) (p.160-161) In May of 1775 Patriot leaders met in Philidelphia for the Second Continental Congress. Soon after the Congress opened 3,000 British troops attacked the American soldiers at Breed's Hill and Bunker Hill. In response, John Adams called for the Congress to create a continental army and suggested George Washington as a leader. After Congress agreed the creation of this army was the first move of the Americans in the War for Independence.
Lexington and Concord (1774) (p.157-160) On the night of April 18, 1775, about 3,500 British troops were sent to Concord to capture Patriot leaders and supplies. The local militiamen met the British at Lexington, and then later at Concord. Some died in the skirmished, but as the British retreated to Boston they were ambushed several times by militiamen. This was first open combat between the British and Colonists, and the Colonists were able to win, giving them hope as the war went on.
Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" (1776) (p.162-163) In 1776, the popular sentiment was up for grabs. Thomas Paine published "Common Sense," a pamphlet calling for independence and a republican form of government. Paine launched an all-out attack on traditional political order in his writing, and in language that appealed to the Colonists and their emotions. The writing by Thomas Paine may have been the turning point for many Colonists to back the revolution.
Declaration of Independence (1776) (p.165-166) On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed. Thomas Jefferson, a planter from Virginia, was responsible for writing most of it. He used powerful language to vilify King George III and back his argument that Independence is the best thing for all of the Colonists. Once the Declaration was signed, America was born, and the official War for Indepedance from Britain began.
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