Why America Will Break From Britain (point Of View From Time Period) Essay, Research Paper
Part of Empire, an independent state, or many small states?
The history of American colonies and their present pattern of development mean that they are not simply overseas versions of England. For this reason it could be inferred that, in fifty years time they will no longer be a part of the British Empire. At the same time, their individual differences in economy and culture will make it difficult for the colonies to form a unified country on the American continent. Furthermore, the size of the American colonies themselves and their waterways and coastlines make it harder for them to be controlled by the British Empire
Each region of America is different from regions of England, as well as from other regions within America. The climate and the land of America ranges from warm, semi-tropical and fertile in the south to mainly cold and rocky in the north. Economically, north and south are very different, and quite independent of each other, capable of their own production, whether it be in crops, fisheries or a trading industry. The large expanses of land in the south make it possible for everyone to have land, but soon the ?possibility? of land and the implementation of a ?head right? (more land to those with more indentured servants) has resulted in an internalized class system in the south. The small number of people who own the land, have become a sort of ruling class or elite; having the most power in American political bodies. This ?feudal? society in which a small number of people own the land is reflective of that of England. The fertile lands of the south promote its agricultural status, which brings in a large percentage of all southern revenue. This is drastically different from the north, which because of a lack of fertile land has a mainly commercial and fishing-based economy. The natural harbors and great expanse of forestland work well together in the north. The timber from the forests has brought on a thriving shipbuilding industry, while the natural harbors make it easier to build up ports for trade. It is odd to see a land of such great size and ability as America controlled by a smaller entity, but the rate of expansion of American industries, population and landmass will make it harder for Great Britain to maintain control. This control by Great Britain is, in the American viewpoint, suppressing their growth.
Over the years since America has become more capable industrially as well as economically, Great Britain has set forth many laws or ?acts? putting limitations on just how far America can function on its own. The Navigation Acts implemented in the late 1650?s have put strong limitations on American trade and commerce. With these acts, goods are now to be shipped to and from the colonies on English or American ships by way of England. Certain goods such as tobacco, sugar, cotton and indigo can not even be sold outside of the British Empire. This frustrates the American colonies, for they can get a higher price for these items outside of the British Empire, and working as a disadvantage for the American economy. From the British viewpoint, the Navigation Acts helped the central economy and government of Great Britain by excluding trade in these raw materials with other countries. While this can be seen as a gain for Great Britain in that they can now control all American cash crops, for an American who is working to become richer, and more successful, this puts limitations on his opportunities and angers him. The Molasses Act is another example, further enraging Americans by placing a heavy duty on all sugar goods being imported from non-British islands in the Caribbean. Again, this serves to protect the English planters from French and Dutch competition, by providing England with total control over the price of all sugar goods bound for America. Unfortunately for Great Britain, this is serving to promote a smuggling industry throughout mainland America and especially in the northeast; it has also led to a new but steadily growing distillation industry. Yet another act that has put severe limitations on American industry is the Iron Act, which limits the growth of the American iron industry for the sole purpose of protecting the English iron industry. This is seen in the American eye as spiteful and very selfish because, if they are truly English citizens, why would parliament sacrifice their industry just for the sake of another within their ?own? country?
These matters of government taxation and trade regulations are the main reason for a developing American theory of political independence. Many of these laws are seen as harsh and unfair since the American colonies do not have actual representation but rather, ?virtual? representation in Parliament, thus not allowing them their rights as English citizens. This means different things to different colonies, all depending on their origin. For example, colonies like the Carolinas do not have a tough time complying with laws set forth by Great Britain. This is because they are still very loyal, having been begun by charters to eight noblemen. Georgia, on the other hand, although still in the south, has trouble with these laws because it was settled for reasons of economic oppression. The Puritan colonies of new England want nothing to do with Britain, as these colonists are in America as a result of religious persecution; they consider even fellow Americans not of their faith to be inferior. Other northern colonies such as New York and Rhode Island have little regard for Great Britain because of their foreign origins. New York, having been a former Dutch colony, was never really ?England oriented? until they were taken over. Rhode Island only became a colony after its founders were cast away from the Bay colony for having religious beliefs different to those of the puritan people. This colony would feel no disposition towards Great Britain (unlike the puritan colonies they originally came from) because they were so far removed from Great Britain, and had their attentions focused else where, like on promoting religious freedom.
The cultural differences between America and Great Britain and America?s quick expansion economically as well as geographically, make it hard for the two to function as a single entity. America?s expansion has been brought on the energy and industry of the colonists, by American tendency toward a meritocracy, where performance and production gain recognition, rather than family or title, and America?s steady population growth. Many laws or ?acts? passed by the English Parliament are viewed harshly in the American eye, as they serve to better the government and the economy of Great Britain, the mother country, at the expense of the American colonist. Although these differences help set the American colonies apart from Great Britain, they themselves are set apart from each other. The strong religious background of many of the northern colonies seem to segregate them from other areas, in that they don?t want to associate with the non-puritan ?heathens?, like the tolerating Rhode Islanders or New Yorkers. In the Carolinas as well as the Chesapeake, where the colonies were established by charters or English aristocratic rule, there is more tolerance for the English. All of these factors and others paint a clear picture of what could possibly be an American secession from Great Britain and a disunion of the American colonies themselves.