War On America Essay, Research Paper
At the peak of Britain’s prominence, it was said that the sun never sets on British Empire. Any country that dared to challenge Britain would face the consequences. In 1775, the last of the great conflicts between the British and the French broke out. Although initially proving its superiority, one of the main facets of the British Empire was headed for a major transformation. That is why I think the presence of the British triumph over France opened the door to the American Revolution.
The magnitude of this war was on a scale that no man had ever seen before. There had never been a war of that size up until that time. The numbers of troops were larger than ever seen. The territory that was fought over was a broad expanse of territory that not only engulfed North America but also the world. Quarrels over the Ohio River Valley were the forerunning and immediate cause of the French and Indian war. The basic cause of the war was a period of more than one hundred years of rivalry. The strengths of Britain over France might have been thought to be overwhelming but they actually were not. Although the British resources of money and military men seemed endless, the British did not exactly have the flawless image. The French were outnumbered severely in population size, but the networks of forts that they had built up, as well as the small army that was already in place, did move the French to earlier easy victories. French troops received orders easily from a central government and little confusion for great efficiency. Many times, British orders were delayed or out dated by long travel across the Atlantic Ocean from Britain.
The lack of government contributed to some of the confusion during the French and Indian War. While the Albany Plan of Union was a promising plan, its disapproval by the colonists for being too strong quickly made an easy solution of some governmental problems virtually impossible. The Albany Plan of Union played an important role on American independence. This plan stated that the colonies should form a self-governing federation under British crown. Although no one at the time realized this, the plan later foreshadowed the later union of the American states. Many people of the time thought the French and Indian war would be completely be one sided. They were all proven wrong. The defeat of Washington at Fort Necessity showed the presumption that the British may have been starting to develop.
The belief of the colonists that as long as the redcoats were there they were safe was anything but true. The colonists welcomed the redcoats with open arms, but they soon realized that they were not as magnificent and trustworthy as they seemed to be. The colonists were disappointed because the redcoats fought a European type style of war.
The cost of the war in both men and dollars was great to England. About ten thousand British troops were needed for the defense of North America after the war, costing approximately thirty-five hundred thousand pounds. Although the war was fought on many fronts, a large portion of it was fought in America, and therefore the British government thought that the colonists should pay for their fair share of the cost. It was obvious that the colonists attempted to stall payments on what Britain considered long overdue taxes. The colonists also succeeded at costing the British Empire more than three hundred thousand pounds a year. The colonists resisted many changes, since they felt secure without the French to the north. Many colonists lost respect towards Britain because of their bad performances in battles throughout the war.
British thought that the best way to pay for their unpaid debts was to tax the colonists. Taxes were imposed both internally and externally to accumulate substantial amounts of money. The stamp act was passed for just those reasons. The stamp act was passed in1765. It marked the beginnings of colonial resistance to taxation. The tax included a payment on many legal items, such as marriage papers, loans, and playing cards, that would help pay off Britain’s debt. The dislikes of the taxes by the colonists continually elevated their intolerance of British rule. Many times, tax collectors were tarred and feathered. The ineffectiveness of these taxes force Britain to realize that the taxes were not paying off the debt. The taxes were later repealed by the British parliament. The significance of the stamp act in America is important. The constitutional principles and protest tactics established during the stamp act crisis led to the American Revolution. The reason why the colonists were protesting is because they were being taxed without their representation. They did not give Britain the power to do so, but Britain still taxed them. The colonists were tired of being taxed without their permission. This was one of the big reasons the colonists wanted to break away from England. The Townshend Acts were also passed. This was sponsored by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Charles Townshend. The Townshend Acts went in effect in 1765 and 1766. The Townshend Acts put import duties on goods such as lead, paints, glass, paper, and tea. Townshend also extended the rights of the officials in the colonies with the Writs of Assistance. This allowed the officials in the colonies to search and seizure under any circumstances. The officials did not even have to have search warrants. Townshend also transferred some of the cash flow to pay royal salaries, especially governors in America.
The actions of Townshend angered the colonists, and they were completely unresponsive towards the taxes. They “cheerfully ignored” the taxes. The Townshend Acts were eventually repealed because they were also ineffective. All of the taxes caused the colonists to be disgusted by Britain, but to Britain, it was completely justified. They thought they were just trying to recover from the war.
After the French and Indian War and the treaty of Paris, the Proclamation of1763 was one of the first documents issued to govern the colonies. This proclamation simply stated that no further settlement beyond the Appalachian Mountains was permitted. To the colonists, it was a direct blow to their confidence. The colonists interpreted the proclamation as putting an off limits sign on the Ohio River Valley which the whole war started over. The proclamation’s misinterpretation was a big key to the view of the colonists.
With some convincing, a colonist could be shown that since the French and Indian War, the acts, taxes, and proclamations have been directed to repress the colonial growth and extend a firmer grip over North America. The real purpose of the proclamation of 1763 was to temporarily solve the Indian problem. The Indian’s rights and property were being violated and the British government realized this and took action. They had just ended a costly war and they could not afford any more smaller confrontations three thousand miles from home. The effects of the proclamation were small but the implied meaning of them rippled its way through to the revolution. With Britain’s failure to clearly identify its intentions to the colonists, it simply began a chain of events that would leave to the American Revolution.