American Revolution Essay, Research Paper
The Political and Economical
Causes of the American Revolution
The revolution began after many years of unrest between England and the American colonies. England s taxes, tariffs and new acts, imposed greatly upon the new American people. Large tariffs were placed on non British imports. British goods were more expensive, but they did not carry the high taxes that were imposed on foreign goods so they seemed economical. However British goods were of a lower quality than the foreign goods which made them difficult to sell. Unfortunately the American people depended on England and other nations for all modern commodities because they had not yet set up factories to manufacture their own. The English took advantage of this fact in every way possible. It was their thirst for political power and domination over the American economy that sealed their fate.
England passed many acts to entice the Americans into buying their goods. One of the first to be passed was the Molasses Act of 1733. This act stated that molasses coming from the French or Dutch sugar islands was to have on it a six pence tariff per gallon. Instead of encouraging people to buy British molasses this act bred dishonesty. Merchants, who distilled the molasses to make rum, claimed that the British suppliers could not meet their needs. The merchants then began bribing the customs agents to wave the tariffs. Many agents pocketed extra money that way. A man by the name of Grenville observed this and created an act, The Revenue Act, which was successful with Parliament. This act stated that the tax on molasses would decrease to a mere three pence tariff per gallon of molasses. After the instatement of this act Grenville put an end to the bribes.
The next act was the Currency Act of 1764. This act stopped the colonies from manufacturing their own money for trade with the British. This act was followed by the Quartering Act of 1765. The Quartering Act forced colonies to provide troupes stationed in their area with housing accommodations. This imposed greatly on the people, soldiers stayed for months and with an extra mouth to feed and little financial aid times became rough. The Stamp Act, passed in 1765 was one of the “straws that broke the camels back”. This act required that such documents as college diplomas, dice, legal documents, customs papers, playing cards, almanacs, and newspapers had to have a special government stamp that showed that they had been properly taxed.
The acts were only the beginning of the ever rising political tensions. After the British attained the French and Spanish lands in the Americas they decided to tighten their grip on the colonies.. Because the colonies were no longer threatened by the French and Spanish colonies they no longer needed British military protection. This made the British uneasy. They felt they could not afford to leave the colonies alone. They watched the colonies much more intently and kept strict control of them. They made the existing laws more exacting and they made numerous attempts to further tax the colonies.
The Townshed Acts infuriated the people. The Acts included more taxes and new rules concerning imports and exports. One of the final acts passed was the Tea Act of 1773. Under this act the citizens could only buy tea from the East India Company s agents. This was an effort to save the prestigious company. It greatly upset people because it took away business from the traveling trade merchants. The Tea Act of 1773 prompted the Boston Tea Party. In the Boston Tea Party a group of men dressed as Indians and stormed a cargo ship loaded with Tea. The ship was docked just off Griffin s Wharf. The men threw 90,000 pounds of tea, worth 10,000 sterling pounds in to the Boston Harbor. This sent the message to the British that the Americans wanted their independence. In response the British imposed new laws and taxes. They greatly feared American conspiracy. Finally on March 5, 1770 a crowd gathered to disturb the ten guards at the customs house. The guards began firing. At the end of the night 11 people were shot 5 died. The press hyperbolically called it the Boston Massacre to further encourage an abhorrence of the British in the hearts of the Americans. It was a success.
As was proved by the previous examples the British sealed their own fate by attempting to control the newly founded colonies that were obviously bent on independence. The new Americans were fed up with the taxes and the tariffs, but mostly they were fed up with British imposition. The British persistence led to a revolution that was luckily won by the colonies. This was only the beginning of a long journey made by a great nation.