America 3 Essay, Research Paper
America is the stereotype for countries wounded by salutary neglect and looking to set themselves free. All countries do not decide to become separate from their mother overnight, it is a long, drawn-out process that requires many actions and reactions, plus unity and nationalism. The American Colonies were strained to the limit before they became one to battle injustice. England had put forth too many acts and duties against it’s American colonies for them not to rebel. For example, the Stamp Act. The Stamp Act was introduced by the British prime minister George Grenville and passed by the British Parliament in 1765 as a means of raising revenue in the American colonies. The Stamp Act required all legal documents, licenses, commercial contracts, newspapers, pamphlets, and playing cards to carry a tax stamp. The act extended to the colonies the system of stamp duties then employed in Great Britain and was intended to raise money to defray the cost of maintaining the military defenses of the colonies. Passed without debate, it aroused widespread opposition among the colonists, who argued that because they were not represented in Parliament, they could not legally be taxed without their consent. Opposition culminated in the convening of the Stamp Act Congress to consider organized means of protesting against the tax, a joining of American forces for the good of the colonies. Colonial businessmen agreed to stop importing British goods until the act was repealed, and trade was substantially diminished. Refusal to use the stamps on business papers became common, and the courts would not enforce their use on legal documents. The Stamp Act helped enflame the fire burning in American bodies of independence. Richard Henry Lee wrote to Arthur Lee in 1774, (Document C) saying “The wicked violence of the Ministry is so clearly expressed, as to leave no doubt of their fatal determination to ruin both countries unless a powerful and timely check is interposed by the Body of People…all N. America is now most firmly united and as firmly resolved to defend their liberties ad infinitum against every power on Earth that may attempt to take them away.” Americans realized that England was stealing their rights, and they began to join together. It wasn’t an individual against England, it was the country against England. Salutary Neglect was the cause of all American problems. It was the precursor to all the troubles. Salutary Neglect was the negligence of England toward the colonies for reasons such as war or distance. Letting the America’s live one way for decades, then becoming strict on them, did not work for either the colonies or Britain. In 1754, a meeting in Albany, NY, of commissioners representing seven British colonies in North America to form a treaty with the Iroquois, chiefly because war with France, impended. A treaty was concluded, but the Native Americans of Pennsylvania were resentful of a land purchase made by that colony at Albany and allied themselves with the French in the ensuing French and Indian War. The meeting was notable as an example of cooperation among the colonies, but Benjamin Franklin’s Plan of Union (Document A) for the colonies, though voted upon favorably at Albany, was refused by the colonial legislatures (and by the crown) as demanding too great a surrender of their powers. This congress showed Americans could represent themselves and did not need to be virtually represented in parliament. Colonist despised virtual representation, as evident in document “B”. Edmund Burke writes “Govern America as you govern an English town which happens not to be represented in Parliament?” The colonies did not feel that they should be governed by a power that does not care about them. They cannot be governed without say in a government. Would England govern London without representation? No. Therefore, it is not fair for the American colonies. England once again is pushing America to revolt. Document E states, ” … the arms have been compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverance, employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen, rather than live like slaves.” This quote comes from the Continental Congress on July 6, 1775. It says that a revolution is needed, and it is England’s fault. The First Continental Congress met in Carpenters Hall, Philadelphia from Sept. 5 to Oct. 26, 1775. It was attended by 12 colonies. Georgia sent no people but agreed to support any plans made at the meeting. The leaders of the Congress included Samuel Adams, George Washington, Peyton Randolph, Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, John Jay, Joe Galloway, and John Dickinson. Peyton Randolph was elected president. The people sent a petition to King George, called the Declaration of Rights and Grievances, and invited the people of Canada to join with the King’s permission. In addition the congress called the colonies to boycott trade to England. The people discussed the acts that the British made. Some of the acts were the Stamp Act, Sugar Act, Restraining Act, and the Quartering Act. They decided to try and stop some of them by writing a letter to the king. The First Continental Congress was concerned about fair treatment more than independence. If it was necessary they would hold another Congress the next May. The First Continental Congress was important because it was a step closer to independence and the Revolutionary War. If the Congress had not met, independence might not have been won. When the First Continental Congress was over the people did not get a response from the king. Later a second Continental Congress was held. The Second Continental Congress got together after the war had started, in 1775, like had been threatened. John Adams told them to make an American Army. They put George Washington in charge. Even after the war had started the Second Continental Congress wanted to have peace with England. They still remained loyal to the king. They continued to ask to be treated like Englishmen, but the King again refused. Not all of colonial America was for independence. Some sections, such as the Tories, were against the revolution and desired to stay with their homeland of England. “…burst into rebellion against that parent, who protected them against the ravages of their enemies….And why was the sudden transition made, from obedience to rebellion, but to gratify the pride ambition and resentment of a few abandoned demagogues….” Peter Oliver, the composer of this letter, believes that over night, a decision for independence was made. Not that it was a drawn out process like it truly was. Just like what is said by Mather Byles in Document D, “They call me a brainless Tory; but tell me…which is better, to be ruled by one tyrant three thousand miles away, or by three thousand tyrants not a mile away.” Mr. Byles believes that the fathers of the revolution were simple tyrants looking only for self advancement, not the liberty supporting men they were. There were some colonist, not necessarily for independence, but for Americans. A group quickly breaking the mold of new countries. The American Colonies were not Englishmen. They were an amalgamation of the world, best stated by Hector St. John Crevecoeur in document “H”. “What then is the American, this new man?… He is an American, who leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced…Here individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men, whose labours and posterity will on day cause great changes in the world….” Maybe Hector really knew what he was talking about. The Americans were beginning the end of judging of their brothers and sisters from other countries. The colonies were becoming one. People were not French, English or Dutch, they were American. With all of the strikes England had against them, it was becoming more and more difficult for the American Colonies to be loyal to a country that only cares about themself. The Colonies were finally becoming able to support themsleves. If one colony fell, others would be there to pick them up. One blaring example of the Americans unity and readiness to become seperate is seen in Document G. When Boston was having problems, the colonies rallied around them with relief. Connecticut alone sent 2,600 bushels of grain, Massachusetts sent 258 sheep, NewJersey sent monitary aide, North Carolina sent provisions and 2000 pounds and South Carolina sent a shipload of rice. These are not the total contributions from the colonies, but some hightlights. England was nowhere to been seen when Boston was suffering. Just one in a long line of intolerable acts by Great Britain. The true Intolerable acts were just as harsh. The Intolerable Acts were a group of laws passed by Britain to penalize the American colony of Massachusetts. These laws were passed mostly as a retaliation for the resistance to the Stamp Act, resistance to quartering British troops, and the Boston Tea Party . Four laws were passed as a penalty: The Boston Port Act which closed the Boston port, as the name suggests. The Massachusetts Government Act removed Massachusetts’ legal rights, and banned town meetings. The Quartering Act forced colonists to house British soldiers. Finally, the Impartial Administration of Justice Act removed British soldiers from the American legal system, so they could not be punished for anything as long as they weren’t in Britain. The colonists coined these acts the “Intolerable Acts,” and many other colonies joined into the battle for freedom. The Americans were infuriated. There was not excuse for what England had done by 1775-1776. The Americans finally realized as a majority that they had to band together in order to survive. It was go time. Without some form of Army/unity, the American Colonies would be defeated in their fight against the Brits. America finally found what it had been looking for all along; Nationalism.