More than two million people lived in the new thirteen original American colonies during the mid-1700s. Some were born naturally in the New World, while others moved to America to create a new home. Many immigrants left Great Britain to come to America.
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People left for various reasons like religious persecution, war, disease, famine, and some just wanted a fresh start. Many less than fortunate people sold themselves as indentured servants to the wealthy and in return they would receive passage to America. Surviving in the New World meant learning new skills and occupations for many. This would prove to be a great deal of trouble for some.
America was full of opportunities. It was rich in resources and land. The more resources and land a country had the more power and wealth they had. Competition among countries for land was stiff. Tensions rose and in 1754, two of the biggest colonial powers, the French and British went to war. This war is known as the French and Indian War due to the many Native American allies that fought on France’s side. Britain won after fighting for seven years gained control of the land from Georgia to Maine and from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River. Gaining all this territory provided a safer place for British settlers; however, this new territory angered many settlers because it gave King George III the power to restrict their movement to the west.
There were various preliminary acts that dealt with beginning of the American Revolutionary War. The main cause of the American Revolution was the Royal Proclamation of 1763. After the French and Indian war was over many opportunities arose for the colonist such as moving to the western frontier. With the proclamation in effect, all the territory west and northwest of the river were not accessible to them. It also established the four new colonies of Quebec, East Florida, West Florida, and Grenada, but was mostly directed towards Native American territories. Parliament was aware of the colonists working with Native Americans. They created a border that extended from the Atlantic all the way to the new border. The British claimed the colonies should pay for it themselves because they provided defense.
Most colonists were considered British citizens due to Great Britain having control over many of the colonies. Their citizenship earned them protection under the British army and but also required them to declare loyalty to Britain’s king. However, being a British citizen on American soil was bittersweet, because their citizenship bound colonists to the laws and authority of England.
There were many causes for the American Revolutionary War (1775 1783.) The war was mostly a result of people growing angry about many different unfair and constricting taxes and laws forced upon the colonists. Colonists fought against these in several ways. Some individuals protested by joining rebel groups, like the Sons of Liberty that were responsible for the Boston Tea Party, while others used wrote about their dissatisfaction to achieve the same outcome. Both approaches inspired those in leadership positions to fight for America’s freedom from Britain.
The French and Indian War proved to be very costly for Britain, therefore, the government passed many special taxes that only applied to American colonists to help regain wealth. The first of many became known as The Sugar Act, approved by the English Parliament in 1764. It increased the taxes on many imported items such as sugar textiles, coffee, and wines.
Next one of the most hated taxes, the Stamp Act, was enacted. The requirement for the Stamp Act of 1765 was to obtain stamps so they could purchase a great deal of items. The most well-known item that the stamps were required for was tea. This also required Americans to pay large and special taxes on all print. The Stamp Act taxes varied from different things. The money was supposedly supposed to be used to assist in paying to guard the colonies.
The colonies erupted with anger after these different taxes were put in place. Taxation without representation in Parliament became a large issue that started the war. The colonies felt that Britain could not control colonies from the Atlantic Ocean. Many of the people did not want to pay taxes on the different British cargo that was being imported and exported daily. They felt that if regular English citizens were not required to pay a tax then they shouldn’t be required to either. Colonists never got to vote on any of Britain’s laws because they lacked representatives in Parliament. They refused to pay any special tax unless they got a say.
Parliament eventually repealed both acts after receiving such negative feedback. This did not mean they were done trying to suck as much money and resources out of the colonies as possible though. In 1765, the Quartering Act was approved. This tax obligated colonists to open their homes to British soldiers when needed. The following close contact with British soldiers did not produce good feelings among colonists.
Charles Townsend, Parliament’s leader, influenced them to pass even more laws for the new taxes. Thus, the Townsend Acts were also passed. These laws taxed various goods like paper, paint, glass, tea and lead. Outrage in the colonies escalated, eventually deciding to boycott British goods. Great Britain, angry with the boycott, sent 4,000 soldiers to Boston. Many innocent people were killed due to colonists being outnumbered three to one. Despite this massacre, Britain still repealed these acts to prevent further rebellion, or so they thought.
Despite the repeal on the Townsend Acts, the Parliament decided to keep the tax on tea. This was called the Tea Act. This made it so that the import and selling of tea was restricted to certain merchants and shop owners. By December 16th, numerous people in the Boston and surrounding areas had had enough and decided to hear Samuel Adams speak. Samuel Adams, the founder of the rebel group known as the Sons of Liberty, criticized the Governor for denying ships consent to leave with tea on board. The well-known Boston Tea Party was organized and planned. This resulted in the hijacking of three of the British East India trade ships which were then docked. 342 chests, about 90,000 pounds, of tea was dumped overboard into the Boston Harbor.
King George III, greatly angered by this, passed several harsh laws, called the Intolerable Acts, to put the colonists in their place. Boston Harbor was closed until the tea establishment was reimbursed for all the tea that was lost. This affected fishing and access to the ocean for the purpose of trade, which forced many citizens out of work. This also gave British soldiers the chance to take over the property belonging to many of the colonists. The colonies grew angrier and had built a strong desire to fight for the chance to be free from all of Britain’s unreasonable rules and laws.
By 1774, the people had become sick of it wanted to increase their efforts to the next level. Colonies from many areas began to communicate and share ideas about how to break away from Britain. This group became known as the First Continental Congress. This meeting was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania due to its location, halfway between the southern colonies and New England. Their combined efforts drafted a message to King George stating their fellow colonists’ complaints, called the Declaration of Rights and Grievances. Militias began forming for the battle that they were preparing to enter.
Word of these small armies reached Britain and on April 19, 1775 British soldiers marched to Lexington, Massachusetts. A colonial militia was waiting for the British. Quickly realizing they were outnumbered, the colonists regrouped. Forming a new country sounded extremely challenging, but they had to break free of Britain’s chains. Thus, the Second Continental Congress was held. It was decided to combine the small armies into a large Continental Army.
Many colonists remained concerned. Thomas Paine passed out pamphlets, called Common Sense, which was meant to convince colonists that the best thing for them to do was to break bonds with England. In July 1776, the Continental Congress sent the Declaration of Independence to King George. This act made them no longer British citizens, nor colonists, but Americans.
The Declaration of Independence is a vital document in American history. This document declared the people living in the United States to be independent and free. The authors of the document felt it was necessary to secure one’s God given or natural rights. It proclaimed that the thirteen American colonies were no longer under Britain’s rule. This document was signed on July 4, 1776, and this day came to be known as Independence Day. This was the birth of a new country, The United States of America. Soon a democratic government came to be, due. to the want for change. Governments were created to serve the people, and could only act with consent of the people, is a quote by Thomas Jefferson supporting democracy.
The preamble is one of the most important parts of the Declaration of Independence. The preamble depicts the rights of the people and it states, All men are created equal and have the God-given right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The second essential part of the Declaration of Independence is the proclamation of independence for the American colonist, addressing many of the reasons why America is breaking away from Britain.
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