What Lead to the American Revolution
The American Revolution is a major part of our history today. Without the revolution, we would not be where we are today. The reason our country is what it is today is because of the American Revolution. America is its own country because of the revolution. The first settlers came over here in the name of England, but years after, we were fighting against them to become a separate nation. But it all had to start somewhere. What lead up to the war? How did we get from settling here for England to fighting a war against them for our freedom? What lead up to the start of the Revolution in 1775?
There were many reasons that led up to the beginning of the war, but one of the main reasons was taxation without representation. The British government passed so many laws against the colonies, like the Sugar Act. The Sugar Act was put into place in April of 1764, and put a tax on imports coming into the colonies, they even restricted what all could be imported. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no rum or spirits for the produce or manufacture of any of the colonies or plantations in America, not in the possession or under the dominion of his Majesty, his heirs or successors, shall be imported or brought into any of the colonies or plantations in America. They put taxes on things such as sugar, and molasses , which at the time were staples in the American colonies. This made the colonist incredibly angry, and upset with the king. Anyone who tried to deliver rum, sugar, or any imports without a signed affidavit from the king would be arrested, and actually getting the signed affidavit took months. The colonists were in an uproar, and it’s understandable. Could you imagine the havoc it would create if our government put a tax on something like Internet or Wifi? With the Sugar Act, that us exactly what they were doing with the imports to the colonies. In the eyes of the British parliament it was an attempt to curb the illegal smuggling of sugar into the colonies, but to the American colonists it was a way to intrude on their successful businesses. Up until the Stamp Act was put in place, the colonies were exempted from the revenue taxation the British businesses had to undergo.
The next Act to be put in place was the Currency Act. Due to the Sugar Act, the American colonies were running short on currency to conduct trade with,and the colonies started printing their own currency to trade with. This unnerved the British merchant-creditors so the Parliament enacted the Currency Act. With this Act the British government assumed control of the colonial currency system and abolished all colonial made currency. no act, order, resolution, or vote of assembly, in any of his Majesty’s colonies or plantations in America, shall be made, for creating or issuing any paper bills, or bills of credit of any kind or denomination whatsoever, declaring such paper bills, or bills of credit, to be legal tender in payment of any bargains, contracts, debts, dues, or demands whatsoever; and every clause or provision which shall hereafter be inserted in any act, order, resolution, or vote of assembly, contrary to this act, shall be null and void. this act also fined any government official who tried to allow the newly banned currency to be printed. This caused an even bigger deficit in the trade between British tradesmen and the American businesses because the colonies were still running out of currency. The colonists were livid. It seemed like the British government was blocking their business at every turn, but to the British government they were protecting the tradesmen from a failing system.
After this, it was about a year before parliament enacted the Stamp Act. The Stamp Act put a tax on paper, and paper goods. They taxed ever piece of paper bought, and depending on what you wanted to use it for it ranged from two pence to ten shillings. Can you even imagine what it would be like to have to pay for each piece of paper individually, and depending on what you wanted it for, have to pay up to 12 dollars for a single sheet? This taxation against the colonies came from seemingly nowhere, and was unfair. And it is hereby further enacted, That if any person or persons shall be sued or prosecuted, either in Great Britain or America, for anything done in pursuance of this act, such person and persons shall and may plead the general issue, and give this act and the special manner in evidence; and if it shall appear so to have been done, the jury shall find for the defendant or defendants: and if the plaintiff or plaintiffs shall become non-suited, or discontinue his or their action. Anyone who did not follow this law would appear in a court, and would be fined. Anyone who wanted to appeal to the law, had to appear in court, and if they lost the appeal, they would have to pay the full costs of the law suit, and it was very rare that anyone actually won their appeal
Years later in 1773 came what is probably the most memorable acts that sparked the revolution, The Tea Act. This act put a tax on tea, which was a popular drink at the time. The colonists believed that having to pay the taxes on the tea violated their right as British citizens. upon application made to them by the said united company of merchants of England trading to the East Indies for that purpose, to grant a licence or licences to the said united company, to take out of their warehouses, without the same having been put up to sale, and to export to any of the British plantations in America, or to any parts beyond the seas, such quantity or quantities of tea as the said commissioners of his Majesty’s treasury, or any three or more of them, or the high treasurer for the time being, shall think proper and expedient, without incurring any penalty or forfeiture for so doing Actually being able to get the license, was time consuming and rare, so very few businesses actually had one. What makes this act one of the most memorable is the fact that it was the cause of The Boston Tea Party. On December 16. 1773, American patriots, disguised as Native Americans, threw 342 chests of tea into the Boston Harbor in protest of The Tea Act among other things. These chests belonged to the East India Trading company, who had a monopoly on all tea imported to the colonies, which is one of the other things the colonists were protesting.
Now taxation was not the only thing that cause the spark of revolution among the colonists. The British government also passes other acts around this time that helped fuel the flames. Such as the Quartering Act of 1765. several regulations are made and enacted for the better government of the army, and their observing strict discipline, and for providing quarters for the army, and carriages on marches and other necessary occasions, and inflicting penalties on offenders against the same act, and for many other good purposes therein mentioned; but the same may not be sufficient for the forces that may be employed in his Majesty’s dominions in America. Because of their suspicions that the American colonists were going to revolt, they created this act that made the colonists house and feed British troops, and if they refused they would be fined, or arrested. Many colonists argued that this act was illegal as it violated the Bill of Rights, written in 1689, which stated that the keeping of a standing army without the consent of Parliament was forbidden.
Then in 1774 Parliament created The Boston Port Act, as a punishment for The Boston Tea Party. And whereas, in the present condition of the said town and harbor, the commerce of his Majesty’s subjects cannot be safely carrie on there, nor the customs payable to his Majesty duly collected; and it is therefore expedient that the officers of his Majesty’s customs should be forthwith removed from the said town That from and after the first day of June, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four, it shall not be lawful for any person or persons whatsoever to lade put, or cause or procure to be laden or put, off or from any quay, wharf, or other place, within the said town of Boston, or in or upon any part of the shore of the bay, commonly called The Harbour of Boston into any ship, vessel, lighter, boat, or bottom, any goods, wares, or merchandise whatsoever, to be transported or carried into any other country, province, or place whatsoever, or into any other part of the said province of the Massachusetts Bay, in New England. This act essentially closed down Boston Harbor, in the hopes that the rest of the colonies would abandon Boston, leading Boston to acquiesce to Parliaments wishes and pay for the damages that occurred during the Boston Tea Party. This was the final straw for the colonists, and the American Revolution broke out a year later with the battles of Lexington And Concord.
The road up to the American Revolution was not a fast one, it took years and years, along with many unfair taxations and acts signed by Parliament and the British government before the colonists were ready to fight back. They faced harsh taxations on food, and paper, as well as the forced quartering of British troops, but without these things, America would not be the country it is today. There struggles and their adversities were not for nothing. As a country we are thankful for what they did for us, and we continue to recognize their fight for the country we live in today. The American Revolution is a huge part of the history of our country, and it will always remain that way .
- The Currency Act. Ushistory.org, Independence Hall Association, 4 July 1995, www.ushistory.org/declaration/related/currencyact
- Founding Era. Teaching American History, Ashland University , 2006, teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/the-tea-act/.
- Founding Era. Teaching American History, Ashland University , 2006, teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/the-sugar-act/.
- Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. Boston Tea Party. Encyclop?¦dia Britannica, Encyclop?¦dia Britannica, Inc., 14 Dec. 2017, www.britannica.com/event/Boston-Tea-Party.
- Founding Era. Teaching American History, Ashland University , 2006, teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/the-currency-act/.
- Founding Era. Teaching American History, Ashland University , 2006, teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/the-stamp-act/.
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- The Quartering Act | History of American Revolution. Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, www.bostonteapartyship.com/the-quartering-act
- Founding Era. Teaching American History, Ashland University , 2006, teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/boston-port-act/