American Revolution, Coursework Example

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Coursework

Most Americans look at the Revolutionary period almost entirely in terms of the thoughts and actions of the Americans, with Britain playing the role of the faceless enemy intent on oppressing America, forcing the freedom-loving colonists into rebellion despite their love for the mother country. However, in this image of the Revolution, very little attention is paid to the British perspective, not only what they did but why they did it.

Was Britain the Evil Empire, or just the Inept Empire?

The British Empire was no more or less evil compared to other empires. It is agreeable to say that it was just an inept Empire since it did both good and ban things. The empire helped improve roads, schools, trade, and spread technology in America in many of its several colonies.

Did England lose America because of a sinister plot to deprive the colonists of their rights, or because of mistakes made out of indifference and ignorance?

England lost America due to mistakes made out of ignorance and indifference. Even the relationship was intended to be mutual, England lost to America since both worked at cross-purposes as time progressed[1]. The British government ignored the Enlightenment leaders’ ideas.

What was the nature of the British government in the second half of the 18th century?

In the second half of the 18th century, the British government was more dictatorial with emphasis on fixed order, control of trade and economic development and attempted to curtail prerogative of the colonial legislature. This resulted into rebellion, which brought victory and independence of America.

How did this government function?

The British Government consists of the Sovereign, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons. The Commons has the dominant political power and controls the government. The Sovereign holds the responsibility of assenting to all Bills passed by Parliament. During this period, Americans had to pay for cost of the empire. The British government, under the rule of kings was least flexible in its administration. This government became brutal and ruthless whenever its interests were threatened[2]. The Empire did its best to cover up the wrongs they did by spreading of how what they did was for the greater good.

How did the different elements of government interact, and how did this interaction affect the workings of the government?

The Parliament and the Monarch had power struggles even though the government emerged as the leading force. The Commons has the dominant political power and therefore decides on most of Bills passed in Parliament. The Sovereign on the other hand assents to all Bills passed by parliament. This interaction makes it had to respond to emergencies since many parties have to consult before making any decision.

Despite the common perception of Britain as a prototype democracy, to what extent did democracy play a role in the function of the British government?

Democracy played a role in British government after parliament challenged to some degree and replaced the Monarchial rule[3]. Democracy culminated into Monarchy becoming a “ceremonial head”. The prime minister now heads the British government, and the responsibility of the monarch is to preside over traditional events and ceremonies.

Although the British government had permanent organizations and ministries, to what extent was this a “professional” government, and to what extent an “amateur” one?

The British government was a “professional” government owing to the fact that it had a structured form of government where each element had a definite role to play. On the other hand, the British government is an amateur concerning duty of the Queen who is required to assent to all Bills before being passed, even though this takes place on the advice of government ministers[4].

What background, training, or education in the affairs of government did those who ran it have?

The people in the governments during this time had no training or educational background in the affairs of the government. However, some had limited educational background to run the government. The monarch system was hereditary and the kings and queens had no educational backgrounds.

How did this affect the workings of that government?

The British government became oligarchy, with power vested in the hands of the rich merchants and rich landowners. The king lost control of the government due to lack of direct control resulting to loss of North American colonies.

What was the primary function of that government? (Hint – it wasn’t actually governing….)

The primary function of that government was to acquire wealth through trade and land-ownership. The kings spent most of their time in Germany, so the control of the government was left in the hands of the king’s ministers.

Americans tend to assume that American colonial affairs were the top, or at least a major priority for the British government in the period between the Seven Years War and the outbreak of the Revolution. Do you think this was true?

Yes.

Why or why not?

To make things simple, Australia had issues with Prussia because Prussia “stole” Silesia in the War of Australian Succession. The reason for the previous war was partly because the leader of Australia was a woman and perceived as weak. In the period between the two wars, Maria Theresa re-organized her army, formed an alliance with Russia and France, and decided to attack. Great Britain became an ally of Prussia[5]. By this time, France and Great Britain were not in good terms since they were competing for colonies in North America.

How knowledgeable were those who ran the British government about American affairs, and how did that knowledge, or lack of it, affect their judgment and decisions?

Those running the British government lacked knowledge about America affairs, which led to misjudgment of the Native Americans as the most loving, gentle, and faithful people.

If there was a lack of knowledge about American affairs, why then did those concerned not take advantage of the various colonial representatives or former colonial officials to remedy that lack?

Acquisition of land and trade preoccupied those concerned[6]. In addition, there was growing resistance from the Americans such that developing a mutual relationship with them in order to understand their affairs became hard.

How would you characterize the British government’s management of American affairs, before and during the Revolution?

British government management of American affairs was indeed a characterization of fear of disobedience and chaos culminating into establishment of an imperial system[7]. During the revolution period, the king’s policymakers adopted a policy of central planning and administration.

What factors controlled the perception of the colonies, and how they were run, and later, how the war was fought?

Economic, social, political and legal factors were the major forces controlling the perception of the colonies.

Do you feel there was a coherent overall strategy that was followed, or were the British “making it up as they went along”?

The British never had a coherent overall strategy in their overseas operations and policies became enacted as they deemed right.

Bottom line how was it that the British government, in little over a decade, managed to turn a group of enthusiastically loyal colonies into a rebellious independent new nation?

Introduction of stringent laws and unfavorable economic practices opened the eyes of the colonies making them to revolt[8].

How might history have developed if Parliament had given the colonies a greater role in their own government within the Empire and under the rule of Parliament?

The scenario could have been different. The colonies could have been more comfortable under the British rule a longer time. This system could have given the colonies more freedom making them less proactive to revolution.

Bibliography

Caruso, John Anthony. The Southern Frontier, Bobbs Merrill Co., 2003.

Churchill, Winston. Perversions of Justice: Indigenous Peoples and Anglo-American Law. City Lights Publishers, 2003.

Clyde, Frazier. Between Obedience and Revolution. Philosophy and Public Affairs 1.3 (2002): 315-334.

Rubertone, Patricia. “The history of archeology of Native Americans.” Annual Review of Anthropology 29.3 (2000): 425-446.

[1] Caruso, John Anthony. The Southern Frontier, Bobbs Merrill Co., 2003.

[2] Caruso, John Anthony. The Southern Frontier, Bobbs Merrill Co., 2003.

[3] Caruso, John Anthony. The Southern Frontier, Bobbs Merrill Co., 2003.

[4] Churchill, Winston. Perversions of Justice: Indigenous Peoples and Anglo-American Law. City Lights Publishers, 2003.

[5] Rubertone, Patricia. “The history of archeology of Native Americans.” Annual Review of Anthropology 29.3 (2000): 425-446.

[6] Caruso, John Anthony. The Southern Frontier, Bobbs Merrill Co., 2003.

[7] Clyde, Frazier. Between Obedience and Revolution. Philosophy and Public Affairs 1.3 (2002): 315-334.

[8] Rubertone, Patricia. “The history of archeology of Native Americans.” Annual Review of Anthropology 29.3 (2000): 425-446.

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