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Struggle for Princple or Against the Power of Abuse, Term Paper Example

Pages: 6

Words: 1643

Term Paper

When the average American considers the cause of the American Revolution, they often consider the country’s history of European immigration. The famous story says that Puritans and other religious groups fled their respective countries in order to achieve freedom in a new land. However, this settlement was not without struggle. While it seemed to be a happy beginning for the settlers, American colonists soon had to determine how to live under the rule of their former governments, but in a new land. Representatives of European governments, of which England , Spain, and France were primarily involved, quickly settled the “new world”. American colonists were now forced to live under the rules and regulations that they intended to escape. Furthermore, they were treated unfairly. While it is likely that both of these factors contributed to the onset of the American Revolution, it is valuable to consider that the revolution began primarily as a struggle against the power that the European government still had over the colonists. Because their rights were stripped from them as a consequence of their desire for autonomy, the French and English governments imposed harsh restrictions against the colonists in order to keep this new land under their control1. However, what started as a well-intended plan came to be a failure for the European Monarchs.

Following the completion of the French and Indian War, France removed its hold on all of its North American territories, while the English ruler, King George III, took the war as a sign that he would need to strengthen control over his colonies, otherwise they may rebel2. Therefore, one of the first regulations imposed against the colonists was the proclamation of 1763, in which the king took action to restrict colonists from settling west of the Appalachian Mountains. While technically, colonists would be able to do so of their own accord, the king refused to grant protection to those who would do so, frightening them by making them think that the Native American tribes may harm them. This move was worrying to the colonists, who had previously been able to manage their land relatively unhindered. Thus, this intervention at the hand of King George III was the first sign that the colonists would need to cope with the rule of the British king. While there was outrage against this legislation, no action was taken to immediately oppose it, which persuaded King George III to continue imposing restrictions against the colonists.

Next, King George III noted that it would be beneficial to finance defense forces in the colonies so that he would be able to exert physical restraints on the colonists if necessary. Thus, the Sugar Act was passed in 1765, which increased taxes on foreign imports not from Britain and lowered taxes on British goods3. Furthermore, all imports were regulated by British customs to ensure that the taxation program would be upheld. To police this initiative, a court was created that would hear the cases of smugglers with the presumption of guilt. At this point, the colonists began to feel that their basic rights were being taken from them, and they erupted in protest. These protests angered the king, who implemented several more laws to further his control over the colonists.

One of the most offensive acts to the colonists was the Quartering Act, which required colonial assemblies to provide housing for British soldiers. In many instances, this meant that soldiers would be boarded in the homes of colonists4. While the primary intent of this legislation was to cut British costs with regards to policing the colonies, this was an apparent violation of the rights of colonists, who felt that being required to house British soldiers was an intrusion. Some colonies refused to enforce this law, which resulted in conflict.

This legislation, including the Stamp Act, which imposed unnecessary taxes on colonists, inspired them to protest against the actions of the British government and soldiers. No longer were the colonists concerned about their religious freedom or the plight for democracy; they simply wished to expel the British government from their land so they can live without worry of having to pay large sums of taxes or living among British soldiers. The first famous act of rebellion in this instance was the Boston Tea Party, in which protestors, disguised as Native Americans, destroyed a tea shipment from the East India Company in order to cause financial damage to the British government5. This protest was an expression of anger and as a warning to England that the colonists were not pleased with the state of affairs in the colonies. By throwing the tea overboard, the colonists were able to take direct action to show that they refuse to accept the taxes that have been imposed upon them. While the Stamp Act was repealed several years later, the British government continued to uphold the belief that it had the right to tax the colonists.

Because of the harsh restrictions that had been imposed against the colonists, the American Revolution officially began in 1765. This revolution was different from most wars that had been fought prior to this point in history, because the colonist’s militia fought against the formal British army6. Such a war demonstrates the passion of the individuals that were involved. All individuals who fought for the American side did so in order to protect themselves against the British. They were becoming worried that continued British invasion and aggression would make it challenging for the colonists to live peaceful and happy lives. Thus, at this time, the colonists were so frustrated with the abuse imposed against them that they retaliated by using force, which seemed to be the only option available to them.

The American Revolution can be described as a culmination of events, not just violent action that removed the British government from rule over the colonies. Many historians consider the war to have begun once the colonists began rejecting the laws imposed by King George III. Beginning in 1765, members of the American colonial society began to refuse to pay the taxes that were issued to them by the British government7. This led to more British troops being sent to the colonies to regain the land under the control of the king. However, with every step taken by King George III to reclaim his land, the colonists took additional steps to ensure that this control would never be regained. Thus, the American Revolution is highly representative of the power struggle that occurred between the British king and the American colonists. During this time, the colonists refused the right to the land that the king imposed over the people. Through their frustration with this power attempt, the people rose up and started their revolution.

In conclusion, the laws that the British government imposed on the colonists contributed to the start of the American Revolution. These laws were implemented in order to gain control of the colonies overseas, which resulted in the desire for protest on the behalf of the colonists. Overall, that the American Revolution was less of a struggle for principle and more of a struggle against abuse. The colonists fled from Europe to achieve freedom from their native governments, only to continue suffering at their hands for decades. Thus, when the British government took action against the colonists, their response was a natural force to fight back against the unjustifiable actions taken against them. With each new law enforced by King George III, the colonists became more and more worried about the future of themselves, their families, and their colonies. Thus, it was King George III’s action that pushed the colonists to the point of the revolution and this is the major reason that that the United States of America exists today. Because of this intervention, colonists had the right to finally acquire their freedom. It can therefore be said that the abuse imposed on the colonists by the British government created the United States; a country that is unwilling to have laws imposed on it by outside governments and one that is willing to band together in times of trouble. Although the events leading to the American Revolution can be seen as a negative part of history, it is valuable to remember the benefit that the conflict has brought for us as people that are now living freely of British reign.

Bibliography

Carp, Benjamin L. Defiance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party and the Making of America  (Yale U.P., 2010).

Davis Dewey, Financial History of the United States, 1791-1901 (New York: Longmans, Green, 1902), 80-82.

Erik H. Erikson, Gandhi’s Truth: On the Origins of Militant Nonviolence (New York: Norton, 1969), 204.

Knollenberg, Bernhard. Growth of the American Revolution, 1766–1775. New York: Free Press, 1975.

Raphael, Ray. Founding Myths: Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Past. New York: The New Press, 2004.

Thomas, Peter D. G. The Townshend Duties Crisis: The Second Phase of the American Revolution, 1767–1773. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987.

Thomas, Peter D. G. Tea Party to Independence: The Third Phase of the American Revolution, 1773–1776. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991

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