26). One of the first causes was the increased confidence in military strength, which caused a rise in colonial self-esteem. This increase in self-esteem was a result of the valuable gained from the French and Indian War. The French and Indian War, also shattered the myth of British invincibility, showing the colonials that anything was possible.
Another cause of the colonials sense of individuality was that friction between Britain and the colonies rose. American settlers felt that they deserved credit rather than contempt for risking their lives to secure a new world empire, where as the British refused to even recognize any American militia commission about the rank of a captain. Also, British official were further distressed by the reluctance of the colonials to support the common cause wholeheartedly. Also, individuality was a sense in the minds of the colonists the day they set foot on the new continent.
Individuality began with the fact that to emigrate was to revel, and those who went to the New World, were in fact rebels because of the distance they put between themselves and Britain. Also, the distance between the New World and Britain, instigated individuality because of the long distance to travel between both places; it left the colonies both physically and spiritually separated from the New World. The colonies knew that distance weakens authority, but great distances weaken authority even more. The American environment also nurtured the feelings of independence because of the unchanging surroundings of England, coming to the New World offered a change of pace for the colonies because they now had their own world to make anew. Finally, many of the colonies joined together in the common sense of individuality that Britain was unfit to govern them and that the colonies were now Americans.
For many reasons, tension grew in the relationship between Britain and America. Tensions first arose when the London government issued the Proclamation of 1763. This proclamation prohibited settlement in the area beyond the Appalachians, by the colonies. This angered many Americans because they felt that the land was their birthright, but this document was not drawn up to oppress the colonies, but it was made to work out the Indian problem to prevent another uprising like Pontiac’s. Mercantilism also added to the tension between Britain and America.
Tension arose from mercantilism because Americans were not at liberty to buy, sell, ship or manufacture under conditions that they found most profit. The Boston Gazette explained how the colonists felt about mercantilism by stating, “A colonist cannot make a button, a horseshoe, nor a hobnail, but some snotty ironmonger of Britain shall bawl and squall that his honor’s worship is most egregiously maltreated, injured, cheated, and robbed by the rascally American republics,” proving that the colonists were very upset about England’s new laws of mercantilism (22-23). Also, many Virginian planters were plunged into a dept by the falling price of tobacco, and were forced to buy their necessities in England, by mortgaging future crops. Mercantilism also showed favoritism for the southern colonies over the northern colonies, chiefly because the southern colonies grew non-English products.
One of the biggest tension aroused was that the colonies were kept in a state of perpetual economic adolescence and never allowed to come by age. After the Seven Years’ War in 1763, Britain was forced to redefine its relationship with the American colonies. To defray the cost of war by one-third, Prime Minister George Grenville suggested that Britain began to tax the colonies. Britain first passed the Sugar Act of 1764, to raise revenue from sugar imported from the West Indies, but this was eventually lowered.
Tension was also stirred up by the Quartering Act of 1765, which forced the colonies into providing food and housing for the British troops. That same year the Stamp Act was imposed on the colonies to raise revenues to support the new military force. This meant that taxes were placed on all documents. These taxes and Acts outraged the colonies because they felt that there should be no taxation without representation. However, Parliament claimed that the colonies were virtually represented by people in Britain because they were all British. Eventually, in 1766, Parliament repealed the Stamp Act.
The Townshed Acts were passed, imposing a tax on tea that would be used to pay the salaries of the royal governors and judges in America. These Acts and taxes increased tension and resulted in the Boston “Massacre”, in which 11 “innocent” citizens were killed, by a squad of about Unity among the colonies played a particularly large portion in the revolution. Benjamin Franklin shows this in his publication of “Join or Die” cartoon in the Pennsylvania Gazette (66). It symbolizes that as separate parts the colonies could not defeat Britain, but as one they could. An observant Church of England clergyman, Reverend Andrew Burnaby felt that if the colonies could not overcome their differences, how could they ever over come their problems with Britain. Reverend Burnaby scoffed at any possibility of unification.
However, the Americans could no longer withstand the drastic measures of Parliament and because of this the colonies now received a wake-up call that they needed to unify. The “Intolerable Acts” placed many restrictions on the colonies, but particularly Massachusetts (34 & 50). These “Intolerable Acts”, like the closing of the Boston Port and restrictions on the town meetings, led to the formation of the 1st Continental Congress. Twelve of the thirteen colonies met in Philadelphia to readdress colonial grievances (34 & 50).
The congress deliberated for seven weeks and in this period they drew up many dignified papers. The most significant action of the Congress was to create the association, which called for the complete boycott of all British goods. This was so significant for the fact that it was colonies as a unit to make a step towards independence. The meeting of the 1st Continental Congress led to the meeting of the 2nd Continental Congress, which was made up of all thirteen colonies. Independence was not an issue now, but to continue fighting for Parliament to readdress the colonial grievances took center stage. The most important result of the 2nd Continental Congress was the selection of George Washington as the leader of the military.
Thomas Paine also added to the need for colonial independence, when he published his pamphlet called Common Sense. This pamphlet showed the Americans how obvious it was to fight for colonial independence. Common Sense told the Americans how it was, like “No where in the universe does a smaller body govern a larger body” (87). Colonial unity played an important role in the revolution. John Trumbull’s painting of Bunker Hill, shows that “colonies came together for one common cause and they weren’t going to back down” (97). Finally, the revolution and the war tremendously effected America.
One of the most significant results of the revolution and war on America was the signing of the Declaration of Independence in which the signers pledged all that they had or believed in to protect their independence. The Declaration of Independence stated what to ideal government was and what to colonies intended on doing to ensure the best possible environment and opportunities for years to come. Another effect of the revolution and war is that the United States borders were extended to Florida and the Mississippi River. As Thomas Jefferson started, by assembling such prestige groups of men, we have learned more and will continue to learn from these men’s examples, rather than the examples of armies.
In conclusion, the American Revolution did not radically change the entire political or social framework. People went on with their everyday lives, undisturbed by what was gong on. However, the revolution did help America to evolve into an independent nation, which could now live fearlessly knowing that anything was possible.Bibliography: