British Justification, causes of the American Revo Essay

This essay has a total of 1047 words and 5 pages.

British Justification, causes of the American Revolution


A Non-Oppressive View of Things

The American Revolution should not have happened. The British were not tyrannical,
oppressive rulers although the American colonies perceived them to be so. That perception
led to revolution and independence.


Although Great Britain emerged victorious in the Seven Years War, it left Great Britain
with significant debt. The British looked to America to help it. First the British began
enforcing existing laws like the Navigation Acts, which put limits on colonial imports and
exports. To enforce these laws better, the British passed the “Writs of Assistance” that
gave officials warrants to search anything or anyone suspected of smuggling, anywhere or
anytime. British warships would even patrol American harbors to catch potential smugglers.
These smugglers, if caught, would be tried in the newly established Admiralty courts. In
these courts, the accused had no right to trial by jury, and the judges pocketed a
percentage of the fines. The British viewed these courts as insurance to make sure
smuggling stopped; juries composed of Americans might be biased, so they were done away
with.


The British also implemented new taxes. The Sugar act of 1764 sought to reduce smuggling,
which occurred partly as a result of the earlier Molasses Act. This gave British
possessions in the Caribbean the upper hand in sugar trade, which in the British view
helped the empire as a whole, but to Americans, and especially the merchants, this put
limits on their opportunities. The Currency Act, passed about this time forbade the
printing of colonial currency. British merchants benefited because they didn’t have to
deal with inflated American currencies. The Americans felt they were at an economic
disadvantage as very little sterling was circulating throughout the colonies.


American refusal to pay taxes did not help the British pay off the war debts, nor did it
help pay for costs of garrisoning the American colonies. Soon the Quartering Act was
passed, directing the colonies to provide quarters for British soldiers. Americans found
this oppressive because it meant that soldiers were placed in colonial homes. In 1764
Parliament passed the Stamp Act, putting a duty on most printed materials. This was a
normal tax for the British as it had been going on in Britain for a long time, and it made
sense that the rest of their empire would pay the same tax. This placed a burden on
merchants and the colonial elite who did most legal transactions and read the newspapers.
Also passed in the same year was the Declaratory Act, which stated that the colonies were
subject to the will of Parliament. This made a lot of sense to the British, as Parliament
was their ruling body; but, to the colonies who had become used to their own government
during the years of salutory neglect, this was a direct threat to their way of life.
Continues for 3 more pages >>