British Policies Lead to Revolution Essay
Britain, until 1763, allowed their American colonies to govern themselves and was very lenient when dealing with colonial affairs. However, the French and Indian war left Britain with a large amount of war debt, which forced Britain to end this period of Salutary Neglect. Due to the large debt, Britain began enforcing many policies toward the American Colonies. The change in political and economic policies, in addition to social oppression largely contributed to the American Revolution. After Britain ended its period of Salutary Neglect, it left the colonists shocked to see the British intruding in their lives.
Britain needed to keep the colonies in their control and they achieved this by passing numerous policies. While, these policies were intended to keep order and limit chaos, their result was the exact opposite. The Navigation Laws, for example, while established for mostly economic reasons, gave British control over trade in the colonies. Although Britain had the power to control trade they did not enforce it until 1763. Another policy Britain passed was the Declaratory Act, immediately after repealing the stamp act. This act allowed parliament to pass any policy without the consent of the colonies.
The Coercive Acts or Intolerable Acts as the colonists called them punished the colonists for the Boston Tea Party. These policies interfered with the daily lives of the colonists that they got used to and angered them greatly. Britain imposed these policies to gain political power in the colonies; however, the period of Salutary Neglect left the colonists to govern and manage themselves, and when the lifestyle of the colonists changed as a result of the policies, they resulted in increased revolutionary fervor. Due to the French and Indian War, Britain had a large debt.
In order to overcome this large debt, it passed many policies. The Sugar Act, a tax on imported goods, Stamp Act, a tax on many printed materials, and Tea Act, a tax on tea, are all examples of economic policies imposed on the colonies to gain profit. The colonists for many years traded and farmed for profit, and this worked very smoothly. However, after Salutary Neglect ended, Britain began to impose policies that stole the colonists’ money, made the colonist pay for products they did not want and documents that should not have any tax.
The colonists viewed these polices as unfair and rebelled against this injustice. They did not want to pay taxes to Britain, who ignored them for more than one-hundred years, and all of a sudden began torturing the colonies with harsh policies that might eventually cause them to become poor. An example of the colonist’s unhappiness toward the taxes is displayed in the Boston Tea Party. The Sons of Liberty dressed up as Indians and attacked and destroyed the tea supply of tea trading vessels.
Another display of the colonists’ unhappiness is when James Otis stated “No Taxation without Representation. ” By this he did not call for representation of the colonies in Parliament, but instead he wanted Britain to stop interfering with the colonies and its affairs. All of the policies eventually lead to the American Revolution. These economic policies contributed the most to the revolution, because they created the most protest throughout the colonies. Britain treated them very harshly after Salutary Neglect ended. They forced the colonists to commit acts they scorned.
The Quartering Act forced the colonists to house any soldiers stationed in the colonies. Many colonists revolted against this act, because it violated their rights guaranteed by the Bill Of Rights 1689. They questioned that since there was not a standing army being kept in the colonies before the French and Indian War, why was a standing army was needed after the French had been defeated. Another example of social oppression was the Intolerable Acts, in which the colonists were harshly punished for the Boston Tea Party.
With these Acts Britain hoped to reverse colonial resistance to Parliamentary authority, however due to the harshness of these acts the resistance only grew. The social oppression that was caused by these acts created even more revolutionary fervor among the colonies, and thus they were also a large contributor to the revolution. Through these harsh laws and policies, Britain hoped to gain a tighter grip on the colonies, but instead they created revolutionary fervor throughout the colonies, and ultimately caused the American Revolution.
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