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British Justification, causes of the American Revolution

Uploaded by agatina on Mar 03, 2002

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...

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Uploaded by:   agatina

Date:   03/03/2002

Category:   American Revolution

Length:   5 pages (1,034 words)

Views:   1750

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