Britain’s taxation on the American colonists greatly affected the relationship between the two nations. Moreover, the colonists were not being represented. The feeling of deprivation not only angered the Americans, but may have also opened their eyes to see the need of a revolutionary movement.
Thomas Jefferson states in A Summary View of the Rights of British America that they “possessed a right, which nature has given to all men.” The British deprived the colonists of these rights when they did not allow a representative in the House of Commons, as decided in the Resolutions of the Stamp Act Congress of 1765. This was especially unfair for the colonists for they were not only being taxed, but also received nothing in return for their own benefit. Additionally, the taxes did not profit the colonist itself. Rather, all tax profits went to Britain. It was a way for the British to reimburse the financial debts from the Great War for Empire. Taxation on the colonists was a way the British “liquidated its war debt,” as stated in Document N. As said in the Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms (Document I), The colonists did not give consent to Britain to take away their money by exploiting the land by heavy taxes. They felt that only they had the power and the right to tax themselves.
As new heavy taxes piled upon each other, the colonists realized even more the need of an outbreak from Britain and the destruction it has brought upon the colonists. Thomas Paine explains in Common Sense that “there is something very absurd in supposing a continent to be perpetually governed by an island.” Paine is saying that a small island like Britain cannot rule a big continent, as a small child cannot rule grown adult. The author of the Stamp Act and former Prime Minister George Grenville states that Great Britain’s intention is to protect America and nothing more. By doing this favor, he believes America should yield to British authority and practice obedience.
Thomas Paine rebuttals and argues that only small islands that are incapable of protecting themselves should be the ones who are taken under a kingdom’s care. Paine believes that this is not the case for the colonists. He sees that America is not a small island in need of help. Rather, America is “geographically secure, politically mature, prosperous, dynamic, and self-reliant,” as Lawrence Henry Gibson states in Document O.
Thomas Paine also calls for a move towards democracy. The American people could no longer live under the bondage of British authority, which stripped them of their natural rights. Britain, for example, “deprived [the colonists] of the accustomed and inestimable privilege of trial by jury,” (Document I) which they claimed to have violated their life and property. Document L illustrates of the austerity of British rule. A woman lay on the ground naked and distressed, while British officials watch with pleasure.
Surely, they had to respect for the motherland’s offspring. Clearly, this is not a way to show that the British protected and cared for the colonists as George Grenville previously stated when he spoke on Repeal on January 14, 1766. Because of unequal treatment, the American desire for equal representation grew the more.
The unfair treatment of the British to the Americans only pushed the colonists to their limit. Taxation without any representation, or benefits in return truly raised an issue of equality. The British has suppressed the colonists. Weary of this, the colonists moved towards a revolutionary movement, wanting to escape the British Crown and authority, but all the more, where they would take up on democracy in which they could practice equal representation.
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