The Birth of the Republic Essay
The Birth of the Republic
During the Seven Year War against France, England encountered many expenses which lead to the nation falling into a great debt. This debt created many issues between the British government and its people. England’s people felt as if the King was trying to rule over them and not take their own personal beliefs into consideration. The government tried to resolve the issues of their debt by creating new acts that would hopefully pay for the war expenses, the new territory of Canada and Mississippi, and its troops to defend as well as take care of their new land.
The British saw an opportunity to tax the colonies as well as demand more of their property from them to help benefit their own economic issues. They continued to tax the colonies until finally the Colonial people had had enough. The parliament tried to pass the Stamp Act which stated that the newspapers and other legal and commercial documents had to be taxed. They also tried to pass the Sugar Act which tried to tax people three cents on not only sugar but coffee, indigo, and wine as well. Most of the people felt that the British parliament did not have the right to tax them, and many of whom migrated to the colonies to escape British rule, yet they were still being controlled heavily by them. Before the Stamp Act could be finalized the Colonial people made for certain that the act did not get passed.
Essentially there were two groups in Parliament led by William Pitt and Marquis of Rockingham who favored repeal. Pitt was head of the Parliament during the war against France; in which many seemed to turn to him during this crisis. After the war, the parliament limited his role within them due
to his dictating qualities. This led to Pitt and his remaining followers arguing in the House of Commons that “taxation is no part of the governing or legislative power”. He not only wanted the Stamp Act repealed but also for the parliament to admit this act was based off of a flawed principal. Rockingham had more followers than Pitt in the repeal of the Stamp Act, and momentarily the King supported him. In time Rockingham found himself being the leader of a foundation he did not support due to the circumstances with Grenville which ultimately led to him repealing the Stamp Act.
During this time Rockingham got Benjamin Franklin to stand before The House of Commons to state that Americans were much oppressed by the Stamp Act. This eventually led to the arrangement of the Declaratory Act which affirmed Parliament’s right to make laws and statutes binding the colonists. The Americans were uncertain of the Declaratory Act due to the vagueness of the Parliaments representation of it. Shortly after this occurrence the Townshend Act was in acted which told the Americans that they needed to provide the British soldiers with food and shelter.
When this act was initiated the plan was that they would stack America with external taxes; since they all believed what Franklin said. Americans then rebelled by not importing British goods and then came to say they had no right to be taxed. Pitt’s popularity continued to decrease, while Rockingham switched his belief, parliament began to destroy American legislative assemblies, and Americans began to show hatred toward officials from England. The Parliament then decided it was time to show who was boss by sending over two regiments.
After some time the Americans developed a distinction between taxation and legislation which lead to the Americans demanding more of the distinction, resulting in the determination of the Parliament members to teach them that they could not overrule the Parliaments authority. Repeal of the Stamp Act momentarily took away the thought of the colonist’s fear of the army that England had sent over, but the Townshend Act renewed their fears resulting in a suspicion of a colonial drive to liberation. In Boston they began to notice that it was time for a reassessment of the colonial position. They started to believe that maybe it was time to overlook Parliaments right to tax and question the limits of its right to legislate too. Right before the troops were about to arrive in Boston, the people of Boston gathered at a town meeting and declared “without their consent in Person or by Representatives of their own free Election, would be an infringement of their natural, constitutional and Charter Rights; and the employing such Army for the enforcing Laws made without the consent of the People, in Person, or by their Representatives would be a Grievance.”
Some Bostonians were not satisfied with this encounter to Parliaments legislative authority, and wished to back words with weapons if the troops did indeed try to land. The town called upon the delegates to go to a convention but unfortunately no one showed resulting in the troops coming in completely armed. There was absolutely no confrontation and no complaints. Protests against the Townsh end A cts and intimidation tactics against tax collectors, government officials and merchants violating the boycott of British goods, prompted Governor Francis Bernard to request troops in order to keep civil order in Boston. On October 1768 additional British troops started to arrive in Boston joining another regiment and adding up to a total of 4,000 soldiers, a large number considering the population of Boston was 20,000 at the time. The 14th and 29th regiments were to protect government officials, restore order, reinforce the collection of taxes and take action as needed.
Eventually this backfired and a street brawl broke out which became to be known as the Boston Massacre. The Bostonians mostly kept to themselves but found several ways to harass the troops who had been harassing them. The Americans still felt strongly about the danger to their liberties from the Parliamentary taxation, but were slowly learning to extend their inquiries to Parliamentary legislation too. Soon after all of this had taken place, yet another act was initiated called the Tea Act. The Tea Act was an act of Parliament of Great Britain; its principal objective was to reduce the massive surplus of tea held by the troubled British Eat India Company in its London warehouses and to help the struggling company survive.
This act did not settle well with the colonists because they did not want to have to pay a tax on the tea and it eventually led to them firing back and dumping thousands of pounds of tea into the harbor. After this happened the patience of the ministry in Boston grew very slow, as well as the Parliament getting very angry, so they enacted a series of laws known as the Coercive Acts. This was a series of four different laws that closed the ports of Boston until the leaders paid for the tea that was dumped into the harbor. This law would force the colonists to follow laws they thought were unfair. Although these laws were aimed at Boston, many of the other colonies were expected to learn from it.
Although England experienced an extensive debt problem, the government tried to fix the issue by creating new acts. Many of the acts were not well liked among the people which resulted in them backfiring and trying to get the acts revoked. This revolt against the King lasted for several years.