The Causes That Led to the Revolutionary War Essay
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The Revolutionary War began in 1775 between England and the American Colonies. The war ended in 1783 with the American Colonies gaining their independence from England. Even though it is a well-known event, the Boston Tea Party was only one cause of the Revolutionary War, there were many other events that led the two nations down the path that ended with the Revolutionary War. England began the path to war with the Proclamation Act of 1763 and continued to pass many other acts and laws that the colonists did not agree with and caused reactions that served to anger England.
There were many causes that led to the Revolutionary War starting with the French and Indian War and ending with the First Continental Congress meeting. The French and Indian War was fought by many countries including England. England and France were fighting to have more control of the land in “North America, the Caribbean, and in India” (ushistory. org, 2012, paragraph 1). After many years of war, England won the war but the financial cost exceeded their available funds. England’s deficit led to increased laws and taxes on the colonies. “It was that debt that caused the escalation of tensions leading to the Revolutionary War” (ushistory. rg, 2012, The French and Indian War, paragraph 1).
The first law that England enacted on the colonies was the Proclamation Act of 1763. This law “in effect, closed off the frontier to colonial expansion” (ushistory. org, 2012, Proclamation Act of 1763, paragraph 1). The King passed this law to ease the fears of the Indians. The Indians feared that the colonists were going to take over their land as they moved toward the west. The colonists, on the other hand, believed that the King only wanted them to stay “where they would be easier to regulate” (ushistory. org, 2012, Proclamation Act of 1763, paragraph 1).
The second law that England enacted in regards to the colonies was the Sugar Act of 1765. “The Sugar Act reduced the rate of tax on molasses from six pence to three pence per gallon” (ushistory. org, 2012, Sugar Act of 1764, paragraph 1). Even though this reduced taxes on molasses, overall it added more goods to be taxed. “The combined effect of the new duties was to sharply reduce the trade with Madeira, the Azores, the Canary Islands, and the French West Indies, all important destination ports for lumber, flour, cheese, and assorted farm products” (ushistory. rg, 2012, Sugar Act of 1764, paragraph 1).
The Quartering Act which the king passed in 1765 was not a tax, but served to escalate tensions. This act forced the colonists to house English soldiers in their homes. The colonists were required to provide everything that the soldiers needed. The colonists were not compensated for any of the expenses incurred by this act. The Quartering Act increased the hostility between the colonists and England (ushistory. org, 2012). In addition to the laws that had already been passed, England passed the Stamp Act and continued to pass more laws.
The Stamp Act raised all taxes that the colonists were paying to England. Once the colonists learned about the Stamp Act, they formed the Sons of Liberty. “The Sons of Liberty was founded in the summer of 1765 by a group of shopkeepers and artisans in Boston” (MultiEducator, Inc. , 2011, Sons of Liberty formed, paragraph 3). The Sons of Liberty wanted to keep England from being able to “enforce the Stamp Act” (MultiEducator, Inc. , 2011, Sons of Liberty formed, paragraph 5). The actions of the Sons of Liberty caused England to bring the Stamp Act back to Congress for review. After debate they decided to repeal the act” (MultiEducator, Inc. , 2011, Stamp Act Repealed, paragraph 1). “In 1766, a new government came into power in Great Britain” (MultiEducator, Inc. , 2011, Townshend Acts Imposed, paragraph 2).
Charles Townshend, the head of this government, came up with an idea to only tax items that were not that valuable in trade. Townshend only taxed items that he knew “were all items that were not produced in the colonies and would be difficult to smuggle” (MultiEducator, Inc. , 2011, Townshend Acts Imposed, paragraph 2). These acts caused the colonists to respond with a boycott. The actions of the colonist in response to the Townshend Act convinced the British that they needed troops in Boston to help maintain order” (MultiEducator, Inc. , 2011, British Troops Land in Boston, paragraph 1). The colonists were angered when they realized that the British troops were there “not to defend the colonists in times of war, but [to] pacify them” (MultiEducator, Inc. , 2011, British Troops Land in Boston, paragraph 3).
The colonists had finally had enough of the unjust actions and treatment at the hands of England and started making “taunts against British soldiers in Boston” (MultiEducator, Inc. 2000, Boston Massacre – 1770, paragraph 1). In response to these taunts, the British soldiers fired their guns at the colonists. When the British soldiers fired at the colonists, this led to “killing [three] instantly and wounding 11” (MultiEducator, Inc. , 2000, Boston Massacre – 1770, paragraph 1). On the same day that the Boston massacre occurred, the British merchants were pressuring parliament to repeal the Townshend Act.
The merchants wanted the act repealed because the colonists were boycotting English goods. The colonial boycott of British goods hurt British merchants in London and beyond” (MultiEducator, Inc. , 2011, Townshend Act Repealed 1770, paragraph 2). The Townshend Act was repealed “on everything but tea” (MultiEducator, Inc, 2011, Townshend Acts Repealed 1770, paragraph 2). While the colonists were contending with taxes and quartering laws, they were also faced with British ships commandeering goods from their ships. There was a British ship called the Gaspee that patrolled the waters off of Rhode Island and would harass other colonial ships in the area.
In response, “Lindsay lured the Gaspee into following him into shallow waters and the Gaspee ran aground” (MultiEducator, Inc, 2011, Colonist Burn Revenue Cutter Gaspee 1772, paragraph 1). Once the ship crashed a “small crew forced it and its captain to surrender. They then set the ship afire” (MultiEducator, Inc. , 2011, Colonist Burn Revenue Cutter Gaspee 1772, paragraph 1). After the Gaspee was burned, yet again tension between the colonies and England escalated. England was still angered with the colonists over the burning of the Gaspee, so they forced the colonists “to accept a monopoly on the importation of tea” (MultiEducator, Inc. 2011, Boston Tea Party 1773, paragraph 2). England also wanted the colonists to get their tea, so that they could tax them on the tea. As to be expected this angered the colonists.
“The colonists demanded that the tea be returned. However, the governor would not hear of it” (MultiEducator, Inc. , 2011, Boston Tea Party 1773, paragraph 6). The colonists were so angered that they dressed up, made their ways to the ships and threw the tea overboard; an event that became known as the Boston Tea Party. The escalating cycle of tension and anger continued and England responded to the Boston Tea Party with ‘a series f acts that became known as the ‘Coercive Acts’” (MultiEducator, Inc. , 2011, Coercive Acts Imposed by British 1774, paragraph 1). These acts consisted of England “closing the port of Boston, taking control of the Massachusetts Government, and passing the Quebec Act” (MultiEducator, Inc. , 2011, Coercive Acts Imposed By British 1774). England was hoping that by passing all these new laws and acts that the colonists would finally give in.
“Implementing these acts was one of the last of a long string of miscalculations made by the British government in the wake of the impending American independence” (MultiEducator, Inc. 2011, Coercive Acts Imposed by British 1774, paragraph 7). The colonists had finally had enough and decided that they needed to schedule a meeting, which became known as the First Continental Congress. Each of the colonies sent a person of their choosing to represent them at the meeting. The colonists had this meeting so that they could reach one decision as to what they should do about “the British actions” (MultiEducator, Inc. , 2011, First Continental Congress Meets 1774, paragraph 3). The representatives debated many different options and they all finally agreed on “immediate non-importation of good from England” (MultiEducator, Inc. 2011, First Continental Congress Meets 1774, paragraph 8).
The colonists were hopeful that this would cause England to rethink their actions and change how they treated the colonies. The path that led to The Revolutionary War was a long path and cannot be tied to a single incident. The colonists and England escalated the tensions with their actions and responses, until the colonists reached the conclusion that further measures (war) needed to be taken to get England to treat them as they wanted to be treated.
The path to The Revolutionary War began with the debts from the French and Indian War and continued with the acts and laws that were passed by England. Many of the acts and laws angered the colonists, which led to the colonists responding with actions of their own. The actions of England combined with the reaction from the colonies sent the nations down a path of incidents that led to the beginning of the Revolutionary War.