AP US History
8 October, 2014 Igniting the American Revolution On July 4th, 1776, fifty six delegates at of the Continental Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence, rendering America finally free from the tyrannical rule of Great Britain. After a hard-fought revolution, the colonies could finally begin their new life as a unified country. However, the road to revolution was a long process that took many years to fully escalate. In 1763, the colonists began to realize that their rights were being violated and denied. From that point forward, tensions between the colonies and Great Britain rose until the American Revolution was ignited. The American Revolution was essentially caused by political abuse, economic distress, and social factors. Political abuse was one of the largest factors in sparking the American Revolution. In 1763, King George III issued the Proclamation of 1763, which forbid colonists from settling and expanding over the Appalachian Mountains, where the new territory that had been won from the French in the Seven Years' War was located. The colonists reacted with resentment towards Britain, feeling that their prize for helping with the war had been taken away from them. Thus began the long road of political oppression. Britain took another step towards angering the colonists in 1766 with the passing of the Declaratory Act, which stated that Britain had parliamentary power to legislate for the colonies in any case. The Declaratory Act created an
aura of abuse in America, as if Britain were stripping Americans of all their rights at once. After the Boston Tea Party in which angered colonists dumped forty-five tons of tea overboard a
British ship came a series of Coercive Acts. The first Coercive Act, in 1774, shut down the
Boston Port until the town could pay for the tea. Then, the second Coercive Act revoked the Massachusetts charter and make their government less democratic by appointing a governor and leaving him in charge of all officials for life. To the colonists, this was a monumental act of hostility towards representative government and liberty, therefore why the acts became known as the “Intolerable Acts.” Next, in 1774, Britain put forth the Quartering Act, which placed troops in Boston to, as the British rationalized, protect the colonists from Indian attacks. Though the British tried to play it off, the colonists thought it was evidence of a plan to put America under a military tyranny, so they protested in assemblies. From that point forward, there was little uncertainty that Britain was politically abusing the colonies; paired with other prevalent factors, this ignited a spark of the American Revolution. Economic neglect played a large part in causing the American Revolution as well. After the Seven Years' War ended, both England and the colonies were in a great amount of debt. Even before the political abuse of America began, Britain was imposing taxes on the colonies to force them to help pay off their debt, even though America's debt was much less than Great Britain's. Britain felt that, because some of the war was fought in the colonies, the Americans should have to pay off the terrible debt. The first attempt to do this was the Sugar Act of 1764, which taxed all imported sugar and raised revenue. Unlike the previous Molasses Act of 1733, which failed to tax colonists on molasses imports because of bad enforcement and colonial evasion, the Sugar
Act was greatly enforced. In addition to sugar, the Sugar Act also demanded that colonists only export other items like lumber, iron, and skins if they had been channeled through Britain first.
That, along with a crackdown on smuggled goods and a punishment of vice-admiralty courts, infuriated colonists. To the colonists, it seemed vastly unjust for them to be taxed without representation in parliament. The next two taxes, the Currency Act of 1764 and