March 19, 2015
Chapter 5 The original 13 colonies were distinctly different from each other in terms of demographics, politics, economy and religion. The French and Indian War, the Tea Act, the Declaratory Act, the publication of Common Sense, and the Boycott of British Goods were all events that ultimately led to unify all the 13 colonies to break from England and to declare independence. The British victory, also known as the Seven Years war, ended the long struggle among the powers in northeastern North America. The French and Indian War was part of The Seven Years’ War, which is the first event that led the British government to seek ways to make the colonies bear part of the cost of the empire. One way was to begin to tax the colonists so that they can pay off the debt of the Seven Years’ War. The English troops outnumbered the French troops even though the Native Americans joined forces with the French. The Native Americans were afraid that the English would take over their land, which is part of the reason why they joined forces. English colonies had their own militias and had to produce their own food whereas the French had to rely on soldiers hired by fur-trading companies and food from their homeland. On the other hand, French forces were controlled by a single government and had settlements that were close together which made it more easily defended. Each English colony had its own assembly government, and the colonies often argued with each other over simple things. This war was mainly fought to protect the boarders of the American colonies, which is why after the winning, the English government decided to make the Americans pay for most of the debt. The English government ended up with more territory than they could control. The East India Company, a giant trading monopoly, wasn’t doing so well. The British wanted to give the company more business so they decided to reduce the massive surplus of the tea. There were numerous British merchants, bankers, and other individuals who had invested in this stock so they couldn’t let it crash. The consumption of smuggled tea hurt the East India Company even more so, to help the company and its investors, another objective was to undercut the price of illegal tea that was smuggled into the North America colonies. The tea was consumed by all social classes in England and the colonies so if the colonists were paying for it, they would be acknowledging Great Britain’s right to tax. They refused and in response to the tax on tea, a group of colonist disguised as Indians. These disguised Indians boarded onto three ships at anchor in Boston Harbor and threw over more than three-hundred chests of tea into the water. This event became to be known as the Boston Tea Party. Britain responded to the Boston Tea Party with the Intolerable Acts. This act meant that the colonists were basically grounded and were not treated equal. Britain had closed the court until the tea was paid for and they took away some voting rights. Just when the colonists thought they won over the Stamp Act, the Declaratory Act was passed. Congress of the Stamp Act insisted that the right to consent to taxation was essential to people’s freedom, but the colonists were obviously against this so they repealed this act. They still had to find a way to raise money, and believed that the money should come from the American colonies, not from taxpayers in Great Britain. The next step was the Declaratory Act. This act rejected Americans’ claims that only their elected representatives could levy taxes1, which means that parliament had the right to govern and tax the colonies. This act had actually hardened its principle by asserting its complete authority to make binding laws on the American colonies “in all cases whatsoever.” This crisis focused attention on the unresolved question of Parliament’s relationship to a growing empire.
Thomas Paine’s Common Sense argued