Economics and Revolution
Revolutions across the world have numerous causes and effects. These causes and effects can be short-lived and closely contained or lasting and global. The economic causes and effects of a revolution can be some of the most important. No revolution no matter how small or large will be conducted without some sort of economic factors. These factors are also numerous and all-encompassing and include wealth inequality, political corruption for economic gain, poverty, and unethical economic policy. To understand further the causes and effects of economics on revolution three different revolutions will be examined, The American Revolution and its independence from imperialist England, The Cuban Revolution, and the election of Salvador Allende in Chile. A discussion of global economic themes and how they influence revolutions will also take place.
The American Revolution and the formation of the United States of America had been rooted in economic factors. The beginning of these economic factors can be understood by examining British politics and its decision making process when it came to the new world. For the few first hundred years of the English settlement in America there was no notion or want for independence. The British military provided protection from invasion of foreign nations, and the settlers were able to enjoy reasonable tax and land policies. This however changed around the conclusion of the Seven Years’ War in 1763 when the English government started to radically change its policy on land ownership in America. (SOURCE) This change took place in three steps, construction new rules and exclusions, enforcing these new rules and financing the cost of the new rules. This was carried out in the Proclamation of 1763 which state that colonists were not allowed to settle in the west. They enforced this by using a standing army of 7500 English army regular’s to prevent colonists from moving west. In order to fund this new goal the English government levied new taxes on the colonists. These new taxes and policies came in a number of different forms, but all had the same goal of increasing the tax burden on the colonists. The main new policy that angered many of the Colonists was the passing of the Navigation Acts. These were a set of new rules regarding international trade and the American colonies. The goal of the Navigation act was to have the export of certain high priority goods tobacco, rice, and sugar be sent to English merchants no matter the price in other ports. The passing of these acts was beneficial to English merchants and had positive impacts on all forms of English trade, however it resulted in resent from colonists who felt they were losing money from the transaction.(source) The idea to start a revolution did not happen without analysis however. Much thought went into deciding whether or not declaring independence an action that would undoubtedly result in war was really the right thing to do. Many economists have examined the cost and benefits of American independence from England and it shows that the benefits were not as high as presumed. What these new taxes and regulations did show however as a lack of concern for the wellbeing of the colonists and an inclination to impose unethical laws at their expense. Many colonists were concerned with what other laws and might be passed in the future at their expense. Because of this threat, and the current policies regarding America the colonists decided to declare their independence from England and the Revolutionary War began. Directly after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War little had changed in regards to America’s economic status “Thus the decade immediately following the end of the war looked, economically, much the same as the decade preceding it, in basic structure in not in detail. (McCusker, Menard, 367) The end economical result of the American Revolution was the