CAUSES OF THE WAR FOR INDEPENDENCE
1. mercantilism – each part of the British Empire specialized in producing certain products for which there was a guaranteed market in other parts of the Empire (ex. tea from India, molasses from the West Indies, raw cotton from the Southern colonies, cotton fabric from England, shipbuilding in Scotland and New England etc.)
2. the smuggling “industry” – in addition the “legitimate” mercantile trade a thriving un–taxed underground economy existed in the colonies.
3. the Sugar Act ( 1764 ) – a tax “cut” which made molasses smuggling unprofitable.
4. the Tea Act ( 1773 ) - removed import tariffs on (taxed) tea from the East India Tea Company making it cheaper than smuggling tea. Boston smugglers calling themselves the “Sons of Liberty” reacted by dressing in war paint and dumping the cargo from an East India Co. ship into Boston Harbor (the “Boston Tea Party”).
5. The significance of the British victory in the Seven Years war against France( 1756 – 1763 ).
a. The war cost the British government 140,000,000 pounds. (equivalent to a trillion $ today)
b. The cost of maintaining a force of 7,500 British troops to defend the colonies against Indian attacks after the war was 200,000 pounds a year.
c. The main beneficiaries of the war were the American colonies as the former French territories were now opened up for development. In order to help pay for the cost of the war Parliament introduced a tax of sixpence a year on the colonists and 25 shillings a year on taxpayers in Great Britain (about 50 times as much).
d. The colonists response was - "no taxation without representation".
e. The British political system at the time was based upon the concept of virtual representation which means each Member of Parliament (MP) is responsible for protecting the interests of all British Citizens, not just a specific province or region. This included British colonists living in North America. The colonists demanded actual representation in Parliament (which did not exist anywhere in the world or in the colonies)
f. Parliament began to regard the colonists as "tax-dodging freeloaders" and many colonists regarded any taxes passed by Parliament as invalid and an affront to their liberty.
large personal debts
of influential colonists
the abolitionist movement
in Britain (led by the Methodists)
the "Boston Massacre"
( 1770 )
the "Boston Tea Party"
( 1773 )
the Quebec Act ( 1774
the Second Continental
Congress meets (1775 )
the Olive Branch Petition
published ( 1776 )
the Declaration of Independence
( 1776 )