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The colonials used both peaceful and violent methods to oppose the British policies...

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armyof32000 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted September 6, 2013 at 4:08 PM via web

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The colonials used both peaceful and violent methods to oppose the British policies imposed on America from 1763-75. Identify and elaborate on two such methods – one peaceful and one violent. Which of the two identified do you think was more effective and why?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 6, 2013 at 4:21 PM (Answer #1)

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I would argue that the nonviolent methods used by the colonists were more effective.  They tended to get positive results whereas the violence led to more negative results.

One violent method used by the colonists to oppose British policies was the destruction of property.  The most famous instance of this is, of course, the “Boston Tea Party.”  There were also other instances in which this tactic was used.  I would argue that this tactic was not particularly effective in that it caused very strong reprisals on the part of the British.  No government can really tolerate people destroying property for political reasons.  Therefore, these types of actions caused reactions such as the “Intolerable Acts.”

By contrast, the colonists had better success when using nonviolent methods such as boycotts.  The best-known of these was the non-importation movement.  This was a movement in which Americans stopped buying British goods as a way of protesting the Stamp Act.  This is not a defiant action that must bring down punishment.  Instead, it is an action that is effective because it puts real pressure on the British government.  It led English businessmen to push the government to repeal the Stamp Act.

Thus, nonviolence was more effective because it led to the repeal of the Stamp Act whereas violence like the Boston Tea Party led to punishments like the Intolerable Acts.

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