Could the American Revolution have been avoided if the British had pursued different policies toward the colonies?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The American Revolution likely would not have been avoided if the British pursued different policies. While the American Revolution might have occurred later than 1776, eventually the colonists were going to want to become independent from Great Britain.

One purpose of establishing colonies is to show people how to run a government. Once that is accomplished, the people eventually want to have the opportunity to run their government independently. The colonists had been practicing running a government for many years. They had their own legislatures and were passing laws. It is unreasonable to believe that the colonists would not want to eventually become independent and have their own country.

Additionally, the colonies were becoming more expensive to run. The British were incurring increasing expenses in running the colonies. It was costing more money to protect the colonists from potential Native American attacks. It was also becoming more expensive to administer the colonies. The British were either going to have to ask the colonists to share the increased costs, which would have been unpopular, or the British would have given the colonists their independence because the costs were be too high.

Therefore, the colonists were eventually going to become independent, either by fighting for it or by being granted it.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Maybe in the short run, yes.  But in the long run, there was no way that this was going to be avoided, in my opinion.

In the short run, the Revolution would surely have been avoided if the British government would not have imposed the various taxes that it did impose on the colonies.  It could perhaps have avoided it even longer if it had given the colonies some actual representation in Parliament.

However, in the long term, there was no way the American colonies were going to remain as colonies.  They were too big, with too many people and too much in the way of riches to want to remain subordinate to such a distant government for much longer.

The best that could have happened would have been for the British to give the American colonies the sort of pretty much independent status that the later willingly (without war) gave to Canada.

krishna-agrawala | Student

American Revolution or the war of independence was in the nature of last resort, rather than first choice, left to the colonists to secure relief from the oppressive and unjust policies and practices adopted by the by the British towards its colonies in general, and towards its American colonies in particular. The primary objective of the the American revolution was to secure welfare of the people in the colonies. If British had followed a policy that assured the colonies a just system that assured a good future for the colonies as well as the British, there was no reason why the colonist would have revolted against them.

The revolution occurred because of the clash of interests of the British and the colonists. Converting this clash of interest to a situation of common interest would have definitely avoided the revolution. Whether or not this commonality of interest could have been achieved, how it could have been achieved, or how long it would have lasted, are an entirely different set of questions.