How did the colonists and England differ in their attitudes concerning the rights of the colonists?If possible be specific I'm having trouble understanding. Thank you

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brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

It does depend a little on what time frame you are specifically referring to, as the disagreements and tension between the colonists and Mother England was greater in the years immediately preceding the Revolution.

Jefferson's long list of charges against the King in the Declaration of Independence shed some light into what grievances the colonists had in terms of what they believed to be their rights. 

1) The colonists believed their local governments should be given more authority to settle local issues, rather than being run from 3000 miles away and overruled at the King's discretion

2)  They believed they should be tried in the colonies for crimes they were accused of, as opposed to in England in front of the King's courts.

3)  They believed they should not be taxed when they had no representative vote in Parliament to oppose such taxes

4)  They also believed that they should be free from military occupation by British troops according to the Quartering Act, especially since they were not at war, and colonial towns were not threatened when they were (The French and Indian War was fought on the frontier and the open seas).  It was a practice, they noted grimly, that did not take place in England.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The most obvious difference between the two was over the idea of taxation and representation in Parliament.

The English government (not all of it, but the part that was in power) believed that the colonists should have to pay taxes that were voted by Parliament.  They knew that the colonists were not really represented in Parliament but they did not think that mattered.  They believed that the colonists did not have a right to be actually represented (as opposed to having "virtual representation") in Parliament.

By contrast, the colonists thought that they had the sole right to tax themselves.  They believed that (because they were not represented in Parliament) only their own legislatures had the right to tax them.

So there is one difference -- it has to do with who has the right to tax and what right the colonists have to be represented.

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