The Grievances of the Colonists

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How did land ownership contribute to the American Revolution?

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Land ownership would not be typically considered among the most important causes of the American Revolution, but it did play a role. Wealthy and ordinary Americans alike were angered by the Proclamation of 1763, which restricted expansion west to the Appalachian Mountains. This measure, which was intended to avert conflict with Native people, especially in the Ohio River Valley, disappointed land speculators and potential settlers who hoped to purchase land in the West.

The stakes were not simply economic for many people. Throughout the colonies, land ownership was seen as the key to personal and political independence. Over time, many colonists came to see independence from Great Britain as a means to open the door for territorial expansion, and therefore individual land ownership. Additionally, in some colonies, corrupt officials often made land ownership more difficult and complex. Many of these men, however, were actually Patriots, so in some cases, this actually shaped the worldview of Loyalists. But in many ways, land ownership contributed to the outbreak of the Revolution.

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