What were some major political differences in beliefs between the colonies and Britain?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The political differences between the American colonists and the British were more differences of degree and differences of interests than they were differences in political ideologies.  It is not as if the British believed in an absolute monarchy while the Americans believed in democracy.  They both believed in the same basic ideas of limited government and personal rights, but they differed as to where the limits on government should be and they differed on who got to decide such issues.

Both the British and the colonists believed, for example, that people should have some say in their taxation.  British political history included many instances in which the monarchy was forced to allow Parliament more of a say in deciding when and how much people were to be taxed.  The colonists, however, felt that they should directly decide how much they should be taxed.  They believed that taxes that did not have to do with trade (like the Stamp Tax) could not be levied on them by Parliament because they were not directly represented in Parliament.  Thus, they and the British both agreed that people should be represented in the body that decided on taxation, but they did not agree on what constituted representation.

As another example, both the British and the Americans agreed that people should have some degree of rights.  They both believed that government should not simply be able to create a police state.  However, the colonists believed this to a greater degree, particularly because believing this was in their economic interests.  Many Americans were violating British laws on things like smuggling and naturally did not want the government to have as much power to do things like searching and seizing their property.

The colonists wanted more freedom from Britain.  They wanted to be able to have more self-government.  They wanted the government to have fewer police powers.  These were not major philosophical differences.  They were more of differences of degree and differences in economic and political interests.