Was the American Revolution inevitable?American Revolution

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Stephen Holliday | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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This is an interesting question and a complicated issue, but I think the answer is a resounding "Yes."

By the early 1770's, aside from the well-known grievances like the Stamp Act, England had imposed so many burdens on the colonies--trade restrictions, requirements to quarter troops, manufacturing restrictions--that many people, not just the governing class, began to see that an alliance with England was beginning to do serious harm to economic development in the colonies.

Even before this, during the French and Indian War, which was settled in 1763, the colonists began to believe that England had mis-managed that war and had exacerbated the already difficult relations with the Native Americans with their harsh policies.  Perhaps more significant, the Americans began to see that they could fight equally well alongside British regular soldiers, who were considered the best troops in Europe, and the American's confidence in their military capabilities grew, so they no longer assumed that the British would simply overwhelm them.s

The concept later known as "Manifest Destiny" also had a role in the inevitability of the Revolution.  Several colonial propagandists, Thomas Paine, for example, began to argue that it made no sense for a relatively small island (England) to control the affairs of a continent thousands of miles away with its own set of issues and problems that were unique to America.

Ultimately, the combination of serious grievances Americans felt against England and the sense that America was destined to rule itself made the Revolution, or a peaceful break with England, inevitable.

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