What alternative policies, if any, might Britain have adopted after 1763?
There are several alternatives which were available to the British which might have postponed the Revolution, although whether it could have been completely prevented is more problematic.
- The British might have withdrawn troops from American soil. At the conclusion of the French and Indian Wars, the troops were no longer needed; however George Grenville, the King's minister, chose to leave them in the colonies as a number of British officers were politically influential. Grenville hoped to avoid interference from them by keeping them away from home. At the same time, the actions of British soldiers (drinking, swearing, chasing prostitutes) alienated them from the general populace.
- Parliament could have involved the Colonial Legislatures in deciding on a taxation policy. The major objection of the colonists to the Stamp Act (which in the end yielded no revenue) was that they were being taxed by those whom they had not elected to office. It is entirely possible that a skillful Colonial Governor might appeal to the colonists patriotism as citizens of the Empire and thereby secure at least some revenue by taxes levied directly by the legislatures.
- The Royal Proclamation of 1763 might have been foregone. This policy was largely ignored by the colonists, but did little to endear Parliament to them. A spirit of cooperation on the settlement of Western lands might have been more providential.
- Finally, Lord North might have foregone favors he paid to the British East india Company which was granted a virtual monopoly over tea sold to the colonies. At a time when tensions were already high, Lord North's move was unwise; and rather than garnering extra money for the company, instead precipitated the Boston Tea Party and ultimately the Intolerable Acts.
None of the above alternatives came to pass; and both Parliament and the Colonists stood rather on matters of principle which ultimately led to war.