There were two major changes in British policies that led to the Revolutionary War. One change was the British decision to begin to enforce some of the trade policies that they had generally ignored. The British often looked the other way when the colonists smuggled items into the colonies. They also looked the other way when the colonists used the ships of other countries instead of using British ships. When the British passed the Sugar Act, it lowered the tax on molasses. This eventually reduced colonial trade with the French West Indies and some other places, harming the economy of the colonies. The British navy began to enforce the Sugar Act much more closely than they had enforced other trade restrictions in past. The British wanted to reduce smuggling. If the colonists bought their molasses from Great Britain, this would raise more money for the British, even though the tax on molasses was lowered. The British also placed soldiers in the colonies to help with the enforcement of some of the laws. The colonists weren’t happy with these developments.
The other change the British made was to create new taxes that the colonists had to pay. The colonies were becoming more expensive to run, and the British wanted the colonists to share in the cost of running the colonies. The British believed the colonies were benefitting from British rule, and therefore they should share in some of the cost of running the colonies. The Stamp Act and the Intolerable Acts were two taxes passed by the British. The colonists objected to these taxes because they didn’t have representatives in Parliament that could speak about and vote on these proposed taxes. The taxes went into effect, and the colonists began to protest them. They refused to buy products from British merchants. This hurt the merchants in Britain who saw their sales with the colonies decrease.
When the British decided to crack down on smuggling and when they passed new tax laws without the colonists having representatives in Parliament that could discuss these proposed ideas, the road to independence began to be paved.