Social Causes Of The American Revolution
What are the social, political, and economic factors that drove the American colony from dependency on Great Britain to independence?
Some of the social factors simply grew out of the colonies and their inhabitants beginning to lose the ties to their "mother country" as they spent more time and more generations were begun in America that simply had no allegiance, or significantly less allegiance to a King that ruled from thousands of miles away. The colonists began to think of themselves as Americans and this changed their outlook and led to desires to determine their own political fortunes.
The colonies also grew in their material wealth and as merchants and others gained more resources and influence because of their wealth, the taxation by what they saw as almost a foreign power began to grate on them and they felt it was a great injustice so they began to agitate for "no taxation without representation" since there were not representatives of the colonies in the British Parliament.
The American Revolution is usually seen as being the same thing as the American War for Independence, starting in 1775 with the battle of Lexington and ending in 1783 with the treaty of Paris. With the end of the French and Indian wars, the first worldwide war, the British found themselves with a huge national debt. The only reason they won the war was that their treasury lasted longer than the French treasury. As part of the agreement for peace, the French offered to give all their holdings in America to the British. These new acquisitions were a problem for the British parliament because now they needed to stop settlers from the British colonies going into the new land in fear that the Indians would attack them. Therefore, to defend the colonists from Indians (and vice versa) the British parliament decided that the colonists should pay a small tax (compared to was paid in England) to pay a less than half of the money needed for the army that would be permanently stationed in the Americas, so parliament introduced the Sugar Act.Charles Townshend would implement the new colonial policy in late 1766 in the form of the Townshend Duties. In late 1766, William Pitt's illness would cause him to retire from active involvement in Parliamentary business. Townshend assumed leadership of Parliament and implemented a new colonial policy. This policy was in the form of four measures; three measures passed within four days from June 29 to July 2 1767. The fourth measure passed after Townshend died. When Charles Townshend became the chancellor of the British Exchequer, he took over the mess that the previous administration had created, or at least had allowed to take place. In his attempt to straighten out the mess, he framed his famous Revenue Act of 1767. This was in line of the colonial view of taxing. However, these acts would cause further trouble for the British government and renew the strain on the relationship between the colonies and the mother country. Duties were placed on colonial imports of lead, glass, paper, and tea. The money collected on these imports was used to support British officials in the American Service. In effect, this would take the power of the purse from the colonial legislatures. They could no longer force the governors to implement their own acts. If you controlled the purse strings, you controlled the governmental policies affecting your colony. The Townshend acts would also reorganize the American customs service. Parliament had set up an independent customs service based in Boston. Crown appointees would man this service. In turn, the crown, not the colonies, would pay these commissioners. This board was there to enforce the Navigation Acts, the Sugar Act of 1764 and the new Townshend duties. In addition, as a part of this act suspended the New York Assembly until they obeyed the Mutiny act of 1765. Incidental to the new duties, the majority of the British army on the colonial frontier was pulled back to the east. These troops would be housed in the cities and towns. The Quartering act provided for the troops. This move was strictly to save money. The colonists, however, objected strenuously.