What were the causes of the American Revolution?What were the causes of the American Revolution?

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larrygates's profile pic

larrygates | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The primary cause was that the colonists believed they had been denied their rights as Englishmen. They had always been proud of the fact that they were His Majesty's good and loyal subjects; however they were also proud of the fact that they had the same rights as other Englishmen, primarily the right to be taxed only by their own elected representatives. They had no problem paying taxes; but they wanted those taxes levied by their own colonial legislatures, whom they had elected, not Parliament, which they considered out of their league.

Quite frankly, Britain only attempted to tax the colonies because of the expense of defending them in the French and Indian Wars. Most of the cost of the war was borne by the people of Britain; but Parliament thought the colonies should assume at least some of the cost. This caused a great deal of consternation.

Much has been made of the fact that the colonies came together during the war and many colonists developed a sense and identity of being American rather than British. Even so, this does not consider the fact that after the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the Continental Congress sent George III an Olive Branch Petition, offering to return to his good graces if he would only grant them the rights of other English citizens. George would not even read it, so the Colonists pressed the issue toward independence.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The real cause of the revolution was that the colonies had grown too big and too advanced to be colonies anymore.  Colonies are fine as long as they are not really in a position to rule themselves.  But once they feel that they are ready, it's a problem.

That was the real cause of the revolution.  The colonies had grown to the point where they felt that they did not need to be ruled and protected and supported from the mother country.  They came to be like teens who feel that they are grown enough to take care of themselves.

Because of that, things that Britain did that weren't unreasonable (taxes, etc) were met with rebellion.  Because Britain wasn't ready to let go, the rebellion was met with harsher discipline.  That stuff spiralled until the conflict became violent.

So it wasn't really about taxes and stuff like that.  It was about a colony that had "grown up" and didn't need or want a "parent" anymore.

akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

You will get many answers to this. Most of them will center on how the Colonists felt that their political rights (the rights to live and be free) as well as their economic rights (the rights to make and keep their own money) were being violated at the hands of the British.  At the end of the French and Indian War, the British needed to start defraying the costs of the war.  This forced them to lean on the Colonists and impose taxes and acts that took away both sets of Colonial Rights.  The frustration that the Colonists experienced at initiatives such as the Stamp Act, which forced the Colonists to pay a tax for expressing written thought, the various food Acts (Sugar Act and Tea Act, taxing sugar and tea), as well as denying Colonial attempts at self rule helped to put into motion the events that would cause the break up between England and the Colonies.

beautifulsunshine16's profile pic

beautifulsunshine16 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted on

1. overly taxed goods to increase British revenue

2. British not sharing land won from France in the French and Indian War.

3. Stricter laws and acts passes limiting

  • trade
  • anti-smuggling laws
  • town meetings
  • land

Pretty much all of the reasons had to do with helping Britain financially because they were in debt

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