Why were the American colonists justified in rebelling against Great Britain and ultimately declaring their independence?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The American colonists were justified in rebelling against Great Britain and then declaring their independence. The colonists felt the British were treating them poorly and violating their rights.

After the French and Indian War ended, the British got control of most of the land France controlled east of the Mississippi River. The colonists wanted to move to these areas so they could own land. However, the Proclamation of 1763 prevented this from occurring. The colonists also weren’t happy they had to provide housing for the British troops that were enforcing this unpopular law.

The colonists felt the British were violating their rights. When the Stamp Act and the Townshend Acts were passed, this was done without the colonists having representatives in Parliament that could speak about and vote on these laws. The colonists insisted that all British citizens have the right to be represented in Parliament and have their representatives vote on proposed laws. The British insisted they had the right to pass these laws, and the taxes went into effect.

The colonists were upset with other British actions. When five colonists were killed in the Boston Massacre, many colonists were concerned. The colonists objected to the Tea Act because it gave a monopoly on the tea trade to the British East India Company. It also continued the tax on tea. When the colonists responded with the Boston Tea Party, the British responded with the Intolerable Acts. These laws were designed to punish the colonists, especially those in Massachusetts, for the Boston Tea Party. The colonists refused to obey these laws, and they formed their own militias. When fighting broke out at Lexington and at Concord, many people knew it was only a matter of time before we would declare our independence.

When the Declaration of Independence was written, it stated that if the government doesn’t protect the rights of the people, then the people must replace the government. The colonists believed the British government wasn’t protecting their rights. Thus, the colonists had no choice but to replace the government by declaring independence from Great Britain.