The Grievances of the Colonists

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

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To answer this question, it is necessary to look at a number of issues. Let us look at a few.

First, one must consider the justice of the claim most often associated with the revolutionaries, which was that Parliament had no authority to enact taxes on the colonies because the...

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To answer this question, it is necessary to look at a number of issues. Let us look at a few.

First, one must consider the justice of the claim most often associated with the revolutionaries, which was that Parliament had no authority to enact taxes on the colonies because the colonists were not represented in that body. This is a debatable claim, especially since almost no British people could vote for Parliament and were therefore not represented either. So the claim that a fundamental right was being violated has to consider this reality.

Another issue that might be considered is the effects of British policy. For example, many colonists had hoped to settle west of the Appalachian Mountains following the French and Indian War. But their aspirations were crushed by the Proclamation of 1763, which banned colonial settlement west of the Appalachians.

On the other hand, the British undertook this measure in an effort to avoid endemic conflict with Native peoples, who would surely resist expansion. Also, the people most affected by this were large land speculators, not ordinary colonists. Still, this could be seen as a clumsy policy at best, one that did not acknowledge realities in the colonies.

If permissible, it might make sense to narrow the question down or to look at a British action that did, in fact, warrant armed resistance. Some might argue that the so-called "Intolerable Acts" passed after the Boston Tea Party were the point at which the colonists were justified in launching a revolution.

An excellent source for this activity would be the Declaration of Independence itself. The first, well-known part of the Declaration attempts to argue that the colonies are justified due to British violations of natural la and the social contract that binds people to government. But the most important part of the document in its own time was perhaps the list of grievances, each of which attempted to justify rebellion and independence.

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The American colonists had many grievances against the British government, but the straw that broke the camel's back fact that they were having laws made about their own lives without any representation in the British Parliament. The British government was passing laws and, in particular, levying heavy taxes against the colonists to fund their other efforts. Because of this, American colonists were paying exorbitant rates on imports like sugar, tea, paper products, and much more that would have been significantly cheaper in Britain. All the while, they had no voting power and no representation in Parliament and were essentially not true British citizens.

Because they were unable to elect anyone to Parliament, the colonists had absolutely no power to put anyone in place to change these laws. (Even if they did, the only people who were allowed to be elected were those that lived in Britain.) Therefore, they came up with the famous cry "No taxation without representation," essentially encapsulating the idea that they had no voice in the government and were being taxed without their consent. Because of this, they rebelled and began the Revolutionary War.

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The founders of the United States of America justified declaring independence from Great Britain in the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration states that the people of the Thirteen Colonies had suffered a "long train of abuses and usurpations" at the hands of the British government. They say that they repeatedly petitioned the Crown and the people of Great Britain to address these complaints but were denied each time. Since, according to the Declaration of Independence and notions of Enlightenment philosophy, a government's responsibility is to protect the rights of its citizens, and the British government has failed to do so, the people are justified in their rebellion.

The abuses that the founders cite range widely. They include the institution of taxes without the consent of the people and the lack of due trial. They also include more dire accusations such as sending mercenary armies to destroy their homes and murder them. All these things and more make the rebellion justifiable.

Of course, many people in the colonies felt that rebellion against the Crown was an immoral and treasonous act. However, the desire and motivations for independence and self-rule were strong enough to fuel a successful rebellion.

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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.

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