The Grievances of the Colonists

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Why did the colonists feel they were treated unfairly?

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The colonists felt that the British weren’t treating them fairly. The colonists were very concerned about the tax laws that were being passed. The colonists were upset that the British Parliament passed the Stamp Act and the Townshend Acts without the colonists having representatives in Parliament to speak about and to vote on these proposed laws. In Great Britain, citizens have representatives that can vote on proposed taxes. The colonists were British citizens, yet they didn’t have representatives in Parliament that could vote on these proposed tax laws.

The colonists felt the British weren’t being fair to them by passing the Proclamation of 1763. The colonists wanted to own land. They saw the land the British got from France as a result of winning the French and Indian War as a great opportunity to get land. This law prevented that from happening since the colonists were prevented from moving west of the Appalachian Mountains. To make matters worse, the British required the colonists to providing housing for the British troops that were enforcing this unpopular law.

The Boston Massacre also upset the colonists. The colonists didn’t like the way the British soldiers were treating them. When the British soldiers fired shots and killed five colonists, the colonists were very concerned. As time went on, relations became more strained between the colonists and the British.

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Why did the colonists feel the British were oppressing them? 

In some ways, the American colonists felt that the British were oppressing them because the British actually were doing so.  One example of this would be the Massachusetts Government Act, in which the British essentially took away any right of self-government from the people of the various towns in that colony and gave the governor (appointed by the British) the right to take complete control.  It is not hard to see this as an act of oppression.

In another way, the American colonists felt that the British were oppressing them because the British were acting differently than they had been in previous times.  Before the French and Indian War, the British had more or less left the colonists alone.  They had not really taxed the colonists much and they had not strictly enforced their laws about things like trade.  The Americans had gotten used to being left to rule themselves.  When the British took more control, the Americans felt oppressed even though what the British were doing (taxing, enforcing laws) was not really all that oppressive.

These were the main reasons for which the American colonists felt oppressed in the years leading up to the Revolution.

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