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What were some reasons for the growing distrust between the American colonies and England during the colonial period?

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By the mid 1760s, when tensions between the British and the Americans began coming to a head, many American colonists had been born in America and had never set foot in England—nor had their parents or grandparents. Ties had grown looser, and many Americans identified with the only homeland they and their parents had ever known, not the mother country. Further, by the mid-eighteenth century, many of the colonists weren't even British. Descendants of Dutch settlers remained in New York after the British annexed the colony from Holland, and in Pennsylvania, a sizable minority of immigrants were Swiss and Germans escaping religious persecution. As a result, many "British" subjects felt their loyalties had little connection with England and sided with American interests when these came into conflict with British interests.

Further, the successful end of the French and Indian War with a British victory meant that the French no longer posed a threat on the borders of the colonies. Americans had relied on a British military presence to protect them from possible takeover by the French, but once that threat was removed, the Americans saw little purpose in having the British around at all.

At the same time, Britain was tightening up on its enforcement of tariffs and trying to raise taxes on the Americans to help pay for the costly French and Indian War. Although the war had benefitted them, the Americans had no interest in paying for it. As their economic interests and their sense of ethnicity diverged, the Americans and British began to distrust each other, with Americans especially distrusting the intentions of the more powerful mother country with its immense navy. Eventually, by the mid-1770s, tensions rose to such a pitch that the Americans revolted against British rule.

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There were several layers of tensions between those living in colonial America and the ruling class of England. Firstly, the aristocracy and governing individuals in colonial America sought to rule over their colonies with less interference and oversight from England. Wealthier merchants and settlers became increasingly frustrated with rising taxation of goods imposed by England. Bacon's Rebellion marked a popular style uprising of farmers and settlers against colonial rulers loyal to British rule, as the settlers demanded a racist and colonial war against indigenous people in order to expand settlements. England was not invested in a war with indigenous tribes, while many settlers were personally invested in expansion west of the Appalachian mountains.

The years of revolt against British loyalists in the colonies that followed Bacon's Rebellion ramped up tensions between loyalists and the English and settlers and American colonial rulers who sought more independent power. Before the events of the Boston Massacre of 1770, tensions were already at a dangerous high, and when the massacre occurred at the hands of British soldiers, tensions solidified into a trajectory of war against England. Anti-British propaganda from ruling colonial aristocrats and aspiring politicians eager to seize state power was widely distributed. The ruling American class sought to harness settler frustrations to raise an army against British rule.

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Tension between the American colonies and England increased during the colonial period for reasons that were largely economic and also involved the Americans’ resentment of the oppression they felt under rule by a remote British government that no longer represented their interests. Because the British ruled from a distance and did not understand the needs of the young and emerging region, the distrust between the two increased. That the British no longer viewed the people residing in the colonies as their countrymen can be seen in the 1770 Boston Massacre. A fight broke out between an unruly group of American civilians, and British soldiers opened fire. Although resentment had been simmering, this was a galvanizing factor that helped the Americans rally support to overthrow the British.

Moreover, the British economy was mired in debt in the 1760s, which led the British Parliament to impose several taxes on the colonies to help repay the debt. These included the Stamp Act of 1765, which imposed taxes on nearly all paper products in use, and the Townshend Acts of 1767, which taxed paint, paper, glass, lead, and tea.

Although taxes increased, the Americans did not get an increased say in the laws governing the colonies. In protest against “taxation without representation,” they staged the Boston Tea Party in 1773, throwing more than 340 barrels of imported British tea into the harbor. It was a critical point in their fight against the oppressive British rule.

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Tensions between the mother country and the American colonies worsened in the period after 1763, which marked the end of the French-Indian War and marked a British shift away from the British policy of salutary neglect.  The colonists did not feel that Parliament represented their best interests and they felt that they should not have to pay what they considered to be an excessive amount of British taxes.  The colonists also resented the British limiting them to the area east of the Appalachian mountains with the Proclamation Line of 1763; the colonists did not feel as though the Native Americans should be rewarded for their contribution to the British war effort.  The colonists also resented the tax collectors and military presence in the colonies.

British officials did not trust the colonists either.  To them, the colonists were scofflaws who did not want to pay their fair share of taxes--after all, the colonists were direct beneficiaries of the redcoat presence in the Americas.  The colonists had long received money from smuggling and dodging navigation acts which benefited the British crown.  British citizens in London paid more in taxes than the British subjects in the Americas.  Also, Parliament claimed that it did not represent anyone directly but rather it spoke for the good of the entire realm.  

Another event that brought the issue to a head was an economic recession in America that took place after the French-Indian War.  The colonists were trying to keep as much money as possible at home, and the British needed to replenish the royal coffers after constant warfare with France.  

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