American history has been characterized by many wars and conflicts in different eras that are caused by various factors. However, some wars and conflicts are more significant due to their impacts. American revolutionary war is one such conflict that stands out among the other wars which have been taking place.
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The war which is also known as the American War of Independence took place in the eighteenth century from” the year ‘1775 -1783” as stated by Peterson . It involved Great Britain against the thirteen colonies of Britain in the northern part of America. On the same note, it is known as revolutionary war because it marked the overthrowing of British rule by the thirteen American colonies.
The war started when the revolutionaries took control over various governments of the thirteen colonies after establishing a Continental Congress. Following the formation of the Continental Army, independence was declared a year after leading to the creation of United States of America. With that background in mind, this paper shall discus more on the revolutionary war and narrow down to the causes of the same.
As much as the war was between the colonists and the Americans, some European powers and Native Americans as well as the African Americans were also involved (Kennedy, Bailey and Bailey 2009). Europeans were always on the side of the Americans but the natives and African Americans used to support either side. Although the British army was superior, they were only able to invade and capture cities along the coastal region. Countryside invasion was impossible because the British army was too small compared to the Americans.
At the beginning of the year 1778, France joined hands with the colonists and started to fight against the Britain and after two years, Spain and Netherlands also became allies of France as stated by Kennedy, Bailey and Bailey “The colonists kept their flickering cause alive with secret aid until 1778 when France formed an alliance with them following the decisive American victory over General John Burgoyne at Saratoga in 1777”.
With such strong forces, British surrendered in 1781 at a place known as Yorktown and two year latter, America became a sovereign nation after the establishment of the Treaty of Paris.
Causes of the Revolutionary War
The Controversy on Tax
There were many reasons that made America to revolt against British rule but tax controversy was a major factor. Since British was determined to increase the revenue and cater for its defense, it resolved to achieve its goal by maximizing on the revenue from the colonies. Some acts were established like the Sugar Act which was established in the year 1764.
It allowed for the imposing of molasses duty imported from other sources except British to be reduced and the duty on refined sugar to be increased. Other policies which were established in America were meant to limit the economic growth like the withdrawal of the paper currency.
Although the colonies had accepted earlier acts, the Stamp Act established in 1765 was not readily accepted. In view of the fact that it was a duty that affected colonies directly being imposed by the parliament, it lead to a lot of controversies especially because it affected people who were vey influential like the writers and the journalists.
Although the mater was taken to court, it could not succeed because during the appeal period, parliament ensured that it had passed another act allowing it be the legislature of all the colonies. As a result, the situation increased the tension between the colonies and the British government which was insensitive to the rights of the colonies.
Constitution Differences between the Colonies and the British Government
Differences developed between colonists and the Britain especially concerning the constitution. For instance, on the issue concerning taxes, Americans were not supposed to be taxed without their own approval but because they were not well represented in the parliament, it was not possible for them, to influence such laws.
In addition, other Americans started to doubt whether the parliament had the power to be the legislature of all the thirteen colonies. Some writers like James Wilson wrote publications on the same idea of the power of the British parliament over the colonies but were able to publish the same work in 1770s.
Once the case of under presentation was represented to the British Government, they decided that representation was balanced since a lot of British citizens never had a chance to vote. The case was therefore not solved because the British government believed that the Americans were already protected by a law of rights and in addition, anything that was done in American could also have be done in Britain.
Although Americans wanted to be independent, British took them as their children and did not expect them to revolt against their rule. As the tension continued to increase, the same also lead to the Boston massacre which was a violent case that took place in 1770s. It involved the colonists and the British soldiers and a similar case also took place in New York when the colonists decided to rebel against the Quartering troops of the British.
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The British continued to come up with other acts and laws which were meant to oppress the colonists. As a result, Americans desire to be independent continued to increase each day. The colonists found it increasingly hard to tolerate such acts and that is the reason why they were referred to as the intolerable acts.
A perfect example of the same happens to be the Boston Port Bill which was a punishment to the people of Boston for revolting. It was aimed at affecting the trade in the area in response to the tea which was dumped in the same place. Consequently, Americans continued to question why they were supposed to be loyal to British which continuously oppressing and mistreating them.
The revolution war in America was not as a result of a single factor but was caused by many events resulting from the poor relationship between the thirteen colonies and the American government as illustrated by the following extract,
The colonists’ road to independence started with a series of escalating boycotts and protests. When Britain tried to tax legal documents, colonists rioted. When they taxed tea, Americans dumped a shipment of tea in Boston Harbor.
Since their problems continued to increase, some representatives hailing from the thirteen colonies gathered together and decided to try presenting their petition to the king. The declaration for independence which illustrated that Americans had equal rights and that it was their right to be independent and to be free was drafted for the fist time by Jefferson.
One of its key messages states that “The people of these colonies consider themselves as British Subjects entitled to all rights and Privilege of Freemen”. Although the American Revolution had great impacts, the results were positive because at the end of it all, Americans became independent.
Britannica Educational Publishing. The American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812: People, Politics, and Power. Nerw York : The Rosen Publishing Group, 2009.
Kennedy, David M., Thomas A. Bailey, and Thomas Bailey. The American Spirit: United States History As Seen by Contemporaries. Stamford: Cengage Learning, 2009.
Peterson, Clarence Stewart. Known Military Dead During the American Revolutionary War, 1775-1783. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Com, 1990.
Thacher, James. A military journal during the American Revolutionary War, from 1775 to 1783 . Washington: Cottons & Barnard, 1827.
- Stewart ,Clarence, Peterson,. Known Military Dead During the American Revolutionary War, 1775-1783. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Com, 1990 pp. 7.
- David, Kennedy, M., Bailey, Thomas, A. and Bailey, Thomas. The American Spirit: United States History As Seen by Contemporaries. Stamford: Cengage Learning, 2009 pp. 148.
- Stewart ,Clarence, Peterson,. Known Military Dead During the American Revolutionary War, 1775-1783. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Com, 1990 pp. 9.
- Britannica Educational Publishing. The American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812: People, Politics, and Power. Nerw York : The Rosen Publishing Group, 2009 pp. 11.
- Thacher, James. A military journal during the American Revolutionary War, from 1775 to 1783 . Washington: Cottons & Barnard, 1827 pp. 12.