Enlightenment And American War Of Independent
Britain ‘s 13 North American colonies matured during the 1700s. They grew in population, economic strength, and cultural attainment. They were experienced in self-government. Yet it was not until 170 years after the founding of the first permanent settlement at Jamestown, Virginia, that the new United States of America emerged as a nation.
Role of Spain and France
Decisive help came in 1778, when France recognized the United States and signed a bilateral defense treaty. French government decided to support Americans in the war against British. Spain officially entered was in 1779 and supported Americans
Role of Blacks
The blacks were the slaves of British master and they were also the once who were suffering from the hands of British. George Washington asked for their help in war and promised them to be freed after the victory. Approximately 5000 black supported America in the war.
Mercantilism is economic nationalism for the purpose of building a wealthy and powerful state. Adam smith coined the term “Mercantile system” to describe the system of political economy that enriched the country by restraining imports and encouraging exports. The goal was to achieve a “favorable” balance of trade that would bring gold and silver into the country, and maintain domestic employment.
This was a famous economic theory which was used by British to exploit its colonies. According to this theory ―the colonies only existed for the benefit of their mother countries. Mercantilism was a cause of frequent Europeans wars during 16th to 18th century and some schools of thought even suggest that mercantilism was one of the supreme causes which led the colonies to fight for their independence. Few important acts passed in mercantilism are as follow
- Navigation Act of 1651
This act stated that all the goods that were carried to England will now only be carried in British owned ships.
- Enumerated Act of 1660
This act imposed ban on the colonies export. Now the commodities such as sugar, cotton, tobacco and dyes were only to be exported to either England or its colonies only.
- Staple Act of 1663
These act provided that all the European exports to American colonies must be brought to English port and be reshipped after the payment of duty.
- Duty Act of 1673
This act aim at the enforcement of all earlier acts through the services of custom collectors
- Enforcement Act of 1696
This act provided strict measures for checking smuggling and all the colonial ship were now necessarily to be registered in England.
- Molasses Act 1733
This Act imposed ban on the import of French West Indian molasses into the English colonies.
- The Sugar Act of 1764
The Sugar Act of 1764 placed taxes on luxury goods, including coffee, silk, and wine, and made import of rum illegal.
- The Currency Act of 1764
The Currency Act of 1764 prohibited the printing of paper money in the colonies.
- The Quartering Act of 1765
The Quartering Act of 1765 forced colonists to provide food and housing for royal troops.
- The Stamp Act of 1765
The Stamp Act of 1765 required the purchase of royal stamps for all legal documents, newspapers, licenses, and leases. Colonists objected to all these measures, but the Stamp Act sparked the greatest organized resistance.
Other Causes of War of Independence
- Letters of Samuel Adams
Samuel Adams of Massachusetts was the most effective and influential person. He wrote newspaper articles, made speeches and wrote letters to the politicians and influential persons appealing to the colonists‘ democratic instincts. He helped organize committees throughout the colonies that became the basis of a revolutionary movement
- French Indian War
War between Britain and France in 1754-1763 was fought partly in North America. Britain was victorious and soon initiated policies designed to control and fund its vast empire. These measures imposed greater restraints on the American colonists‘ way of life.
- Royal Proclamation of 1763
The Royal Proclamation of 1763 restricted the opening of new lands for settlement. This also prohibited the westward expansion of colonies toward Appalachian Mountains.
- The Coercive Act/ Intolerable Act
Certain acts were passed, banning the manufacturing of goods in colonies;
- The Hat Act
- Iron Act
- Woolen Act
Self-government produced local political leaders, and these were the men who worked together to defeat what they considered to be oppressive acts of Parliament. After they succeeded, their coordinated campaign against Britain ended. Their goal was not accommodation, but independence.
- Great Awakening
This religious movement was started by Jonathan Edward in 1730 to 1740 which laid stress on unity of the 13 colonies. This truly was the 1st event in American history which made them realized that they can be united.
- Boston Tea Party
British government impose ban on production of tea in the 13 colonies and impose the 3rd tax on tea and forced the colonies to buy 17 million pounds of unsold tea of British East India Company to overcome the losses.
- British Action on Massachusetts
In December, a group of men sneaked into to three British ships in Boston harbor and dumped their cargo of tea overboard. To punish Massachusetts for the vandalism, the British Parliament closed the port of Boston and restricted local authority.
- 1st Continental Conference
British action on Massachusetts was strictly condemned by other colonies. All the colonies except Georgia sent representatives to Philadelphia in September 1774 to discuss their ―present unhappy state and draw their future policy against the atrocities of the British imperial power.
- 2nd Continental Conference
The Congress met on May 10, 1776, in the State House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is now called Independence Hall. The Second Continental Congress decided many important things.
- Completely break away from Great Britain.
- Officially put the colonies in a state of defense.
- Form an army called the American Continental Army.
- Congress officially appointed George Washington as commander-in-chief of the army.
- Decided to print paper money.
The Second Continental Congress was one of the most important government meetings in the history of the United States of America. It decided some of the most important ideas that the colonists fought for in the Revolutionary War, because, at that meeting, members of the Second Continental Congress wrote and signed The Declaration of Independence.
- Declaration of Independence
The Second Continental Congress appointed a committee, headed by Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, to prepare a document outlining the colonies‘ grievances against the king and explaining their decision to break away. This Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776. The 4th of July has since been celebrated as America’s Independence Day.
- Common Sense by Thomas
Paine Thomas Paine crystallizes the argument for separation in a pamphlet called Common Sense, which sold 100,000 copies. Paine discussed two main points in his pamphlet Independence as the will of people Revolution as the device of liberty and happiness
- Sons of Liberty
Sons of Liberty was a political organization which opposed the stamp act and marched out on the streets shouting Liberty, Property and No Stamp.
- Boston Massacre
2nd march 1970, a large crowd gathered and protested against the government. The soldiers opened fire on the crowd which resulted in death of three and many were injured. This incidence created a sense of ill felling and hatred towards the British Government.
- The Treaty of Paris
The Treaty of Paris acknowledged the independence, freedom, and sovereignty of the 13 former American colonies, now states. The boundaries of 13 colonies were set and the issue of access to the Mississippi river was settled between Great Britain and America. This treaty also removed any chance of war with France.
Problems in Formation of National Government
The 13 American colonies became the 13 United States of America in 1783, following their war for independence from Britain. Before the war ended, they ratified a framework for their common efforts. These Articles of Confederation provided for a union, but an extremely loose and fragile one. George Washington called it a “rope of sand.”
- No Constitution
- No common currency;
- No national military force;
- Little centralized control over foreign policy
- No national system for imposing and collecting taxes.
- Differences between Federalist and Anti-federalist.
- Foreign Policy
- Economic Weakness
- Powers and election of president
Federalist vs. Anti Federalist
- Strong Federation
- Representation according to
- No need of Bill of Rights
- Wanted to Ratify the Constitution
- Property and land should be
- managed by aristocrats
- Strong States
- Equal Representation
- In favor of Bill of Rights
- Opposed Constitution because
- wanted more powers for state
- Equal distribution of wealth
Questions on war of independence
- ―The American War of Independence was a revolt against Mercantilism.‖ Discuss. (CSS 2006)
- Describe the reasons that lead to the war of Independence. What part did the dislike of mercantilism play in this war? (CSS 2008)
- The American Revolution was the child of Enlightenment. Comment. (CSS 2003)
- Some American historians insist that the American Revolution was a social upheaval as well as a political revolt. Discuss the social and economic results of the Revolutionary years. (CSS 2005)
- The American first war with the Britain made them independent; the second made them a formidable power. Discuss. (CSS 2012)