Independence of America from Britain
As the colonists began to settle in colonies in America. They grew families, their needs changed and they progressed. As they move forward, they realized that their needs are different from the British back then. All the laws were made by the British and they had no representation in the parliament. Kind George Greenville posed restrictions on growing colonies and said that people living in these colonies are not giving any taxes. He imposed a tax on even sugar and paper making it difficult to buy daily items at a low price. Every legal and illegal decision was taken for them by the British which made them furious.
Mercantilism is a word coined by a famous economist and philosopher “Adam smith to describe a system that is used to build a strong political economy of the state by restraining imports and encouraging exports. The goal is to achieve such a balance of trade that would bring gold and silver into the country . This is a famous economy theory used by the British to exploit their colonies. According to it colonies only existed for the benefit of their mother countries”
Mercantilism was the main reason behind the independence of America. Due to mercantilism, frequent wars during the 16th century took place. Many colonies fought for their independence. Some of the acts passed in mercantilism are as follows
Enumerated Act of 1660
This act put a ban on exports. Now the commodities from the colonies were to be exported to either England or its colonies only.
Navigation Act of 1651
The goods carried to England will now only be carried in British owned ships.
Duty Act of 1673
This act provided strict measures of checking to smuggle and that all colonial ships to be registered in England
The Currency Act 1764
This act prohibited printing of paper money in the colonies
Enforcement Act of 1696
This act made the implementation of all acts through the services of custom collectors.
The Stamp Act 1765
This act required the purchase of royal stamps for all the legal documents, newspapers, licenses and leases.
These acts sparked great resistance by the colonists.
Molasses Act of 1733
Ban of import of French, west and Indian molasses into English colonies.
The Quartering Act 1765
Forced colonists to provide food and housing for Royal troops.
Others Causes of Independence of America
Royal Proclamation (1763)
The Royal proclamation restricts the opening of new lands for settlement. This also prohibited the westward expansion of colonies towards the Appalachian Mountains.
French Britain War/French Indian war
The war between Britain and France in 1754-1763 was fought partly in North America. Britain won the war and soon initiated policies designed to control and fund its vast empire. These measures imposed greater restraint on the American colonists’ way of life.
Boston Tea party
British put a ban on the production of tea in 13 colonies and forced to buy 7 Million pounds tea from Britain that was unsold to fulfill the loss (Tea was of British East India Company)
British action on Massachusetts
This incident happened in December when few men sneaked into 3 British ships in Boston harbor and dumped their cargo of tea into the sea. This incident arose a lot of anger inside the British people and they decided to punish Massachusetts for vandalism. The British parliament closed the port of Boston and restricted local authority.
On 2nd March 1770, a large crowd gathered to protest against the government. The soldiers opened fire and resulted in the death of three. This created further ill-feeling towards the British government.
British action in Massachusetts was strictly condemned by other colonies as well. After facing many brutalities and restrictions, colonies finally decided to seek change and in 1774, continental congress was formed in Colonial America.
1st Continental Conference
All colonies sent their representatives to Philadelphia to discuss the unhappy state and draw policies against the atrocities of British power.
2nd continental conference
On May 10, 1776, congress met in the statehouse in Pennsylvania which is now called’ Independence Hall’.
The second conference mainly decided to
- Complete break away from Great Britain
- Officially put colonies in the state of defense
- Form an army called the American continental army
- Decided to print paper money
The 2nd continental conference appointed a committee headed by Thomas Jefferson of Virginia to prepare a document of the grievances of colonists against the King and explaining the decision to break away. The document was accepted on July 4. 1776 and the day is now called Independence Day of America.
In the same month, the British sent 34,000 troops to New York. In August, Howe (General of the British army) routed his army to Island. Washington was forced to evacuate its troops from New York but Washington fought back. British defeated America at Brandywine creek and entered Philadelphia on 25th September.
During the long hard winter, Washington troops benefitted from the training of military officer, Baron sent by French. In June 1778, British forces under Sir Henry Clinton attempted to withdraw from Philadelphia to New York. The battle ended in a draw as Americans held their ground. In 1781, American triumphed at York town as British general surrendered.
Treaty of Paris
On September 1783 independence of America was finalized after the Treaty of Paris was signed. Treaty of Paris acknowledged the independence and sovereignty of 13 colonies, now called the States of America.