Capital Punishment – an Ideology of Revolution

From 1763, throughout the mid-1770’s an ideology of revolution began to evolve throughout the thirteen American colonies. Many factors contributed to the formation of this ideology, including Salutary Neglect, the Boston Massacre, and the British tax policy. In the early 1700’s the British neglected the colonists because neglect served the British economic interests better than strict enforcement. The colonies prospered as did their trade with Britain, without much government interference. But, at the end of the French and Indian war, British leaders reevaluated their relationship with the colonies; because of conflicts between Great Britain and the colonies during the war, ending the policy of salutary neglect and proposing reforms and new taxes.

The war had left Great Britain deeply in debt and the British viewed American prosperity as a resource and taxing the colonies as a means to relieve British debt. More and more Americans were convinced that British politicians were deliberately robbing them of their personal independence through taxation. The Stamp Act of 1765 which required the colonists to buy and place revenue stamps on all official legal documents, deeds, newspapers, pamphlets, dice, and playing cards, left the colonists alarmed and the educated colonists mounted an ideological attack on the new British policies.

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The colonists believed that the Stamp Act was an attempt by Britain to seize control of taxation from the representative colonial assemblies and to tax the colonists without giving them representation in government; “taxation without While confrontations over taxes and reforms were serious, the bonds uniting the colonies and Britain were still strong. An American diplomat declared in 1769 that the British ministry should “Repeal the laws, Renounce the Right, Recall the troops, Refund the money, and return to the old method of requisition.” This solution would have required parliament to renounce its claims to sovereign power in America and was almost unthinkable given its quest for authority.

Moreover, violent acts such as the Boston Massacre, inwhich soldiers fired at colonists after some boys threw ice at a sentry guarding the Customs House; killing an African American named Crispus Attucks and four other colonists, showed how difficult it would be to achieve any peaceful constitutional compromise. These main factors as well as many others, played into the hands of those Americans who wanted independence. They saw the British as corrupt, immoral, and power hungry and they felt they needed to take a stand against the pattern of enslavement they saw in these actions. They did not see themselves as radicals or revolutionaries; they were simply protecting their way of life, their land, and their households. Thus brought about the formation of the ideology for a revolution.

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Capital Punishment – an Ideology of Revolution. (2018, Oct 08). Retrieved from