“Despite the view of some historians that the conflict between Great Britain and its thirteen North American colonies was economic in origin, in fact the American Revolution had its roots in politics and other areas of American life. ” Great Britain and the American colonies had a relationship impacted with many hardships. I believe that there was a political struggle between the two groups, but that Great Britain and the American colonies used economics as a chance to show how much control they had.
Multiple Acts written by Parliament, the colonies’ Committees of Correspondence and Continental Congress created political friction between Great Britain and the American colonies. One example of the power struggle was the arguments over taxes. The Sugar Act of 1764, Quartering Act of 1765, the Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend Acts of 1767 are examples of how the British tried to maintain a sense of control over the colonies. The colonists reacted very strongly against having to follow these Acts and pay fines for virtually everything.
Sugar, tea, stamps, glass, paper, along with other items seemed outrageous to the American people, and it led to the argument over virtual representation. The colonists argued that while Parliament had control over the empire, making decisions that affected the colonies alone was unjust. There weren’t any American representatives in Parliament, therefore putting something onto the colonies (like the Acts) was unacceptable to the Americans. “Taxation without Representation” became the motto among colonists.
Even if there had been American members of Parliament though they wouldn’t have had any effect in the long run. England was of the mindset that you couldn’t separate taxation and legislation. The usage of the taxes was an attempt for both sides at gaining power. Britain tried to use it as a controlling mechanism, and the colonies tried to use it for more freedom and to show that the powerful England could in turn be controlled. As most power struggles went between the two it only managed to make the situation worse.
A group that helped prove the point that it was not merely economics that separated England from its offspring was the Committees of Correspondence. They created a political separation because they were a threat to England. They intentionally gathered and planned to try and change the way England controlled America. The Committees of Correspondence focused on creating propaganda around issues involving Great Britain. They stirred up resistance against England and helped encourage the population to turn on their mother country.
They had multiple groups in the nation, one main organization per state, and the groups exchanged ideas with each other. Not only did it create separation and tension between Britain and the colonies by making propaganda, but it was a way for the very separate and independent-feeling states to work together and form an alliance just strong enough to go up against England in the upcoming years during the revolution. Another event that shows that the separation was more than economic, was the Continental Congress of 1774.
This was not aimed towards a total rebellion and revolution, but towards an attempt to seal the cracks that had begun to spread between England and the American colonies. This group of twelve of the thirteen colonies wanted to make a point and get the taxation laws repealed at the same time. They created The Association document, which called for a complete boycott of British goods in the colonies. Those who resisted the Association were tarred and feathered.
They also made a Declaration of Rights among other dignified papers, as an attempt to regain some of the peace they had before the taxation Acts began to spring up. The fact that differences and frictions between the individual colonies were pushed aside to formally appeal to England proves that they were serious about what they wanted and that they weren’t going to let the ruling power get in their way. They didn’t originally want to separate from England, they wanted to be understood and listened to.
Unfortunately, their requests were rejected, and once again the tension rose. The friction of politics had once again added distance to the already large gap. England and its North American colonies didn’t get along when it came to the Acts, Committees of Correspondence, and the Continental Congress. While some were indeed about economics, the fact that both nations had political groups and different ideas on what was “fair” played a very important role in the revolution. Politics are the very reason that Americans are not Britons today.
Cite this The Conflict Between Great Britain and the North American Colonies
The Conflict Between Great Britain and the North American Colonies. (2017, Jan 11). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-conflict-between-great-britain-and-the-north-american-colonies/