Why were the American Colonies able to gain independence? - American Colonies Essay Example
The American War for independence lasted for seven years (1775-1782); however, the colonies’ revolts started within the twelve years of the British government due to harsh imposition of taxes to the thirteen colonies in payment for the expenses of French and Indian War which ended in 1763) - Why were the American Colonies able to gain independence? introduction. During that period, victory over the British troops was almost impossible because the colonists did not have regular soldiers who were trained to defend the people; there were only militia men who volunteered to participate in the war who were mostly farmers.
Besides, British Empire was so strong with all its machineries and weaponry. Before the war, conflicts began as a civil war over colonial affairs which the Mother country refused to grant. Indeed, the thirteen colonies wanted independence from Great Britain in reprisal to British regulation on taxes and exploitation of the colonies. Rebellion enveloped the colonies because their conception of their status as colonies differed from the British conception of empire.
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Spielvogel explained that for British it was envisioned as a “single empire with parliament as the supreme authority throughout” which included the colonies. For Americans, empire would require “representative assemblies” which would prohibit any person/s to interfere in their internal affairs and would represent them before the British government. Due to conflict between the Americans and the British, crisis over crisis took place simultaneously.
Thus, hostility of American colonies to the mother country led to riots, boycotts of British goods, and later the declaration of American independence after one year from the onset of the war. The American Revolutionary war of independence was like a gamble for the American people because Great Britain was a “strong European military power with enormous financial resources” aside from internal division within the colonies which split up the effort to fight for independence; some remained loyalist to British and some became patriots.
History says that about 40 to 45% of the population was active revolutionaries or patriots; while 15 to 20% were loyalists to British. Similarly, since the Americans did not have a regular army, the early part of the revolution showed a major involvement of militia men each from the thirteen colonies who at several times were reluctant to go away from hometown to join one bigger force. However, the American’s victory in the war was attributed to several grounds that forced British government to surrender its control over the New England.
Likewise, the consolidated effort of all the colonies had just started after the second continental congress was put into place which ceded to the founding of an official army for the colonies known as the Continental Army with George Washington as the commander in chief. Within the thirteen colonies, the continental army led the fight along with groups of militia armies whose separate actions had brought great impact in the revolutionary government. In the beginning, continental army showed little commitment; however, through the second congress, all militiamen were united under one army called the continental army.
How the independence was gained The victory on the side of the Americans in gaining independence from Great Britain in more than seven years was attributed to several factors of which led to the acknowledgement of few of the American heroes especially George Washington. First among the reasons was the participation of the militiamen in the war; second is the courage and heroism of George Washington; third is the support and involvement of French in the war for independence; fourth is Great Britain’s wavering support of the war; and the last is the unifying desires of the colonies to gain independence.
Undeniably, the early combatants of the revolution were consisted of armies, militias and mercenaries who served as the local army of each of the colonies to defend their territories. Before Washington came into the scene, these men were already fighting in defense of their colonies. Besides, the first war that broke out was kicked off by the rebels in Massachusetts which General Thomas Gage considered a revolt. Several other American militias were encountered in other places of the colonies. These revolts apparently revealed the strength of the militiamen and also the “weaknesses of the British position. Militiamen and mercenaries were skilled in their own way which was evident in many victories they obtained. Accordingly, while British army took control of the coastal areas, American militiamen seized inland territories. In many encounters, militiamen were sometimes effectual against regular troops. It is stated, “American militia were sometimes adept at partisan warfare, and were particularly effective at suppressing loyalist activity when British regulars were not in the area. ” According to Caroll and Baxter, the colonial militiamen learned their warfare skills from their enemies.
Northern America prior to the arrival of European contacts, for native peoples, battles had been common in such a way that tribal leaders did not exercise control over warriors. Carroll and Baxter emphasized that the natives’ way of war was deadly for their training in fights was in deep forest. Because of their perception that their survival was at stake, they “organized militias based on the English model. ” In which case, their training was extremely dangerous. History acknowledged that militiamen made a significant contribution in the war.
Despite their lack of modern training, in one of their fights, militiamen “played a role in defeating Gen John Burgoyne’s army in northern New York (1777) and during the British southern campaign toward the end of the war. ” This was one of the reasons why at times the American troops lost several wars in separate areas. However, at a given time, Washington, being the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, found it difficult to command and unite militiamen for some reasons, which were his formidable problems.
Although the militiamen had been proven skilled at various mercenaries tactics, their beliefs usually caused them to disunite and disagree with Washington. Militiamen believed that they could gain victory even without “a permanent professional army. ” Washington acknowledged that handling militiamen in some occasions was proven complicated; militia troops from different colonies were unwilling to serve away from their territory much more to participate in the Continental Army with other militiamen. Aside from that, these militiamen were serving for just short periods of time resulting to inadequacy in terms of number of army in the fight.
Also, their rebellious attitude hampers several commands to push through. What have been mentioned were some of the problems with militiamen in the war for independence; however, their contribution to the success of the Americans really proved their ability in the war. George Washington’s unwavering courage, military tactics, and patience have proven to be significant in the attainment of independence for the Americans. The difficulty of handling militiamen to remain in the post as well as leading the war with only 17,000 men against the British army of about 250,000 military trained men did not bother him to retreat and secure himself.
Basically, Washington was able to tap his men’s special ability in the war and utilized them for their advantages. The small number of men that he had did not hamper him to fight the most able men from the British army of which 30,000 were German mercenaries who were known to be cruel and merciless. Washington faced scarcity of support both in armaments and foods, yet he sustained the war until it ended in 1782. Another factor that led to the declaration of independence in 1776 was French contribution in the war which strengthened the American force.
Carroll and Baxter implied that without French aid of the war, absolute independence would be impossible. They quoted, “it was American professional forces fighting European-type battles as well as the significant aid from France that led to the victory over Britain. ” Lastly, the greatest factor for the signing of independence in 1776 was the Americans’ firm convinction to exercise their right as nation under one free government. Thus, it is stated in the unanimous declaration of the thirteen united states of America, We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men. ” All started with rebellion of each colony due to long pressures brought by unfair regulations of the British government over the colonies. And due to misrepresentation to the government, the Americans had endured exploitative treatment which caused them to commit hostile actions against Great Britain.
Again, the written declaration stated that condition, in which it says, “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. ” Conclusion Indeed, American independence in 1776 was considered one of the important historical events for the American people. Basically, it was their patriotic spirit that compelled them to fight in order to live and exercise their rights under one government free from manipulations of other country.