Road to the American Revolution
The road to the American Revolution was difficult and full of hardships. Having won the war for the new lands, Great Britain experienced the disobedience of its new subjects that did not want to play according to the rules imposed on them. American colonists initiated the long-term struggle for freedom and political and economic independence. They had serious doubts in the legitimacy of the British ruling. Therefore, American colonists demanded the wide range of economic self-government, ignoring the virtual representation and developing their own arguments for independence.
The Reasons of the Conflict between the colonial America and Great Britain
During the period of 1763-1775, Great Britain provided the policy that limited colonists liberty in their actions and their possibilities.
In 1763, the Treaty of Paris put the end to the Seven Years War. According to it, France was deprived of its lands in North America. The war activities between France and Indians provided conditions that were more profitable to Great Britain. In fact, the union of Great Britain, native Indians, and colonists opposed France. Then first conflicts appeared. Indians protested against seizing their area by colonists who had British support. As a result, the Native American inhabitants attacked British troops in North America. In 1763, the Proclamation was declared, restricting colonists possibilities to take new lands. This document led to the wave of protests among colonists. In 1764, the British Parliament adopted the Sugar Act. It imposed the increase of taxes on refined sugar that American businessmen purchased from non-British suppliers. In March 1765, the Stamp Act was adopted. According to it, all newspapers and official documents were to be printed on the special watermarked paper. In fact, this legislation imposed additional taxes on the colonists. Rebels joined the Loyal Nine and the Sons of Liberty organizations that led the struggle against the British restrictions. They demanded repealing the legislation. The conflict reached its maximum when American businessmen refused to buy British goods. This step caused significant losses on the British trade.
In 1766, the Quartering Act was adopted. The British Parliament threatened to deprive the colonies of their self-government in case of their disobedience. Townshend duties led to development of the conflict. In 1773, Tea Act, supporting British East India Company, caused the wave of revolts. The Boston massacre was the culminating event in the struggle of colonial America and Great Britain. Colonists opposed the restrictions by boycotts of all British goods. The British part intended to win the game by force. In 1774, Coercive Acts supposed the severe punishment of rebels. As a result, the Committees of correspondence appeared that became the centers of the struggle for independence.
In 1775, battles of Lexington and Concord became the starting point of the American Revolutionary War. Being the war for economical independence from Great Britain, this war was against slavery as well.
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Virtual Representation of 1775
Virtual Representation of 1775 is an American political cartoon. It describes the real attitude of American colonists towards the political position of Great Britain.
In the picture, Lord Bute is directing his blunderbuss onto an American colonist. A member of the British Parliament tells him I give you this mans money for my use. The colonist responses that he was not robbed. In the top corner of the cartoon, a viewer can see the image of Boston in fire.
This cartoon suggests the relationships between American colonies and the British Parliament. In fact, colonists never took part in the elections of the British legislators. Nevertheless, King George III stated that the Parliament protected colonists interests through virtual representation. As a result, colonists were not satisfied with that treatment that caused their opposing.
Deep analysis of all the legislations, adopted by the British Parliament to regulate British-American trade, demonstrates that they were not beneficial to the colonies. The royal authorities tried to control their colonies and obtain profits by imposing extra taxes. The Sugar Act, the Stamp Act, the Tea Act, and the Coercive Acts are the bright examples of the British intensions.
Realizing this fact, colonists claim that only actual representation in the British House of Commons would make their legislations valid. British officials responded that the Parliament settled all the British subjects affairs, ignoring their location. The British did not elect all their representatives in the Parliament. King George III chose about 50 officials to solve political and economic challenges in the Parliament. The virtual representation of the British existed. Therefore, the virtual representation of the American colonies existed as well. The above-mentioned position was adopted as the only true one.
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Thomas Paines Arguments for Independence
Thomas Paine suggested several arguments for American independence. Starting with general ideas about the authorities and religion, he initiated the discussion of the unique state of affairs of the American colonies.
First, Thomas Paine compared the government and the community. He claimed that community is positive and beneficial, being the union of people. The specific goal of the government is to protect its citizens against their faults. Having its roots in the evil, the government is the best representation of that evil. The sole aim of the authorities is guaranteeing its citizens rights to life, liberty, and property. Therefore, its activities should be evaluated according to its fulfillment of these goals. Then Paine focuses on the category of monarchy . Thomas Paine wrote that the king is not to be trusted without being looked after. He discussed the right to inherit the power to manage other people. Citing the Bible, he stated that God did not like the idea of initiating monarchy. Nevertheless, people wanted to have rulers. Therefore, God allowed them to have them. Paine stated that people chose kings, but not their children. Therefore, the inherited power is not valid.
Responding his opponents arguments, Paine claimed that American colonies did not need the British support. Great Britain strives for meeting its own interests and obtaining profits, dealing with the colonies. Paine argued that Great Britain was to leave the colonies alone to escape inevitable problems in the future.
Voting for American independence, Paine suggested designing it in the form of a representative democracy. Each colony would have its own representatives in the government to protect its interest.
Paine focused in the idea of creating American Navy following the Britains model. The Navy would guarantee American security and economical well-being. Paine wrote that the diminution of trade affords an army, and the necessities of an army create a new trade.
Paine stated that it was not time for uniting because of the small size of colonies. Nevertheless, it would happen in the future, supporting by the increasing population.
Finally, Paine stated that independence of American colonies is of prime importance. Gaining it, the colonies would get the opportunity to ask other countries support.
Thomas Jeffersons Arguments for Independence
Analyzing the state of affairs, Thomas Jefferson claimed that it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another.
According to Thomas Jefferson, the necessity of American colonies independence was grounded on the loss of respect. This ignoring attitude of Great Britain towards its colonies was demonstrated in ignoring their economic and political rights and freedoms. In fact, King George III and the British Parliament disrespected the colonies, treating them as inferior subjects. Instead, the relationships of the partnership were expected. The colonists were deprived of their voice and rights.
In the second part of his speech, Jefferson claimed that the only way to settle the challenge was the struggle for independence. Jefferson accused the British King George III of imposing his political and economic goals in the American colonies. Jefferson highlighted that George III made numerous obstacles, seizing the judicial privileges and controlling judges. Jefferson stated that the British monarch made Native Americans and colonists fight, imposed unfair taxes, took American sailors on the British boards, and sent his army to fight against the American colonies.
Jefferson stated that rulers inherit their power from people. He suggested the initiating the social contract.
The Concepts of Equality, Reasons, and Nature in Criticizing of the Legitimacy of the British Ruling
Thomas Pain and Thomas Jefferson used the concepts of equality, reasons, and nature in their criticizing of the legitimacy of the British ruling.
Thomas Pain drew the public attention to the fact that an island could not rule a continent. All the individuals are equal at their birth. God gave the only difference to people in their born abilities. Thomas Pain claimed that the ruler of a country could not be chosen by birth. He argued that all the monarchs proved to be evil during all the human history.
Thomas Jefferson insisted on the equality as the core principle in his arguments for American colonies independence. He stated that we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. Like Thomas Pain, Thomas Jefferson highlighted that God gave equality as the gift to human beings. In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson focused on the laws of nature. He claimed that people were endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Thomas Jefferson grounded his arguments for independence on the idea of God-given rights. He highly appreciated both independence and revolution as the tool for its achievement.
To sum up, Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson used the concepts of equality, reason and nature, finding faults with the legitimacy the monarchical government and British control of the colonies.
The Road to American Revolution united American colonists in their struggle for freedom and independence.
The conflict between the colonies and British Empire caused numerous revolts. Rebels argue that the British Parliament did not protect their interests. Nevertheless, King George III did not want to make concessions. Therefore, American Revolutionary War started in1775. As the political cartoon Virtual Representation depicts, Bostons events were the result of ignoring colonists interests.
Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson originated the cornerstone of the current democracy, developing their postulates. They criticized of the legitimacy of the British ruling, suggesting their own view of the state structure.