John colonial self-esteem. This increase in self-esteem

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John Adams explains how the revolution began when he says, “The Revolution was
effected before the war commenced (37-38). The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the
people, “proving there was a feeling of revolution as soon as people left England to come
to the New World” (25). The duel for America created a restlessness among the independent
minded Americans. However, mother England saw the necessity of holding her colonies.
Eventually, tension is felt between the two sides, resulting in colonial unity and the
sovereignty of a new republic. There were many causes and effects of the American
There were many causes that sparked America’s new sense of individuality (p.26). One
of the first causes was the increased confidence in military strength, which caused a rise
in colonial self-esteem. This increase in self-esteem was a result of the valuable gained
from the French and Indian War. The French and Indian War, also shattered the myth of
British invincibility, showing the colonials that anything was possible. Another cause of
the colonials sense of individuality was that friction between Britain and the colonies
rose. American settlers felt that they deserved credit rather than contempt for risking their
lives to secure a new world empire, where as the British refused to even recognize any
American militia commission about the rank of a captain. Also, British official were
further distressed by the reluctance of the colonials to support the common cause
wholeheartedly. Also, individuality was a sense in the minds of the colonists the day they
set foot on the new continent. Individuality began with the fact that to emigrate was to
revel, and those who went to the New World, were in fact rebels because of the distance
they put between themselves and Britain. Also, the distance between the New World and
Britain, instigated individuality because of the long distance to travel between both
places; it left the colonies both physically and spiritually separated from the New World.
The colonies knew that distance weakens authority, but great distances weaken authority
even more. The American environment also nurtured the feelings of independence
because of the unchanging surroundings of England, coming to the New World offered a
change of pace for the colonies because they now had their own world to make anew.
Finally, many of the colonies joined together in the common sense of individuality that
Britain was unfit to govern them and that the colonies were now Americans.
For many reasons, tension grew in the relationship between Britain and America.
Tensions first arose when the London government issued the Proclamation of 1763. This
proclamation prohibited settlement in the area beyond the Appalachians, by the colonies.
This angered many Americans because they felt that the land was their birthright, but this
document was not drawn up to oppress the colonies, but it was made to work out the
Indian problem to prevent another uprising like Pontiac’s. Mercantilism also added to the
tension between Britain and America. Tension arose from mercantilism because
Americans were not at liberty to buy, sell, ship or manufacture under conditions that they
found most profit. The Boston Gazette explained how the colonists felt about
mercantilism by stating, “A colonist cannot make a button, a horseshoe, nor a hobnail,
but some snotty ironmonger of Britain shall bawl and squall that his honor’s worship is
most egregiously maltreated, injured, cheated, and robbed by the rascally American
republics,” proving that the colonists were very upset about England’s new laws of
mercantilism (22-23). Also, many Virginian planters were plunged into a dept by the falling
price of tobacco, and were forced to buy their necessities in England, by mortgaging future
crops. Mercantilism also showed favoritism for the southern colonies over the northern
colonies, chiefly because the southern colonies grew non-English products. One of the
biggest tension aroused was that the colonies were kept in a state of perpetual economic
adolescence and never allowed to come by age. After the Seven Years’ War in 1763,
Britain was forced to redefine its relationship with the American colonies. To defray the
cost of war by one-third, Prime Minister George Grenville suggested that Britain began to
tax the colonies. Britain first passed the Sugar Act of 1764, to raise revenue from sugar
imported from the West Indies, but this was eventually lowered. Tension was also stirred
up by the Quartering Act of 1765, which forced the colonies into providing food and
housing for the British troops. That same year the Stamp Act was imposed on the
colonies to raise revenues to support the new military force. This meant that taxes were
placed on all documents. These taxes and Acts outraged the colonies because they felt
that there should be no taxation without representation. However, Parliament claimed that
the colonies were virtually represented by people in Britain because they were all British.
Eventually, in 1766, Parliament repealed the Stamp Act. The Townshed Acts were
passed, imposing a tax on tea that would be used to pay the salaries of the royal
governors and judges in America. These Acts and taxes increased tension and resulted in
the Boston “Massacre”, in which 11 “innocent” citizens were killed, by a squad of about
Unity among the colonies played a particularly large portion in the revolution.
Benjamin Franklin shows this in his publication of “Join or Die” cartoon in the
Pennsylvania Gazette (66). It symbolizes that as separate parts the colonies could not defeat
Britain, but as one they could. An observant Church of England clergyman, Reverend
Andrew Burnaby felt that if the colonies could not overcome their differences, how could
they ever over come their problems with Britain. Reverend Burnaby scoffed at any
possibility of unification. However, the Americans could no longer withstand the drastic
measures of Parliament and because of this the colonies now received a wake-up call that
they needed to unify. The “Intolerable Acts” placed many restrictions on the colonies,
but particularly Massachusetts (34 & 50). These “Intolerable Acts”, like the closing of the
Boston Port and restrictions on the town meetings, led to the formation of the 1st Continental
Congress. Twelve of the thirteen colonies met in Philadelphia to readdress colonial
grievances (34 & 50). The congress deliberated for seven weeks and in this period they drew
up many dignified papers. The most significant action of the Congress was to create the
association, which called for the complete boycott of all British goods. This was so
significant for the fact that it was colonies as a unit to make a step towards independence.
The meeting of the 1st Continental Congress led to the meeting of the 2nd Continental
Congress, which was made up of all thirteen colonies. Independence was not an issue
now, but to continue fighting for Parliament to readdress the colonial grievances took
center stage. The most important result of the 2nd Continental Congress was the selection
of George Washington as the leader of the military. Thomas Paine also added to the need
for colonial independence, when he published his pamphlet called Common Sense. This
pamphlet showed the Americans how obvious it was to fight for colonial independence.
Common Sense told the Americans how it was, like “No where in the universe does a
smaller body govern a larger body” (87). Colonial unity played an important role in the
revolution. John Trumbull’s painting of Bunker Hill, shows that “colonies came together
for one common cause and they weren’t going to back down” (97).
Finally, the revolution and the war tremendously effected America. One of the
most significant results of the revolution and war on America was the signing of the
Declaration of Independence in which the signers pledged all that they had or believed in
to protect their independence. The Declaration of Independence stated what to ideal
government was and what to colonies intended on doing to ensure the best possible
environment and opportunities for years to come. Another effect of the revolution and
war is that the United States borders were extended to Florida and the Mississippi River. As
Thomas Jefferson started, by assembling such prestige groups of men, we have learned
more and will continue to learn from these men’s examples, rather than the examples of
armies. In conclusion, the American Revolution did not radically change the entire
political or social framework. People went on with their everyday lives, undisturbed by
what was gong on. However, the revolution did help America to evolve into an
independent nation, which could now live fearlessly knowing that anything was possible.


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