Q2. Enumerate the causes of the War of American Independence
When America was colonized, land and other resources were present in ‘wild’ abundance. The colonies worked hard, devised local solutions and increasingly became prosperous both economically and culturally. They developed their own social and political structures. These assemblies enacted laws concerning local matters, and levied taxes. However, they were under the rule of the mother country which neither understood the efforts or circumstances of the colonies.
The English monarchy left them largely to their own devices, offering high-sounding charters but little in the way of direct support and guidance. Some colonies were designed and funded by joint-stock operations, others by wealthy proprietors (either singly or in small groups). All were expected to be revenue-producing. And all would supposedly be ruled, in top-down fashion, by boards of officials in the mother country.
During the period from 1763 to 1775, in the twelve years after the French and Indian War and before the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, colonial distrust of Britain intensified, and the emerging united national identity in America became more prominent. In a decade, proud British subjects in the American colonies became ardent anti-British patriots struggling for independence.
By the 18th century, the colonists found the laws which the English government imposed upon them more and more objectionable. As a result of continuous wars in Europe, the English government was burdened with debt and imposed various taxed on colonies which were strongly resented by them.
The English Parliament had forbidden them to use non-British ships in their trade. (Navigation Act)
in 1764, Sugar Act, was imposed which placed a tax on sugar imported from the West Indies.
Colonists were particularly incensed because the Stamp Act of 1765 was passed in order to pay for the increased British troop presence in the colonies. This Act aroused violent resentment among all sections of the colonists and led them to boycott English goods. There were uprisings in many towns and tax-collectors were killed.
Certain products, such as tobacco, cotton and sugar, could be exported only to England.
To protect British Industry, the colonies were also forbidden to start certain industries on large scale, for example, iron works and textiles. They were forced to import these goods from England.
The English also angered the colonists by issuing a proclamation to prevent them from moving west into new lands. English aristocrats had bought lands in America and got rents from the farmers. They wanted to keep the colonists as renters.
In protest, the American public began to cry out against “taxation without representation.” The colonists claimed that, since English Parliament had no representatives from the colonies, it had no right to levy taxes on them. The revenue from these taxes was used not in the interests of the colonies but of English.
Unwilling to accept the notion of “virtual representation”, colonists protested the new taxes—the Stamp Act in particular—using more direct methods. In 1765, delegates from nine colonies met in New York at the Stamp Act Congress, where they drafted a plea to King George III and Parliament to repeal the Stamp Act.
The idea of being an independent nation grew and developed into the Revolutionary War in which the colonists gained their independence.