The American Revolution
The American revolution: Learn all about this truly historic episode of America.
The British started colonizing the eastern coast of the North American continent. Their first colony was Virginia. In all they founded 13 colonies. England began to reap economic benefits out of the natural wealth of her American colonies. Naturally, therefore, a serious discontent gripped the colonies. The highhandedness of the British king George III added fuel to the fire and ultimately led to the war between England and her 13 colonies. This is known as the American Revolution.
The Growing Discontent
England and France were traditional rivals in Europe. Between 1756-1763, these two countries were engaged in a war called the Seven Years War. This war naturally extended to their colonies in Asia and America. In order to recover the war expenses, England imposed taxes on her American colonies. The colonies had to bear the burden although it was not really theirs. Not only this, the colonists were forced to use British vessels for their external trade. They were also prohibited from founding new colonies.
American thinkers like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Patrick Henry began to raise their voice against vexatious British policies. In the meantime, Britain passed another act, the Stamp Act, in 1765. By this act, all agreements and contracts in the colonies were subjected to stamp duty. Colonists resented this interference in their affairs by the mother country. They launched severe agitation against the Stamp Act. The British parliament had to repeal the act. But the parliament insisted that it had the right to impose any tax on the colonies. The colonists declared, “no taxation without representation”. It meant that the British parliament, which had no representatives from the American colonies, had no right to impose taxes on them. This extreme difference in the viewpoint of England and her American colonies brought them to the brink of war.
Boston Tea Party
England tried to suppress the rebellion of the colonists. In her efforts to exercise her right to levy taxes on the colonies, England introduced new taxes and forced their recovery, in respect of paper, tea, glass, etc. the Americans boycotted such goods. They were determined not to allow British ships to unload these goods at American ports. A British ship loaded with tea was anchored at Boston. The agitators attacked it and threw the tea chests into the sea. This event is known as the Boston Tea Party. Thereafter, the British government closed the Boston port for American trade in its bid to cripple the economy of the colonies.
The representatives of the 13 colonies met in Congress at Philadelphia in 1774. They decided to boycott trade with Britain until the injustice was removed.
The first shot was fired at Lexington in 1775. The colonists were ready to join the war against England. The war started under the leadership of George Washington.
The Declaration of Independence: The declaration of independence was adopted on July 4, 1776. All men are created equal, that their Creator endows them with certain unalienable rights that among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness: Thomas Jefferson drafted this declaration. It emphasized the three principles of fundamental rights of every individual, sovereignty of people and the right to revolt against an oppressive rule. Thomas Paine’s ideas about liberty have also deeply influenced the declaration of Independence.
The War of Independence
The full-scale war started in 1776 and continued for the next seven years. People joined the fray by starting no tax movements or boycotts on British goods or by rendering help to the fighting force. France entered the war on the side of the colonists. The British soldiers were strangers in the American land. It was also very difficult and time consuming to dispatch men and material all the way from England to the far off colonies in America. The colonists, on the other hand, were imbued with the ideas of freedom. They posed a formidable challenge to their foe. Britain conceded freedom to the colonies in 1783. The federal constitution came into effect on March 4, 1789. George Washington was sworn in as the first president of the 13 colonies.
Effects of the war of Independence
After the settlement of war, the new nation consisting of colonies got a democratic government. This inspired people in South America, and soon many new nations appeared there. The political philosophy was greatly influenced by the American experiment of democratic constitution. The war also established a right to revolt against injustice and a right to freedom. The American war of Independence is regarded as an event having far reaching effects on the world history.