American War of Independence

EEUU (Estados Unidos). Britain. Colonies. XVIII Century

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American War of independence

Britain was now the most powerful country and ruled in the sea. George III was ruling since 1760, he wasn't precisely very good involving political matters and he putted the country in a political instability. Britain had a debt worth 138 million pounds due to the support offered to French people when the revolution took place. The main incomes of this country came from her colonies located in India and in North America. In North America there were a total of 13 colonies. The colonies were almost auto-sufficient,each of them had its own governor and legislative assembly. This colonies had had a great raise in population. It grew form 250.000 people in 1700 to 2.500.000 in 1770, this extraordinary growth was an important fact in the independence of this colonies. Due to the growth in population and diversity made the American colonies more difficult to rule. Therefore it was an important precondition for the rise of an independence movement and the consequence of a an independent America.

Lifestyles were different in each part of America. In southern states, where tobacco and cotton could be grown, there were many large states on which the owners (including Washington) had slaves to work in the fields. In northern states the land was divided into smaller farms and, as in Britain, people tended to live in small villages. In the larger towns the colonists had set up their universities and colleges. They had established their industries and they enjoyed the sort of life enjoyed by people in towns such as Bristol and Exter.

Because of the huge debt the Englishmen had, they started to make taxes. Such as the sugar act which was established for the Indian colonies and their exportations of sugar. Colonizers didn't agree at all with this tax but they didn't to nothing about it. After this the Mutiny act was imposed, which forced the colonist to pay for the British army needs to fight possible Indians attacks. But this wasn't the last taxes the British government imposed to recover the spended money. The Parliament passed the Stamp Act which required that a government stamp would be fixed on newspapers, legal documents, newspapers advertisements, etc. Britain hoped to raise 100.000 pounds a year for this act. This tax united the colonies for the first time to discuss the unfair taxation that they were suffering.

Colonies weren't represented by members of the Parliaments and it was against the Carta Magna to be taxed and not be represented. They conceived a slogan: “No taxation without the representation”. The Stamp act was abolished and it had no success for Britain. In response to this repel, the Declaratory act was passed, which said that the British had the right to impose internal taxes if they wanted to. As a consequence import taxes for glass, paper, lead, paint and tea were created.

The colonist were furious about this and still supported the idea of “No taxation without representation”. Riots against English took place in America. In March 1770 a soldier was attacked, shots were fired and four Bostonians were killed in what was known as The Boston Massacre. Lord north was appointed as a the new Chief Minister and repealed all the import taxes except for the one of tea, to show that Britain could tax when she wish to. Then the Tea act was imposed which said that tea could be imported directly from the Indias, which lowered the price but the tax wasn't yet surpressed. Riots continued taking place against British measures and in December 1773, 150 men threw overboard the cargo of three ships filled with tea worth 18.000 pounds. This was very offensive to American colonist because of the cultural background of tea. This became known as the Boston Tea Party.

Lord North was trying to deal with this problems in the colonies. He passed the Quebec act which allowed French people living in Canada to keep their religion, their language and their existing system of government. This angered American colonist because their religion was threatened an saw it as a measure to stop them form expanding to the north. The parliament passed a serious of acts that closed the port of Boston, made the people in Boston provide with barracks to the English Army, banned public meetings, increased the power of British Governor's who could now send Bostonian prisoners to British for trail, made Massachusetts a crown colony this was seen as an interference of colony freedom.

A Congress took place in Philadelphia to discuss the British measures towards American colonies. Twelve of the colonies were represented in this first reunion. Peyton Randolph had been chosen president of the Congress. The members of the assembly redacted the “ Declaration of Rights and Offence”. In In short words this meeting aimed to a re-affirmation of the loyalty of the colonist towards the Crown; the abolishment of the acts passed since 1763 and more freedom For the colonies. Also the Congress requested that colonies should adapt a radical agreement, destined to boycott the commerce with the metropolis.

On the 26th October in 1774, a second congress was called. The British monarch didn't answered with his demands. They had just started the battles of Lexington and Concord.

The delegates, where we could find George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, which were chosen for replacing the legislative, colonial cameras. The congress had lack of a legislative base and the representatives didn't know accurately which were their attributions. The Congress had charged Washington for organising the Continental Army and assume the charge of the site at Boston. Regulations were formulated for directing the commerce, paper money had been emitted.

The majority of the delegates, trusted of a supposing reconciliation with great Britain, but that possibility was vanishing at end of 1775.

The Congress, had started debating for a resolution with favour to the independence. This had been ratified the 2nd July in 1776, and the 4th July had approved the “Declaration of Independence”.

The first job the Continental Congress had was directing the war and preserving the union formed by the thirteen colonies. Delegates arrived to an agree to take again their procedures and stipulate their powers. They gave their approvement three years later. On the 1st March in 1781, the Continental Congress was replaced by the Confederation Congress.

Between 1782 and1783 the emissary of the Congress negotiated with Great Britain the “Treaty of Versailles”, through which they obtained their old Metropolis recognise the American Independence.

The movement towards a centralized, efficient and democratic movement were slowly and sporadically but the constitution was finally released in 1789, and the Confederation Congress has been replaced by the actual American Congress. There were different reactions towards this constitution, some people think it was a document which went against the English rule, as if it was to be a reactionary document. Others thought it was created to protect men of wealth. But after some times they all agreed that the constitution was a document that represent the bases of a new democratic government.

Americans won mainly because they had an inefficient leadership from Great Britain. Britain didn't perform the necessary pressure for receiving respect from Americans, for example; British didn't check that much, the quality, value or type of product got in the country or out of it. This fact may cause much more freedom for the inhabitants, which feel they are strong enough to beat their own leader. The Navy, who was under the control of Lord Sandwich, took also part of this event, but as all navies, it had little effect on the Revolution.. For example Hopkins, at the Bahamas; also J.Barry, as a gallant commander; and Jones a recognised commander from the U.S. Navy. Also Lord Germaine, the war minister, was inefficient in his job. On top of this they had suffer the bad government of north and other that became before them, and the budget for the army or the navy wasn't very extent. We can also find some Generals who played an important role here, such as General William Howe, with the company of his brother, Admiral Richard Howe, both of them were over the British. We can also find General J.Sullivan, who led inefficiently the expedition against British and Native Americans. General Charles Cornwallis was sent by Sir Henry Clinton, off to the Carolina campaign. All these Generals had a poor participation, this may be one of the many disadvantages British people had, that caused American Independence. German mercenaries meant small victories for Washington, who took advantage of having a superior army. Distance was a disadvantage for both of them, this is obviously because, all the way up to where they were situated meant a long time but not only for that but also because weather also was important.

Of course this war could never been won without the support of the French's. They fought for the same reasons the revolution took place in France, and once they won the war they returned home with the vivid ideas of equality and liberty. The French Revolution was a natural consequence of French participation in the American War.

Treaty of Versailles; This treaty was signed in Paris, Versailles as the name says it, it is also called `Treaty of Paris'. On the other hand French regained Tobago and St. Lucia, and also gained Senegal. It was signed on 1783 although some misunderstood weren't solved after all. The three presidents who took part after this arrangement occurred were Washington, Adams and Jefferson.

Long Term Consequences Effects: George III began to be a bit better, to be a more valuable person. Also America began to gain some money of their exports and the left went to British people. The Tories left Canada too. People began to ask for some measures to be taken about the taxation. The commerce between the two countries recovered quickly and Independent America was now taking one third of the British total exports. Britain became interested in the idea on “No taxation without representation” and demanded a reform in the British political system.

Bibliografía:

  • Grolier encyclopedia

  • Encarta encyclopedia

  • Guiness/La Nación

  • Photocopies from the “American War of Indepence