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Reasons For The Tension Between The British Empire And Its American Colonies

Referencing Styles : MLA | Pages : 5

Reasons for the tension between the British Empire and its American colonies

During the period of 1770 Great Britain had established a number of colonies in north America. The American colonists considered themselves as the citizens of the Great Britain and subjects of king George III. They were tied to Britain through trade and by the way they were governed. Trade was restricted so the colonies had to rely on Britain for imported goods and supplies. There were no banks and very little money, for that reason the colonists started to use the barter and credit to get the things they needed.

Following the French and Indian war, Britain wanted to control the expansion into the western territories. The king issued the proclamation of 1763 prohibiting settlements beyond the Appalachian Mountains. Colonists who had already settled on these lands were ordered to return east of the mountains.

In 1765 parliament passed the quartering act that said the colonists needed to find or pay for lodging for British soldiers stationed in America. With the French and the Indian war over, many colonists saw no need for soldiers to be stationed in the colonies.

Britain also needed money to pay for its war debts. The king and parliament believed they had the right to tax the colonies. They decided to require several kinds of taxes from the colonists to help pay the for the French and Indian war. These taxes included the stamp act, passed in 1765, which require the use of special paper bearing a embossed tax stamp for all legal documents. Other laws such as the Townsend act, passed in 1767, require the colonists to pay these taxes on imported goods like tea.

Many colonists fell that they should not pay these taxes, because they were passed in England by the parliament, not by their own colonial governments they protested with the claim that these laws violated their rights as British citizens.

Nature of the grievances over the British empire’s taxes on the colonies

The main grievance of the colonists regarding the British taxes was that the rules were passed in the England parliament, not by their own colonial government and that violated their rights as the British citizens. They claimed that the British taxation rules were not made to protect the interest of the colonists and made only for the purpose of fulfilling the treasury of the British government. The taxes will become a burden for the colonial people and that will not bring any benefits for the tax payers. The British government was doing this only for the interest of the king and to fund the needs that are required to meet the money for war.

Meaning of the slogan “No Taxation without Representation”.

No taxation without representation, refers to the slogan from 1750 and 1760 that encapsulates the [prime grievance of the thirteen colonies. It is actually part of a sermon given by Jonathan may hew in 1750. It was also one of the causes of the American revolution. The lack of representation in the British parliament was a clearly violation of the rights of the colonists. Thus the taxation and other laws that effected the colonists directly and indirectly were not constitutional at all. During the American revolution, there were only a few citizens that were represented and that they were not even a part of the colonies. The phrase summarizes the sentiments that caused the English civil war, as told by the john Hampdens he said in the ship money case who said that an English king has no right to demand and an English subject has no right to refuse.

The British parliament controlled colonial trade and implemented the taxing of imports and export since 1660. The historic right. This historic right was deprived to the Americans by the time the 1760’s come. Under the English bill of rights, the imposition of taxes without the consent of the parliament was utterly forbidden. Since the colonists were devoid of representation in the parliament, this was in violation of the rights of the colonists. Finally, the British parliament insisted on the fact that the colonists had virtual representation.

Pitt the elder was a famous Briton and north American like joseph Galloway who debated and spread plans to create imperial structure or federal representation of the British government. This involved taxation powers that included American, Irish west Indian and British member of the parliament. The ideas seriously underwent debates and discussions from different sides of the Atlantic. However, there was no formal demand that was sent to west minister in the end.

Historical role played by the Correspondence Committees during the American Revolutionary War

The committees of correspondence were shadow government organized by the patriot leaders of the thirteen colonies on the eve of the American revolution. They coordinated responses to England and shared their plans by 1773 they had merged as the shadow governments, suppressing the colonial legislature and royal officials. The army land committee of correspondence was instrumental in setting up the first continental congress, which met thein Philadelphia. These served an important role in the revolution, by disseminating the colonial interpretation of British actions between the colonies and to foreign governments. The committees of correspondence rallied the opposition on common causes and established plans for collective actions, and so the group of the committees was the beginning of what later became a formal political union among the colonies.

A total of 7000 to 8000 patriots served on these committees at the colonial and local levels, comprising most of the leadership in their committees ta the colonial and local levels, comprising most of the leadership in their communities, the loyalists were excluded. the committees became the leaders of the American resistance to British actions, and largely determined the war effort at the state and local level. When co9ngress decided to boycott British products, the colonial and local committees took charge, examining merchants who attempted to defy the boycott by importing British goods.

The committees promoted patriotism and home manufacturing, advising Americans to avoid luxuries, and lead a simpler life. The committees gradually extended their power over many aspects of American public life. They set up espionage networks to identify disloyal elements, displaced the royal officials, and helped topple the entire imperial system in each colony. In late 1774 and early 1775, they supervised the elections of provincial conventions, which took over the actual operation of colonial government.

The function of the committees in each colony was to inform the voters of the common threat faced by all the colonies, and to disseminate information from the main cities of the rural hinterlands where most of the colonists news were spread typically in hand written letter or printed pamphlets to be carried by couriers on horseback or abroad ships, the committees were responsible for ensuring that this news accurately reflected the views of their parent governmental body on a particular issue and was dispatched to the proper groups. Many correspondents were also members of the colonial legislative assemblies, and were active in the secret sons of liberty or even the stamp act congress of the 1760’s.

Role of the Second Continental Congress during the American Revolutionary war

Continental congress was a meeting of the delegates from 12 of the 13 British colonies that joined in the American revolutionary war. It convened on may 10, 1775 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania shortly after the battles of the Lexington and concord, succeeding the first continental congress which met in Philadelphia from September 5 to October 26 1774. The second congress functioned as a defector national government at the outset of the revolutionary war by raising army, directing strategy, appointing diplomats, and writing treaties such as the declaration of the causes and necessity of taking up arms and the olive branch petition. It eventually adopted the lee resolution which affirmed the independence of the colonies on July 21776 and it agreed to the declaration of independence two days later.

Afterward the congress functioned as the provisional government of the united states of America through march 1 1781. During this period, its achievement included successfully managing the war effort, drafting the articles of confederation, the first US constitution securing diplomatic recognition and support from the foreign nations and resolving state land claims west of the Appalachian Mountains.

The steps taken by the Continental Congress after declaring independence from the British Empire

The second continental congress assumed the normal functions of a government, appointing the ambassadors, issuing paper currency, raising the continental army through conscriptions, the appointing general generals to lead the army. The powers of the congress were still very limited. It did not have the authority to raise taxes nor did have the authority to regulate the commercial activities.

The continental congress after the independence made their own laws and rules to protect the interest of the colonial people in America and to increase the standard of living of the people of the who left the province of the Great Britain and started to live in the united sates. The congress set different doctrines that will protect the colonial people from the biased rules of the British government. They formed such a government that will have its own identity and that can take actions as per their own will. The colonial people started to believe that they should have the power to control their own life style and the British government should not interfere that the continental congress helped the colonial people to live a independent life that will be free from any rules and laws framed by the British government.

Major themes and ideas espoused by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence

In 1776 the 13 British colonies in the north America were rebelling against the British rule, after more than a decade of strife over taxation and government representation. as the revolutionary war got underway representatives from each of the colonies agreed that it was time to put forward a statement expressing the colonies reasons for desiring independence.

This momentous task fell upon Thomas Jefferson a 33-year-old lawyer. Jefferson was inspired by the English entitlement philosopher john Locke, whose writings on government put forward two ideas that become quite important for the Jefferson the ideas states that

All human beings are born with natural rights including the right to protect their lives, liberty and property

That government is a social contract between people and their rules, which can be dissolved if rulers fail to promote the people’s welfare.

Although these ideas seem pretty tame for the modern standards but in the eighteenth century they were treated as very important and people found it difficult to have all the rights to live freely and independently. The nations of Europe were led by the monarchs who used to follow the orders of the king and does not give importance to the life of the common people.  The English citizens have some rights but they cannot say anything for the strict rules that were framed by the monarchs.

The ideology of Jefferson gives courage to the people who live in the colonies to raise voice for their rights and protect their interest from the biased rules and laws framed by the monarchs. Jefferson in writing the declaration hoped to dissolve the relationship between the American colonies and Britain. he drafted the declaration and gave it to his colleagues’ john Adams of Massachusetts and Benjamin franklin for revision. after incorporating their recommendations, he submitted the declaration to the colonial representative for their approval.

At the most basic level the declaration of independence is a list of grievances against the British government, seeking the sympathy of the international community for the cause of the colonies in revolting against their mother country. But at higher level, the ideas expressed in the declaration serves as the inspiration for American democratic values.

The main idea states that the all men are created equal and that government is based on the consent of the governed, this ideology become the foundation for the US political ideal of popular sovereignty that the government exists to serve the people who elects representatives to express their will.

Historical origins and purpose of The Articles of Confederation  

The articles of the confederation were an agreement among the 13 original states in the united sates that served as its first constitution. it was approved after much debate by the second continental congress on November 15, 1777 and sent to the states for ratification. the article of confederation came into force on march 1, 1781 after being ratified by all the 13 states. guiding principle of the article was to preserve the independence and sovereignty of the states. The weak central government established by the articles received only these powers which the former colonies have recognized as belongings to the king and parliament.

The document clearly written rules for how the states league of friendship would be organized. During the ratification process, the congress looks for the article for guidance as iit5 conducted business, directing the war effort, conducting diplomacy with the foreign nations, addressing territorial issues and dealing with the native American relations.

Discuss how power was distributed and enforced under the Articles of Confederation

The article provides the power to the congress to set rules regarding the setting of rules of commercial transaction with the foreign countries and to frame rules regarding imposition of taxes on various commercial activities. The article also provide power to protect the interest of the common people and that brings democracy in the united states. The article provides the guidance in dealing the territorial issues and to prevent the invaders’ from attacking the province of the united states. The article further gives right to the common people to raise their problems to the government and that the government will always act for the benefit of the common people. The main power that is enforced by the article is to protect the right of the common people and to force the government to act according to the will of the common people.

Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation.

The strengths of the article of confederation is not properly discussed by many historians as the document become less important very quickly. But if we carefully study the article then we will observe that it has many strengths like it set the legislative body, congress as the highest power in the nation because of the fear of monarchy. Congress had the sole power to declare war, assign treaties, entertain foreign relations, and operate post offices. Disputes between the sates and territorial issues were to be bought to the congress. The document also stipulated that Canada was also allowed to enter the union if they desired.


There were many weakness of the article some of these are mentioned, the lack of power given to the continental congress strangled the central government. the article gives the power to congress to pass the laws but not to enforce the laws. If a state did not support a federal law, that state should simply ignore it. Congress has no power to levy taxes or regulate trade. Without a federal court system or executive leader, there would be no wat to enforce these laws, either. Amending the articles of the confederation would also require a unanimous decision, which would be extremely difficult.

Discuss the historical conditions that prompted Shay’s Rebellion and its impact on the Articles of Confederation

Shays rebellion impacted the articles of the confederation because it made evident how weak the power of the federal government was it took them over a year to stop the rebellion.

The articles of confederation give so little power to the federal power. Shays rebellion was a rebellion against the taxes. When people saw that the federal power had way too little power and that the people were getting out of control, they considered the idea of redrafting the law of the land which would later be known as the constitution. (not all favored in ratifying the constitution though).

Impact of the Annapolis Convention on the U.S. Constitution.

Annapolis conventions, in the US history regional meeting at Annapolis Maryland in September 1786 that was an important rallying point in the movement toward federal convention to address the inadequate articles of the confederation.

In 1785 Maryland and Virginia differed on the matters of right of navigation on the Potomac river and Chesapeake Bay. a meeting on the question led to a general discussion of interstate commerce. As a result, the Virginia legislature called for a convention for all the states at Annapolis on September 11 1786. however, with only five states represented the convention decided that such a question could not be effectively dealt with unless then inadequacy of the articles of the of confederations were addressed. a report drafted by the alexander Hamilton on September 14, proposed that a convention of all the states be held for that purpose. The recommendation was adopted by the congress and a convention was scheduled to be held eight months later in the Philadelphia, where the present federal constitution was drafted.

Most of the delegates to the meeting were tasked only to take up the issue of trade among the sates however, new jerseys were authorized to discuss a broader scope of reforms. The group realize that the issue of trade touched upon many other aspects of the confederation and that future meeting with a broader scope was necessary adequately address the problems. The final report of the convention unanimously was sent to the congress of the confederation and to the states. It sought support for a broader constitutional convention to be held the following may in Philadelphia. It expressed the hope that more states would be represented and that their delegates or disputes would be authorized to examine areas broader than simply commercial trade.

Because of the few representatives in attendance, their authority was limited. It is unclear how much weight the convention’s call carried, but the urgency of the need for constitutional reform was highlighted by a number of rebellions that took place allover the country during that time.


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