From our last post, we are aware of the fact that America and India were the colonial possession of the Britain. The colonies provided Raw material for heavy industries. So, the market for the manufactured goods from Britain was the colonies. We also know that Industrial Revolution gave the birth to this Multipolar World.
Now it is very clear from the previous posts that desire was for the raw material and market. So, to fulfil this desire the selection of the proper destination was inevitably important. Though all the European powers went throughout the world to fulfil their aspirations but their main focus was on Indian Subcontinent and North America. So, to understand this kindly have a look at the map below:
From this map, we can understand the strategic and economic importance of the Indian Subcontinent and North America.
So here we will discuss, How colonisation of North America started and what were the reasons for the American Revolution? 🙂
Discovery of North America by Columbus in 1492 proved to be a boon for European Nations. In 1620 Mayflower, the ship took a batch of Protestants from Britain to America. There were Catholic colonies, and colonies founded by Cavalier nobles from Britain.
There were Dutchmen, Germans and Danes and some Frenchmen. They were a mixed lot but by far the greatest number of them were the British colonists. But the British colonists continued to acknowledge the British King and Parliament of Britain.
America’s climate, natural resources and the most importantly because North America provided Europeans with the substitute goods like Potatoes and Tobacco etc. for the markets in the East, led to the running of Europeans towards North America. So, Queen Elizabeth-I started the official policy of settlement in North America this led to the establishment of 13 colonies in which Virginia was the first colony established in 1607.
Now after sometimes contention started between the American Colonies of England and administration of the Britain. The Reasons were economic, political, social etc. 🙂
Reasons for American Revolutionary War
The 13 colonies in America were settled due to the official assistance was given by the Government of Britain so Britain considered its moral and political rights to manage the economy and polity of 13 colonies. So, Britain framed economic policy in such a way that it led to the exploitation of people of colonies.
- EXIM Policy(Export-Import): – Under it, Britain maintained the trading monopoly on the specific items of America like Potato and Tobacco etc.
- Navigation Law of 1651: – In which it was mandatory for American Ships to visit British Ports before leaving for other parts of the world.(This was done to check the smuggling of Tobacco and Potatoes)
- Industrial Policy: -Under it, the establishment of heavy goods Industries not allowed to the Americans.(So that there should not be crisis for colonial markets)
This was painful for the people of American colonies.
The American Revolution was mainly the Political Revolution. In 1689 Parliament of Britain came out with Gentlemen’s Resolution. According to it, tax paying sections were to be given representation in the Parliament of Britain.
This was followed by 7 years war which created the economic crisis in Britain. Then the Parliament of Britain declared as the war was fought for the protection of American Colonies, So the burden of war was to be shared by Americans. In this background, British Parliament imposed many new taxes on American Colonies like Stamp duty, Sugar duty etc.
Though Americans were willing to pay these taxes but in the response of this, they were demanding political representation in the Parliament of Britain on the grounds of Gentlemen’s Resolution, 1689. American now came with the slogan,
NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION
There were 4D social causes that irritated American colonies.
1. Diversification, we have read earlier that the various different Europeans like English, Germans, Frenchmen, Dutchmen etc inhabited in North America. It saw the immigration of people of different nationality, race, religion, profession etc. This created diversification which eventually led to the more Liberal Society. On the other hand, European Society was still suffering from the problems of privileged and unprivileged classes in Europe.
2. Detachment, people who reached America in the 17th century were still attached to their motherland but the generation which was born and brought up in America in the 18th century was detached from the motherland.
3. American Society was the society with least resistance, a liberal society, this gave Dynamism to the society. And within a short span of time, American turned the barren land of North America into the land of mines and plantation (18th century), Industrialised Nation (19th century) and Super Power in the 20th century.
4. America was moving in the forward direction. But the exploitative policies became the cause of Dissatisfaction for the new generation in America.
The Role of Intellectuals
Intellectual class is a section, which provides the real vision for the challenge and also gives very genuine solutions. In the 18th century, America saw the presence of this class which played important role in awakening and awareness among masses.
- Thomas Paine, in his book ‘Common Sense’, explained the exploitative policies of Britain.
- Benjamin Franklin, who established ‘The Philosophical Society’, explained the reasons of exploitation of society. His objective was to propagate awakening and awareness among people.
- Henry Patrick played an important role in provoking the people and said:
GIVE ME DEATH OR INDEPENDENCE.
The immediate cause for American Revolution was the 7 years war(1756-1763).
The ‘7 years war(1756-1763)’ initially started between Austria and Prussia for the dominance over the Silesia which was the reservoir of coal. In this war, France sided with Austria to suppress Prussia which was emerging challenge for Austria and France in the central Europe.
Britain sided with Prussia to control dominance of France in Europe and also to engage France in internal crisis so that it can not pay attention to colonial rivalry in different parts of the world. This was the time of Anglo-French War in India for dominance of Indian subcontinent.
The outcome of this war was initially in favour of Britain because France lost its claim in Indian Subcontinent with the Battle of Wandiwash. By the Paris Peace Treaty of 1763, France also lost its claim on Canada.
Though in long run this war proved to be Harmful to the Britain but this proved Disastrous to the France. This war was harmful to the Britain because of:
- Beginning of economic crisis in Britain.
- End of the French fear for American colonies.
- American colonies also got the ‘practical taste’ of their economic status as they got the opportunity to take their products directly to different parts of the world.
In 1750 America was in the mature stage and ‘master'(Britain) was in trouble. So, it was the right opportunity for the American colonies to stand-up against suppression and exploitation of Britain. From here the story and phases of American Revolution start…
We will discuss the phases in the next coming post. 🙂 🙂
Thank you so much. 🙂 Stay connected. 🙂