Free Term Paper the American Revolution

Home       Free Paper Index

Enter Your Term Paper Topic Below:

Search For Your Essay At MONSTER ESSAYS!

  1. Essay Galaxy Archive, 45,000 + essays and term papers (highest quality)
  2. Monster Essay Archive, 40,000+ essays and term papers  
  3. Essay Archive, 35,000+ essays and term papers
  4. Free Term Papers and Book Reports Index  (Over 2500 good papers)
The American Revolution occurred because of Great Britain\'s failure to adjust to conditions brought on by the growth and development of the colonies, and by the aggravation of a breakdown in the political and economic harmony that existed between the colonies and their mother country.


America was a revolution force from the day of its discovery. The American Revolution was not the same thing as the American War of Independence. The war itself lasted only eight years, but the Revolution lasted over a century and a half and begun when the first permanent English settlers set foot on the new continent. Insurrection of thought usually precedes insurrection of deed. Over the years such ferment had occurred in the thinking of the colonists that the Revolution was partially completed in their minds before the first shot was fire or musketball began to fly.


The American Revolution had its beginnings in the French and Indian war. For seven years, Britain battled the French and Indian nations in the colonies. Where the colonies militia fought beside the troops of the British army and learned war first hand. After winning the war, Britain had a huge debt to pay. To pay these expenses, George Grenville, who was secretary of Treasury in England, came up with a plan. He reasoned that the debt should be paid by taxing the colonies. After all the war had been fought to protect their land, that is the land of the Ohio River Valley.


However, even before the French and Indian War had ended the political harmony that was once between the colonies and the British was already being broken down, due to all of the new acts that were passed in accordance with the mercantile theory of economics. This theory of economics said that colonies are only here to serve and glorify their mother country, in this case Britain. This lead to Britain\'s passing of the Navigation Laws. These laws mandated that all goods from the colonies had to be carried by British ships, thus making British merchants rich and important because everybody wanted goods form the New World and now they would have to go threw Britain to get them. The Navigational Acts were tolerated to a certain extent but also disobeyed by the common people when necessary. In 1763, the Seven-Year War in Europe and the French and Indian War in the colonies was over, and with the end came a British debt of over 140 million pounds. This debt caused the Navigational Act to be enforced upon the colonies in order to pay the debt, with many more acts were to follow.


The first such act was the Proclamation of 1763. This inhibited the colonists from crossing the Appalachian Mountains for hunting or farming. Britain instilled this proclamation in order to cut the area Britain had to guard with soldiers and to prevent other bloody, and costly, battles like those of the French and Indian War. The colonists, however, took this as a way the English were controlling them and making them subservient to English authority, so they defied this proclamation and clogged the westward trails. Even though Britain was only trying to save money to pay their debt, the colonist had the perception that Britain was trying to starve them and prevent them from growing economically. This was the first example that the colonies\' perception of the actions of their mother country, Britain, was more important than the reality of those actions.


Britain followed the Proclamation with a series of taxes on certain items. The first of which was the Sugar Act of 1764. This increased the duty on foreign sugar import from the West Indies. Such acts as the Quartering Act of 1765 and Stamp Act of 1765 where the real uproar of the colonist was heard followed.


The Stamp Act was the most ominous measure of all. A stamp tax to raise revenues to support the new military fleet. This act required the use of stamped paper or the affixing of stamps, certifying payment of taxes. Involved were such things as playing cards and marriage licenses, plus other commercial and legal documents. This enraged the colonists into forming protests groups between the states called the Stamp Act Congress. This was the first time all the states began to work together for a common goal. This would prove to be an important beginning, because events such as the Continental Congresses were to follow.


However, one if the largest differences of opinion came with the colonies\' perception of \"taxation without representation\". From the colonies\' point of view, it was impossible to consider themselves represented in Parliament unless they actually elected members to the House of Commons. But this idea conflicted with the English principle of \"virtual representation,\" according to which each member of Parliament represented the interests of the whole country, even the empire, despite the fact that his electoral base consisted of only a tiny minority of property owners from a given district. The rest of the community was seen to be \"represented\" on the ground that all inhabitants shared the same interests as the property owners who elected members of Parliament. Most British officials held that Parliament was an imperial body representing and exercising the same authority over the colonies as over the homeland. The American leaders argued that no \"imperial\" Parliament existed; their only legal relations were with the Crown. However, British merchants also felt the effects of the American boycott, and threw their weight behind a repeal movement, and in 1766 Parliament yielded, repealing the Stamp Act and modifying the Sugar Act.


After that, Britain again passed yet another act. This one a tax on sugar, tea, plastics, and other things called the Townshend Acts. This tax was the worst yet because it created funds to pay the salaries of royal judges and governors in America. The people in America again protested, and the British again repealed the act except for the duty on tea. This was expectable to most colonists because most of them drank smuggled tea anyway. The trouble began when Britain granted a monopoly to the British East India Company to sell tea to the colonies. This was done to help this ailing company, because if it went under the London government would lose heavily in tax revenue. However, the perception of the colonists was that the British were trying to force them to drink the tea from their company. This again angered the colonists, who were getting paranoid of a domineering Britain. A famous protest was organized where a protest group called the Sons of Liberty dressed as Indians and threw tea off a British ship. This came to be known as the Boston Tea Party.


After the Boston Tea Party, Britain was sick of America\'s protest. They began to send soldiers to Boston to take control of the situation. They also reaffirmed their power by passing an Act which said that parliament had complete power over the colonies. They also passed a Quartering Act, in order to house soldiers in Boston\'s civilian homes. This new found military presence angered the colonists. One night, an angry mob began throwing snowballs at some soldiers. Confusion set in and the British fired and killed 5 Bostonians. This became known as the Boston Massacre, and from then on the British were then printed in the American mind as ruthless tyrants and savages.


After the Boston Massacre, Britain passed the Coercive Acts (called the Intolerable Acts in America) and along with this was a new Quartering Act and the Boston Port Act. Where they closed the Boston port until the damages of the Boston Tea Party were paid off. These acts made Boston a military district ruled by the English General Gage. The British thought that the other colonies would stay out of this situation, but they were wrong. The other colonies formed into a body called the Continental Congress, which was an extra legal body, which was elected to organize boycotts and oppose British rule.


The British now targeted the two people that had begun the revolution, Samuel Adams and John Hancock. These two were of the first to represent the two classes fighting this war. Samuel Adams was the leader of a common protest group called the Sons of Liberty. Adams represented the poor and common people who were fighting the British system of mercantilism, which was starving them because of a lack of goods and crops. He followed the profound thought of Adam Smith, the \"Father of Modern Economics\" also attacked mercantilism in 1766. Smith, \"To prohibit a great people, however, from making all that they can of every part of their own produce, or from employing their stock and industry in a way that they judge most advantages to themselves, is a manifest violation of the most sacred rights of mankind.\"


While John Hancock, who was a smuggler in Boston represented the rich, who opposed the British because of the annoying taxation. Who wrote such things as the Declaration of Independence and \"Common Sense\", being a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine that advocated America\'s complete independence from Britain. It followed the natural rights tenets of the British philosopher John Locke, whose writings had justified independence as the will of the people and revolution as a device for bringing happiness. Although the arguments were not original with Paine, Paine\'s passionate language and direct appeal to the people prepared them for the ideas expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Fighting with Britain had been under way for some nine months before publication of the pamphlet, but the political direction of the revolution was not yet clear. For many, \"Common Sense\" crystallized the revolution\'s goals.


Even with all of this, the major point in the road to the Revolutionary War is when the colonies united for the first and second Continental Congresses. On September 5, 1774, every colony but Georgia sent representatives to what is now being called the First Continental Congress. They met in secret because they did not want the British to know that they, the colonies, were uniting. At first there were 44 delegates who met in Carpenter\'s Hall in Philadelphia, twelve other delegates reported late. Some of those who came were George Washington, Patrick Henry, John Jay, John Adams, and Samuel Adams. Peyton Randolph of Virginia was chosen president, as the first Continental Congress became a school for American leaders. This was like a school for American leaders. They made a list of basic rights they wanted and a list of complaints to send to King George III. They signed a petition demanding the \"Intolerable Acts\" be repealed and sent it to England. The Continental Association was also created, this was an agreement of the colonies to stop all trade with Britain until their demands were met. The men adjourned the Congress on October 26, 1774 and decided to meet again in May of 1775 in Philadelphia if King George III did not repeal the \"Intolerable Acts.\"


On May 5, 1775 the Second Continental Congress met as agreed. There were mixed feelings about what should be done about the continued hostile acts of the British Parliament. Some delegates wanted immediate independence no matter what the cost. Others were still loyal to King George III and even though they did not like the British taxation without representation. They wanted to avoid an all-out war with England. Finally, they decided to go slowly and not make any drastic moves that might start a major war. However, on the other hand, they also felt they needed to protect themselves, so they established the Continental Army and named George Washington as Commander-in-Chief. They also passed a \"Declaration of Causes of Taking up Arms,\" which named England as an aggressor and gave the Colonists the right to take up arms against the British.


After King George III officially called the Colonies in rebellion, which was after Thomas Paine\'s \"Common Sense\" was circulated and read, the Patriots realized there was no way to solve the problems peacefully. They decided to declare independence and they drafted the Declaration of Independence, which was adopted and ratified on July 4, 1776.


This was the beginning of the American Revolutionary War, in it\'s major points. Both Britain and the American Colonies had their faults in this matter, however most of the problem resided in the fact that the colonies\' perceptions of the British actions were not the reality of the British actions. Therefore in fighting these actions the American Colonies eventual lead themselves to the signing of the Declaration of Independence and into the American Revolutionary War.
~sparknotes.com