Chapter 7 The Road to Revolution by maclaren1


									Chapter 7: The Road to Revolution

I.     The Deep Roots of Revolution

       A. Idea of „revolution‟ starting way before war for independence

       B. Distance from London weakened authority

       C. Also environment – everything new – colonists‟ ancestors and superiors not

          ever present

       D. Growth of feeling that London authorities were unfit to rule them

II.    The Mercantile Theory

       A. Mercantilism used to justify control of colonies

       B. Belief that wealth was power

          1. Wealth measured by amount of gold in a county‟s treasury

          2. To amass gold, need to export more than import.

          3. Colonies as a source for raw materials and a market for manufactured

              goods – to avoid having to import raw materials from other powers

              a. goods needed for naval stores of primary importance for Britain

                  among what was imported from the Americas

III.   Mercantilist Trammels on Trade

       A. Navigation Laws

          1. First in 1750, restricted trade with colonies to English vessels (Dutch had


              a. kept money within empire, also bolstered development of British

                  merchant marine

       B. Also laws saying European goods had to go to America by way of Britain
      C. Also laws saying “Enumerated” products such as tobacco be shipped to

         Britain first, even if prices were better in other countries

      D. Also prohibitions on what settlers could produce for export

         1. such as woolen hats and beaver cloth

      E. Also currency – Americans bought more from England than they sold,

         shortage of hard currency

      F. Colonies eventually printed paper money, did so excessively so the colonial

         currency depreciated

      G. London responds by passing laws prohibiting colonies from printing paper

         money and from passing bankruptcy laws (which might be used to defraud

         British merchants)

      H. Also “royal veto” – Privy Council (king‟s advisers) could declare colonial

         laws null and void if they were seen as conflicting with British regulations or


         1. Though used sparingly, resented by colonists

IV.   The Merits of Mercantilism

      A. Until 1763, Navigation Laws had little impact as they were not strictly

         enforced – benign neglect

      B. Benefits: London provided price supports / paid bounties for those who

         produced ship parts..Also protection from competition for some (such as for

         tobacco growers)
     C. Also full rights as Englishmen, no need to tax themselves to provide

        professional army and navy – though militias formed, strong shield provided

        by British

     D. Due to smuggling, regulations posed few hardships

     E. As for British middlemen they were forced to deal with, they would have dealt

        with these people anyway

     F. High standard of living relative to England “ if the solonies existed for the

        benefit of England, it was hardly less true that England existed for the benefit

        of the colonies

     G. Mercantilism had enough merit to be widely accepted and long perpetuated..

        Even today the government tries to protect certain industries

V.   The Menace of Mercantilism

     A. Stifled economic initiative because “Americans were not at liberty to buy,

        sell, ship, or manufacture under conditions that thy found most profitable.”

     B. Though favored over the north, southern tobacco planters plunged into debt by

        falling tobacco prices and the need to buy necessities from England…future

        crops mortgaged

     C. Some debts became hereditary

     D. Therefore, breaking free from England gave many elite southerners a way out

        of debt
      E. Also, mercantilism debasing to Americans --- kept them in a “state of

         perpetual economic adolescence.”

VI.   The Stamp Tax Uproar

      A. Costly Seven years War, ended in 1763, forced Britain to redefine itse

         relationship with North American colonies

      B. Huge debt after war – 140 million pounds, half incurred defending American


      C. Did not ask colonials for help paying off debt, did ask them to pay 1/3 the cost

         of maintaining a force of 10 000 redcoats in America, ostensibly for the

         colonies‟ own protection

      D. Prime Minister George Grenville ordered British navy to strictly enforce

         navigation laws in 1763

         1. Also won passage of Sugar Act of 1764 – first law ever passed by that

             body for raising tax revnue in the colonies

             a. After bitter colonial protests, taxes lowered substantially

         2. Quartering Act of 1765 – require certain colonie to provide food and

             quarters for British troops

         3. Also in 1765, stamp tax to raise revenue to support the new military force

             a. mandated the use of stamped paper or the affixing of stamps,

                 certifying payment of tax. Required on bills fo sale for about 50 trade

                 items, certain commercial and legal documents including playing

                 cards, pamphlets, newspapers, diplomas, and marriage licenses
       E. Grenville saw as fair – Englishmen in England had long paid a heavier stamp

          tax, need to hap pay for defense

       F. But colonists saw as harmful to pocketbooks, also as a challenge to the

          liberties thay had come to take for granted

       G. Also challenge to basic rights – Sugar and Stamp acts called for trying

          authorities in the admiralty courts, lack of juries, assumption of guilt (burden

          on defendants)

       H. Also, why, with French expelled, was a defense force necessary?

       I. “No taxation without representation” – belief that only their colonial

          legislatures could legally tax them

       J. Grenville – belief that colonies represented through “virtual representation”

          (parliament in England represented all Englishmen, therefore the colonists

          were represented by it)…Americans, on the other hand, made distinction

          between „legislation‟ and „taxation‟ (London could pass legislation for empire,

          but only local assemblies could tax)

VII.   Parliament Forced to Repeal the Stamp Act

       A. Stamp Act Congress, 1765, NYC, 27 delegates from 9 colonies

          1. statements of their rights and grievances against the king

          2. little splash at the time, but encouraged colonial untiy

       B. More successful: non-importation agreements against British goods

          1. British economy hard hit (heavily dependent on colonial demand
        C. Parliament reluctantly repeals the Stamp Act in 1766

        D. Saves face with Declaratoey Act: said that parliament had the right to “bind”

           the colonies “in all cases whatsoever”

VIII.   The Townshend Tea Tax and the Boston “Massacre”

        A. Charles Townshend takes over as PM

        B. 1767: Townshend Acts passed by parliament

           1. light tax on several goods, including tea

           2. indirect customs duty, payable only at ports

           3. colonials saw as another example of taxation w/o representation,

               rebellious mood after victory over stamp tax

           4. Also would be used to pay salaries of royal judges and governors,

               removing power of the purse

        C. Breakdown of law and order, smuggling, British soldiers landed in Boston in

           1768, many drunken and profane

        D. Boston Massacre, 3/5/1770. 60 townspeople set upon 10 redcoats, redcoats

           fire, killed or injured 11 townspeople… both sides deserve some blame

IX.     The Seditious Committees of Correspondence

        A. Townshend Acts repealed, but three-pence tax on tea continues

        B. Flames of discontent continues, Sam Adams as a major propagandist

        C. Sam Adams organizes committees of correspondence in Massachusetts in


           1. to spread propaganda and information by interchanging letters

           2. intercolonial committees of correspondence soon spread
           3. evolved directly into the first American congresses

X.     Tea Parties at Boston and Elsewhere

       A. 1773, British East India Company, facing bankruptcy, awarded a monopoly

           on American tea trade by parliament (parl. Needed the tax revenue)

           1. would make tea cheaper, but saw this as a trick by parliament to force

              detested tax

       B. Various „tea parties‟ where incoming East India Company tea was destryed

           1. Biggest was in Boston, 12/16/1773, colonists dressed up as Indians

              destroyed tea

XI. Parliament Passes the “Intolerable Acts”

       A. 1774, parl passes repressive acts designed to punish Boston in particular

       B. Boston Port Act most despised, closed Boston Harbor until cost of destroyed

           tea, also restrictions on town meetings.

       C. Quebec Act, also 1774, gave French Canadians their old region (under br.)

           allowed to retain old customs, Catholicism, etc. boundaries of Quebec

           extended southward to Ohio river, made sense from viewpoint of French


           1. but seen by English colonists as a whole as setting precedent against jury

              trials and popular assemblies, alarmed land speculators, and angered anti-


XI.    The Continental Congress and Bloodshed

       A. People in other colonies sympathized with plight of Mass.
       B. Continental Congress to meet in Philadelphia summoned in 1774 to seek

          redress for colonial grievances, included Samuel Adams, John Adams, George

          Washington, and Patrick Henry

          1. 9/5 to 10/26/1774…drew up documents including a declaration of rights

       C. The Association created… called for a complete boycott of British goods

       D. Parliament rejects petitions of continental congress

       E. April 1775, British commander in Boston sent a detachment of redcoats to

          Lexington and Concord to seize colonial gunpowder and capture “ringleaders”

          Samuel Adams and John Hancock

       F. In Lexington, colonial “minutemen” refused to disperse rapidly enough, eight

          killed more wounded, moving on to Concord, where they were pushed back

          by Americans who killed 70 and inflicted 300 total casualties

XII.   Imperial Strength and Weakness

       A. Britain had 3:1 population advantage, also hired 30,000 German soldiers

          (Hessians) in addition to loyalists (50,000) and Indian allies

       B. But reasons for Br weakness: problems in Ireland, France, still smarting from

          recent defeat, looking for a chance to stab Br. In the back

       C. Also, many British had no desire to kill their American cousins (i.e. William


       D. Also issues of distance from Britain, second-rate officers, and unfamiliar

          expansive American territory, also no urban nerve center whose fall would

          lead to the fall of the colonies
XIII.   American Pluses and Minuses

        A. Strong leader, eventual aid from France

        B. Also European military leaders, like Marquis de Lafayette

        C. Defensive fights tend to be easier

        D. Self sufficiency, self-reliant people who were good with weapons

        E. Moral advantage of belief in a just cause

        F. But badly organized

        G. Jealousy between colonies, still a lack of unity

        H. Economic difficulties, lack of money, inflation when it was printed

XIV. A Thin Line of Heroes

        A. Lack of basic military supplies, food, and the wagons needed to haul these


        B. Unreliable militiamen, not so many regulars

        C. Blacks fought on both sides

           1. British Lord Dunmore offered freedom to blacks who fought for the

               crown, kept their word, to some at least, at war‟s end

        D. Revolutionary Army morale undermined by profiteers

        E. Only a select minority of American colonials attached themselves to the cause

           of independence with a spirit of selfless devotion

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