There is a common misconception that the sole cause of the American Revolutionary War was the taxes imposed on the colonies by Britain. If a closer look is taken at the history of the Americas, however, it is easy to see that idea of freedom had been pulsing through the colonies for years. Just how did His Majesty King George III lose his American colonies? The answer is a chain of events stringing from the French and Indian war to the day George Washington handed over his troops to the Continental Congress, officially ending the War for Independence. Before the French and Indian War, Britain had used a system of Salutary Neglect with the colonies, giving them a sense of freedom.
While Britain still acknowledged the colonies, and the colonists remained loyal to the crown, the colonies were generally left to govern themselves. After the French and Indian War, however, King George III saw in his colonies a way to capitalize. Britain was in a post-war economic depression, and needed a source of income (Stamp Act). The colonies provided a perfect answer. They had set up their own systems of trade and manufacturing during the times of salutary neglect, and were becoming increasingly self sufficient. In order to obtain some of the colonists' finances, Britain began to pass a series of taxes.
The Stamp Act was passed in 1765, and placed a tax on any papered goods that were going into the colonies from Britain. This included newspapers, pamphlets, and playing cards, just to name a few (Stamp Act). The colonists had been so accustomed to their freedom from the crown at this point, that they were enraged. The relationship between the Mother country and the colonies did not get much better with the instatement of the Townshend Acts of 1767. These acts passed taxes on every day goods that the colonists needed, such as lead, tea, glass and paint (Townshend Acts).
By this point, the colonists were beginning to question Britain's motives towards them. They believed they were being treated like slaves and being used solely for the economic growth of Britain. One night, in 1773, the colonists rebelled against these taxes on their tea. A group of men dressed as Native Americans boarded a ship at Boston Harbor and unloaded three vessels of taxed tea (Boston Tea Party). This event, known as the Boston Tea Party, enraged King George III, and inevitably prompted Parliament to pass the Intolerable Acts in 1774. These acts put a limit on the colonist's westward expansion, while simultaneously barring their trading ports and limiting their imports and exports (Intolerable Acts).
This punishment was the last straw for the colonists. Fueled by their desire to free themselves of King George III's 'unfair' ruling, the Declaration of Independence was written on July 4, 1776. This document declared the colonies' freedom from Britain and detailed their reasons, thus beginning the war for freedom. Enter George Washington, who at the time was not the "father of the country" or the first president of the United States.
Washington was the commander-in-chief of the Continental Armies and eventually led our troops to victory, but not before experiencing set backs that made the colonists and even the British question the outcome of the Revolution. While Washington and his men had not had a very successful beginning, the theme of the Revolution slowly began to take on a new feeling, especially after the battle of Saratoga. It is arguable to say that the battle of Saratoga is the actual point in the war where King George III truly lost his colonies. The British should have been able to defeat the colonists in a very short amount of time, retaining control of them. After the battle of Saratoga, however, this task would become increasingly difficult.
The Battle of Saratoga, fought in the fall of 1777 was the turning point for Washington and his men. Philadelphia had fallen to British troops shortly before, and the colonists and minute men alike were beginning to feel as if their chances of winning the war were diminishing. When the colonist troops were victorious at the Battle of Saratoga, independence seemed more in reach and more attainable to not only the colonies, but to the French and Germans, who came to their aid (Encyclopedia). The reason that this battle is arguably the point where King George III lost his American colonies is that without this colonial victory, the French and German troops may never have come to the aid of the colonists, and their morale would have been incredibly less positive.
Although the British troops were more developed and larger than the colonial troops, Britain had many factors working against her in her pursuit of control. Firstly, it had not been long since the French and Indian war, and Britain still had a heavy national debt to pay. They were unable to focus all their time and their resources on this war. Another reason is that the British were fighting on colonial home turf, which meant the colonists were able to strategize more easily and swiftly, were more familiar with the terrain, and had more troops readily available.
Anything the British army needed was, at best, 6 months away. The American Revolutionary War officially ended in 1783 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. Shortly thereafter, General Washington surrendered his troops to the Continental Congress. The Americans had won their independence, much to the dismay of the British crown. King George III lost his American colonies due to a number of reasons. The responsibility of the American Revolution and King George III's loss of his colonies cannot be placed on one specific event, but rather a build-up of tensions over the years causing the idea of freedom to ring through the colonies and drive them to make the United States of American a free country 'with liberty and justice for all.' Works Cited " Boston Tea Party." Columbia University Press.
11 June 2005. "Encyclopedia: Saratoga, Battles of." Funk and Wagnalls New Encyclopedia. 2005. June 12, 2005." Intolerable Acts." Columbia University Press. 11 June 2005. "Stamp Act of 1765." GNU Free Documentation.
12 June 2005. "Townshend Acts." GNU Free Documentation. 12 June 2005.