Revolution Exam 1) During the years 1763-1775, Britain and the American Colonies had different views and interpretations for various events and documents. The Stamp Act: The Stamp Act was created by George Grenville, the Prime Minister from 1764-1766. Britain's national debt had soared to 133 million pounds due to the war. Grenville decided to propose several taxes on the American colonists, including the Stamp Act. The Stamp Act required embossed markings on court documents, land titles, contracts, playing cards, newspapers, and basically anything printed. Grenville figured that the tax would cover part of the national debt and the cost for keeping ten thousand soldiers in America-roughly 200, 000 pounds per year.
The Colonists were not viewed as equal citizens of Britain, so it would not be difficult for Parliament to pass the Act. Benjamin Franklin represented Pennsylvania and suggested that if Britain was going to tax the American colonies, there should be Americans in Parliament. Franklin wanted the Americans and British to be as one. British politicians denied Franklin's request because they claimed that the American colonists were already "virtually" represented by merchants in Parliament who had interests in America.
Some other differences in opinions from American colonists were those of their rights. The colonists believed that taxation without representation took away their essential rights as Englishmen. There was confusion of what the rights of free subjects of were. They also believed that just because Britain had such a huge debt, that shouldn't mean that the colonies have to take part in it. The taxation led to mobs such as the Sons of Liberty. There would be rebellions and violence to come.
The Quartering Act: At the request of General Thomas Gage, Parliament passed the Quartering Act, which required the American colonists to house and feed British troops. In January 1766, members of the New York Assembly said that because the British commander had his headquarters in New York, there was an unequal burden under the Quartering Act; in turn, they decided to follow some of the specifications in the Quartering Act, but not all of them. The Assembly also feared that the troops would cause an unlimited drain on their treasury by the cost of living and eating without paying for anything. Britain said that the troops were in New York to protect the colonists from hostile Indians that could attack -- so in return they should comply. Since New York did not comply with the Quartering Act, Chancellor of the Exchequer Charles Townshend composed the Restraining Act, which suspended the New York assembly (making anything they do null and void) until it would follow the regulations of the Quartering Act. The Restraining Act threatened to strip the American colonies of their representative government.
The Proclamation Line of 1763: After Pontiac and Britain made peace, Britain established the Proclamation Line of 1763. The imaginary line cut down through the Appalachian Mountains and halted any Anglo-Americans from settling westward. Britain made this policy in order to keep peace with the Indians and also to keep the colonial settlements close to the eastern shore. By keeping the colonists close to the shore, it ensured they would be active with the British mercantile system. Since the American settlers did not need protection from French Canada invading, Britain questioned the colonists' loyalty. "The reaction of colonial land speculators and frontiersmen was immediate and understandably negative.
From their perspective, risking their lives in the recent war had been rewarded by the creation of a vast restricted native reserve in the lands they coveted. Most concluded that the proclamation was only a temporary measure and a number ignored it entirely and moved into the prohibited area" (web). The Proclamation Line of 1763 was an establishment with good intentions. Britain wanted to avoid more blood shed with the Indians and the colonists, so the line was instilled. The colonists did not appreciate the act at all.
They believed the new act infringed their rights. The colonists were skeptical because the western movement was halted just around the same time many other restrictive policies were being enforced. 2) Declaration of Independence: Thomas Jefferson was the main author of the Declaration of Independence and was deeply influenced by the beliefs and ideas of Enlightenment; resulting in an Enlightenment-shaped document. The most Enlightened influences that are pronounced in the Declaration were: Enlightened thinkers believed men and women could observe, analyze, and improve their world; and four fundamental principles to live by: the law like order of the natural world, the power of human reason, the natural rights of individuals, and the progressive improvement of society. Here is a passage that is taken from the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." In that passage, the influence of Enlightenment is overwhelming.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident" is tied to the thought that men and women could observe, analyze, and improve their world. "All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" is tied to the belief that individuals have natural rights; including the right to self-government. "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it" is influenced by one of the Enlightened principles-the progressive improvement of society. "For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments" is a passage in the Declaration that complains about King George III taking away the colonists lawful order. These passages are the most influenced by Enlightenment in the Declaration of Independence.
3) Balanced Government: The British colonials understood the nature of a "balanced government." The People and the Legislature were the two fundamental forces in politics that had to exist in order for a government to be balanced. The Founders wanted to make a democracy-where the power is in the people's hands. Since the form of government was to be a democracy, the People had more power than the Legislature. "Framers knew, from experience, that legislatures could become just as despotic as kings and tyrants and carefully devised a system of government designed to jealously guard the People's power.
And it was the courts, through the power of judicial review, that were created to ensure that the intention of the People, and not their agents, was always supreme" ( web). 4) Southern Culture: In southern colonies, religious enthusiasm sparked social conflict. The Church of England was the legally established religion in Virginia. The church was supported by public taxes, and Anglican ministers ignored the African Americans and whites who didn't own land. The middle class whites were about thirty five percent of the population and the main group in the Anglican congregations. The prominent planters and their families (five percent of the population) held real power in the church.
In 1743, Samuel Morris led a group of Anglicans out of the established church. Morris and his followers invited New Light Presbyterian ministers from Scots-Irish settlements along the Virginia frontier to lead their prayer meetings. The Presbyterian movement reached the Tidewater region along the Atlantic coast, threatening the church and authority of the Virginia gentry. Virginia's governor claimed that the Presbyterian faith had false teachings.
Planters in Virginia and Maryland imported thousands of Africans into the Chesapeake. Planters made a slave-based economy and bought as many Africans as they could. The slaves would plant young tobacco seeds in the spring, hoe and weed in the summer, and pick and hang up the leaves in the fall for the winter to come. In 1720, females made up about a third of the African population in Maryland. Slaves in South Carolina were treated much worse than the tobacco slaves in Maryland and Virginia. The white planters imported tens of thousands of slaves to grow rice.
Growing the rice in inland swamp areas required the slaves to work in mud up to their ankles; weeding crops in horrible smelling water. Overworking and mosquito-borne diseases took thousands of slaves' lives. Though there was a high death rate in South Carolina, slaves in the Chesapeake colonies made strong nuclear families. The slaves were creating a culture of their own; passing on family names, tradition, and culture. While southern colonies were becoming slave societies, life changed for white people as much as the blacks. Elite planters and merchants were at the top of the social hierarchy.
The elite allowed poor yeomen and tenants to vote. Wealthy Chesapeake and South Carolina women read English newspapers and fashionable magazines, wore English clothes, ate English food, and hired English tutors to teach their daughters etiquette. The elite planters made a stable ruling class for themselves. 5) Voting & Government: There were three things that kept the "balance" in the British form of government that kept liberty. "There was a monarchial element (the Crown), an aristocratic element (the hereditary House of Lords), and a 'republican' or 'popular' element (the House of Commons).
Only measures passed by both houses and signed by the king or queen had the force of law. It is important to note that two of the three elements in this 'mixed' form of government exemplified the principle of hereditary rule. The monarch inherited his or her throne, and the members of the House of Lords also inherited their titles and offices. No one could claim a seat in the House of Commons by hereditary right. However, unlike our modern notions of election, the actual processes by which they were chosen were an almost incomprehensive set of practices left over from the middle ages. In theory they represented all the 'common' people of the realm.
In reality, members of the House of Commons were usually members of the aristocracy, chosen almost without regard to the size or wishes of the population" (web). "The New Englanders enjoyed the most fully representative system, with voters able to decide on all matters of importance and choose local officials in annual meetings. But all the colonies had at least some tradition of ad how local democracy and also lively elected assemblies which assumed the role of lower houses, controlling finance and tax and acting as legislative bodies" (web). The government of the Carolinas was the most developed in the colonies at the time.
A man named Berkeley received the land as a proprietor from King Charles. The Fundamental Constitution was set up as a balance between aristocracy and democracy. When the King gave land to the proprietors, a bicameral government was set up. The governor was the head of the government. Right below him was the upper house nobility, which consisted of freemen. Far below them, the commoners had power.
Commoners supposedly had a say. However, they did not. The upper house assemblies thought since they gave the commoners a little bit of voice and power, they should be able to scam the system and make a profit. Despite many problems, the government of the Carolinas was the most democratic of all the colonies. Now for the matter of representation -- from the colonies' point of view, it was impossible to consider themselves represented in Parliament unless they actually elected members for the House of Commons.
This idea however, 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, even though his electoral base consisted of only a tiny bit 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 said that Parliament was an imperial body representing and using the same authority over the colonies as over the Britain. The American leaders said that no 'imperial' Parliament existed; their only legal relations were with the Crown. The king agreed to set up colonies across the sea, and the king provided them with governments.
They argued that the king was just as much the king of England as the king of the colonies, but they insisted that the English Parliament had no more right to pass laws for the colonies than any colonial legislature had the right to pass laws for England. 6) Mercantilism and the Wealth of Nations: "Mercantilism is the economic theory that a nation's prosperity depended upon its supply of gold and silver, that the total volume of trade is unchangeable. This theory suggests that the government should play an active role in the economy by encouraging exports and discouraging imports, especially through the use of tariffs. The economic policy that flourished in the early modern period is often referred to as mercantilism or as the mercantile system. These ideas stemmed from bullion ism, a theory that precious metals equal wealth" (web).
Adam Smith's theory in the Wealth of Nations stated that sugar was the most profitable crop in Europe and America, and there were many advantages to free trade. During the period of Salutary Neglect, the American colonies went through the Navigation Acts' loop hole and secured ninety five percent of the commerce between the mainland and the West Indies, and seventy five percent of the trade in manufactures shipped from London and Bristol. When American rum distillers began buying cheaper molasses from France instead of the British sugar islands, the Molasses Act of 1733 when into action. Since there was a high demand for molasses, I believe that Adam Smith's theory in the Wealth of Nations was the economic model that the American colonists thought was accurate.
Work Cited Armando. "Judicial Review: The Cornerstone of the Founders' Plan." 5-03-05 (web). Ash, Thomas. "Why did the American Colonists Revolt?" 5-03-05 (web). Houghton; Mifflin. "Quartering Acts." 5-03-05 (web 072900 quartering ac.
htm). Indiana University School of Law. "The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies." 5-03-05 (web). Mc Clymer. "How Did the King's Colonies Become Little Republics?" 5-03-05 (web). Online Highways.
"Proclamation of 1763." 5-03-05 (web). Wikipedia. "Mercantilism." 5-03-05 (web).