The American Revolution is a colonial revolt that took place between 1765 and 1783. American patriots in the 13 colonies defeated the British in the American Revolutionary War with the help of France, gaining independence from Great Britain and establishing the United States of America.
Causes for the American Revolution
1. Mercantile Capitalism: Placed trade barriers in the colonies that establish the monopoly of British companies in the trade carried out by the colonies that the Americans prevent from developing their indigenous industry, the Americans were also forced to finance the industries like ironworks and textile that helps the British growth.
2. Proclamation of 1763: The British Parliament issued a “Proclamation of 1763” prohibiting the expansion of American settlers westward, reserved for Native American Indians. American settlers who fought in the 7-year war with the British to expand westward felt that they have been cheated and therefore ignored this proclamation.
3. Enlightened thinkers as catalysts: Enlightened thinkers came up with ideas such as self-government, natural human rights, reason or logical thinking, natural laws of movement, liberalism, republicanism, the idea of a democratic form of government, the freedom that culminated in the idea of the right to overthrow a regime contrary to the previous principles.
4. Recovery of war expenses: The cost of the war was offset by the taxes of the people of the British colonies in North America.
5. Cry for Representation: The British Stamp Act of 1765, which imposed stamp taxes on all business transactions in the British colonies in the United States, which are opposed by American leaders, the right of Britain to levy taxes on them, where the leaders of the colonies adopted the slogan, “no taxation without representation”.
The British withdrew all taxes due to the earlier cry, except for tea, the tea tax was not very high, but the British did not withdraw it just to retain their right to impose the tax in the American colonies. The Boston Tea Party of 1773 was a protest against this tea tax. A ship carrying tea was anchored in Boston Harbor and, when ordered to unload, the white settlers disguised themselves as American Indians who destroyed all the tea by unloading all the containers, which angered the British. Boston Harbor was closed and intolerable acts of 1774 were adopted.
6. Philidelphia Congress: Philidelphia’s first continental congress in 1774 led American representatives to proclaim the Declaration of Independence of 1776 drafted by Thomas Jefferson that includes the following points:
a) All men are created equal and are endowed with the creation of certain inalienable rights such as the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
b) Republicanism, that is, the principle that people are the source of authority and it is their right to create their own government.
c) Independence: That is to say, that the American colonies oppressed by the British government should be “free and independent states”, which clearly shows the idea of the development of the United States federation.
American War of Independence 1775:
- The British, confronted with the American colonies, were secretly aided by France, Spain, and the Dutch Republic. In 1777, Britain attempted to surround the Americans by invading Canada, which was unsuccessful and turned out to be a turning point in favor of the Americans, after which France openly went to war in 1778.
- The Spanish Army expelled the British Army from Florida. In 1783, the British commando Cornwallis surrendered before the arms led by George Washington, ending the American Revolutionary War by signing the second Paris treaty in 1783.
Second Treaty of Paris 1783:
- Perpetual peace between the USA and Britain
- The US would give confiscated lands of loyalists.
- Spain signed with Britain and it got back to Florida.
- All the United States colonies have been recognized as free, independent and sovereign states, with Great Britain giving up all claims on Government, property, and territory.
Impact of the American Revolution
i) The American Revolution established the first democratic republic in the world and quickly embarked on the Industrial Revolution that extended its territory to the west. The United States of America developed the first written republic constitution in 1789.
ii) The bill of rights is the set of the first ten amendments that guarantee citizens the important rights such as freedom of expression, the press, religion, and justice under the law.
iii) The most important contribution has been the result of ideas of liberty, equality, fundamental rights, nationalism, and anti-colonialism.
iv) The republic was not really democratic because women, blacks and the native Americans did not have the right to vote.
v) Slavery was a blot on the principle of equality between the northern and southern states.
vi) The Constitution of the USA focused only on those who owned the property and enjoyed all the promised rights.
vii) The idea of equality without special privileges for the nobility was radical at a time when much of the world was under feudalism.
viii) The idea of not imposing the property tax was new at that time.
ix) Thus, the American Revolution was a revolution of ideas and the political system and had an impact on future events, the most important being the French Revolution of 1789.