American Revolution

Essay by SSTYLES36 May 2004

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Among the many complex factors that contributed to instigating the American Revolution, two stand out most clearly: England's imposition of taxation on the colonies and the failure of the British to gain consent of those being governed, along with the military measures England took on the colonists. Adding to these aforementioned factors were the religious and political legacy of the colonies, and the restriction of civil liberties by the British. Parliamentary taxation was undoubtedly one of the greatest factors inspiring the American public to rebel in the years leading up to the American Revolution. One of the most striking examples of this kind of taxation was the Stamp Act of 1765. After many years of fighting, England badly needed revenues from their colonies, and they sought to acquire these revenues from the New World, thereby increasing their influence over the colonial governments. These theories of "New Imperialism" were what prompted Prime Minister Grenville to pass the Stamp Act.

The Stamp Act of 1765 stated that persons of almost any profession were obliged to buy stamps for their documents. In other words, the act imposed a tax on every printed document in the colonies. For example, a printer had to buy stamps in order to legally be able to distribute his publications. While the act itself was not so detrimental to the economy, it was the ideals behind the act (a direct attempt on the part of the mother country to further itself and raise revenues in the colonies) which drove the revolutionaries' cause. In October of 1765, the same year the act was passed, the Stamp Act Congress met with delegates from nine colonies and petitioned the King of England, along with the two houses of Parliament. This petition and reaction to the act became the first formal cry...