Causes for the American Revolution: From Baby Steps to Strides

Essay by mauhanCollege, UndergraduateA+, January 2003

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"This is not a rebellion, this is a mass awakening." The Catholic priest Don Andrea Gallo gave these words in reference to the protests of July 2001; however, his words also describe America in the 1700's. A mass awakening is exactly what incited a soon to come rebellion from Great Britain. One such awakening, appropriately named the Enlightenment, was what truly initiated the revolution.

If the reason behind the American Revolution is considered a puzzle, the Enlightenment opened a box to reveal the pieces. The Enlightenment was characterized by the belief that the world was a logical, orderly place. The mood had changed, and now there was more emphasis on logic and reason rather than tradition and unquestioning religious tenets. The belief in an omnipresent Church of England declined with the decay of the importance of religion in everyday life. Even more notably, the thoughts circulating via the Enlightenment led to the thought that people ultimately control their own fate.

This, blended with the belief in manifest destiny, led to a poised mood throughout the Americans. The colonists began to stray away from Great Britain.

In August of 1763, another rebellion was emerging. Directly following the French-Indian War, the Ottawa Chief Pontiac led a mutiny by the Natives of the Ohio River Valley. The Natives were angered by the absence of the more conciliatory French. However, King George wanted to keep peace with the Natives and generously issued the Proclamation of 1763. The Proclamation gave all land east of the Appalachians to the Natives and restricted the colonists to the west of the mountains. The colonists were exceedingly irritated; it was a blatant challenge to their (manifest) destiny. What the colonists saw was a rebellion being rewarded. The colonists were displeased with Great Britain.

The French-Indian War led to Great...