The Causes of the War for Independence

Essay by shaanJunior High, 9th gradeA+, January 2006

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The causes of the War for Independence from Great Britain were many. The colonies had by 1763 already shown an independence of action and a tendency towards self governance by quarreling with the royal governors. In 1763, after the Treaty of Paris, France created New France, the province of Quebec. A line was drawn along the mountain sources of the rivers flowing into the Atlantic, and the colonies were forbidden to plant settlements beyond that line.

In 1760 George III had become king and his attempts at arbitrary rule made the Englishmen at home fear for their liberties and across the ocean helped drive the colonists into a rebellion.

George tried to enforce the Cromwell's old Navigation Act of 1651 to stop smuggling which was the life-blood of the colonials. To do this a mean measure was adopted. This was the issuing of Writs of Assistance, these were blank search warrants.

Any officer of the crown could write anybody's name in the blank line and proceed to search on the suspicion of smuggled goods in his home or store. Boston merchants resisted, engaging a lawyer James Otis to take the case to court. The case was lost, but Otis made an eloquent speech that echoed through all the colonies. Among other things, he claimed that "a man's home was his castle." When the case was lost, John Adams and the others left the crowded room ready to take up arms against the Writs of Assistance. "Then and there," wrote Adams, "the child, Independence, was born."

The wrangle over taxation culminated with the Stamp Act of 1765. The colonials did not object to taxes, they knew that government costs money, that it was the duty of every citizen to pay his just share of the tax. But they objected mightily...