Factors of Rebellion in the 13 American Colonies

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In the late 1700s, tensions ran high between Britain and the 13

American colonies, which led to events such as the Boston "Massacre", and

the Boston Tea Party. Britain's angry response to these events furthered

the indignation of the colonials against the British, which ultimately led

to the Revolutionary War in the colonies. Among the factors for rebellion

the resentment of parliamentary taxation, restriction of civil liberty,

British military measures, and the legacy of American religious and

political ideas.

One of the many factors of the rebellion was the resentment against

parliamentary taxes such as the Stamp Act. The Stamp Act was imposed upon

the colonies to help pay for war debts incurred by Great Britain after the

French and Indian war since it was for the colonies' protection the war was

waged. The Stamp Act was hated in the colonies not because the colonists

had to pay the money but mostly because the colonists believed that only

their colony legislatures had the authority to levy taxes on the colonists.

To protest the tax, many people boycotted British goods and sometimes

tarred and feathered tax collectors. The boycott against British goods

made a dent in the British economy. Pressured by merchants the Parliament

reluctantly repealed the tax. Although the tax was repealed, it made

Americans suspicious of Britain's motives. The Stamp Act was the first

major event that affected all colonists unlike the Navigational Acts that

affected only a minority of the colonial population.

The restriction of civil liberties also was a cause of the American

Revolution. One of the most important acts that restricted the civil

liberty of Americans was the Quartering Act. This act required the

colonists to board British troops and provide them with provisions if

necessary. The act also required colonial governments to pay for

stationing troops in the colonies. The act aroused mass discontent because

the taxes which colonists paid to the colonial government was used to pay

for the luxury of redcoats who were of no use in the colonies since the

French had been expelled from the continent in the French and Indian War.

Another act was aroused the fury of colonists was the "Intolerable Acts," a

part of that act closed the Boston Harbor until damages for the Boston Tea

Party were paid. The act also forbade any Town Meetings by people unless

the Royal Governor gave permission. The colonists took offense at the acts

because the acts not only hit the economic structure of the Massachusetts

Bay Colony (by shutting off Boston harbor) but also because hurt the

republican values (on which most colonies prided themselves upon) by having

a royal governor rule the colony.

In addition to parliamentary taxation and restriction of civil rights,

Britain's military measures also hastened the Revolutionary War. One of

the most important military measures that Britain imposed on the colonist

was stationing troops in Boston, which at length led to the Boston

Massacre. The Boston Massacre occurred 2 years after British ships

carrying troops landed in Boston to enforce British authority in

Massachusetts. "Liberty loving colonists, resenting the presence of red-

coated 'ruffians' taunted their 'bloody backs'" frequently and

relentlessly. On March 5, 1770, a mob of about 60 people attacked a group

of 10 redcoats, hitting one of them with a club and knocking another one

down. Without orders "but under extreme provocation" the troops opened

fire that killed or wounded 11 "innocent" citizens. In the trial that

followed, only 2 of the 10 redcoats were found guilty but were released

after "being branded on the hand." As news spread, the event was

exaggerated and altered. Flames of anger spread through the colonies after

rumors reported that the colonists were wholly unoffending.

Another factor that led Americans to rebel was the "threat" to the

legacy of American religious and political ideas that had evolved since the

time of the first British settlers in Virginia. Some colonists felt that

the Protestant religion and their idea of a republican government were

threatened when the Quebec Act was passed. The Quebec Act was a

conciliatory measure passed by the Parliament regarding the Quebec province

in Canada because Britons was apprehensive that the French Catholic

majority in Quebec may rebel against the Protestant Britain. Under the

Quebec Act, "the French were guaranteed their Catholic religion. They were

also permitted to retain many of their old customs and institutions, which

did not include a representative assembly or trial by jury in civil cases."

In addition, the boundaries of the Quebec province was extended into the

huge Trans-Allegheny area that stretched into the present day Ohio. Many

of the protestant colonists feared the spread of Catholic ideas into the

colonies. "One angry protestant cried that there ought to be a 'jubilee in

hell' over this enormous gain for 'popery'." The Quebec Act also caused

uproar in the colonies for another reason: the new borders of Quebec

touched the fertile Ohio Valley, which was a strategic location for the

westward expansion of colonies.

Several factors led to the Revolutionary War such as parliamentary

taxation, restriction of civil liberty as Englishmen, British military

measures, and the legacy of American religious and political ideas.

Perhaps the most important of all the events was the Stamp Act, which was

the first act that aroused many colonists to protest. Its repeal

strengthened the colonists' conviction that Parliament had no authority to

levy tax on the colonies without the colonial legislature's permission.