We hear about how America, a powerful and large country, used to be 13 small colonies under the British control. However, the colonists rebelled and broke away from the British with the American Revolution. What could have angered the colonists enough to cause them to do the American Revolution? The American Revolution was caused by high taxes from the British government, unfair laws created by the British government, and the lack of representation for the Colonists.
One cause of the American Revolution was the high taxes imposed by the British Parliament. The British Parliament imposed many taxes such as the Tea Act, the Sugar Act, and the Stamp Act. The colonists didn’t like that they were getting taxed without their say. They protested with the phrase, “no taxation without representation.” The colonists thought that these taxes were unfair and that caused them to rebel against the British. For example, a group of Bostonians protested the Tea Act by engaging in an act of civil disobedience called the Boston Tea Party. They went aboard a ship with a large shipment of tea and threw all the boxes overboard into the Boston Harbor. Another example is the Stamp Act. It caused the colonists to pass the Stamp Act Resolutions, which declared that Americans have the same rights as the British, especially the right to be taxed only by their own representatives, that Virginians should only pay taxes passed by the House of Burgesses, and that anyone who supports the Parliament’s right to tax the colonists should be considered an enemy of the colony. As one can see, the taxes caused colonists to rebel against the British and hate them. This hate and anger fueled the American Revolution.
Another cause of the American Revolution was the unfair laws passed by the British Parliament. Many laws passed by the Parliament angered the colonists. Some examples are the Proclamation of 1763, the Coercive Acts, and the Quartering acts. They were all met with anger and protest. For example, the Proclamation of 1763 was a law passed by the British that prohibited colonists from settling west of the Appalachian mountains. This angered colonists and raised tensions between them and the British. Many colonists were given land across the Appalachian mountains as a reward for serving in the war. The Proclamation rendered their land grants useless. The colonists felt that it was a betrayal. Another example of a law that angered colonists was the Coercive Acts. The coercive acts were laws that were meant to punish colonists for the Boston Tea Party. The 1st was the Boston Port Act which closed the port of Boston until damages for the Boston Tea Party were paid for. The 2nd was The Massachusetts Government Act which restricted Massachusetts democratic town meetings. The 3rd was The Administration of Justice Act which made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in Massachusetts. The 4th was the Quartering Act which required colonists to house and quarter troops including in their private homes. The 5th was the Quebec Act which extended freedom of worship to Catholics in Canada and granted Canadians the continuation of their judicial system. This angered Protestant colonists because they did not want Catholics to have the ability to worship freely on their borders. The Parliament expected the Acts to cause colonists to leave the Bostonians and move to the British for trade. However, most colonies joined the Bostonians and aided them. The colonists felt that these laws violated their rights. That is why they called these laws the Intolerable Acts, meaning the Unbearable Acts. The harsh laws passed by the Parliament angered the colonists and helped add to the fire which fueled the American Revolution
Finally, the last cause of the American revolution is the lack of representation in the colonies. Many colonists didn’t like being taxed without their consent. They developed the principle of “no taxation without representation” as a basic right. Since the colonists had no representation in Parliament, they believed it was unfair for them to be taxed by it. James Otis, a lawyer in Boston, argued, “ No parts of [England’s colonies] can be taxed without their consent.… every part has the right to be represented.” Colonists also didn’t like that the governors of the colonies couldn’t pass laws. In the Declaration of Independence, it is mentioned in the list of grievances that, “He [King George] has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pessimistic importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when he so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.” Although the harshness of the taxes and laws angered the colonists, they ultimately got mad because they were passed without their consent. The lack of representation in the colonies is one cause of the American Revolution.
In conclusion, the American Revolution was caused by high taxes from the British government, unfair laws on the colonists, and the lack of representation in the colonies. The high taxes by the British caused the colonists to hate the British and rebel against them. The unfair laws also caused more hatred towards the British and caused more people to rebel. However, most of all, the colonists were angered because of the laws and taxes were made without their consent and without their say. The spirit of independence was put into the colonists alongside their hatred and anger towards the laws from the British.
- Appleby, Joyce, et al. United States History to 1877. McGraw-Hill Education, 2016.
- Editors, History.com. “Boston Tea Party.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 27 Oct. 2009, www.history.com/topics/american-revolution/boston-tea-party.
- Editors, History.com. “British Parliament Adopts the Coercive Acts.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 13 Nov. 2009, www.history.com/this-day-in-history/british-parliament-adopts-the-coercive-acts.