America's Struggle with British Oppression


Prior to 1763 American colonists took great pride in being English. During the Seven Years War against the French in 1763 the Americans supported the British force by providing troops, supplies, and money. (Davidson) The American colonists offered the help in hope for a better future. After the war ended in 1763 the Americans were hopeful and excited for what was to come. The hope was that Britain’s victory would mean more freedoms would be granted. The Americans hoped that high taxes would end, as well as the inequality that existed between the British and the New World colonists. What the Americans failed to realize was that Britain did not ultimately share these ideas. Over time Americans began to feel that the British Government aimed to enslave them by way of laws, taxes, and limited rights.

British push to make the colonies profitable, while harnessing control over Americans:
Britain planned to develop the colonies into a profitable venture by way of taxation. The looming debt of the Seven Years War effected the situation greatly. The debts incurred by the war required the British to come up with some sort of revenue-generating scheme. Taxation on goods and services allowed the British Government the ability to selectively choose where the tax profits came from by their choice of what to tax. Britain also prevented colonials from being considered “English” as this would have allowed the colonists more freedoms. (Davidson) The Americans hoped that after the war the different peoples would become more equal, but it seemed like more of the same after the British began enforcing these new schemes and laws.

Continued army presence inhibited movement toward independence:
The Quartering Act put on the colonists required them to house the British troops stationed in America. They had to let them live on their property, give them money, and also feed them. The British forced the colonists to house these soldiers against their will, and this was not taken lightly. The British enforced a continued army presence as a way to provide a first line of defense against any French or Native American forces, but the added benefit for the British was that as long as there was a standing army in the homes and villages of the colonials any type of movement towards independence would be prevented. Having the soldiers stationed in their colonies and even their own homes was inhibiting them to be able to grow, fight, and gain their own freedom. Britain forced this act as a way to keep control over the American colonials. The standing army became useful again during The Royal Proclamation of 1763 which prevented colonials from exploring and settling beyond the Appalachian Mountains. This allowed the British Empire to keep a closer eye on the colonials. (Davidson)

Taxes used to raise profits and pay off war debts:
The three major acts that made Colonists feel oppressed by Britain were the Colonial Currency Act, the Sugar Act, and the Stamp Act. These acts made things very hard on the colonists because it prevented them from having their own paper money, which was only a bad thing for their growing economy. The Stamp Act which required certain stamps on almost any legal or business document. Even newspapers needed a stamp on them. The Sugar Act also taxed colonists on sugar, wines, and many other foreign products. These were all very petty and annoying taxes that the colonists felt were unfair because they were specifically for them. The colonists were being taxed to help Britain pay for the war they fought when the British citizens were not. If anyone were found not paying the taxes they would be tried in a court without a jury by British judges and officials. (Davidson)

American Colonials showing protest towards Britain's tax acts.
American Colonials showing protest towards Britain's tax acts.
The tax acts prompted colonials to exercise their power as consumers.
The tax acts prompted colonials to exercise their power as consumers.




















The "Opposition" heightened fears:
The Opposition was a radical American pro-liberty group that opposed the British Government. The Opposition’s concern was that any large standing government would eventually turn into a tyranny. Their belief was that the British Government was corrupted and this corruption threatened the liberty of everyone. (Davidson) The opposition raised concern with stories of rulers who turned their people into slave workers and this caused great unrest in the colonies, eventually leading to widespread riots. While there was widespread suspicions that the British Government was using these tactics to gain control of the colonist’s pocketbooks and liberties it was forces such as the Opposition that pushed people to action.

proclamation%20line.jpg
Proclamation Line of 1763.

Rights as free born citizens:

One right that Americans thought they were losing was their ability to expand and explore after the Royal Proclamation of 1763 (image right) was issued by Great Britain. Great Britain issued this after the Seven Years war after obtaining a lot of land, and it was issued to help organize their empire in America. Many Americans were angry with the fact that Britain was limiting their expansion. Some colonists wanted to expand westward, but the Proclamation limited their settlement to only the east side of the Appalachian Mountains. (Davidson) Following acts such as the Sugar Act, Stamp Act, and Quartering Act restricted colonist from having their own paper money, allowing British troops to live in their house and eat their food, and requiring to have stamps on newspapers, documents, and all other types of papers. All of these Acts made Americans feel as if they were losing certain rights, such as taxing themselves or even having their own government. When having these acts forced up on you, the Americans could only feel as if Britain was holding them back and trying to hold them down from succeeding by themselves.

All of the hardships caused by British rule would eventually lead to the development of the American Revolution and ultimately the Revolution War. The forced British government would not last as the colonies pushed back against the Government of Great Britain refusing to be governed across a sea without representation. (Davidson) It is not difficult to see why the American's felt that the British Government aimed to enslave them as heavy taxing and ignorance of liberties reduced the people to a near-slave state. The suspicions held towards the British Government were well backed.














Works Cited:

Davidson, James West (2009). U.S. : A Narrative History. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Consumer Power [Digital Image]. Retrieved March 2, 2011, from http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2004/02/28/arts/28REVCA01ready.html
Proclamation Line of 1763 [Digital Image]. Retrieved March 6, 2011, from http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/harlandj/maps/british%20empire/proclamation%20line.jpg
Sign Protesters [Digital Image]. Retrieved March 2, 2011 from http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/resources/online/2006/grade10/ss/images/49graphicaa.gif



Rick Kostelec
History 103-W2
Professor Timothy Nelson
April 5, 2011
Counter Argument and Rebuttal:
America’s Struggle with British Oppression
How we view the facts of history will determine how we view this article. In the article, statements are made as “…Americans hoped that high taxes would end as well as the inequality that existed…Americans began to feel that the British Government aimed to enslave them by way of laws, taxes, and limited rights.” It aims to portray the situation as one-sided against the colonists. In reality, quite the opposite was true. The British were trying to level the field when it came to issues of the colonists, to create more balance among its subjects. It becomes a matter of view of the facts.

The colonies in America were originally started by England to expand the British Empire and to bring revenue into the British coffers. The French and Indian threats to colonies were a direct threat to the British Empire. War was not only fought in Europe but also in America. In the textbook, US a Narrative History, it states, “Britain’s national debt had doubled in the decade after 1754.” (1) The cost of the wars in Europe along with protecting the British interests in America and the colonists was expensive. The thought among Britons and the Parliament was “…English taxpayers alone could not shoulder the cost of winning and maintaining an Empire.” (2) The cost needed to be shared among all of Britain’s subjects and this included the colonists.

The fact was the British felt that the measures instituted were justified. Keeping British troops in America would help fend off Indian, French, and other foreign countries attacks. Quartering act would help with the cost of housing those troops. The taxes and tariffs would level out the cost among all British subjects and ease tensions in Britain where, “…heavy taxes were already triggering protests among had-pressed Britons.” (3) The British in England did not deem these measures as unjust. Quite the contrary, British officials as Greenville “…regarded his demands as modest: he did not expect colonials to help reduce England’s national debt or even to cover the entire cost of their defense.” (4)

Although the colonists felt they were being overtaxed, the truth of the matter was that they were not. “Americans, in contrast, paid comparatively low taxes to their colonial governments and little in trade duties to the Empire.” (5) The colonials took great pride in their contributions and felt the demands by the British government were unjust. The British viewed the situation differently than the colonials. They viewed the war contribution by the colonials as half-hearted. This view was enforced when the “British statesmen complained that colonial assemblies had been tightfisted…supplying the army. British commanders charged that colonial troops had been lily-livered…fighting. Such charges were unjust, but they stuck in the minds of many Britons at home. “(6)

This two-way path of incorrect information and understanding led to the animosity between the two parties. Had both sides looked at the situation more objectively than subjectively, the revolution may not have occurred.

With proper communication and truthful information lacking, the revolution was bound to happen. When the facts are objectively examined, one can see why the British imposed the demands on the colonies and more importantly why the colonists felt unjustly imposed upon. It all depends on how you will view the facts of history.


Notes:
(1) Davidson, James West, Delay, Brian, Heyrman, Christine Leigh, Lytle, Mark H. & Stoff, Michael B. (2009) U S a Narrative History, Volume 1, page 106
(2) Davidson, James West (et al) page 106
(3) Davidson, James West (et al) page 106
(4) Davidson, James West (et al) page 107
(5) Davidson, James West (et al) page 106
(6) Davidson, James West (et al) page 104

Work Cited:
Davidson, James West, Delay, Brian, Heyrman, Christine Leigh, Lytle, Mark H., & Stoff, Michael B. (2009) U S a Narrative History, Volume 1


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Stephanie Meyer
History 103-W1
April 17, 2011

Tyranny or Protection ;

Were the American Colonies Oppressed by Great Britain?

A Rebuttal to America’s Struggle With British Oppression



It is a well known fact that History is written by the winners. We acknowledge that those who have won battles and wars got the facts right, but what about the American Revolutionary war? Did the American winners get it right? Were the British as oppressive as history makes them out to be, or were they simply looking out for the best interest of their fledgling colony?


In the article, America’s Struggle with British Oppression, the following statement is made.
“British push to make the colonies profitable, while harnessing control over Americans: Britain planned to develop the colonies into a profitable venture by way of taxation.”
There is plenty of talk when it comes to what Britain expected from the colonies, but it was never a secret that they wanted the colonies as a new source of revenue. Taxation was not used as a way to make money from the colonist, but as a way to provide the much needed protection required in the new land. According to Ben Baack, “As apart of the empire the colonies were protected from foreign invasion by the British military. In return, the colonists paid relatively few taxes and could engage in domestic economic activity without much interference from the British government. For the most part the colonists were only asked to adhere to regulations concerning foreign trade.” (Baack, 2010) To not have to worry about attacks from the French is well worth the few taxes required of the colonist.


Unfortunately, not all colonists lived on land that bordered the French territory. Most lived on the coast and had the luxury of safety from their enemy. What they did have, however, was part of the burden of providing protection to their fellow colonist through Britain’s taxes. They may have seen this as unfair and oppressive, but it was done in the best interest of all.


Because of Britain’s protection, in 1763, the French eventually conceded their land east of the Mississippi River. (Baack, 2010) Britain was simply looking out for the good of all its colonists. Those who so desperately fought against taxation eventually built it into our own constitution, after British rule was over. The colonies were acting more like a rebellious teenager while Britain was forced to become an exasperated parent.



Works Cited__
Baack, B. (2010, February 5). The economics of the american revolutionary war . Retrieved from http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/baack.war.revolutionary.us