This essay has considered elements that contributed to strained relations between the American colonies and Great Britain in the period between 1750 and 1776. While it’s demonstrated that a great variety of incidents contributed to the eventual revolution, including the Townshend Acts, the Boston Massacre…
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While the colonists living in this region were originally British citizens, this century increasingly saw them identify themselves as residents of America. Contributing to their newfound sense of identification was a number of policies and incidents that weakened relations between America and Great Britain. This essay discusses and explains what caused the breakdown in relations between the thirteen English colonies in North America and Great Britain during the period of 1750 to 1776.
One of the most prominent incidents that strained relations between America and Great Britain is what has come to be referred to as the Boston Massacre. Indeed, the Boston Massacre was a pivotal event in American history for the significant contributions it made to the eventual start of the American Revolutionary War. The actual events of the Boston Massacre are that on March 5, 1770 the British army shot and killed five men living in the American colonies. While this is the eventual occurrence, the Boston Massacre is perhaps more significant as the symbolic representation of nearly thirty years of perceived slights at the hand of Great Britain. For a number of years surrounding the Massacre the British government had increasingly taxed the colonies causing large amounts of strife within the colonial residents. One of the major incidents in these matters was the occurrence of the French and Indian War. The French and Indian War was a conflict that extended between 1754 and 1763 between Great Britain and French/Indian forces. While ultimately this conflict proved successful for Great Britain, it came at great cost. As a means of counteracting the cost of this conflict, Britain began instituting a variety of taxes on their colonial empire. These taxes were met with considerable resistance among residents of the colonies. Perhaps the major tax in these regards was the 1765 Stamp Act, which resulted in the now seminal calls of, ‘no taxation without representation’ from the colonists. In terms of specific tax acts that contributed to the tensions surrounding the Boston Massacre, the Townshend Acts had recently been passed within colonial America. The Townshend Acts went beyond merely taxing the colonies, but were designed to ensure that the governors and judges ruling over the colonial empire were entirely under British control. This tactic was put in place to further solidify colonial compliance with British taxes and to better gain control of trade regulations within the colonial empire. As one might imagine, such a tactic was met with great resistance in the colonies. Petitions were sent to King George asking that the Townshend Acts be repealed. In making no progress in direct petitions to King George, increasing amount of assemblies began to take place throughout Massachusetts. These assemblies began to threaten British officials residing within the colonies. Lord Hillsborough, who had recently been made the Colonial Secretary, became alarmed by the growing amount of resistance to the Townshend Acts. He began to instruct the colonies that they needed to cease resistance operations to the British laws. As the colonists continued their resistance to the Townshend Acts, the British government responded by sending military enforcement to the colonies to ensure they followed the new regulations. On June 10th the British troops acquisitioned the colonial ship Liberty because, they claimed, the ship had been involved in smuggling actions. This prompted great outrage from the colonists and riots among the local sailors began to occur. These riots resulted in increasing tensions between British and colonials, with the British sending soldiers to Boston. The actual incident of the Boston Massacr
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