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The American Revolution - Research Paper Example

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The American Revolution The causes of American Revolution are many and varied. The French and Indian war acted as the catalyst for the American Revolution as Britain suffered huge financial burden in spite of winning the war. The imperial policies and taxations that aimed at amassing revenue for this financial debt met strong opposition from the American colonists and this triggered the revolution…
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The American Revolution
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Download file to see previous pages Even though the Great Awakening was a reaction to the Enlightenment it also emphasized on individual freedom, equality and questioning spirit. It can also be seen that the enlightenment thoughts and the spirit of the great awakening also helped the Americans to form a shared common identity and culture which kept them united amidst crippling governmental policies. This paper seeks to explore the major causes of American Revolution and in doing so the paper evaluates how the effects of French and Indian war, philosophies of enlightenment and great awakening, American culture and identity, and imperial policies and taxations after 1783 have contributed towards the great rebellion. Effects of French and Indian War A probe into history clearly demonstrates that the huge financial burden that Britain suffered in spite of winning the French and Indian war was the starting point that triggered the American Revolution. The seven years’ war came to an end with the Treaty of Paris on February 10, 1763 whereby France was forced to yield Canada to Britain in return for Guadeloupe and Martinique. Even though Britain and its allies were victorious the long war plunged Britain into great financial debt. As pointed out by Hickman, it was “in an effort to alleviate these financial burdens, the government in London began exploring various options for raising revenues” (Hickman) and this resulted in a number of colonial policies and legislations among American colonies. Thus, “the revolution was caused primarily by the mercantile policy by means of which Great Britain sought to monopolize the trade of her colonies for the benefit of the people of the home country” (Johnson/hist Commerce V1123). With this view in mind, the British parliament imposed a number of legislations and taxations on the American colonists. Some of the major acts, in this respect, consist of the Proclamation of 1763, Sugar Act of 1764, the Currency Act of 1764, the Quartering Act of 1765, the Stamp Act of 1765, Townshend Acts of 1770, the Tea Act of 1773, and the intolerable Acts of 1774. All these acts curtailed the liberty of the colonists and made their life miserable. These colonial policies not only created unrest and dissatisfaction but also caused a sense of unity and identity among the colonists under the revolutionary leaders. Effects of Philosophies of the Enlightenment and the Great Awakening The philosophies of the enlightenment and the great awakening contributed immensely to the American War of Independence. Many of the revolutionary leaders got inspired by the Enlightenment philosophical ideas of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Montesquieu and it is from these enlightenment leaders that they imbibed “the concepts of the social contract, limited government, the consent of the governed, and separation of powers” (Kelly). The political theories and principles of the colonial leaders were strongly rooted in the postulations of these European enlightenment leaders. This has been pointed out by Wilson and Reill when the authors observe that the intellectual strands of the Enlightenment thinkers are “merged in the works of writers such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Jay, Samuel Adams, Richard Price, and Joseph Priestley to create theoretical support for ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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