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American History to 1877 - Essay Example

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By the middle of the 18th Century Great Britain was working to shore up its colonial possessions and muscle its way back into the forefront as the single greatest superpower in the entire world. The British had captured Quebec in 1959 and with the Treaty of Paris they had secured all of the territory east of the Mississippi River…
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American History to 1877
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Download file to see previous pages England was able to maintain tentative alliances with many of the few remaining indigenous clans that had not yet been totally annihilated and wiped off of American soil; restricting the colonist from entering the Appalachian territories. This must have made the monarchy feel confident that they would have little problem keeping their American colony in check. However by 1760, with the increasing threat of slave rebellion and Indian insurrection1, the colonialist rich and poor were feeling rather antsy and insecure. Nonetheless, there had been no less than eighteen colonial uprising aimed at overthrowing British control (Zinn, 59). In time, this combination of British over-confidence and domestic insecurity would become an enormous political accelerant. It would take only the machinations of the elite and the will of a people to make revolution a fait accompli. What Brittan discovered was that it could not hold up the examples of the Magna Carta (1215), and the English Bill of Rights (1689) to their far-flung relatives overseas without expecting challenges to their indisputable right to govern from afar. In the colonies, the elites discovered that the rhetoric of liberation, cloaked in the hubris of patriotism, and adorned with religious zeal was the only spark that they needed in order to ignite the White working classes into full blown rebellion:
"to bind that loyalty with something more powerful even than material advantage, the ruling group found in the 1760's and 1770's a wonderfully useful device. That device was the language of liberty and equality, which could unite just enough whites to fight a Revolution against England, without ending either slavery or inequality". (Zinn, 1980)
The aftershocks of the Great [Religious] Awakening (1739-1740) could still be felt on American soil, and people were increasingly ready to equate the religious hierarchy of the crown with outright tyranny. Now that they had freed their souls, what would be next The courage, bravery, and skill that had been expended on North American soil helping England to defend its possessions against the French, the Spanish and other colonial powers was soon to be turned upon England herself. While Great Brittan was shoring up its colonial presence around the world, the colonists were growing increasingly agitated at having to adhere to laws that they felt should not have been applicable to them on American soil. They were sick and tired of paying for initiatives of which they had no concern; and they were growing increasingly upset at being taxed by a government of which they had no representation. Ironically, their situation was somewhat similar to the situation of nearly three quarters of a million residents of Washington D.C. today.2
Nevertheless, anger had been mounting in the colonies for quite sometime. Consequently, "[F]rom 1750 to 1776 four hundred pamphlets had appeared arguing for one side or another of the Stamp Act, [the] Boston Massacre, [and] The [Boston] Tea Party (Zinn, 69)". From 1660 to 1764 there had been no less than 29 Acts of Parliament restricting colonial commerce in favor of the crown (Ramsay, 1811). Between 1764 and 1767 the English passed a series of taxes (Navigation Acts) on goods imported to the colonies, aimed at forcing goods to either be sold in England or purchased from England. The Sugar Act of 1764, the Stamp Act of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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