sparky asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago


How did British imperial policy from 1763 to 1775 push colonists toward revolution?

1 Answer

  • 1 decade ago
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    Revenue and relations with the Natives had a great deal to do with it.

    In the east, particularly in Boston, there were tax protests, some of them leading to direct action by groups like the Sons of Liberty.

    In Britain, the Whig government under William Pitt the elder, had been chucked out, and replaced by a Tory government. Pitt had been more tolerant of things in the thirteen colonies, and the reaction of the Tories was something the colonials didn't care for.

    From the government's point of view, the late war with the French had started in the thirteen colonies, and it seemed they should be asked to pay their fair share for the service provided by the Crown. The government instituted taxes, not assessed by the colonial assemblies for their maintenance of their own safety and comfort, but by Parliament. The phrase "taxation without representation is tyranny" was voiced in response. A tax on all paper, including playing cards and legal documents, alienated two groups, sailors in port, and attorneys, neither groups being of particularly forgiving natures.

    In addition to the tax issue, the government also placed all of the Ohio country under the government of the province of Quebec. This move, most likely intended to maintain the treaty obligations with the natives, by putting the control over the western territories in the hands of a predominantly French province, and thus keeping the English speaking settlers from encroaching on the frontiers, angered the people living in the western regions of New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Frontiersmen are another group you don't want to alienate.

    In addition, the "patriot's" response, particularly in New England, prompted the government to order more soldiers into the area, and passed the Quartering act to force colonials to house these soldiers without compensation. This angered even more people. For instance, if you lived in a town and one of your neighbors was a radical, harrassing soldiers and tax officials, and they brought soldiers in to keep order, the government could force you to move out of your house so the soldiers could live there. And they weren't required to pay you any rent. So, there you are, not having made any trouble, forced out into the cold. There's a good chance you may make some trouble then, right?

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