Revolution and the Economy

There are many different stances as to why the American Revolution occurred   The Whig interpretation argues that it is human’s natural inclination for liberty, therefore the revolution started because the new American ideology that every man is born equal and therefore should have equal rights and liberties.  I personally believe that human’s need for liberty is partly what caused the revolution, but these ideas only stemmed because of economic problems.  The bad economy in America as a result of the British’s taxes is what forced them to rebel, not just man’s tendency towards liberty and self-government.  The Americans were happy being under the rule of king until the British forced taxes which led to a bad economy for Americans.  I believe that the Americans used ideas of liberty to justify breaking off with Britain who was causing economic strife.  A perfect example of the economy leading to patriotism is the Boston Tea Party.  The Tea Act caused American merchants to suffer and this tax monopolized American trade.  The Americans responded to this economic struggles by the Boston tea party.  As we can see, the idea of independence and liberty did play a big role in the Revolution, but I believe these ideas only sprung up as a result of the economic problems in America caused by the British.

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2 Responses to Revolution and the Economy

  1. Sarah W says:

    Lauren, I agree with your argument as to why the American Revolution occurred. I think that challenges of political ideology developed as a result of harsh economic sanctions and tax burdens. This is most evident when the British implemented the Stamp Act. Prior to this act, Britain and the colonists shared a steady relationship of quasi-independence. The colonists saw this act as the first act that was most unnecessary and a clear indication that British were unnecessarily taxing the colonists without proper representation. This act sparked the idea of taxation without representation and the ideology of proper representation. Ultimately, these taxation burdens made colonists question the British constitution. While the British and the colonists agreed that a constitution was essential to rule and government, the colonists felt as though the constitution must be a written down contract to affirm its validity. The British, however, did not write down the constitution, making the constitution appear ambiguous.

    I would also like to mention the progressive idea stated on the sheet entitled: “Historiography of the American Revolution”. This document also mentions the idea that the revolution occurred as a result of social conflict within the colonies. While I do not particularly agree with this argument, I think that this is an interesting point. Perhaps the difference of interests between the laborers/merchants and the aristocracy contributed to the revolution. The merchants suffered from harsh tax laws, while the aristocracy wanted more power and money.

  2. Graham says:

    Lauren, although it is true that the economic positions of the colonists may have played a role in the American Revolution, one has to consider the reason for rich aristocrats such as George Washington or Thomas Jefferson to have play such an instrumental role in the revolution. As rich plantation owners themselves, I doubt that economic strife was a major concern for these men. This is what leads me to believe that in all actuality, it was a unified cry for freedom and representation that lead to the American Revolution. Although the realization of these needs may have been brought about by economic strife, I do not believe that freedom was used as an excuse for their comparably petty dissatisfaction with the taxes.

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