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Chapter 7: The Road to Revolution1763 - 1775Background: Victory in the Seven Years’ War (also called the French & Indian War) made Britain the dominate power inNorth America, but domination came at a massive cost (10,000 troops along the frontier and $). The cost was passed on to the colonists, and what began as a squabble about economic policies soon exposed irreconcilable differences.The Deep Roots of Revolution oThe American Revolution started long before 1775—when colonists first came to America, as colonists essentially revolted from England and moved to America. oAmerican colonists were growing independent. Crossing the ocean took 6 to 8 weeks, one way. The Americans feltseparated from England; they felt as though they were the cutting edge of the British Empire. The Americans were developing their own brand of politics. The Americans were embracing republicanism, which is a society where citizens elect representatives to govern for them (Greeks & Romans). The "radical Whigs" of England influenced American thinking. They criticized how the king would appoint relatives to positions, accept bribes, and other types of obvious corruption. These were a threat to liberty. Together republican & Whig ideas predisposed the American colonists to be on hair-trigger alert against any threat to their rights.Mercantilism and Colonial Grievances oThe British colonies began haphazardly by various groups (trading companies, religious groups, or land speculators). Only Georgia was started by the British government. oStill, Britain had an overall economic ideology in the form of mercantilism. Mercantilismhas 2 main concepts1. A nation's wealth is power, and power is measured by its treasury of gold or silver, and its military and political power.2. A country needed to export more than it imported, and possessing colonies helped Britain do that oA favorable balance of trade was easier if a country had colonies. The colonies supplied raw materials to the mother country and also buy the finished products. This setup meant America was being used for England's benefit in the form of ships, naval stores, lumber, tobacco, sugar, etc. Mercantilism placed restrictions on economic activity.
The Navigation Laws, first passed in 1650, set rules to carry out mercantilist ideas. oThese laws said American goods could onlybe shipped on British ships (the Americans would rather go with the cheapestshipper, like the Dutch). oThese laws said goods heading from Europe to America had to stop in England first to pay duties. This jacked up the price for the Americans. oEnumerated goodscould only be shipped to England (Americans wanted to ship to the highest bidder). To ensure British monopoly in certain areas, Americans were restricted in what they could produce (wool and beaver hats were off limits).