OUT OF OUR PAST - CHAPTER 3

OUT OF OUR PAST - CHAPTER 3 - 1 2 A New Kind of Revolution...

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1. A New Kind of Revolution a. Never before had a colonial people successfully rebelled against the mother country. i. Made no serious interruption in American development. ii. Conserved the past rather than repudiated it. 2. Causes Were Consequences a. Victory over French in French & Indian War weakened Americans' allegiance to England. i. While in Canada, France was the common enemy. b. England emerged from war with big debts to pay. i. Before war, the costs of the empire were primarily a British affair. ii. In return, the colonies agreed to the Navigation Acts. iii. No revenues, except those collected as import or export duties, were taken from the colonies. iv. The need for imperial revenue dictated legislation. v. The Stamp Act (1765) and the Townshend Acts (1767) were similar efforts to spread the burdens of the empire among the beneficiaries of the British victory. vi. Only logical that the colonists should share in the costs as well as the benefits. c. Colonists did not pay much, and no more than a fraction of the price of their own frontier defense. i. The Stamp Act was envisioned as returning no more than a third of the total military cost in America; the remainder would be paid by the London government. ii. Because colonists had difficulty getting cash, the government agreed to spend all revenue obtained from the Stamp Act in the colonies. iii. In 1775 Lord North noted that the per capita tax payments of Britons were 50x those of Americans. d. New tax demands caught Americans off guard. i. Colonists expected a return to the lax administration of prewar years. ii. Sugar Act (1764) – Americans protested but without much unity. e. The most common colonial defense was to deny that the British had any right in law or custom to tax the colonies for revenue. i. They insisted that only the colonial legislatures could tax them. ii. Never before had the British done so because they had previously enacted colonial legislation only concerning legislation of trade. iii. Although the Pennsylvania Charter of 1681 specifically granted the British Parliament the right of taxation, Parliament had never exercised this power. iv. Americans believed they were right and acted accordingly. v. The English waited too long to assert their authority – now the colonists were unused to it. f. Americans realized that they were no longer British but Americans. i. Englishmen saw America as part of an empire in which all elements were subordinate to Britain. ii. The Americans saw only a loose confederation of peoples in which neither Americans nor Britons could presume to dictate to the other. iii. Americans were not interested in making the empire more efficient for Parliament to manipulate. iv. Though the British assured in 1769 that there would be no more imperial taxes, it failed to stop the idea of American equality with Britain.
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