Chapter 5 American Revolution, 1763-1783 Part I (185-199) 1. Why did the era of ‘benign neglect’ come to an end? Explain, in detail, how a series of taxes (use at least three) lead to growing tension between the colonists and the King? Were the American colonists justified in their belief of “no taxation without representation”? The era of “benign neglect” or “salutary neglect” was a time period during the first half of the eighteenth century where Britain had decided to ignore its colonies in America due to the events in Europe and imperial rivalries. This era came to an end due to the Seven Years War. The war had left Britain in huge debts, and they had to find ways to earn the money back. So, they decided to use the colonies as a source for money by taxing them. These series of taxes led to growing tension between the colonists and the King. The first tax imposed was the Sugar Act in 1764. This reduced the existing tax on molasses imported into North America from six pence to three pence per gallon. They also came up with a new system to avoid smuggling. This caused the colonists to be angered as now they had to pay tax for something they could have avoided before. The Stamp Act of 1765 came next. This act required all sorts of printed material produced in the colonies to carry a stamp purchased from authorities. This change was heavily resented by all of the colonists, especially writers and publishers, even more than the Sugar Act. This money was then used to station British troops in the colonies. This angered the colonists because first, they were being taxed without consent, and second, they were now under constant supervision of the military. The resistance towards the Stamp Act marked the first split between the colonists and the British. The last tax that really deepened the split was the Tea Act in 1773. This act let the East India Company, a British company in India, gain a total monopoly over the tea trade. They started dumping big amounts of cheap tea on the colonists for which they would have to pay tax, as imposed by the Townshend Act. The colonists resisted this as they didn’t want to make it seem that Britain taxing them without their consent was acceptable. This led to the Boston Tea Party, an act of revolt where a few colonists dumped more than 300 bags of tea into the water. This marked the first big revolt by the colonists against Britain. The colonists were completely justified in their belief of “no taxation without representation.” The government of Britain was taxing their colonies without consent, and not for the success of the colonies, but for Britain’s own personal gain. The colonists were justified in asking for a more liberal system where the colonists were treated the same as the residents of Britain.
2. Explain what “homespun virtue” meant and how it set the colonists apart from the British and why?
- Spring '20
- American Revolution, British army