The Road to Revolution

The Road to Revolution - The Road to Revolution I The Deep...

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The Road to Revolution I. The Deep Roots of Revolution Two ideas in particular had taken root in the minds of the American colonists by the mid-18 th century: a. Republicanism i. Looking to the models of the ancient Greek and Roman republics, advocates of republicanism defined a just society as one in which all citizens willingly subordinated their private, selfish interests to the common good. The stability and authority of government depended on the virtue of the citizenry – its capacity for selflessness and its desire for civic involvement ii. By its very nature, republicanism was opposed to hierarchical and authoritarian institutions such as aristocracy and monarchy b. Radical Whigs i. These British political commentators were widely read by the colonists ii. The Whigs feared the threat to liberty posed by the arbitrary power of the monarch and representatives in Parliament iii. The Whigs warned citizens to be on guard against corruption and to be eternally vigilant (always on alert) against possible conspiracies to denude (to strip) them of their hard-won liberties c. Republican and Whig Ideas i. They predisposed (to make someone feel) the American colonists to be on alert against any threat to their rights ii. The colonists were unfamiliar with dukes, princes, barons, and bishops. There were none in America iii. The colonists were accustomed to participating in politics and running their own affairs. The crown had left them alone for many years iv. It came as an especially jolting shock when Britain after 1763 tried to enclose its American colonists more snugly in its grip II. Mercantilism and Colonial Grievances a. The Founding of the Colonies Wasn’t By the British i. Not one of the original 13 colonies except Georgia was formally planted by the British government ii. All the others were haphazardly founded by trading companies, religious groups, or land speculators b. Mercantilism i. British authorities embraced a theory, called mercantilism, that justified their control over the colonies
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ii. Mercantilism believed that wealth was power and that a country’s economic wealth could be measured by the amount of gold or silver in its treasury. To amass gold or silver, a country needed to export more than it imported iii. Possessing colonies was an advantage, since the colonies could both supply raw materials to the mother country (thereby reducing the need for foreign imports) and provide a guaranteed market for exports iv. The British expected the Americans to: 1. Furnish products needed by Britain 2. Export goods exclusively with Britain 3. Buy goods exclusively from Britain v. The British crown also reserved the right to nullify any legislation passed by the colonial assemblies if such laws worked against the mercantilist system. The royal veto was used only 469 out of 8,563 laws. However, the colonists fiercely resented its very existence c. Navigation Laws i. Passed since 1650, these laws restricted American trade 1. All commerce flowing to and from the colonies could be
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The Road to Revolution - The Road to Revolution I The Deep...

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