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What was the most important cause of the American war of independence?

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Introduction

What was the most important cause of the American war of independence? The conflict between Britain and her American colonists was triggered by the financial costs of the English and French wars of the previous thirty years. A principal theatre of conflict had been in North America, where it was felt that the Americans had failed to play their part either financially or in the fighting. In the years immediately after the war, the army in North America consumed 4% of British government spending. This cost had increased British interest in their colonies. Ironically, that war had meant that the Americans felt they no longer needed the support of the British as there biggest threat, the French, had now been eradicated. At the heart of the division between the colonists and Britain was a different concept of the purpose of the colonies. In the eyes of the British, their American lands were there to provide raw materials to Britain. This became apparent with an increasing control and restriction of American trade and industry, helping build up resentment. In contrast, many of the colonists saw themselves as carving a new society from the wilderness, regardless of decisions made 3,000 miles away in London. These pressures were tolerable as long as the British were not too strict. ...read more.

Middle

The more radical voices of the colonists were able to link the Declaratory Act and the Revenue Act and create a British plot to destroy colonial liberties. The Revenue Act was commonly held to have overstepped the laws that limited the authority of Parliament. The blocking of imports, as a result of the spread of lawlessness, convinced American opinion that resistance to the Revenue Act was threatening society. On 5 March 1770 a Boston mob attacked soldiers guarding the customs house, the soldiers stood firm, until one was knocked down by the rioters at which point the soldiers were allowed to fire, killing five rioters ('Boston Massacre'). While some radical campaigners saw this as a sign of what they saw as the brutality of British rule, much colonial opinion was repulsed by the actions of the mob. A conservative reaction in New York meant that by the end of the summer of 1770 New York abandoned non-importation, which soon collapsed across the colonies, leaving only an unwillingness to drink taxed tea. This unwillingness to drink taxed tea was felt most by the British East India Company. They needed a scheme for disposing of the Company's Tea surplus. Previously, East India Company tea had to imported into England, where it paid 1s tax before being exported to American by English middlemen, who paid a further 3d. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, the Congress did not at this stage want independence. Despite this, conflict was now inevitable. In British eyes Congress was an illegal body, not to be dealt with. Even so, opinion was split on how to respond to American discontent. In November George III was already certain that there would be fighting, but there were still conciliatory voices in Parliament. In America, General Gage, now Governor of Massachusetts as well as commander in chief of the British forces in North America, warned that the discontent was widespread and requested large-scale reinforcements, but back in Britain the scale of the trouble was not yet appreciated. Lord North was not alone in seeing Massachusetts as the heart of the problem, then in April 1775 that idea hit home by the first fighting. I feel that the most important factor leading up to the war of independence was the meeting of congress, although it is seen as only a small issue this was the first time that the colonies had united against the British as a collective, and it would have been far more intimidating for the British to have to face a united 13 colonies that one at a time, I feel that it is this is why Conflict began, each state knew it had the backing of the other 12 states so they would have been more inclined to start fighting against the British. Brendan Egan 13E ...read more.

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