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"In the two decades before the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, a profound shift occurred in the way many Americans thought and felt about the British government and their colonial governments." Discuss.

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Introduction

Sowdhamani Bellapu September 8, 2003 Dr. Maskin AP US History '89 "In the two decades before the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, a profound shift occurred in the way many Americans thought and felt about the British government and their colonial governments." I. The American Revolution was more than a colonial revolt against Britain. It was an assault against the ideas and institutions of the Old Regime. The revolution was due to the radical change in the colonists' principles and opinions. II. The colonists at first did not intend to rupture the British Empire. a. Thomas Jefferson i. He affirmed his cordial affection for continued union with Britain by stating, "We mean not to dissolve that union which has so long and so happily subsisted between us...We have not raised armies with ambitious designs of separating from Great Britain." b. Americans, at first, denied any intention of independence. ...read more.

Middle

The French and Indian War (1754-1763) changed the relationship between Great Britain and the colonies. 1. Prior to the war, Great Britain had practiced a policy of salutary neglect, not insisting on strict enforcement of laws, because trade with the American colonies was making Britain very wealthy and powerful. During this period, the colonists developed a nearly independent political and economic system. iv. Series of British measures that were designed to tighten the bond between Britain and the colonies, which was asserting imperial rule over colonial interests b. The Americans soon became aware of their inconsistent beliefs from before. Their eyes were opened to the British's harsh acts. c. The colonists saw these triggers to revolution as a deliberate threat to the liberties of the colonists and a conspiracy to reduce them to political subservience. i. (First Continental Congress brought together all the colonies each with the single goal to gain freedom. The colonies wanted to appear united in their reply to Britain.) V. Old Colonial Government a. ...read more.

Conclusion

b. Thomas Paine i. Common Sense 1. "Monarchy was invention of the devil" 2. His book attested that "America gained nothing by its connection with Britain; the tie was a liability...it was time to part." ii. He encouraged Americans to fight for their freedom from the English Monarchy. VII. The colonists now saw themselves as Americans. They questioned why the British thought they had the right to interfere with their colonial affairs when the British had neglected them for so long, letting them develop their own ways of life, government, economy, and trade. Great Britain, to them, had left a long time ago and the colonists were angered that they began to take control when they no longer needed the mother country. If Britain followed a lenient pattern of colonial rule as they had, the American Revolution might have been well avoided. Rapidly expanding in wealth and numbers, developing a cultural identity differentiating them from Britain, and possessing a political life of their own, the Americans were certain to resist control from Britain. ...read more.

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