History Internal assessment- The causes of the Declaration of independance

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To what extent did hostilities between America and Britain make a declaration of independence inevitable in 1776?

Introduction – A

In the year 1776 a declaration was written, denying British rule and forging independence. This document was the first in its kind to reject the British Empire. However, was the declaration an inevitable outcome of the hostilities between America and Britain at this time? This investigation is going to look at hostilities between Britain and America at this time, and at the extent this inevitably led to a declaration that managed to break through an Empire.

Historical documentation and eye witness accounts will be used to provide an accurate interpretation of events at the time and the focal point will be on why the Americans wanted to split from England. The sources will be approached from a neutral angle and be well scrutinised for bias of any kind. Sources used will include historical documents, books written by historians, and the use of one non-historical book.

Section B:

  • McCullough, David – 1776, Published by Penguin in 2005:- gives a detailed account of the events of 1775 and 1776 depicting the period leading to and following the declaration of Independence. It gives a reliable account of views from both sides, from the King, to the greenest American volunteers.
  • The Declaration of independence, 1776:- An exact copy of the declaration allows me to see the principles and purposes of this document so that they can be viewed in context with other evidence. It allows me to see the final result of the causes I am evaluating.
  • Wright, Esmond –The War of American Independence, published by the Historical Association in 1976:- looks at the significance and the causes of the war as well as parts of the war itself and why it happened. It uses evidence such as portraits of George III and Sir William Howe, pictures from events such as the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, and an example of a recruiting poster. Maps describe the path and course of the war of independence.
  • Birch, R. C.  1776 The American Challenge, published by Longman Seminar Studies in History: - gives insight into the parts played by Canada and the continental congress in revolution. It describes the background to events, how hostilities developed, and finally the critical years ending with signing the declaration of independence. Plus an entire section devoted to quotations from important people, documents and explanations as to its content, context and purpose.
  • Thistlethwaite, Frank – The Great Experiment, published by Cambridge university press in 1955:- Gives a brief view of the revolution but puts it into context with previous events and the consequences of its writing. Great emphasis and detail are put into the war itself and how it was conducted, as well as the reasons for an American victory. However this information has a limited value.
  • Hill, C. P. – A History of the United States, published by Edward Arnold, F.P. 1942:- gives an overview of background, events leading to, during, and after the war. However, this book is about the entire history of the United States and only a small proportion of information is based on causes of the Declaration of Independence, making it less relevant to my study.
  • Tindall and Shi – America, published by Norton and company, F.P 1984:- Gives a detailed account of the events in America from colonization to Reagan and Bush years. Useful for an overview.
  • Heale, M. J. – The American Revolution, published by Lancaster Pamphlets in 1986:- looks at the revolution in retrospect, gives views from both British and Americans, and is the first to fully examine revolutions within the states.
  • The Stamp Act of 1765:- the exact copy of the Stamp Act, often referred to as the main cause for revolutionary activity and a possible trigger for the whole revolution.
  • The Stamp Act Congress:- A copy of the country Congress’s reply to demands of the Stamp Act, giving the full reasons why the Americans detested it so.
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Source analysis – C

Source A is a copy of the declaration of independence. The text has been collated with the facsimile of the original as printed in the original journal of the old congress. This document is very useful because it clearly gives reasons for splitting from the king. It also provides a good outlook on American revolutionary thought and on how it was that the declaration was passed. Passion is showed in the declaration, showing the emotion that the revolutionaries were feeling and the anger they generated toward England.

Because it is a ...

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