American Revolution

The formation of the United States occurred in a revolutionary way. The fight against a metropolitan country happened simultaneously with the radical internal changes on the continent. The United States was the first democratic republic of new times, whose political ideals were established by the Enlightenment. American Revolution, unlike the English bourgeois revolution, has a secular character. It was not religious. The war of the North American colonies for the independence was a natural result of the complex processes that occurred both in America and England. By its nature, the war of the American colonies against British Empire had a revolutionary and liberation character. The paper will discuss the nature of the American Revolution and its prerequisites. It will discuss the main reasons for the colonies to separate from the metropolitan country: political, economic and cultural aspects of the revolution.  

The English bourgeoisie and aristocracy looked at colonies as a source of raw materials for the growing industry. This policy complied with the character of the southern colonies with their plantation economy. But the Northern colonies were developing along the same path as the metropolis. American bourgeoisie was a prosperous rival of the English bourgeoisie in shipbuilding, fisheries, trade with the West Indies, and in factories. Europe was devastated by relentless wars, while overseas people lived more calmly, despite rare conflicts with the Indians. The metropolis paid the taxes for the maintenance of the colonies.

Standards of living of the colonists were above the European average standard. Descendants of the first settlers did not know hunger and lack of resources. The colonists did not pay taxes to the standing army, the Royal Court and the aristocracy. The most important feature of American society was that people could freely enjoy the benefits of their labor and entrepreneurship. Protestant traditions have contributed to the diligence and thrift, while the human wealth earned in good faith was a sign of the divine human being. Certainly, the colonization of the America was accompanied by trade of slaves, speculation, fraud, the enslavement of the Indians. But the bulk of ordinary Americans acquired property through their hard work, precisely because such people formed the middle class. By the 18th century, the economy of the colonies strengthened, internal trade was improving, and has eased a dependence on supplies from the metropolis. The colony had its own fleet, inexhaustible forests and fertile land. Planters were growing tobacco, rice, and Indigo, made attempts to breed cotton. Owning more freedom than European citizens, Americans have sought to expand and strengthen it, because of increased pressure from the mother country, in the 18th century. Incompatibility of bourgeois development in North America and its colonial dependence with special force was evident in the 1760s. An indicator of socioeconomic development of the colonies was the growth of port cities: Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Charleston. They became centers of internal and external trade. Developing of education and culture gave the possibility at the beginning of the 17th century to leave newspapers, establish public and private schools and colleges. 

In the 17th century, the colonists needed help from the metropolis. It was absorbed by its internal problems: the struggle between the King and Parliament, civil war, the restoration of the Stewarts, and the glorious revolution. In the 18th century, the situation was fundamentally different. Colonies were ready to accept independence, while the United Kingdom has reached an internal stabilization and overcame France in the seven year war. It became the absolute owner of the North America, joining Canada and the other French possessions.

The economic contradictions between the mother country and the colonies have intensified after the publication of a number of parliamentary acts, regulated foreign trade in North America. Most of the 13 colonies fought in the revolution against the United Kingdom, but not all Americans supported the idea of independence from England. A huge part of the population did not want separation from England. They were called loyalists because of their loyalty to the Crown and the British Parliament. At the same time, most of the planters supported the idea of independence, because of a huge debt the English trading houses. To this category belonged the majority of American merchants, who advocated freedom of trade and business and provided financial assistance to the colonists. In the North American colonies free of any worries about the shop building, the manufacturing industry has developed in the form of small-scale commodity production, large centralized and scattered the manufactory.

Development of railway industry was caused by rich deposits of iron ore, available water power sources, and the abundance of wood fuel. In 1750, the British Parliament has found industry in the colonies so success that forbade the construction of rolling mills and factories. But the same Act encouraged the exportation of semi-finished products to England. Thus, metallurgy remained the basis of American industry.

 

Especially jealous the metropolis was for the manufacture of woolen goods. English bourgeoisie has taken measures to curb the development of wool in the American colonies industry. There was a prohibition to colonists to manufacture horseshoes, nails, buttons, hats, delicate varieties of felts. It became the main subject of the attacks by the American opposition journalism in 60-70s.

Dependence on the mother country, which had been supporting the disunity of the colonies, was an obstacle to the formation of the single internal market. This was consistent with the interests of the British bourgeoisie, in its attempt for total dominance in the American market. The expulsion of British competitors in the U.S. market and the acquisition of economic independence was the main task of a young American bourgeoisie, at the end of the 18th century. The metropolis was unable to prevent the strengthening of the economic commonality between colonies, because of naturally growing development of capitalism. An important role in this process was the development of means of communication. Initially, because of the lack of roads, trade ties between colonies were primarily via ocean ports. By the end of the 17th century, the dirt roads were replaced by paths for horses, instead of ferries appeared bridges. Since the beginning of the 18th century, a regular mail connection was established.

In the second half of the 18th century, the majority of colonies ruled by the British Crown approved the Governors who appointed officials and have the right of veto in respect of colonial legislative assemblies. But the latest limited financial support for Governors and thus kept them to certain dependence. Between governors and legislatures, there was a constant struggle. The economic development of the community as the main factor, as well as England and France fight for possession of land on the North American continent was the order of the day problem of political and military integration of the colonies. To this end, the initiative to convene Congress in 1754, in Albany, took a pioneer of the national liberation movement, politician B. Franklin. This first attempt of Union opposition to metropolis failed because. According to Robert Middlekauff, “the American colonies remained the part of the empire, and an argument that Parliament, like all political bodies, was limited did not establish where it legal lines began and ended”. Reid underlined, that “the American Revolution tells about the political language of the era and the imperspicuity of constitutional thought”.

The development of capitalism, and changes in the conditions of material life were significant shifts in the public consciousness. The clergy did not play a major political role in the colonies. The presence of numerous warring sects facilitated the struggle of the bourgeoisie with church ideology. But the clergy continued to maintain its leadership role in the field of education. The most lasting influence of the clergy was in high school, mainly because all higher education institutions have been established for the preparation of priests. The rise of the liberation movement of the 70’s, grew up numerous writers and publicists. Besides Franklin, the famous Thomas Jefferson, James Otis and Samuel Adams supported the idea of independence. Admiration of the English monarchy, based on the belief in the divine origin of the Royal power, gave way to the theory of natural law and treaty origin State. Works by Bacon, Newton, Locke, Garrington, Milton, Montesquieu, Voltaire, became popular in numerous anthologies and newspapers.

During the war the colonies declared themselves free, independent and sovereign states. The war finished in a complete defeat of the British army. In 1783, the peace treaty of Versailles recognized the independence of the United States and the expansion of their territories to the West of the Mississippi River and to the South of the 31st parallel.. 

In general, the most important reason of revolution was the desire of colonists to be free from the limitations in the development of commercial and industrial activity. So, the main reasons of the American Revolution were the laws taken in 1760s. They strengthened the colonial rule of Britain in the opening of factories, limited production and export of woolen goods, trade with other countries and banned settlers to move westward. The law from 1764 introduced new customs and duties on a range of products and the stamp duty tax on any product. The law from 1765 required accommodations in America of soldiers of the regular metropolis army. The most striking feature of the American Revolution was the lack of bitterness of civil war in England and especially the French Revolution. There was no terror during the war of independence.

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Mar 1, 2019 in Research
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