American identity before the revolution

American Identity before the Revolution Before 1765 if someone had told Great Britain that the colonies would revolt they would probably have been labeled as crazy. The American colonies were well known for squabbling amongst each other about land, religion, representation, and ethnic issues. Britain, who was busy with the French and Indian war, treated the colonies with salutary neglect allowing them to thrive economically, a situation that the colonists found ideal. But after the end of the war, Britain realized that it was not getting its fair share of the thriving American economy and decided it was time that the colonies pay for their own defense and return much needed revenue to the mother country. Britain began by ending their years of salutary neglect with a tax levied on the import of sugar and molasses caused concern amongst those in the rum business. Even though the tax itself was not above the one already in effect, Britain promised that this one would be much more heavily enforced. It wasn’t until Britain put the Stamp Act into effect however, that the colonies became really concerned about their economic freedom. Its direct demand for revenue caused widespread colonial outrage, encouraged by the wealthy merchants, lawyers, and newspaper publishers whom it affected most. This outrage led to the early organization of groups such as the Sons of Liberty who would later on be crucial to the cause of the revolution. The colonies angered by what they saw as a breach of their rights as loyal British citizens, threatened to boycott all British goods and imports. Parliament quickly repealed the Stamp Act, but passed another act establishing their right to tax the colonies. The colonies, after having been pretty much left to themselves for so long, did not take kindly to being brought to task, so to speak. The Sons of Liberty and similar organizations grew as did the colonists displeasure with what they perceived as an increasingly oppressive and tyrannical parent. Britain, determined to enforce something, levied ” external” or indirect taxes on the import of many goods in hopes that the colonists would accept it. However, even this light tax was rejected violently by the already enraged colonists. They retaliated by staging protests, boycotts, the destruction of ships, and the infamous ” Boston Tea Party”. The colonists had stopped seeing their king and mother country as nurturers and had begun to view them as cruel, corrupted tyrants bent on forcing them into a kind of slavery to Britain. The colonists had also stopped there quarreling in the wake of their problems with Britain. They began to realize the things they had in common, such as hate for the oppressive rules given to them and a common lower class background. Many of the colonists began to perceive America as a truly ” republican” society. They had grown to value and emphasize in their society personal independence, public virtue, and a healthy suspicion of concentrated power. Increasingly they compared their own society with Britain’s and began to consider exactly what they were becoming; no longer wholly British citizens, but a society capable of supporting itself economically and socially. In essence, they main reason that the Americans had finally decided that it was time to claim themselves an independent people was because they felt that the pollicies and taxes of the British empire were entirely useless as actual revenue raising strategies. Instead the colonists considered them a bold attempt to squash their budding independence and keep them forever dependent of Mother England. Though the colonist’s views of British laws are not necessarily true, the colonist’s ideas mirrored that of political rivals to the King in England. The colonists would avidly read their warnings about national debt and corruption in the government. Having read these warnings they perceived Parliaments taxes, stationing troops in the colonies, and disallowing them to expand the colonies westward, as an elaborate scheme to eventually seize their property and reduce them to slavery.