Why Did American Colonists Become United Against England?


Common Sense by Thomas Paine

Colonial Americans enjoyed relative independence from England until 1763, which marked the cessation of the Seven Years’ War. Prior to that time, the British government had paid little attention to the domestic affairs conducted by their American colonists. The war was costly; however, and England deemed it appropriate that American colonies contribute to the war debt and the costs associated with stationing British troops on American soil. The British government assessed taxes on the colonies yet denied colonists the right to Parliamentary representation in the House of Commons. As a result, Americans saw themselves as being subordinates to the Crown rather than as equal members of the British Empire, thus prompting the colonists to rebel against their mother country in the name of liberty. Parliament’s actions fostered a sense of rebellion amongst the inhabitants of America, while Thomas Paine unleashed a patriotic fervor throughout the colonies that solidified a nation.

Englishmen and Americans alike were filled with British pride following the successful conclusion of the Seven Years’ War. Americans, who were separated both geographically and governmentally from England, felt a renewed sense of kinship with their British brethren. This attitude began to change when King George III issued the Proclamation of 1763, which prohibited colonial expansion west of the Appalachian Mountains. Not accustomed to Crown intervention pertaining to domestic affairs, agitation began to stir amongst rebellious colonists.

Read the article at DailyHistory.org.

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1 reply

  1. Though it is true that the American colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries did enjoy a high degree of administrative autonomy viz Britain and Parliament, the Imperial Crisis of the 1760s and 1770s didn’t necessarily represent the first and only break from this status quo. The Crown’s attempt to merge several of the northern colonies in the 1680s into the “Dominion of New England” can, I think, fairly be described as a significant intrusion into the colonists’ perceived domestic prerogative, and was generally treated as such at the time. Contemporary revolts in Massachusetts and New York speak to the depth of colonial dissatisfaction, and would seem to indicate that the American Revolution was less an unprecedented break with tradition so much as the culmination of an emerging trend.

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