War for Independence
Waging War for Independence (1764 – 1783) Stephanie Maharaj History 1301 Antrece Baggett October 12, 2012 The thirteen colonies moved from peaceful resistance to outright war against the British government’s “reform” programs of new taxes and regulations during the period of (1764-1783). These new programs had a significant impact on the people of the colonies, and caused a great uproar. Protests broke out, and eventually the American Revolution came into the picture.
I will explain some of the reasons colonists rebelled against the new reform programs, the roles African Americans played during the American Revolution, how the patriots achieved the unity needed to wage the War for Independence, and the impact the American Revolution had on the Native Americans. First, I will start with the opposition the colonists had when it came to the Sugar, Currency, and Stamp Acts. Unlike the Molasses Act which benefited the people of the colonies, the new acts imposed on them were just a burden and quite unfair. The Sugar Act came about during the time that George Grenville was appointed as first minister.
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His responsibility was to solve the debt crisis they were facing. Since the British at home were highly taxed, Grenville’s solution was to tax the Americans since he felt they benefited from the war. Needless to say, the Sugar Act was primarily to raise revenue rather than regulate trade. The Sugar Act eliminated the sugar trade between the Continental colonies and the French and Spanish. This angered the colonists along with the newly added Currency Act which forbade the colonies from issuing paper money, thus creating a shortage of currency.
Next came the Stamp Act which provoked an even greater storm of protest. The law departed entirely from the confines of mercantilist policy. Parliament just wanted to raise internal revenue so that they could use that money to pay troops in the colonies. The colonists were extremely infuriated because for them this meant that they had to purchase stamps for official documents and published papers, which included a multitude of items. All publications and transactions were subject to this special tax. To make matters worse, the colonists were only permitted to in specie.
They habitually used paper money and credit instead of the scarce gold and silver. One of the groups of people involved in the American Revolution was the African American group. Lord Dunmore, royal Governor of Virginia, declared all indented servants, Negroes, or others (owned by rebels) free, that were able and willing to bear arms and join His Majesty’s Troops. The blacks were divided into two specific groups: the free blacks and slaves. The British wanted to disrupt and weaken the colonists so that’s why they offered the southern slaves emancipation.
The Whigs considered this foul play and as a consequence they increased slave patrols and warned of harsh punishments to those who ran away or took up arms against their masters. The penalty for slave rebellion was death. Although threatened, the African Americans still aided the British by joining the army and employing their firsthand knowledge of the Chesapeake Bay. Some served as pilots along its tributaries; others delivered fresh provisions to the British ships by foraging plantations at night. African Americans certainly played a role within the American Revolution, but they received little welcome from the Whigs.
When the Americans created an army from volunteer forces besieging Boston, they excluded slaves and even free blacks from participating. The patriots achieved the unity they needed to wage the War for Independence because of the British Government’s constant restrictions and need to be in control. The British expected the Coercive Acts to isolate Boston and convince other provinces to be obedient, but instead all the acts did was push the Americans toward unity. The patriots knew they had to work together to even stand a chance at breaking away from Britain’s overbearingness.
Their unity grew even stronger when the British government sent General Cage to take forceful action. His method of doing that was attempting to seize the patriot’s stores of food and ammunition at Concord which he learned about from an informer. Militant Bostonians had spies that ended up discovering Gage’s plan, and they were ready to spread the alarm. This is the moment the patriots stood as “one” unit. It didn’t matter that they were not finished being trained and were unprepared. They all came out to fight, and they fought for all the same basic reasons.
There were numerous battles that were yet to come, but this was the start of the patriot’s unity. Eventually all of the battles/wars led to drafting of the Declaration of Independence, which some people believe to be the ultimate reason the patriots achieved the unity they needed to wage the war for independence. The Declaration of Independence was drafted by Thomas Jefferson and set forth Congress’s reasons for separating from the government George III; the revolutionaries focused on the king’s offenses because they had already denied the sovereignty of Parliament.
The Native Americans were also another group impacted by the American Revolution. Many took the side of the Americans but the majority sided with the British and assisted them in this revolution. Native Americans believed the Americans were more of a direct threat to them because they lived on the continent and would immediately “take the land”. Native Americans assimilated, and adopted new norms and customs of white America. The result of the American Revolution was a win for the American Whigs. They were finally able to create a new government and not be ruled by a king or anyone of nobility.
Unfortunately for the Native Americans, the new government gave them the short end of the stick. They got exactly what they were afraid of, and that was their land being at stake. Their land rights were not respected. As it is evident, the colonies tried to maintain some sort of composure and not have to resort to violence with the British Government. They quickly transitioned from this peaceful resistance to outright war because the British Government kept intervening in their lives and trying to have control of every aspect of it.
When things got out of hand, the American Revolution took place and it impacted everyone including: the African Americans, Native Americans, the British, and etc. The result of the war for independence was success for the patriot’s and since many Native Americans sided with and assisted the British, their outcome was losing what they feared most. They’re land was not respected and they had no control over that. Works Cited Edward Ayers, Lewis Gould, David Oshinsky, and Jean Soderlund. “American Passages 4th Edition : A History of the United States. No. 4 (2009): 1-170