Was the American Revolution Inevitable?
Even with both the English and the Americans willing to compromise and make deals, it would have been very hard to prevent the War for independence. The American enlightenment, however, could have been stopped. A large majority of Americans wanted independence from England mainly because of the way they were being ruled. Of the Americans that wanted to break away were from many backgrounds, they came from all over the social ladder and from all over the world.
If they didn’t all come together to be equal around each other then the War for Independence still would have happened, but the success and growth during and after the war would have never happened. It was never a sure thing whether or not the people would come together to move the American Revolution forward. The American War for Independence was unstoppable, the colonists who wanted to break away from England have gradually increased in numbers over the years, starting from the French and Indian War. After the war was over and the British had won, they had over ? 45 million in debt from that war. George Grenville, the chief minister of England at the time, decided to put more taxes on the colonists back in America to help lessen the bind of the debt while putting on the colonists to pay off. Grenville kept adding more acts to make more money off of the colonists, first came the Sugar Act of 1764, which put a tax on French imported molasses and put other products on a list that says that these commodities can only be sent to England. This act lessened the income of merchants while still charging for imported goods.
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Next in 1751, came the Currency Act, which forbade New England colonies to issue paper money as legal tender. This was a tough act for the colonists because in the hard economy the country was already in, it further constricted trade in this region. At this point, some colonists began to see Parliament as a violator of their colonial rights. Some colonial leaders were even unsure where Parliaments rule started and stopped. The next big thing that set off an explosion of displeasure was the Stamp Act, which became effective in November of 1765.
The Stamp Act further increased the duties on almost any printed material. The amount of mass defiance and rioting, especially in the major cities, that followed shocked the British government, they have never seen this amount or scale of discontent before with their subjects in America. As time went on, so did the riots, mostly in New York, Boston, and Newport, Rhode Island. Finally in March 1766, after a long debate, Parliament repealed the Stamp Act only to pass the Declaration Act, which stated that Parliament could enact laws for the colonies in all cases.
Only now most Americans began to realize the power parliament had over controlling their basic rights. England further angered the colonists in June of 1772, when they announced that instead of having a legislature put into place by them, England would pay the governors and judges. Even though it would save the colonists money, they had the mindset of if the judges were paid by England, then they would obey them and what they said. In response, Boston created a Committee of Correspondence to win the sympathy of other colonies, by the end of 1773, all but 3 colonies had Committees of Correspondence.
The final step before revolution started was taken in 1773 when the Parliament passed the Tea Act, which allowed the East India Company to ship tea directly to North America with a tax to the colonists, but the merchants who competed with the company announced this as monopoly and said there would be more to come. Finally, on the night December 16th, 1773 in Boston, a group of colonists snuck on to the East India Company’s ships and dumped ? 10,000 worth of their tea into the harbor, this would later be called the Boston Tea Party.
This act showed England that the arguments were no longer about taxes, but about their control over the colonies. After the tea party, in May 1774, Parliament passed the Intolerable acts which closed the port of Boston to all ships until the lost tea was paid for, this call fell on deaf ears for something else was happening. In September 1774, 55 delegates from all colonies except Georgia met at Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia, they would be called the Continental Congress. They met not to discuss the war that many thought was unavoidable but about overcoming their differences.
At this point, the American War for independence was inevitable. Although the war for independence was defiantly on its way, the American revolution was still unclear if it would be successful. No one was very similar to each other who was involved in the Revolution, they came from every part of the social structure and they all had different ideas. That’s why the Continental Congress gathered to talk about solving their pressing differences rather than war. Over time, colonists created a new political ideology that would greatly help the problem with all the differences.
The ideology would later be called revolutionary republicanism, it was were all the colonists most important interests and experiences were connected. Revolutionary Republicanism is very important because it is a form of egalitarianism, which is an ideology where there are no inequalities between the people and everything is a fair chance. This was very important because if some of the ideas where not thought of as equal to other ideas based on what social class the person’s idea came from, most likely, the colonists would have stayed separate and not joined to create a strong revolution.
That is why the American Revolution was not an inevitable thing to happen, because the colonists had so many differences they had to put aside before they could join and create a something that would help the success of the war for independence. The evidence shows that even if both sides were more willing to compromise, it would have been very hard to prevent war from breaking out. The American enlightenment, however, could have been stopped. If there were some major differences that were solved, or everything wasn’t thought of as equal, then the revolution might not have been as strong as it was, or if it even kept going.