American Revolution - Civil Services Preparation Online! UPSC & IAS Study Material

American Revolution

by Devender

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While British Mercantilism established a climate of hatred among the White Americans, the Seven Year War made conditions, which turned into the quick trigger for the American Revolution.

Cause of American Revolution

There were many reasons behind the American Revolution, we will be discussing each one.

  • Mercantile Capitalism
  • Proclamation of 1763
  • Role of Enlightenment Thinkers
  • Recovery of Global War Expenditure
  • The stamp Act
  • Boston Tea Party
  • Intolerable Acts
  • American War of Independence

1 Mercantile Capitalism:

It was a British policy according to which British Government would regulate the economy at home and all its colonies. The main aim of this policy was to increase its power and trade, to put trade barrier on their colonies and get monopoly of British companies. This policy prevented Americans from fostering their native industry.

The British colonies were also forbidden to use non-British ships under British laws. The export of raw material from American colonies was only allowed to Britain and nowhere else. A heavy tax was collected on import of goods from no-British goods into America.

The Americans were not allowed to set up industries like iron works and textiles under law as these businesses were very profitable to British businessmen. As a result, the Americans were forced to fund British economy.


2 Proclamation of 1763

The American Indians started an armed rebellion after the Global War. As a truce with these American Indian people, British parliament issued a "Proclamation of 1763" which stopped the expansion of settlers to the west because this area was reserved to American Indians.

The another reason for this proclamation was lobbying by the Aristocrats in Britain, they didn't want the expansion towards the west. These people basically bought lands in American colonies and were making profits from the rents.

The American who fought with Britishers in Seven year war with only purpose of west side expansion, felt cheated after the proclamation and so they started ignoring it. The local forces continued to acquire the west area under their control.


3 Role of Enlightenment Thinkers:

Enlightenment movement started in 1600s and reached new heights by mid-1700s. Around this time, many thinkers started challenging conditions and demanding freedom and liberty of people. Their ideas of liberalism and Republicanism were against colonialism. They also placed an idea of democratic form of governance.

The Enlightenment thinkers around 1750's in France gave some ideas that influenced both French revolution and American Revolution. These ideas were:

  • Reason: Truth could be discovered through reason or logical thinking
  • Nature: There were natural laws of economics and politics, just as there were natural laws of motion
  • Happiness: Happiness not misery on earth for humans as said by churches to find joy after death
  • Progress: With a scientific approach, they believed, society and humankind could be perfected
  • Liberty: envied the liberties that the English people had won in their Glorious Revolution (1688)

4 Recovery of Global War Expenditure:

The seven-year war cost a lot of money to Britishers which they tried to recover from their American colonies by taxing, the people in colonies started opposing Britishers.


5 The Stamp Act:

The British Parliament passed the Stamp Act in 1765, it imposed stamp taxes on all business transactions in British colonies of U.S.A. The People of America stood against it and started boycotting the British goods. Many uprisings against the same also followed where tax collectors were killed.

There were no American representatives in the British parliament and hence the American leaders were against the right of Britishers to put any taxes on American people. The American leaders also felt that the money collected in taxes from American people was used for British development and not in the interest of American development.

All the 13 leaders of different colonies gathered and adopted the idea of no taxation without representation. The Britishers got afraid and hence, they were forced to withdraw the Stamp act.

The Americans didn't stop at that, they also opposed the taxes on consumer goods. Thus, the British government had no option but to withdraw all taxes but they still kept the tax levied on Tea. The tax was not much but they just wanted to convey the message that they still have the right to levy taxes on their colonies.


6 Boston Tea Party:

Boston Tea Party was a protest against the tea tax that took place in 1773. A ship that was carrying tea was anchored to the Boston part. American people were not ready to allow the ship to unload which resulted in a stand-off that went for many days.

When government intervened and ordered unloading of the ship, the protestors dressed as American Indians and destroyed all tea by unloading the containers in the sea. The British government was frustrated and thus, closed the Boston port for all trade. They also passed an Intolerable Act because of the same.


7 Intolerable Acts

This act was passed in 1774 to punish the people of Boston and Massachusetts for the Boston Tea Party incident. The British parliament took away the right of self-government from the colony. Americans also appealed to the king George III to remove restrictions on industry and allow Americans to trade with all countries at low taxes. They also asked not to tax the American colonies without their consent.

Britain took it as Mutiny and attacked the colonies in 1775. This led the American leaders to proclaim Declaration of Independence in 1776 stating American colonies to be free and independent states.


8 American war of Independence

Countries like Spain, France and Dutch Republic stood with America but secretly. Britain tried to encircle America by invading from Canada but failed. This failure tuned the tides in the favour of the Americans.

After this victory, France entered the war openly. Spain and Dutch Republic were fighting against Britain at different fronts in Europe and Asia. Spanish army was able to expel British army from Florida and later in 1783, British commander Cornwallis surrendered before American Army which was led by George Washington. This led to the second treaty of Paris.

  • Second Treaty of Paris:

It was signed in 1783 between Britain and America. All the U.S colonies were recognised as free, sovereign and independent states, with Britain giving up all claims on government, property and territory. US would give back confiscated lands of people who fought for Britishers in Global war.

Spain also signed a separate treaty with Britain and got back Florida which was taken by Britain in first treaty of Spain.



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