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The American Revolutionary War which took place between 1775 and 1783 begun as a war between the great kingdom of Britain and the thirteen colonies of British. As the war went on, other European nations played a part. The war ended up being a global war between European great powers. This war resulted from the political revolution that was taking place in America.
During the war, the colonists were united by several factors. One of the main factors was trade. For instance, in 1660, Britain imposed a policy of mercantilism on its colonies. The policy stipulated that the merchants, who were mainly based in England, and the government to become partners in order to increase their wealth and political power. This policy excluded other empires and merchants who were based on British colonies. Through trade barrier regulations, the government was able to protect its merchants who were based in London. There was use of policies such as subsidies to local industries in order to encourage export while discouraging imports. This led to a tremendous increase in the amount exports. Due to increased wealth the colonies became divided by mid 1770s. The division of the colonies was also brought by the differences in ethnic background.
Both the British and the colonies offered re-settlement and freedom to slaves who could then fight for them. This was seen as a successful tool in order to become victorious. The slaves owned by supporters of opposing cause were the target of both sides. The British, for instance recruited slaves owned by Patriot masters and were promised freedom after completion of the task. According to Foner in his book Give Me Liberty! An American History, the British captured an estimate of 20,000 slaves. Though the slaves were promised freedom, it is estimated that 8,000 died due to wounds and diseases, while the other 12,000 escaped at the end of the war to Canada. Others were recaptured by Patriots while some became slaves in West Indies (Foner, 155).
Common sense and the declaration of independence reflected the ideas of enlightenment that liberty was a natural right. The enlightenment idea helped in opening people’s minds. Peoples turned to new ways of thinking and thus abandoning their previous thinking and the ways of the past. This is because the ideas could question the divine rights of rule. The ideas also, challenged the old way of thinking and enlightened people that they should try and get material wellbeing, happiness and social justice. According to Henry, every individual has his/her own natural rights including property and life liberty (Henry, 98). Thus, by gaining independence the government was expected to protect natural rights of its citizens since it has obligations to the governed. Other natural rights of people include the government having limited power over its people and also be acceptable to all. In 1776, the American colonists were called to declare independence to allow freedom be brought by natural laws. This would bring an end to the ancient tyranny and prejudice.
There are various issues that acted as threats to freedom. One of the issues is the growing debt of Virginia planters. Cotton was one of the primary commodities in Virginia. People promoted low tariffs. The greatest weapon used by Britain was its funded national debt. The debts harnessed private savings and thus supporting their military. Many organizations loaned the government during the war time. They included; bank of England, the East Indian Company, and the South Seas Company. On the other hand, the government used tax revenues in settling the debts. These debts were enemies for liberty.
Another issue is the lack of court in Carolina backcountry. Although South Carolina was claiming jurisdiction over the whole area, the colonies courts were located in Charleston. Charleston was a distance of more than 100 miles to the east. Militia officers were supposed to obtain commitions from Charleston and respond accordingly to those who broke the law. They often chased outlaws from their colony. Also, the officers could impose orders to the so called “little peoples’ and the poor settlers. There was immense corruption in Northern Carolina. All these including the control of courts by individuals with strong ties with powerful families were threats to freedom.
Also, importation of British manufactured goods acted as a threat to freedom. In 1767, the government passed an act called Townshend Act. This act introduced the concept of taxation on various essential goods including glass, tea and paper. Colonists were angered by the tax increase and organized a boycott of British commodities. They promoted and home manufacturing and patriotism, advising American citizens to live simple life by avoiding luxuries. The colonists gradually intensified their power on many aspects of American people’s life.
Importation of cheap British tea also posed a threat to freedom. The Tea Act, which was passed by parliament, sparked a rebellion. The Act sought to save the East India Company, which had a surplus of tea, by shipping this surplus to the colonies. The tea would then be sold at a discounted price. The colonists opposed this Act claiming that it was a strategy strengthen the detested Townshend Duties. This would at long run hurt local merchants’ and thus it is a threat to freedom.
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