1. Defective Administration:
The Administrative System of England in the American Colonies was defective. Each Colony had its Assembly and the elected members.
But, the nominated governor to each colony by the British Parliament became intolerable on the part of the Colonists. Many times conflict between the Governors and the elected representatives of different colonies became inevitable. The Governors did not do anything without the permission of British Parliament.
Thus, the administrative system of each colony was controlled by the British Parliament. The British Parliament did not recognise the colonial problems. Thus, the colonists became intolerable and raised their voice against the defective administrative system of England.
2. Restrictions on Colonial Trade:
The British Government regulated the colonial trade for her own advantage. The trade policy of England was the colonies were.
The Navigation Act which was passed in 1660 was again practised by George Greneville, the Prime Minister of England. Before this Act, the Colonist’s accepted the manufactured goods of England only by exporting the raw materials to England. But when the Navigation Act was reintroduced, the Americans were forbidden to export their native products directly to other European countries. They could import their necessary goods only through England from other countries. The British Government imposed taxes on the American Colonies.
In order to impose, more tax on the colonial imports, the British Parliament strengthened the ‘Molasses Act’ which was originally passed in 1773 by the British Parliament. By this Act the American Colonies were permitted to import Molasses only from the British West Indies. It annoyed the colonists and they became revolutionary.
3. Influence of Seven Years War:
The Seven Years War which was started in 1756 and ended in 1763 had an impact on the American Colonies. By defeating France, England occupied Canada. The Americans were freed from the French menace. This enabled the people to stand by themselves. They did not feel the necessity of maintaining the British army at their own expense. After this seven years war the American Colonies began to be revolutionary.
4. Role of the Writers and Philosophers:
The Writers and Philosophers played an important role in the American War of Independence. Thomas Paine through this writing ‘Commonsense’ inspired the Americans to raise their voice against the British Government. Samuel Adams, another writer sowed the seed of independence among the Americans through his writings. Besides this, the Americans were influenced by the writings of Locke, Rousseau, Adam Smith and Milton.
5. The Stamp Act (1765):
To meet the additional expenditure of the standing army in the American Colonies, England decided that American Colonists should bear that expense. So, George Greneville, the Prime Minister during the reign of George III passed the Stamp Act in 1765. The Act directed that in the American Colonies, the government papers, legal documents, receipts should be written or printed on Stamp Paper. The tax which was collected from this stamp was to be used for the expenditure of the Standing Army in America. It created storm in America. They destroyed the stamp papers. “No Taxation without Representation” or “Taxation without representation is tyranny”, became their cry. This gave impetus to the revolution.
6. The Declaratory Act (1766):
The Stamp Act made Grenville unpopular and he was dismissed. Rockingham succeeded him. He passed the Declaratory Act in 1766. It repealed the Stamp Act. It declared that the Mother country had the right to impose taxes on the Colonies. This created a storm among the Americans and they became revolutionary.
7. Townshend’s Policy:
Townshend, the Chanceller of Exchequer in Pitt, the Elder’s Ministry, revived the policy of Greneville. He imposed duties on tea, glass, lead, paper and colour imported into the American colonies. This gave a serious setback to the colonists and they became rebellious. They boycotted the trade relationship with England.
8. Lord North’s Measures:
Then Lord North, the Prime Minister of England abolished duties on glass, lead and paper etc. but retained on tea. This annoyed the colonist. In 1770, when a company of British soldiers were marching through the streets of Boston, the Americans showered on them snow balls. Being insulted, the soldiers fired on them and killed five Americans which was known as “Boston Massacre”.
9. The Boston Tea Party:
In 1773 Lord North introduced a new Tea Act and allowed the East India Company to sell tea directly in America. It created severe reaction among the Americans. The agitators in Boston formed the ‘Boston Tea Party’. The chief motive of this party was to resist the East India Company to sell tea in America. The first cargoes of Tea sent by East India Company arrived at Boston.
On 16 December 1773, under the leadership of Samuel Adams, some agitators of Boston Tea Party entered into the ship in the disguise of Red Indians and threw 343 chests of the tea into the Sea. This event was famous as ‘The Boston Tea Riot’. Out of anger, Lord North passed the Boston Port Act in 1774 and the Port was closed. This incident gave an impetus to the American War of Independence.
The activities of Lord North prompted the Americans to unite. All the thirteen Colonies except Georgia met at Philadelphia in 1775. They sent a petition in association with an Olive Branch to the British Parliament demanding the repeal of the thirteen Acts passed by the British Parliament since 1765. This was famous as the ‘Olive Branch Petition’.
Edmund Burke and Pitt, the Elder tried to find out the method of consiliation. They ‘ advised George III to negotiate with the Americans but George III did not pay stress on their advice. So, on 19 April, 1775, the Americans killed eight British soldiers at Lexington.
10. The Declaration of Independence:
On 4 July 1776, the thirteen American Colonies met at Philadelphia for the second time. A paper was drafted by Thomas Jefferson and this Declaration of Independence was unanimously accepted in the Congress by the thirteen American Colonies. This historic document proclaimed the cause of the revolt.
The declaration was—”That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.” This declaration glavinised the course of the American war of Independence.
11. The Course of War:
Then started the war between the American Colonies and England. In June 1776 Howe moved towards New York. George Washington was also ready. He fled to South through New Jersey. Before Howe could reach the bank of river Dilaware Washington destroyed all the bridges thereby preventing Howe to proceed further.
On October 17, 1777, Burgoyne, the British Commander surrendered to the American Commander at Saratoga. The British soldiers did not know about geographical location of America for which they were defeated. In 1782, the combined army of France and Spain occupied Minorca. Lord North was compelled to resign. The American War of Independence came to an end.
12. The Treaty of Versailles:
Lord Shelburne became the Prime Minister of England. He concluded the peace treaty with the enemies. After vigorous negotiation with France, Spain and Holland, England signed the Treaty of Versailles on 3 September, 1783 at Paris. Great Britain acknowledged the independence of the United States of America.
The year 1783 was glorious for both England and America. When John Adams appeared before George III at St. James palace as the first accepted representative of the U.S.A., the latter accepted the former with a cordial gesture which marked an end of the distinction between the ‘Ruler’ and the ‘Ruled’.
The consequences of the American War of Independence were far reaching:
Firstly, the thirteen colonies of America were freed from the clutches of their Mother Country. They combindly formed the United States of America. In 1787, the thirteen Colonies met at Philadelphia and passed constitution of the United States of America and George Washington became the First President of United States of America.
Secondly, the influence of American War of Independence was felt in the whole of Europe. According to the Paris Peace Conference France received Chandan Nagar and other trade centres in India. She also received back her West African Settlement of Senegal and acquired the islands of Tobago and St. Lucia in the West Indies. Spain received Florida and Minorca from England.
Thirdly, the victory of the Americans influenced the people of France. The French people derived lesson from it. They wanted to experience the same in their own country. It also inspired the people of Ireland. In 1782, Ireland declared its independence and freed herself from the clutches of England.
Fourthly, the American War of Independence gave a serious setback to the British Colonialism and destroyed it.
Fifthly, the American War of Independence laid stress on the Rights of Human beings. The ‘Declaration of Rights’ of Thomas Jefferson aroused people about their rights.
Sixthly, by this War of Independence America became free from England. Under the table leadership of George Washington, there were several changes in the administrative system of America. After this war, America became a Democratic Nation.
Seventhly, this war opened a new avenue of trade for America. America established her trade relationship with other countries and became prosperous. The United States of America grew from strength to strength and became super power in the world.
Lastly, the American war of the independence helped England in the growth of new colonies in Australia. Australia came under the sway of England.