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Economic Reasons For American Independence

.. squared the difference between imperial purpose and colonial aspiration. The colonists fell, naturally into an attitude of provincialism that was well suited for the conditions of their life in America but was corrosive to the empire of England. The lack of contact between the colonies led to the development of each on their own. The English were lax in the enforcing of the Navigation Acts and the colonials disobeyed them. This was one instance of the extent to which three thousand miles of ocean could water down a policy of strict control.

Burke had listed many of the “capital sources”, however he might have found another one if he had lived in the colonies. This “capital source” was brought forth by Frederick Jackson Turner. “American democracy is fundamentally the outcome of the experiences of the American people in the dealing with the west.” The significance of the frontier in early American history. The frontier was not only a area but a state of mind. The frontier impeded the transfer to America of outworn attitude and institutions. The wilderness frustrated any attempts of feudalism in the colonies.

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The attitude of freedom from government was emphasized by the frontier conditions. The frontier also produced some of the raw materials of American democracy – self reliance, social fluidity, simplicity, equality, dislike of privilege, optimism, and devotion to liberty. The economic conditions were also a cause in the advance of liberty, the wages in the colonies were generally higher and the working conditions were better than in England. The reason for this altogether joyous condition was a shortage of labor caused by the mass amount of land being settled. The people of the seaboard lost many of their people in the migration of the west.

The frontier was always an area of protest and thus an area were republican notions could be nurtured. They were overtaxed without adequate representation, they were not happy with the current style of government and thus were willing to fight for a new one. Nearly all of the immigrants to the colonies came from the middle and lower classes. Even the aristocratic families of New York and Virginia had humble origins. This was not to imply that America was a land of rogues.

Europe had sent over thousands of substantial, intelligent, propertied men and women. Yet most could not even pay for their own voyage, and gentlemen immigrants only numbered a few. The British policy of sending tens of thousands of convicts inspired Dr. Johnson’s famous growl: “Sir, they are a race of convicts , and ought to be content with anything we allow them short of hanging.” Benjamin Franklin offered to return the favor by shipping over all of the rattlesnakes in America Many years before 1765 the colonies had begun to take on a pattern of unity that was “characteristically American”. The people followed the laws and customs of the English, but were made up of many different peoples.

This melting pot had only begun to heat in the latter part of the 1700’s. Crevecoeur’s example of a family which consisted of four sons with four wives of four different nations was a occurrence more natural if the Republic and not of the colonies. The influx of non-English caused many important causes of the American Revolution. The arrival of non-English peoples caused the hold of the mother country to weaken. The influx of aliens did a lot to make Protestant individualistic character stronger.

The immigrants helped to democratize the political institutions that had been brought over from England. The Scotch-Irish often quarreled that the colonies were not representative enough. The Germans brought the middle-class creed of industry, frugality and self reliance. The immigrants brought with them ways of life that supported the colonies. The Scotch-Irish were typical frontiersmen, the Germans were the typical farmer.

Though they were men of different attitudes, they all wanted the same: “And what but Liberty, charming Liberty, is the resistless Magnet that attracts so many different Nations into that flourishing colony? History however did not only create great men, they also played a great part in the creating of history. History is not only the chronicles of the passages of time but also it biographizes the lives of the great men who have lived it. One of the most important causes of the revolution had been passed on March 22, 1765. The Stamp Act had passed both houses of Parliament as “a common turnpike bill.” The people were angered and now began to feel the forces of revolt that had silently growled for many years. A new resolution of independence was as much the climax of a revolution as the beginning of one. This was the “real American Revolution.” The colonies progressed greatly over the years.

The population nearly doubled between 1765 and 1776. The Americans would, someday, outnumber the British. It soon became apparent that there was “something absurd in supposing a continent to be perpetually governed by an island.” More significant than this material progress was the progress of the “forces-behind-the-forces”. The English heritage, the ocean, the frontier, and imperial tension worked hard in this decade of ferment. The forces that had worked long for freedom began to have a sharp increase in importance. The struggle between the government and the people took on a new vigor and meaning. The colonial press began more political reporting, thus alerting the population of Imperial wrongs. In early 1765 there were only twenty-three newspapers in the colonies with only two or three politically conscious.

By 1775 there were thirty-eight, of which about two were not politically conscious. The word “unconstitutional” became one of America’s favorite words. In every colony the middle-class formed the nucleus of the patriots. The aristocracy split into two different groups. The rapid rise of higher education also contributed to the cause of the revolution.

The colonial mind began to become more American and less English. The American colonies moved very fast in between 1765 and 1776. The people began to riot, not wanting the English government as leadership anymore. The people pushed steadily ahead in population, wealth, self-reliance, and devotion to liberty. The peaceful revolution was ending and the revolution of guns was just beginning.

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