Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Causes of the American Revolution: Part I – The French and Indian War

On April 1, 2009 (I am not kidding), California hiked its sales tax, to deal with a crippling budget deficit.

The reaction, as usual, was mixed. There was anger, resignation, and that peculiar tendency of the public to believe that if they ignore something, it will just go away.

Government and taxes are a lethal weapon.

Therefore, I understand tax opposition; I don’t understand resignation.

About 250 years ago, had the American colonials just accepted a collection of new taxes, the British would have had a field day. There probably would have been no revolution.

Instead, the colonials developed strong anger and resistance. The issues of taxes, tariffs, and trade were too important to be ignored. It did lead to a revolution.

1763 marked the end of the French and Indian War, when Britain prevailed over the French in a long, very expensive territorial war.

War is very costly.

North America was now under the firm control of the British. The war was a plus for us. With some exceptions, they were colonial boom times. There was new trade, new products. The British knew this. Now their plan was to recoup some of the costs of the war from their prosperous colonies.

We would have none of this, and indicated so immediately. Were the British expecting too much? I don’t know. What do you think?

The British tax plans were viewed as persecution and illegal. The colonials gradually resorted to all kinds of tactics: smuggling, product boycotts, whatever ingenious methods merchants could come up with.

The message was very clear. Don’t tax your colonies. We are not represented in your Parliament so you have no right.

But the British didn’t get it. They never did.

I think revolutions have many causes, some of long duration. But then there are some pivotal events, certain people. The situation comes to a head, issues boil over, often in one location. For us, that was Boston. –Renata Breisacher Mulry

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