The victory of the English in the French and Indian War initiated a series of actions that eventually caused the American Revolution. These actions consisted of England not allowing the colonists to move westward, starting to heavily enforce the Navigation Laws, and issuing new laws to pay the war debt.
After the war, Great Britain emerged as the dominant power in North America. On the other hand, this power came with a large cost England was in debt about 140 million. England did not intend to make the colonies pay for all of the debt, however, the British felt that they should pay for a third of the cost. This was because Great Britain had provided approximately 10,000 redcoats to protect the colonies. After the war, the colonists had increased confidence in their military strength because they had helped their mother country defeat the French and Indians.
Little did the colonists know that rather than receiving credit for their contributions in the war, England would instead find numerous ways to profit better from the colonies. England did not allow the colonists to move onto the newly acquired land from the war. The colonists were “land-hungry” (p. 115) because they were now free to move past the Appalachian Mountains. However, England shocked the colonies by issuing the Proclamation of 1763.
This document prohibited the colonists to settle beyond the Appalachians. The document’s purpose was to enable England to work out the land problem with the Indians as well as prevent another bloody outburst like Pontiac’s attacks in the Ohio Valley. Despite this, the colonists felt that Great Britain was trying to suppress them. They believed that the land past the Appalachians was their birthright since they had fought for it. Many of the colonists died for the land as well.
The French and Indian War also helped the colonists develop a new concept of their final destiny to conquer and rule the continent. After this enlightenment, the colonists were definitely in no mood to be restrained. England began to strictly enforce laws that in the past they had been lenient with. These laws were called the Navigation Laws. Their purpose was to enforce the mercantile system.
The first Navigation Law, issued in 1650, restricted commerce to and from colonies to English Vessels. This law was made to prevent Dutch shippers from making money off the colonies. Another law stated that goods going to America had to go through England first in order to give them a cut of the profit. The colonists were also required to ship certain products, mainly tobacco, to England and not to a foreign market, even if it was cheaper. Basically, the colonists were not given the liberty to buy, sell, ship, or manufacture goods. In spite of this, England didn’t even bother to really enforce the Navigation Laws until 1763.
As a result of this solutary neglect, the colonists developed a habit of smuggling. Once England began enforcing these laws, the colonists once again began to resent their mother country. The British officials picked a bad time to start carrying out these laws. After the French and Indian War, new laws were placed upon the colonists in order to benefit Great Britain. For example, the Stamp Act was issued in 1765. It required the colonists to buy stamps for all paper products and legal documents.
Its purpose was to raise money for a new military force for the colonies, however, the colonists were confident in the protection that was already provided. As a result, in 1765, the Stamp Act Congress was formed. It consisted of twenty-seven delegates from nine colonies. They gathered in New York City to draw up a document stating the rights of the colonies and their complaints about the new laws. One major theme of the document was “no taxation without representation” (p. 125).
Parliament eventually repealed the Stamp Act. However, soon after the repeal in 1766, England issued the Declaratory Act. This stated that England had the right to tax the colonies. Great Britain also passed the Quartering Act. This forced the colonists to provide homes for British military soldiers.
By this point, most colonists were furious .