t, asLouis Hacker states, “The struggle was not over high-sounding political andconstitutional concepts; over the power of taxation or even, in the final analysis,over natural rights. It was over colonial manufacturing, wild lands and furs,sugar, wine, tea and currency, all of which meant, simply, the survival orcollapse of English mercantilist capitalism within the imperial-colonial frameworkof the mercantilist system. ” The Revolutionary War was based on economicstrife brought about by taxes and limitation of trade imposed on America by theBritish. Although ideological arguments concerning liberty, justice, and thenatural right of man were used to justify their rebellion, the underlying motive forthe Revolution was to be freed from England’s economic restraints.
Two of theinitial outbreaks in the Revolutionary War, the Boston Massacre and the BostonTea Party, were a direct result of economic discontent. The rebellion began withthe people of power in the colonies, the merchants. This group of people werethe most outraged about the trade sanctions England placed on the colonies,and had the greatest motive for rebellion. The majority of Americans were notoverly concerned with the economic disputes, and therefore had less grievancesagainst England. The purpose of this paper is to prove that the main cause ofthe American Revolution was economic contention between the rich merchantsof America and England. Beginning in the middle of the eighteenth century, Britain began toinstitute a series of checks on America’s trade and economy.
In order to pay offtheir debt gained during the French and Indian War, England needed to obtainrevenue from its American colonies. This began with the Molasses Act, whichtried to limit America’s lucrative rum and molasses trade to only deal withEngland. This resulted in widespread smuggling from both the French WestIndies and Africa. England also placed several domestic taxes, such as theStamp Act and the Sugar Act. These acts enforced taxes on goods such assugar, stamps, and printed materials.
Other Acts passed onto America were theTownshend Acts. These acts imposed taxes on items such as paper, paint,glass, and lead. This lead to a general boycott of British luxury items and agrowing displeasure with the actions of the British government. This resentmentfinally came to a head in the Boston Massacre when a group of protester wereobjecting to the various taxing acts. This group flustered some British soldierswho shot at the group and killed five people.
This incident caused the coloniesto rally behind the protesters’ cause. This Boston Massacre shows how thebeginning altercations of the Revolution were fueled by anger over Britisheconomic policies toward the colonies. Another serious point of contention that started the American Revolutionwas the Tea Act. Tea taxes had been included in the Townshend Acts, and thisprovoked the ire of the colonist. Moreover, the merchants were being drasticallycut off from all tea profits. The British East India Tea Company was floundering,and England had invested heavily in it.
In order to bolster its income, Englandgranted the East India Tea Company a monopoly on the tea trade in America byallowing it to sell their tea for much lower prices than the American merchantscould sell theirs at. This resulted in a serious loss of profit for the Americanmerchants. This infuriated the merchants, and they decided to take action. Agroup of men, dressed up as Indians, took tea from an East India Tea Companyship and dumped into the Boston Harbor. This was known as the Boston Harborand was one of the most important events of the Revolution.
It was a directresult of the hostility caused by the tea taxes and trade restrictions. The BostonTea Party proves the economic motivation of the Revolutionary War. The American Revolution was a result from the economic strugglesbetween England and America. The taxes and trade restrictions that Englandplaced onto the colonies caused the Americans to rebel in the RevolutionaryWar. Although political and intellectual reasons were used to justify the breakwith Britain, at the center of the conflict were economic grievances. Both theBoston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party illustrate that the primary concernsthat instigated the American Revolution were economic.
These two events dealtwith economic issues, and they were both extremely important to the start of theRevolutionary War. Therefore, the principal motives for the AmericanRevolution were to rectify the economic oppression of the colonies by England.