Persuasion of Rebellion in the Early American Colonies
It is obvious that many people wanted independence from Britain, but not quite as well known that not all of the people in the colonies wanted to rebel. There was a reason why the opinion changed from peace to independence, and it didn’t happen overnight.
In 1763, after the French and Indian War, the British monarch, King George III, set in place a Proclamation Line that ran along the Appalachian Mountains. This caused unrest among the colonies. They felt that since they had fought in the war, they deserved to roam and settle in their conquered lands as they pleased. King George III did not agree. The Patriots thought that the King was simply being unfair to them.
They did not realize how great the British war debt was. It was so great that Britain did not have enough money to send the amount of troops needed to defend the colonists in that extra expanse of newly conquered land. But that wasn’t the only reason that the Patriots wanted independence. To put it simply, taxes had a huge effect on the Patriots. The rebels believed that the taxes were imposed to A.
, take money to pull Britain out of war debt, and B., to use the colonists to fight wars for the British Crown. In reality, the Parliament set up the taxes originally to pay for the defense of the American colonies. The Sugar Act, Stamp Act, Townshend Acts, and the Coercive Acts, all were British taxes and all were misunderstood. These Acts, or taxes cause colonists to boycott British goods, all because of simple misunderstanding.
Another big factor was the Olive Branch Petition. This petition came from the colonists, and was a petition, a peaceful one, for independence from the British Crown. The colonies had decided that they did not want British rule any longer, and that they would ask the king if they could peacefully separate the bonds between Britain and the colonies. The king completely denied the petition, and that really moved the bandwagon. He was upset with the colonies for even having thoughts of rebellion.
He believed that they were being treated well. Not only did the king deny their petition, but he hired German mercenaries, Hessians, to fight against the colonists. Another thing that began to sway Loyalists was the Battles of Lexington and Concord and the Battle of Bunker Hill and Breed’s Hill. In all of these battles, the British could not seem to defeat the Patriots. That gave them courage. If they could beat the British in the battlefield, what was to keep them from living on their own? At this time, the British were the most powerful military in the entire world.
They had fought on five different continents in the past twenty years, and hadn’t lost a single battle. These battles that the Americans won were an invaluable morale boost for the Continental troops, and a scare factor for the British. Thomas Paine, a political radical, wrote the book Common Sense. It sold over 100,000 copies and helped sway Patriot leaders. This book talked about how everyone should have equal rights, and how he felt that all monarchy was corrupt. This last statement was especially unusual because almost all kingdoms were ruled with a monarchy government.
All of these things greatly influenced the rebellious behavior of the colonists, especially in the prosperous city of Boston, Massachusetts. By July 4, 1776, the American Revolution was in full swing.