Thursday, October 30, 2008


-----In the words of John Adams, “the revolution was in the minds of the people…before a drop of blood was shed at the Lexington.” With a series of events leading up to it, the true question regarding the American Revolution is its literal definition. What was the revolution? “What do we mean by the revolution...the war? That was no part of the revolution; it was only an effect & consequence of it...” implies Adams. Was it the result of the conflict between the British Parliament and American colonists? Historians insist that America’s independence is a paradoxical phenomenon because only thirty years before it, the colonists considered themselves British citizens/subjects in a different location. Only thirty years before, the colonist was importing British products, they reading British books, news and sending their kids to England for education. What influenced America’s sudden decision of independence? Did the stamp tax act serve as a spark for this decision?

-----At the time, England was in fact considered the center of culture, and one of the most modern and prestigious cities in all of Europe. In reality, the New World and the colonies didn’t compare to England, and was even considered rural by some. This was the reason why the prominent historical figurehead Benjamin Franklin decided to live in London instead of Pennsylvania. Benjamin Franklin had made a fortune in the printing business and even proposed to be the head in the establishment of a new colony on the land near the Ohio River. But even with all his accomplishments and achievements, he was looked down upon by royal figures of power because he was the son of a candle maker and technically a commoner. There was a sense of rivalry between the Virginian colonists and the Britain, and as the scenario unfolds, Britain considered the colonies inferior mainly because most of the colonists were commoners who weren’t born of aristocratic relation and were not of royal blood. Although colonies such as Virginia attempted to be exactly like the British, no matter how hard they tried, they never could get it quite right in the eyes of the Englanders and therefore looked down upon.

-----In the spring of 1765, news of the stamp tax act had reached the colonies and was perceived as completely outrageous. Almost everyone was affected by this tax one way or another. For example, one category of people who were effected majorly by this tax were lawyers, for every legal document that they processed, another category of persons this tax affected was sailors who used playing cards and dice…ect. The colonists alleged the stamp act as testimony of their inferiority in the eyes of the British Parliament simply because of the fact that England did not consult them before reaching into their pockets for revenue. The Virginians considered the stamp tax act degrading and that the British Parliament had no right to instate such a tax. But the matter was not in material, it was the thought of being taxed without consent that really set the colonists into action. Because they felt that they would be enslaved by the British Parliament if they didn’t stand up for themselves, colonists collected and sent out petitions, finding this method infective, colonial leaders proposed a boycott of their products, which potentially affected Englanders to the point where the British Parliament repealed the stamp tax act. But in reality, the stamp act was just the beginning scenario of the inevitable conflict that would end in war and the American Revolution.

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