The American Revolutionary War

One of the greatest reasons as to why there was the during the regime of British colonization was as a result of excessive taxation by the British.

The British government implemented this idea of excessive tax on the American citizens after realizing that they had a great debt, which resulted from the expenses they incurred during their war with France and India. In the North America the British had many troops at the end of the Indian and the French war.

The British government in the long last realized that it had been using a lot of its money to defend its colonies. A big force was required to protect the colonists from the attacks by the Indian troops. At the end of the war the British had a debt worth 140 million pounds.

To solve this problem the British government came up with two solutions. Firstly, the British government had the view of strengthening the existing taxation laws together with introduction of additional taxes on the colonists. Such taxes included the: 1773 tea act, 1764 sugar act, and 1765 stamp act.

This was to be done so as to enable the government to cater for the cost of the troops which were stationed in the North America. Secondly, the British government gave out new proclamation to prevent the further encroachment of the Indians by the colonists.[1]

They believed that this action if is put in place would eliminate the war between the colonists and the Indian, and thus the number of the troops would go down. The first measure by the British government of strengthening the tax laws and introducing additional tax act was to be implemented by passing the Revenue Act of 1764. This act was referred to as the Sugar Act by the colonies.

The Act on Sugar really cut down the molasses tax, which was by then the key colonies’ import. The enforcement of the previous tax was not done by the British government.1 With the introduction of the new sugar act brought in strong enforcing methods on the molasses tariffs. Under the same Revenue Act additional items such as wine, silk and potash were subject to import tax.

The American colonists reacted to the new law on the taxes with outrage. They employed all the means and the mechanisms to render such a law useless. The colonial government officials were very corrupt to extend that they allowed the entrance of molasses and other commodities to America without payment of the required import tax on them.

The American colonists resisted openly the new act of revenues by the British government as much as they could.

A good example on this is the sloop Polly case. Immediately after the law was passed by the parliament, she moved to a port known as Newport carrying molasses load. Despite the fact that, the indication on the tax payment were matching with the new government new revenue act, it was realized later by the port officer that the load was twice the one indicated on the shipment documents. The ship was seized under the new Revenue Act.[2]

This was the first evidenced American colonists’ defiance on the British government Revenue Act. Many of the American colonists just accepted to pay such taxes under the new Revenue Act as it was inevitable for them.

The taxation itself did not case an alarm to the American colonists; however the methods which were employed to collect the taxes by the British government caused anger among the colonists.  Other issues that caused anger among the colonists were that: during the enactment of the Revenue Act concerning the taxes, they were not involved in this process.

Also the taxation methods barred the American colonists in engaging in trade. On the second measure by the British government to reduce its burden of the cost they incurred in Indian and the French, was received by the American with a lot of anger and disdain.

This was because it limited and interfered with their economic growth. According to the Americans the issue of protecting the Indians encroachment by the colonists had a little chance to be enforced. They had the feeling that, there was no means by which the colonists’ natural movement would be stopped by such proclamation.5

The Revenue Act aimed at increasing the Revenue to the British government through increasing the taxes, was the major cause of the revolutionary war in America.

The issue of taxation cleared the path towards the revolution. Not only did it bring the issue of resistance, but also it stimulated the thoughts of politics the resulted into the revolution. A good example is that of James Otis who resigned and went to court on the behalf of the merchants of Boston to protest the Assistance Writs.

The writs of assistance gave powers to the officials of customs to break into ships, warehouses, and homes that were thought to be carrying any goods which were not transacted in the correct order based on the new Revenue Act.[3]

According to Otis the British unwritten constitution fundamentals were violated by these writs. Otis was for the idea that, despite that it was the British government that passed these writs, the local government was not supposed to enforce them. In his case Otis lost, but the writs issue which the revenue act enforcement brought forth resulted to be an expanding colonial list of grievances against the British colonial government.

[1] Reich Jerome. British Friends of the American Revolution, London, Macmillan, 1998, pp. 12

1 Reich Jerome. British Friends of the American Revolution, London, Macmillan, 1998, pp. 19

[2] Revolutionary War. History Central. Copyright Multi-Educator , 1998, Retrieved on 12th January 2009 from

5 On the American Revolution. The American Inquisition. Retrieved on 12th January 2009 from,

[3] Hatch Louis. The Administration of the American Revolutionary Army, London, Longman Green and Co., 1994, pp. 70


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