The American Revolutionary War was caused from the political issues between the mother country, Great Britain, and its children, the American colonies. Most of the Americans initially didnt want to completely separate from England but wanted to compromise and regain the rights that Parliament had taken away. England made war unavoidable with its unwillingness to negotiate, heavy taxation of the colonists that violated their rights, and strict trading policies.
The English hardly every interfered with colonial business. During the period of salutary neglect, the colonists started to think and act independently of England. They lived far away from Britain and had grown self-reliant. Laws, such as the Navigation Acts, were not strictly enforced, so the colonists accepted with little objection. The non-enforcement of acts didnt negatively change the colonists relationship with England. The colonists easily traded with other countries. Also, the colonists accepted Englands right to supervise trade and British regulations. For example, the colonists agreed not to manufacture goods that would compete with British goods.
After the French and Indian War, England was in major debt. King George III started to rule the empire with a tighter grip. The British began to tax the colonists to meet Englands financial needs. Prime Minister George Grenville passed many acts trying to increase Britains income from the American colonies. IN 1764, Parliament pasted the Sugar Act. The act put a tax on molasses coming into the colonies from ports outside the British Empire. Britain had never directly taxed the colonists before. The rum producers protested that the tax would diminish their profits because the rum industries depended on the imported molasses.
The Stamp Act, however, created much more protest. In 1765, Parliament passed an act requiring the colonists to pay tax stamps on any paper product. The act infuriated colonists because this act was a direct attempt to raise money without the consent of the colonial assemblies. The colonists felt that they were being taxed without representation. With great anger, colonists refused to allow the tax stamps to be sold. Merchants even agreed not to order British goods until the act was abolished. Then, in October of 1765, delegates gathered to discuss the Stamp Act. The Stamp Act Congress stated that the right of taxation belongs only to the people and their elected representatives. Also, they decided that Parliament couldnt deny their right to trial by jury. They argued that Parliament didnt have the power to tax them because they had no representatives in Parliament. They denied Parliaments right to tax them for revenue. The Stamp Act was repealed in 1766, but following that, Parliament passed the Declaratory Act. It stated that the kind and Parliament had full legislative power over the colonies regardless.
The protests rose again when Charles Townshend placed indirect taxes on imported goods, such as glass, lead, paint, paper, and tea. The idea was to give the colonial government control to England. The colonists accepted Britains right to regulate their trade but they claimed that the Townshend Duties were disguised taxes. Therefore, the colonists refused to buy British goods.
In reaction to the taxation without representation, the Boston Massacre occurred. After the Boston Massacre, in 1770, leaders created the Committee of Correspondence to discuss how Britains actions were threatening their liberties.
Parliament, still passing acts, passed the Tea Act in 1773. The Tea Act enabled the East India Company to sell its tea below the price of other teas that the colonists smuggled. If the colonists bought the cheaper British tea, than that would show that they would be accepting Britain taxing them. Reacting to this act, colonists dressed up as Native Americans and came aboard a shop of tea. They threw the cargo of tea overboard into the Boston Harbor. Britain responded to the Boston Tea Party by passing the Intolerable Acts. These acts closed the Boston Harbor until the tea was paid for. Another law restricted the activities of the Massachusetts legislature and therefore, gave more powers to the governor. The Committee of Correspondence told the citizens that Britain could disband their legislatures and take their political rights away. Committees called for a meeting of delegates to organize resistance to the Intolerable Acts. This was the first Continental Congress. They met in Philadelphia on September 5, 1774, as a united group and agreed to ban imports from England. The Congress voted to cut off colonial trade with Great Britain unless Parliament repealed the Intolerable Acts. The delegates created a list of grievance and sent it to King George III to try to work within the system. They realized that wasnt going to work so they approved resolutions recommending the colonies to begin training for war. Then, the American Revolutionary War began, with the shot heard around the world, at the Battle of Lexington and Concord.
The main conflict that always came up during the clashes that led up to the Revolutionary War was the idea of taxation without representation. The colonists had no problem with having their trade regulated but just the problem of being taxed with consent and to raise revenue for England, which cause the colonists to seek independence from the Crown.