Every historical event has its reasons, prerequisites, characteristics of development and further consequences. Particular feature of historical events is that their meaning changes with each epoch’s interpretation of it. There were events who contemporary scholars called insignificant and even harmful for the development of their society. On the other hand, representatives of the next generations would consider those events essential for the development of modern social order which is more advanced and democratic than the former one. In other words, history is an interpretative science and it gains new half-color each time scholar from a new epoch looks into it. The event of the American Revolution of 1775-1783 is a good example of such interpretations. It terms of the modern law and old-fashioned royal rule, the event can be judged as a mutiny and breach of all ties with the mother country1. On the other hand, it was a proclamation of a new order – freedom and independence, the right for the colonists to decide by themselves. This long introduction gives an opportunity to understand that reasons and motives of a specific event might be judged in various ways, but the fact of the event remains the same. Subsequently, the main aim of the target paper is to discuss the main reason of the American Revolution.
In order to understand the reason it would be enough to emphasize the interests of each side and how American colonists were suppressed by the Continental rule. One would have to see preconditions of such situation. In other words, the fundamental reason of American colonialism should be compared to the British Crown’s vision of the same process2. First of all, there was a difference in ideologies of further development of each entity. The main desire of the new settlers and the main motive for colonization was to start a new life and to build a new order3. Inevitably, such desire was conflicting with the strategic plans of the British Crown, for which colonization of America was seen as a spread of influence towards another continent and part of the world. The main benefits were seen in the improvement of foreign trade, diversification of products and country’s enrichment through the imposed taxes on the overseas subjects of the Crown4. Subsequently, the motives of the British government and actual settlements were entirely different from the very beginning of colonization. Therefore, it was a matter of time, when the clash of interests would take place5.
Some of the historians believe that the main reason for the American Revolution was geographical distance between colonies and mother country6. In fact, this suggestion is partly true. The distance had contributed to the decrease of British influence and control over the vast and remote territory, but it was hardly the reason for the Revolution itself. On the other hand, it might be seen as one of the reasons for its success, since British forces could not react immediately and no urgent support from England would come on time7. Another often suggested reason is that thirteen colonies were favoring too much of autonomy and independence in the legal issues, meaning that the reason for the Revolution was independence of colonial legislatures8. Such statement would be also arguable. The independence of colonial legislatures is rather a consequence of fundamental essence of colonialism – desire to be free from the old rule, in this case, from the Rule of the British Crown. Subsequently, this reason is rather an argument in favor of the statement that the American Revolution was conditioned by inconsistency of essential motives of settlers and British government.
Another reason, which is popular in the British literature, is a weakness of the Empire after French and Indian wars preceding the Revolution9. In fact, the exhaustive impact of those wars, irrespective of their general success, forced the Empire to use colonies as means of resolution of their problems. This, in its tern, resulted in discriminating acts in various spheres of the colonists’ life. The subsequent Acts on Sugar (1764), Currency (1764), Quartering (1765), Stamp (1765), Tea (1773) and finally the Intolerable Acts (1774) were limiting productive, financial and civil capabilities of the local colonists10. Although exactly those acts had triggered the chain reaction of the public anger and finally led to the Revolution, they were not the main reason for a revolt, but rather an excuse for the existing dissatisfaction with the British presence and dictation of laws, delivered by the Parliament which was an ocean apart from the colonies11. Under other conditions, if general dissatisfaction with a British presence was not already strong in the colonialist society, the conflict would have taken longer to escalate into an armed confrontation12. Thus, it can be assumed that the dissatisfaction and desire of freedom from the mother country was present in the thirteen colonies for a longer time than the imposing of the aforementioned acts.
Taking into consideration everything mentioned above, a distinction between fundamental and immediate reasons for the Revolution should be made. In this context, a fundamental one is the aforementioned difference in essential motives for colonization. On the other hand, the immediate reason, which is based on the fundamental one, is that British Crown and thirteen colonies had different views on survival strategies13. Subsequently, the mother country saw colonies as means of its survival, and the weakness of the Empire after wars had shown the need for those means exploitation. On the other hand, the thirteen colonies were favoring autonomy and even independence in state rule. Thus, the final target for them was to gain independence. Therefore, when the Empire had applied draconian methods, it became clear that independence of colonies was never in Crown’s plans. Thus, the conflict was inevitable. From the perspective of survival, it was either the Empire ending all kinds of colonies’ autonomy or colonies were throwing away the Royal rule14. There was no third way possible under those conditions.
Overall, it can be concluded that various factors were favorable for the American Revolution to take place. First of all, among them is geographical remoteness of the Empire and colonies, which resulted in an inability of the Crown to control its colonies and provide a sufficient military support during the Revolution. Secondly, colonies had favored autonomy in various fields, including independence of legislatures and trade preferences. Thirdly, the Empire was weak after exhaustive wars with France and India; thus, it needed resources from the colonies. Irrespective of the vivid contribution of those issues on the American Revolution occurrence, the main reason was a fundamental inconsistency of the initial motives for settlers to colonize the continent and for the Empire to sanction colonization. In this framework, different surviving interests resulted in the American Revolution.
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