Causes of the American War of Independence
Earlier all seemed to be fine and the colonies were proud to be British. Besides a few occurrences of Parliament’s control which troubled the colonists, like the Currency Acts of 1751 and 1764. But it was when the French and Indian War took place in 1754 lasting till 1763, that King George III incurred heavy losses in buying provisions for his army and the colonies. To pay off his debts, he enforced taxes on the colonies without their consent causing an outrage amid the colonists.
An old saying goes that you must look out for the money trail. The Protestant Reformation had something similar, and money was undoubtedly one of the chief reasons of the American Revolution. The idea of paying taxes was not something the Americans liked because earlier they always got the goods without taxes. They instantly began to shun British goods. This apparently infuriated the king who lost no time in sending his army across the Atlantic to ensure that the colonies were at their best behaviour. Besides there were hundreds of reasons why the Americans rose to a mutiny.
The British had implemented the policy of Mercantilism. The system was built on the benefits of lucrative trading. The colonies were asked to source products which would otherwise have to be got from non-imperial sources, make the finished products themselves, generate exports and then sell these products outside the country. There was a centralized control over the economy. The trade was confined and there was a list of goods which could not be exported to European ports except for England.
The Triangular Trade routes were made and Americans had to trade products which they had in surplus in exchange for products that were less in their own area. Triangular Trade, together with the British policy of Mercantilism, delivered a positive balance of trade profiting only Great Britain. It guaranteed that all precious metals and domestic credit remained in England.
The Navigation Acts were intended to control colonial trade.
The Navigation Acts was to boost British shipping and permit Great Britain to hold the domination of British colonial trade for the sole benefit of British merchants.
In 1689, English Bill of Rights stated that all the liberties and rights of an individual were protected by the English law; Americans debated that they were not judged the same rights.
In 1696, the British adopted the policy of Salutary Neglect evading the strict enforcement of parliamentary laws in Colonial America that gave the colonies substantial liberty in economic matters. Amid 1763-1775 the British tried to inverse their policy of Salutary Neglect to constrict their control in the colonies, pay for war debts, impose the Navigation Acts and other rules and execute new taxes on products.
The Wool Act passed in 1699 by the British Parliament stated that the Americans could not export cloth made in their colonies.
In 1732 the Hat Act prevented the Americans to trade their manufactured hats.
A Debt Recovery passed in 1732 pronounced that slaves and land were equal to property and should be sold to realize debts owned by the colonial residents to British merchants.
Heavy taxes were imposed on sugar in 1733, through Molasses or Navigation Act.
The Iron Act passed in 1750 suppressed the production of finished products in the colonies and the production and export of iron was done to Great Britain only.