Pre-Revolutionary War
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Pre-Revolutinary War
The French & Indian War set the stage with the colonies for dissatisfaction with England. And when King George III imposed taxes to pay for his Seven Year War with France, the colonies revolted.

After the French and Indian War (and the European conflict called the Seven Year's War) many things had changed in the Colonies. Even though the French and the English had all signed a peace treaty in 1763 at The Treaty of Paris, things were not exactly peaceful in North America. Now the continent was divided between the English and the Spanish. The French had been driven from the land.

During the conflict years feelings between the colonists and the English became strained. Even though 40% of the regular soldiers had signed on to fight were colonists, the English did not acknowledge that contribution. In fact the English troops looked at the colonists soldiers as useless in battle or worse creating even more hard feelings. Many of the colonists were reluctant to house and feed the English soldiers as required. The Quakers in Pennsylvania voted not to raise money for the war. Massachusetts and New York took a stand against quartering the English troops in their homes. These behaviors and more irritated King George III and the English Parliament.

Up until this time, England had mostly left their colonies in America alone. The colonies existed pretty much in a political isolation. England was looked upon as easy going and lenient towards the colonies. Many colonists had loyalty to the English crown and looked to the island as home even though most had never been there. There was a common thread of feeling that America was an extension of England.

A lot of English money flowed into the colonies. Many of the colonists profited greatly from the war. Trade flourished in the colonies even with the French West Indies which was illegal, especially during a war with the French. But it was quite profitable to the colonies. The English national debt grew from 72 million pounds to 132 million by the end of the war. The English Parliament imposed a land tax in England as well as taxes on commonly traded goods to raise money to pay of the debt.

The colonists got a taste for imported goods during the profitable war years. After the conflict was over and the English pounds stopped flowing and the economic boon was over, many of the colonists went into debt trying to maintain their prior lifestyles. Resentment grew towards the English even to the point of thinking the English were trying to economically enslave the colonies.

Attitudes got worse and worse between the colonies and England. The colonies began to look at all things English as arrogant and pompous. The English viewed the American colonists are irresponsible and primitive. Even during the war, this attitude caused problems between the two groups of soldiers. Complaints were registered often by both groups.

The colonists were concerned about England having a permanent army in the America. This was the cause of the reluctance for housing the English troops. There was also resentment about England meddling in the colonists' affairs. A standing English army here was a real fear. In England, the Parliament and King George III questioned the loyalty of the colonies which led them to be determined to put a strong English influence in the colonies.

The English citizens were paying some pretty hefty taxes towards the huge English debt. It was even being argued that the colonies were not pulling their own weight, after all the French and Indian War was fought in colonies. Why weren't the colonies paying for it? Colonial leaders responded that they didn't request the war and shouldn't be paying for it. And to make makers worse, after the war, the colonies were in a recession from the lack of English pounds coming in.

Initially this disagreement over taxes was exactly that, a disagreement, not a revolution. The colonist did not want independence, they just wanted to be treated fairly. In fact when the Stamp Tax Act of 1765 passed, the colonists felt they were being treated unjustly under English law. Benjamin Franklin even argued that back in England. This first direct taxation of people in the colonies didn't set well with the colonists. Franklin tried to convince the English if they are going to impose a tax do it externally on goods coming into the colonies rather than an internal tax . "No internal taxation without representation."

And one other factor, for the first time, the colonies were united. Prior to the French and Indian War each colony (state) was functioning as an independent unit. There were conflicts between the different groups. The war brought them all together. It was a new dynamic.

So where a victory against the French and Indians should have brought the English and its American colonies together, the opposite happened. Worse it set the stage for a growing and widening rift between England and America.

All that was needed was some people to lead the way to a revolt against England. And for England to increase the amount of control and regulation it wanted over the colonies. And as we know from history, both parts were to happen.


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