The Implications of Revolutions


History 361


In this paper I am going to talk about the debate that Britain had from within and the debate they had with the Americans and the French dealing with the revolutions that they were going to be a part of. Obviously these revolutions changed the face of Britain politics and economics forever, and furthermore they changed the way people thought about Great Britain. Britain was no longer seen as the power of the world, that was the furthest thing from the truth, they were now seen at best as a mediocre country trying to reestablish its identity. I am going to mostly talk about what was going through the powers of Great Britainís heads as they were forced to decide what to do with the Americans. It was a tough decision and it turned out to be disastrous for the King and his fellow Britain followers.


The 1760ís was a decade that the British Empire dominated, it was marked my military victories, among them was the Seven Years War, which ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1763. However the concerns of the British government was now shifted on how to control the North American colonies. The British feared that the leaders of the colonies were unwilling to pay their required amount of taxes to show their support for the King and his empire. The debate over taxation obviously escalated and led to a series of mini revolts, the British were going to try and not let the mini revolts lead to one major revolution.


The British did not want to get into a war with the Americans. They had nothing to gain from a war. If they won then things would go back to the way they were, the British would probably have a little more control but all in all they had a lot more to lose then they had to win in the war. I compare it to the #1 team in the nation in a particular sport playing a nobody, some team that is not very good. When they play the game everyone and their brother expects the #1 team to win and if they do win itís no big deal because that is what is supposed to happen, however if they lose there is pandemonium, the world is shocked and everything changes. Obviously much more would change after a war then a game but itís the same concept.


Having said all of that, as much as Britain didnít want to go to war, they also didnít do all they could to prevent war. From the Stamp act to the Townshend act to the Coercive acts the British kept taxing the Americans almost egging them on to war. The war was inevitable though, whether it started in 1775 or 20 years later it was going to happen, it just happened a lot sooner then the British would have liked. I think this was just a case of the rich wanting to become richer. The British had a booming economy and were the power of the world yet they kept wanting more and more and it eventually bit them in the butt.


The Stamp act was a particular intriguing debate between the Americans and the British. The two sides could and would not see the otherís side of the story. They both thought that they were right and nothing was going to change that. It was a very important act because it taxed all paper goods from Newspapers to playing cards, and the Americans were not happy at all about being taxed without representation. The British however felt how could they not tax the Americans because they felt they were making life better for them and they were bringing most of the goods from their country. It also didnít hurt that they were pocketing a pretty penny from taxing the Americans. Both sides dealt grudgingly with this tax for awhile but then came the Boston Tea Party. This started a string of domino effects which eventually started the war. The Tea Party occurred because again the Americans were unhappy about the taxing of tea, so they unloaded a ship load of tea and dumped it into the Boston Harbor. More than the loss of