After the French and Indian War, tensions rose between the colonists and the British as the British tried to tighten its control of its overseas possessions. The colonists had unfair representation and taxation, and were subjected to many laws passed by Britain. While Britain was indeed the home and protection of the colonists before and when American colonies were first established, the multitude of laws and restrictions placed upon the colonists ultimately justified the colonists’ right to have control over Parliamentary legislation and declare independence.
The British viewed the colonists as British subjects who had the rights and duties of the British. This means that the colonists would be obedient and complacent to the rulings of the monarch in exchange for the protection of the British empire. This belief is seen in the Oath of Allegiance to King George III as the British subjects swore their loyalty to the British monarch as well as all successors. After the Seven Year’s War, Britain, although succeeding in chasing France out of North America, fell in debt. The British thought that because they ridded the colonists of French competition in America that they were obligated to be grateful. Taxes such as the Stamp Act and Tea Act were levied upon the colonists to try to pay for the British debt. The colonists, however, reacted completely contrary to how the British thought they would and refused to pay the taxes by boycotting. For example, as seen in The Bostonian’s Paying the Excise-Man, the colonists tarred and feathered the British officials who came to collect the taxes. In the Boston Tea Party, the colonists, again, refused to pay the taxes on tea by turning away ships of tea and dumping all the tea into the Boston Harbor. Britain viewed it justified to rule over the colonists as the colonists were once British subjects with the obligations of the British and were expected to repay Britain’s protection over the colonies.
On the other hand, the colonists viewed the British rule as overpowering as constant unjust limitations were placed upon them. For example, the colonists were not content with British military presence in the colonies in order to suppress the political opposition. As seen in the Boston massacre, the rising tension between the colonists and British soldiers led to the eventual death of five colonists. In addition, as the colonists developed, an American identity began to emerge as the colonists viewed themselves more as citizens than as subject of the King. Liberty and freedom became the main focus of colonial ideologies and the colonists were unhappy with the taxes that the British monarch placed upon them. As seen in the Declaration of Independence, the colonists did not want to be treated as inferior to the British and wanted to have their own independent control over colonial affairs. In response to the British military presence, the Americans created an American Army in preparation to fight for their independence from the mother country that was becoming oppressive. Therefore, although Britain had originally provided the colonies with protection, the emergence of the American identity as well as the increase of restrictions placed upon the Americans by the British ultimately justified American independence.
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