Colonial America: Relationship with England
By 1775, the American colonies stretched from Canada to Florida and had a population of over two million people. Mainly farmers, the colonists worked the land and scratched out a living from whatever means they could find. By this time most colonists were third or fourth generation and had been creating their own industry and economy independent of British influence. The colonists built new homes, roads, and towns and enjoyed the bounty of plentiful space and resources the new world offered. During this time of expansion and growth however, an unwelcome concern lurked in the shadows.
The British Empire was continuously attempting to ...view middle of the document...
Moral hit an all time low when in the summer of 1770, British troops fired into a crowd of protestors killing five in what would become the Boston Massacre. Anti-British sentiment would continue to grow over the years.
Between 1763 and 1765, the crown imposed a number of acts on the American colonist designed to recoup funds lost during the French and Indian War. One of the first acts imposed was the Sugar Act. This act was a modified version of a previous act the British had imposed in 1733 called the Sugar and Molasses act, which was about to expire. Under the old act, colonial merchants had been required to pay a tax of six pence per gallon on any importation of foreign molasses. The colonist undercut the market by instead buying molasses from the French West Indies instead of the British West Indies. The colonist used the molasses purchased cheaper from the French to produce rum. Because of this practice, Lord Grenville, the first lord of the Treasury increased the presence of British naval ships and instructed them to become more stringent in their enforcement of customs.
Because of what was going on in the colonies, the British parliament decided a reform of the Sugar and Molasses act was in need. The Sugar Act reduced the tax on molasses from six pence to three pence per gallon. Also included in the new act were more foreign goods to have a tax placed on such as sugar, wine, and coffee. It also placed strict regulations on the export of lumber and iron. This strict enforcement of the new act caused an almost immediate decline in the rum industry. The ultimate goal of the new act was to reduce the markets that the colonist could sell.
The colonies constantly suffered from a shortage of currency for use in trade with other countries, as there were no gold or silver mines in the colonies. The only source of currency was from Great Britain. As a result, many colonists resorted to printing their own currency in the form of Bills of Credit. The problem with this was that there was no way to regulate or set value on the printed notes. This caused confusion among the colonist. In September of 1764, Parliament passed the Currency Act, which took total control of the colonial currency system. This act prohibited the issue of any new bills in the colonies and the reissuing of existing...