The Colonial Incentives for Independence
July 4th of 1776 is arguably the most significant day in American history. On this day, the thirteen British colonies won their independence from Great Britain, their mother country at the time. The war that allowed the colonies to gain their independence was, of course, the American Revolution. One reason the colonists’ declaration of independence was understandable was because after an extended period of salutary neglect, the British started imposing laws on the colonies. Another reason was that the British violated colonists’ rights by implementing the Proclamation of 1763. A third and final reason the colonies were correct in breaking away from Great Britain was that although the colonists were not represented in British Parliament, Great Britain still taxed them. The thirteen British colonies were absolutely justified in seceding from Great Britain because the British started to enforce laws after a long period of salutary neglect, they violated the colonists’ rights by passing the Proclamation of 1763, and the colonies were required to pay taxes even though they were not represented in Parliament.
The first reason the colonies were justified in breaking away from the British was the discontinuation of salutary neglect. Salutary neglect was a policy the British used beginning around 1607 that allowed lenient enforcement of British laws in the thirteen colonies. For example, the Navigation Acts, passed in 1651, required all colonial commerce-related ships, coming to and from the colonies, to pass through Great Britain. This law was not enforced strictly until the end of the French and Indian War. During the time before the war, the colonists’ normal reaction was to ignore this law. King George III worsened this crisis for the colonists by imposing the Molasses Act of 1764, which was a tax on sugar, the Quartering Act of 1765, which required colonists to feed and house British troops, and the Stamp Act of 1765, which mandated the use of stamped paper or the attaching of stamps, confirming payment of tax. These taxes and laws angered the colonies as they had adapted to isolation and started to become more independent.
A second reason was because the colonists’ rights were violated when the British passed the Proclamation of 1763. This law was passed after the French and Indian War ended in 1763. It restricted colonists to settle west of the...