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The Seeds Of American Independence Essay

1258 words - 5 pages

Historically, the importance and success of colonization was greatly reliant on the degree and speed at which the colonies became independent. The policy of salutary neglect that was in effect during the period between 1690 and 1763, used as a strategy to enhance colonization, was a potential example of how when left to their own devices, American colonies could positively contribute to the mother country’s welfare. Britain’s use of this “hands off” policy demonstrated their hope that Britain could maintain control of their American colonies while tending to their needs as a greater country. For the period leading up to the 1750s, though Britain’s policy of salutary neglect was enabling the American colonies to become self-sufficient leading them to be more independent, they were choosing to model their society after that of Britain.
In the years prior to 1750, even as additional colonies were coming under control of the king, the British were unsure about what their level of influence should be over the colonies. During this time, England was embroiled in many wars, involving both the colonies and the rest of Europe, distracting them from governing the colonies. Additionally, the main source of authority was in the Privy Council, admiralty, and the treasury, all of which were responsible for monitoring both Britain and the oversea colonies. This dual leadership did not benefit the colonies since none of the authorities were able to exclusively concentrate on colonial affairs. Furthermore, out of all of the London officials governing the colonies, the majority of them knew little about the conditions in America and even less had actually been overseas to visit the colonies. As a result, each of the colonies instituted some form of self-governance, making them more independent than before. By the 1750s, the colonial assemblies that were created were undertaking some of the same rights and tasks as Britain’s administrative authority. These rights included the right to levy taxes, approve appointments, make appropriations, and pass laws for their respective colonies. The colonial assemblies were also subject to veto by either the governor or the Privy Council, but they avoided both. The British had influence over the governor through their control of the colonial budget. Additionally, while dealing with the Privy Council, the British were able to alter the vetoed laws to enable the laws to be enacted. In all of these ways and others, the colonial assemblies were modeling themselves after that of Britain, and were even considering themselves “little parliaments”, since they were each as supreme within their colony as Parliament was in England.
During the period of salutary neglect, commerce empowered the American colonies to make more of their own decisions, rather than having Britain control their actions. This particular change was especially seen within the area of trade. The level of independence that the colonies were able to obtain in trade...

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