The American War of Independence's Impact on Europe
The impact of the American War of independence was as diverse as it
was complex. It’s ideology rendered the masses in Paris aflame and
ultimately some historians suggest it caused the French revolution.
However, outside France it’s ideological effect was more subdued and
it’s main impact was economic as a result of the war. There were some
advantageous long term trade opportunities which in time were good for
the various economies however it’s direct results as for most post-war
economies were terrible.
The American War of independence deeply influenced the political life
in Britain as Evans suggests : « Defeat profoundly affected political
life ». North resigned in March 1782 as a result of the war, his
departure initiated two years of grave instability during which « the
respective rights of the King and commons were unsettlingly rehearsed
». Military reverses and the increased taxes to which war inevitably
leads unbalanced the political scene and the proof of this is the
resurgence of the Whig opposition and the brief period of
parliamentary reform associations between 1778 and 1782 were both
largely attributable to discontent provoked by war. However although
there was discontent due to the war probably because of the military
defeat, there was no considerable increase in numbers, or power, of
those seaking more liberties and democracy in Britain.
The impact of the war on the economy threatened the well-being of
Britain. The volume of British exports, which flourished for much of
the century, declined by almost 20 percent between 1772 and 1780 ;
exports to North American mainland, Britain’s largest market outside
Europe, fell off by almost a half. Both imperial and private
commercial compagnies suffered from the turn of events in America. As
Evans suggests : « It is certain that military disasters and
mercantile setbackes induced those who did not stand politically a
stand of lugubrious introspections ». Considering that Britain lost
the War and the colonies it is amazing that the economic repurcussions
weren’t more profound.
The political and ideological impact of the American war of
Independence on France contributed to causing the French Revolution.
France’s alliance with the Americans introduced into France ideas of
democratic government. Their joint victory therefor seemed a victory
for liberty and natural rights which the...