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"no Taxation Without Representation" & Revolutionary Movement?

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The demand for no taxation without representation was the primary force motivating the American revolutionary movement, and for many it became a symbol for democracy. Throughout the late 18th century, the British colony of America was oppressed by Parliament from "across the pond". This oppression included unequal rights compared to English citizens that lived on the mainland, unneeded taxation, and no representation in Parliament, which resulted in many laws that were unfavorable to the American colonists. It was this "taxation without representation" that was a powerful catalyst in firing up the American revolutionary movement. America was "all grown up", and no longer needed to be monitored on by Britain.

The origin of England's dependence on the colonies began during the French and Indian war, in the 1750s-1760s. In this war, the British were quite inexperienced; their European style of fighting did not work against the guerilla-warfare fighting style of the French. The British wore bright red coats, marched in long lines, often lugging cannons around with them, while the French hid behind trees and picked them off one by one. General Braddock relied on his force of ill-disciplined American militiamen, who used behind-the-tree methods of fighting in order to fight the Indians. After many years of fighting, the British finally came out victorious. Although England emerged from this war as one of the biggest empires in the world, it also possessed the biggest debt. They had poured much money and resources into these colonies in order to keep them as their own, and it was time for the colonies to give something back to the British for protecting them from the Indians. They finally realized what a precious gift the colonies were, and how useful they would be. In this war, the British realized that the colonies were their pawns in a global game of chess. At any time, the British felt that they had the right to impose taxes on the colonies, in order to make up for money that was lost in the French and Indian War to defend them. They had the view that because they had done so much to help the colonies, that the colonies had to repay them.

One way of the British controlling the colonies was to impose trade regulations on them. They forced the colonies to trade only with them, as dictated by the Navigation Acts and the mercantile system. The colonies were forced to trade in what was the best interest of the mother country, rather than what was in the best interest of themselves. This system always guaranteed a market for their products, but a market that was not always the most beneficial. The colonies could always depend on the British buying their goods, but they were denied the right to trade to other European countries that might pay more for the same goods. This also worked the other way. Goods sold to America were shipped to England first, where customs duties could be collected, and British middlemen would boost the cost of the product in order to earn a cut of the profit. The colonies were being "milked" by the British, but these trade regulations did not do enough to cut the war debt, and Parliament soon resorted to internal taxes.

These trade restrictions soon led to taxes imposed directly on the people of the colonies, rather than just merchants. A series of these were imposed by Prime Minister George Grenville, and were known as the Grenville Acts. The first of these was the Sugar Act of 1764, which was the first law ever, passed for raising tax revenue in the colonies for the crown. IT mainly increased the duty in foreign sugar imported from the West Indies. This act was soon repealed due to protest by the colonists, but was followed very shortly by the Quartering act of 1765. It required certain colonies to provide nourishment and shelter for British troops. Needless to say, the colonists were not too happy about the whole idea of it. Finally, to top it all off, Grenville passed the Stamp act of 1765, which mandated the use of stamped paper or the affixing of stamps certifying payment of tax. These stamps were required on bills of sale for trade items, and on various types of commercial and legal documents, anything from playing cards to diplomas to marriage licenses. Grenville claimed that the Stamp act was needed in order to help defray the cost of keeping British troops stationed in the colonies in order to protect them. To the colonists this was an invalid answer, because the French were out of North America, and they no longer needed protection. Instead, this Act was viewed as a tax solely to make money for England: "A right to impose an internal tax on the colonies, without their consent for the single purpose of revenue, is denied..." (Document B). Also, anyone that disobeyed these laws was tried in the admiralty courts, were juries were not allows, and you were guilty until proven innocent. In response, the colonists formed the Stamp Act Congress, in which the members drew up a statement of the rights and grievances of the colonists to send to the king, however it was ignored by England. Instead, they started a steady boycott of British goods. It is after this that the colonists realized that they were being used by England, and began their cry of "no taxation without representation!" Parliament had thought that it was making easy money off of the colonies; instead it had started the fire of rebellion burning, and the Stamp Act was soon repealed.

After the Grenville Acts were nullified, "Champagne Charley" Townshend, who in turn persuaded Parliament to pass the Townshend acts of 1767, replaced Grenville. These placed a light import duty on glass, white lead, paper, paint, and tea. This was a big deal to the colonists, especially the fact that there was a tax on tea, which 1 million people drank 2 times a day. These new taxes also irked the colonists due to the fact that the revenue went straight to pay the salaries of the royal governors and judges of America. The taxes on tea concerned the colonists greatly, but they were able to get around it by buying smuggled tea cheaper, and importing it to Boston. The British felt as if they were losing

control, and sent 2 regiments of troops to Boston in 1768 to stop the illegal activities. On March 5, 1770, local townspeople advanced on a group of 10 redcoats, and in response the drunken soldiers fired and killed 11 of them. The Townshend

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