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Lecture 1

HIST 2055 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Paternalism, Tabula Rasa, Pseudoscience

Course Code
HIST 2055

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Question 1
What most people tend to forget when we remember the British-American
win over the French and their allied Indian tribes is that this was in fact a global
war, not one that just influenced the United States territory. The victory in 1763 had
left the people of the thirteen colonies hungry for more land and much more
The result of the war was this: the French had been pushed back east of the
Mississippi River, the British territory had been set between the eastern coast and
the Mississippi, there was room for Indian territory, and we are left with both the
main lands of Great Britain and France deep in dept.
Due to the fact that the French and Indian War had nearly doubled the debt
of Great Britain, King George decided the best way to raise some revenue was the
tax the colonies. The first man in charge of collecting this revenue was George
Grenville, who at the time was referred to as the most able man in Great Britain.
The first act to come into play was the Commerce Act, which disabled
colonists using American currency. Then the Sugar Act replaced the very heavily
ignored Molasses Act. This outraged many people because many made their living
smuggling molasses to ports to sell. Finally, the Stamp Act caused the biggest
uproar. These acts awoke the colonists to a fear that they would be subject to
slavery under their British homeland.
Ben Franklin spread his ideas throughout the colonies through many papers
and speeches sharing the idea of no taxation without representation. He stated
that if the King was going to ridiculously tax the colonies then they should at least
have equal representation in British parliament. This was heavily denied due to the
colonies great distance from the mother land and apparent representation
through just a few transatlantic merchants.
The Virginia House of Burgesses was the first to assemble a group of people
and start complaining about these absurd acts done against the colonies. Soon after,
many assemblies would form to protest, one Bostonian one in particular, the Sons of
Liberty. The Sons of Liberty would burn down factories and the homes of tax
collectors. And when the Tea Act came into action, they took matters into their own
hands by dumping over 300 barrels of imported British tea into the harbor.
Because of Britain’s decisions regarding the colonies, violence spread and so
the fight for independence had began. Its ironic that just a mere twelve years after
defeating the French with such high spirit, we are left with a nation so ready to tear
apart from the nation they had once been such a big part of. In class we discussed
what the historic memory of America means. Well if history is envisioned anew by
each generation then we could just consider this awakening of American spirit as
the new generation of colonists, which caused for a huge change in history: the
forming of a new nation, the United States of America.
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