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Lecture 1

HIST 2055 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Atlantic Slave Trade, Paternalism, Tabula Rasa

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HIST 2055

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1. What were the several factors (or catalysts a person or thing that precipitates an
event.) that combined to make Revolutionaries of so many British-Americans, a
mere twelve years after the French and Indian War--when they had felt a great
surge in pride as British subjects?
As Americans, we tend to forget that the French and Indian war was in fact a global
war instead of one that just affected the territory of the United States. The French, with
their allied Indian tribes, had lost to the British-Americans of the new world, who were
backed by their parent country, Britain. After such a great victory in 1763, we were left
with a country filled with high-spirited British-Americans who were hungry for more
land and much more independence.
The result of the French and Indian War was of this: French territory had been pushed
back east of the Mississippi, British-America had expanded from the east coast all the
way to the Mississippi, the Indian reserve, and we are left with both Britain and France
being severely financially damaged.
Everything had changed for the colonies, the British, and the French, whether it was
economically, politically, and socially.
Due to the fact that Britain nearly doubled its national debt by winning this war, King
George imposed a number of taxes on the colonies to make up for the debt. The lack of a
crafty leadership in Britain was also apparent. The man in charge of raising revenue from
the colonies first fell to George Grenville, regarded as “one of the ablest men in Great
Britain”. First he passed the Currency Act of 1764, which banned American colonies
from using paper money as legal tender. Then the Sugar Act (to replace the Molasses Act
which was heavily ignored), caused uproar because many people made their living off of
smuggling molasses, so this would ruin the distilling industry. These acts caused many
issues within the government because of prosecuted merchants who were tried in court.
This alone awoke the colonists to a fear that they would be treated as slaves instead of
equals to their British allies. This fear sparked an imperial crisis when the Stamp Act
came into play.
Ben Franklin, agent of the Pennsylvania assembly, had proposed the idea that if
Britain would continue to tax the colonists, then they should at least have formal
members in their legislature and become one people. This was heavily denied due to the
“distance from their Mother Country” and “apparent representation through a few
transatlantic merchants”.
Virginias House of Burgesses was the first to file a complaint about the number of
taxes placed on the colonies. But soon many assemblies had formed across the colonies
to discuss the outrageous acts against the colonies. Mobs were forming, one Bostonian
one in particular, The Sons of Liberty, burned down the factory of collector Andrew
Oliver. Shopkeepers protested, laborers resisted, and over-all the colonists fought these
acts and their lack of representation with (ironically) as much spirit as when they had
fought the French merely twelve years ago.
The Tea Act of 1773 had only driven the colonists to even more anger and outrage
against Britain. Due to this act, The Sons of Liberty took matters into their own hands
and dumped over 300 barrels of imported British tea into the harbor, firing up Americas
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