American Revolutionary War (1775-83), also known as the American Revolution, arose from growing tensions between residents of Great Britain’s 13 North American colonies and the colonial government, which represented the British crown. Skirmishes between British troops and colonial militiamen in Lexington and Concord in April 1775 kicked off the armed conflict, and by the following summer, the rebels were waging a full-scale war for their independence. France entered the American Revolution on the side of the colonists in 1778, turning what had essentially been a civil war into an international conflict. After French assistance helped the Continental Army force the British surrender at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781, the Americans had effectively won their independence, though fighting would not formally end until 1783.
Causes of the American Revolutionary War
Taxes, Laws, and More Taxes
Prior to 1764, the British government had pretty much left the colonists alone to govern themselves. In 1764, they began to impose new laws and taxes. They implemented a number of laws including the Sugar Act, Currency Act, Quartering Act, and the Stamp Act.
The colonists were not happy with the new taxes. They said they should not have to pay British taxes because they had no representatives in the British Parliament. Their motto became “No Taxation Without Representation.”
Boston Tea Party
The British eventually withdrew their forces from Boston and repealed much of the onerous Townshend legislation. But they left in place the tax on tea, and in 1773 enacted a new law, the Tea Act, to prop up the financially struggling British East India Company. The act gave the company extended favorable treatment under tax regulations, so that it could sell tea at a price that undercut the American merchants who imported from Dutch traders.
Restrictions on Colonial Trade:
The British Government regulated the colonial trade for her own advantage. The trade policy of England was the colonies were.
The Navigation Act which was passed in 1660 was again practised by George Greneville, the Prime Minister of England. Before this Act, the Colonist’s accepted the manufactured goods of England only by exporting the raw materials to England. But when the Navigation Act was reintroduced, the Americans were forbidden to export their native products directly to other European countries. They could import their necessary goods only through England from other countries. The British Government imposed taxes on the American Colonies.
First Continental Congress
In 1774, twelve of the thirteen colonies sent representatives to the First Continental Congress as a direct response to the Intolerable Acts. They sent a petition to King George III to repeal the Intolerable Acts. They never got a response. They also established a boycott of British goods.