Were the Colonists Justified in Declaring Their Independence?

September 1, 2017 General Studies

Colonists sought independence from British government for a multitude of reasons. Tension quickly rose between England and the thirteen colonies due to the unjust taxing without fair representation in Parliament, the colonist’s rights to assemble were taken away by the British, and there were many unreasonable Acts and laws put into place in attempt to have complete control over the colonists as well as intimidate them. For these reasons and the suffering that the colonists endured at the hands of the British government, I feel that the colonists had plenty just causes to separate themselves from England.

Of the many objections pitted against King George III, the one that most angered the colonist and is by far the strongest grievance written in the Declaration of Independence was taxation without representation. The people living in the thirteen colonies did not have direct representatives in the British parliament. Because of that, the colonists had no way to vote for how they would be taxed or who would represent them. Due to this lack of representation, the British government was free to tax the colonists in any way and for any amount that they wanted.

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With no way to fight taxation and no way to claim their rights, many colonists feared that their property could be taken away through unbearable tax wages. The Stamp Act and Townshend Act were put into place to regulate the trade of the colonists as well as collect taxes from them. Britain was abusing the colonist’s rights as Englishmen through doing this because laws in England stated that “somebody may not be taxed if he or she does not have a voice in government. The anger and fear that came from the free reign that Britain had over the colonists smoldered until eventually war broke out. The years leading up the Revolution saw the British government introduce a number of taxation laws. But there were many other events that led up to colonists’ declaration of independence from British control. The French and Indian War was a fight between Britain and France that lasted from 1754-1763. Because the British ended in debt, they began to demand more from the colonies.

Beginning in 1764, Great Britain began passing acts to exert greater control over the American colonies. The Sugar Act was passed to increase duties on foreign sugar imported from the West Indies. A Currency Act was also passed to ban the colonies from issuing paper bills or bills of credit because of the belief that the colonial currency had devalued the British money. Further, in order to continue to support the British soldiers left in America after the war, Great Britain passed the Quartering Act in 1765.

This ordered colonists to house and feed British soldiers if there was not enough room for them in the colonist’s homes. An important piece of legislation that really upset the colonists was the Stamp Act passed in 1765. This required stamps to be purchased or included on many different items and documents such as playing cards, legal papers, newspapers, and more. This was the first direct tax that Britain had imposed on the colonists. Events began to escalate with passage of the Townshend Acts in 1767.

These taxes were created to help colonial officials become independent of the colonists by providing them with a source of income. This act led to clashes between British troops and colonists, causing the infamous Boston Massacre. These unjust requests and increasing tensions all led up to the colonist’s declaration as well as the Revolutionary War. Furthermore, evidence of unjust British control throughout other countries has also been revealed. India was another country subjected to being under the rule of the British.

Not only were certain social and religious aspects of the Indian’s lifestyle outlawed due to the British finding them to “abhorrent”, but also the British imposed unfair taxes upon India, similar to the colonists. Taxes on salt were heavily increased when the British began to establish its rule over provinces in India. The salt tax charged the Indian people for a basic human necessity and prevented them from making their own salt. These taxes were stringent upon the Indian public and were heatedly condemned by them.

Salt Tax, although heavily publicly protested, continued to remain in effect from 1835-1946, when it became repealed by president Jawaharlal Nehru. To conclude, I believe that the colonists were most certainly justified in declaring their independence from England. Grievances against British control have arisen not only from the Englishmen of the thirteen colonies, but also from people living in British India, proving that the British rule is irrational and unjust. The main grievance includes complaints of unfair taxation which had been cause for much protesting and condemnation.


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