The American Revolution (1775-83) is also known as the American Revolutionary War and the U. S. War of Independence. The war started because the residents of Great Britain’s thirteen North American colonies disagreed with the colonial government, who represented the British Crown. The first instance of the disagreement happened in August twenty sixth in seventeen sixty-five. A riot occurred in front of the chief justice and lieutenant governors house. The Bostonian citizens disagreed on a recently passed British tax called the Stamp Act.
The Stamp Act was a law that required all colonial residents to pay a stamp tax on every printed paper including legal documents, bills of sale, contracts, wills, advertising, pamphlets, and almanacs. The colonist thought that the stamp act violated their liberty. This riot was the first of many of disagreements between the colonists and the British crown. This era has become to be known as the age of revolution, it began in British North America and spread to Europe, the Caribbean and ended in Latin Americas war for independence (Foner). The colonist believed in their dream of independence and liberty.
And the rally cries of liberty played a crucial role in the political debate and social turmoil that occurred. Throughout the colonies the critics of the Stamp Act would protest against it. The citizens of Wilmington would protest by having a mock funeral for Liberty. They placed an image of Liberty in a casket and carried the casket to the churchyard in a mock funeral procession, where they planned to bury it. Just before committing the casket to the earth, a member of the group checked liberty’s vital signs, and with an affirmative, the colonist rose up and proclaimed LIBERTY had still an Existence in the Colony! ” as the fight continued the colonist would use many symbols to remind themselves to fight for the right of liberty.
The tree where they hung a model of the stamp distributor Andrew Oliver to convince him to resign began to be known as the Liberty Tree. They began to hold meeting under the tree and this was known as Liberty Hall. In New York City in seventeen sixty-six a pine mast was created as the meeting place of challengers of the stamp act and this was called the Liberty Pole. A group started, called the Sons of Liberty.
They began to print notices reading Liberty, Property and no stamps. The sons rallied troops and would chant Liberty throughout the streets every night. They were also the organizers of the boycott of British imports (Foner). Another disagreement occurred when the government in London decided to enforce a new set of taxes on Americans. The taxes were introduced into the English Parliament by Chancellor of the Exchequer Charles Townshend in seventeen sixty-seven, the Townshend Acts imposed duties on glass, lead, paints, paper and tea imported into the colonies.
This taxation led to one of the most important statements of the American position, according to Foner. Letters from a farmer in Pennsylvania by John Dickinson. First published in the Philadelphia newspaper on December twenty-first in seventeen sixty-seven and ran until seventeen sixty-eight and then heavily circulated by pamphlets. Dickinson wrote thirteen letters in all, published as a pamphlet that went through at least ten editions. His Letters had a significant impact on political thought not only in America but also in England.
Though Dickinson’s essays had a peaceful tone to them he believed that Britain’s policies were wrong and deprived the colonies of their lawful rights. The Letters from a Farmer urge united action on the part of the colonists. The colonist began to Boycott British goods. Since women often purchased the goods for the home they began to boycott also to display their patriotism and the Daughters of Liberty were born. The Daughter refused to buy any British good particularly tea. They also used their skills to weave yarn and wool into homemade clothing they sold as Home spun.
This made America less dependent on the British textiles. The colonist saw the imported finery of British clothing as an indulgence. The homespun clothing of America was regarded as the virtuous and hardworking spirit of America and the working man. The Daughters of Liberty held mass spinning bees in several colonies. The talk of liberty encompassed the colonies. Over the past few years’ colonist had passed out many pamphlets preaching liberty, for instance “A Chariot of Liberty”, “Oration on the Beauties of Liberty” and “Common Sense”.
The Oration of Beauties of Liberty” was a sermon first, before it became a pamphlet. John Allen a preacher at the Second Baptist Church strongly opposed what he called British “tyranny”. Common Sense was a bit different. It was written by Thomas Paine and published on January Seventeen Seventy-six. Though the author was only listed as an “Englishmen”. Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” was different because it was the first work to openly ask for independence from Great Britain. Another thing that made Common Sense so unique is that Paine’ used basic language to speak to the common people of America.
Earlier political writing was usually directed to the educate. John Allen also wrote ballads to encourage the rebels. One of the war ballads he wrote was called the liberty tree song. It starts out “In a chariot of light from the regions of say, the goddess of Liberty came”. Only six months after common sense came out the Second Continental Congress decided to cut the colonies ties with Great Britain (Foner). In closing The Revolution created major changes in the principles and feelings of the American people.
These new ideas and opinions were being expressed in sermons, pamphlets and even songs. And gave the American people the courage and unity to fight for what they believed in. And finally on July second in seventeen seventy-six, Congress declared the United States and independent nation. And two days later it approves the declaration of independence, written by Thomas Jefferson and then revised by congress (Foner). The Declaration forever changes the meaning of Freedom and finally LIBERTY for all.