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The Revolutionary War: Britain’s Mistakes and America’s Reasons to Revolt

Why the colonists had the moral authority, in their minds, to overthrow the British Government and replace it with their own.

How did injustices done unto the colonies result in the rebellion of the colonists? The colonists brought many beliefs with them from England on what was acceptable of their government. Certain beliefs of theirs originated from the prestigious mind of John Locke. In John Locke’s, “Two Treatises of Government”, numerous important points are addressed. Locke says that when a government is formed a pact is made between the citizens and that government. This pact states that the citizens or colonists agree to give up all their natural rights and freedom and in return the government will set laws for them and promise not to abuse the aforementioned natural rights. Locke goes on to say that if these natural rights are abused then the citizens have the moral authority to revolt and overthrow the government (John Locke). These principles stuck with the colonists and were used for the foundation of their government in America. After many injustices the colonies no longer found the British Crown to be a suitable government. Among some of the first unsettling events were the Stamp Act, the Townshend Acts, and the Boston Massacre.

The Boston Massacre took place on March 5, 1770. In a Boston Square a group of colonists were throwing snowballs at the British troops stationed there; so the British fired into the crowd of colonists. When the smoke from the gunpowder settled, three citizens lay dead, and eight were wounded (two which would die soon after). The colonists found this unforgivable and considered it the first step of a revolution. Tensions soon grew in the colonies and after the Tea Act in 1773 the colonists came to the conclusion that King George III was abusing their natural rights. They decided that it was time to take back those rights in a small scale rebellion; The Boston Tea Party. In December of 1773 the Sons of Liberty dumped 342 chests of tea into the harbor. After this rebellion occurred the British introduced the Intolerable Acts. They included the Coercive Acts and the Quebec Act. As you guessed from the name these acts were the push that was needed to put the colonists over the edge. These acts resulted in the angered of the colonists because of the injustice of the king. The Quebec Act angered them because they did not want to move west where they would not have elected assemblies. A man by the name of Thomas Paine convinced most peoples of the corruption of the British government through his pamphlet, “Common Sense” (January 1776). Paine says, “We have the power to begin the world again!” Paine is saying that united, the colonies could overthrow the lobster-backs, and be free from British tyranny ( Paine). A great public speaker and lawyer, Patrick Henry, roused the emotions of the delegates at the Second Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775.

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