"Economic Underpinnings of the U.S. Revolutionary War"

"...Britain often sought to tax or even to embargo various kinds of trade from the American colonies to the West Indies: for example, the import tax with the Molasses Act of 1733, or the way in which the British Navy tried to cut off trade between the colonies and the French West Indies during the Seven Years' War.

The "single most contentious issue" in the First Continental Congress in 1774 was about the extent to which the British Parliament could regulate the U.S. economy, including these and other limits on navigation as well as acts that sought to prohibit manufacturing in the colonies (so that the colonies would need to import from Britain, instead).

..."The commercial dispute preceded the constitutional, not just once but again and again in these years. It is important that colonists melded economic and constitutional arguments under the category of sovereignty--but not so important that we should ignore the originating nature of economic forces."

...Post-World War II colonial independence movements should have taught us something about the many-sided meanings of economic sovereignty for developing nations. If not only merchants but also artisans, tenant farmers, cash-strapped yeoman, fishermen, and debt-ridden slave-owning planters can be shown to have had compelling economic reasons to favor independence, it should not seem too narrow or conspiratorial to suggest that they acted on these reasons and sought to combine them with a language that spoke to principles as well as to the bottom line."

...the urge of the colonists to move beyond protest and into actual war and rebellion needed the push of economic factors.
...when anyone starts talking about a revolution needed for freedom and justice and for people to get their "rights," warning sirens should go off in your brain. Such promises from revolutionaries have certainly been betrayed far more than they have been honored.

...The causes of the U.S. Revolution probably were largely economic, albeit expressed in a language of constitutionalism...


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