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|By 1776, the
population of the colonies had reached 2.5 million
people. This was about one third the population of
Britain. There were now many roads connecting the
individual colonies, and newspapers kept them informed
about each other. The colonies were beginning to think of
themselves as Americans, not as separate colonies.
colonists were split over the issue of independence.
There were both rich and poor colonists on both sides of
the independence issue.
Large landowners like George Washington, and wealthy
businessmen like John Hancock were in favor of
independence. There resented British control over their
lives, and British interference in their business.
On the other hand, some rich colonists were afraid
they would lose their wealth if the revolution succeeded.
Their wealth was heavily connected to British trade and
the British government. Some poor colonists didn't want
to be controlled by the wealthy colonists. They either
believed the King of England treated them well, or just
didn't want to cause trouble.
Over time, support for independence grew as issues
like taxation without representation angered the local
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colonized America it had no master plan on how the
colonies would be governed. Some colonies governed
themselves. Other colonies were governed by the King's
officials. The King insisted on his right to create laws
governing the colonies. British parliament also created
laws that governed the colonies.
The British passed
laws that were in the best interest of England, not the
colonies. For example, they passed the Navigation Act
which restricted colonists from competing with British
businesses. They also prevented colonists from selling
their goods to countries other than Britain, even if the
country was willing to pay a higher price than the
British. Britain made it difficult for the colonies to
trade with the French and the Spanish.
While the British continued to enforce their control
of the colonies, they refused to allow the colonies
government representation in England. The British
believed that their own appointed government officials
adequately represented the colonies.
The colonies resented British control. The colonies
created their own laws, and ignored the British laws they
did not like. This created considerable tension between
Britain and the colonies.
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|While England found governing its
colonies in America difficult, it also found it expensive. Britain had recently
fought the French and Indian War, which
gave it control of Canada and much of the land east of the Mississippi.
The war was very expensive for England, and it now needed more money to
maintain soldiers in all these areas. In 1764, the British government decided
to tax the colonists to pay a share of the costs.
The British taxed all sugar bought from the French or Spanish. The British
then created the Stamp Act, requiring all newspapers
and legal documents to carry a stamp purchased from the British. These
taxes angered the colonists and they managed to force the British to eliminate
the Stamp Act and to reduce the taxes on sugar.
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|In 1767, the
British passed new taxes on glass, paper, teas, paints
and other goods shipped to the colonies from Britain.
Prime Minister Charles Townsend wanted to raise money to
cover the cost for defending the colonies, and pay the
salaries of governors and judges in the colonies. These
were known as the Townsend Acts.
The colonists reacted by refusing to buy British goods. The colonists
argued that they shouldn't be taxed since they had no representation in
the British government. The colonists rallied behind the phrase, "No
Taxation without Representation." Again Britain was forced to remove
the taxes, all except for the tax on tea.