NETTING AMERICA - A Economic Relations between England and Her Colonies
British America comprised the British Empire's colonial territories in North America, Bermuda, A number of English colonies were established in North America between and by individuals and companies whose investors expected. By the 's, Great Britain had established a number of colonies in North America. The American colonists thought of themselves as citizens of Great Britain. The relationship between Great Britain and its North American Colonies began to show signs of strain in the early s. Until then, England's preoccupation.
Colonists in America felt that they discharged their obligations when they paid colonial taxes and they resented being compelled to pay taxes levied by a Parliament in which they were not represented.
Moreover, they contended, the distance between America and Britain precluded American representation in Parliament. And so, in the spring and early summer ofmost of the colonial assemblies adopted resolutions condemning the Stamp Act.
The government in London was unimpressed by the constitutional arguments made by the colonists or the petitions and resolutions adopted by their assemblies.
If the Americans wanted to register their dissatisfaction with the Stamp Act, they would have to resort to less subtle means. Its major town, Boston, had a long tradition of rioting and popular demonstrations to defend local interests and it was particularly hard hit by the downturn. The combination of economic hard times, an unpopular and unprecedented tax as well as a local tradition of violent resistance was potentially dangerous.
American opponents of the Act rendered it a dead letter by the autumn.
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On 14th August, an angry mob attacked the house of Andrew Oliver - the local man rumoured to be responsible for collecting the tax. Then on the 26th they damaged the houses of colonial officials and completely destroyed the home of the colony's Lieutenant Governor. The demonstrations spread throughout the colonies and, through threats, intimidation and violence, American opponents of the Act rendered it a dead letter by the autumn.
Commercial boycott Having nullified the proposed tax on the streets, American protestors wanted to secure the repeal on the offending legislation in Parliament.
In October several colonies sent delegates to New York to attend a 'Stamp Act Congress' which proposed a commercial boycott as means to pressure Parliament to act. American opponents of the Stamp Act would refuse to purchase British goods in order to put commercial pressure on Parliament to repeal the act. In MarchParliament acquiesced and repealed the Stamp Act. Parliament assembled, had, hath and of right ought to have, full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America.
British Government in the Colonial Era
In other words, although Parliament was repealing the Stamp Act, it retained its right to govern America. Many Americans took a different view. The Boston loyalist Peter Oliver - the brother of Andrew Oliver who had suffered during the riots of August - wrote bitterly of the repeal: A Law without Penalties, or one with Penalties not exacted, is It is in Government as it is in private Life: Oliver was one of the few supporters of British rule in America who understood its limits and could explain its failure.
Having given in to colonial pressure, Parliament ceded the authority it was trying to assert. For most of the previous years, the colonists had been left largely to their own devices in what some historians have described as 'salutary neglect'.
Because land was plentiful most adult males at least those of European origin could meet property requirements and vote. In consequence a strong tradition of self-government developed in the colonies and colonists jealously guarded their political rights which they saw as theirs because they were British.
Paradoxically it was Parliament, supposedly the guardian of British liberty, which seemed to endanger the liberties of Britons in America in Paradoxically, it was Parliament, supposedly the guardian of British liberty, which seemed to endanger the liberties of Britons in America in In the aftermath of the Seven Years' War, British political leaders and imperial administrators sought to assert greater control over the far-flung parts of the empire and in so doing they came into conflict with the political traditions and assumptions of the colonists who resisted what they saw as unconstitutional parliamentary innovation.
The American Revolution began in a dispute over finance in which the British government advocated change and the colonists sought to maintain tradition.
As the imperial crisis developed neither British nor American political leaders demonstrated a willingness or ability to compromise. George Grenville resigned from the Chancellorship in July at the height of the Stamp Act crisis. His successors over the next decade confronted the same problem of trying to raise revenue in America.
InParliament adopted a wide range of customs duties which revived American opposition so that protests and rioting ensued and British troops were moved from frontier posts to the major seaports, especially Boston, where the resistance was concentrated. Boston Tea Party In another climbdown, in March Parliament repealed the duties, with the symbolic exception of the tax on tea. Relations continued to deteriorate and the American resistance became more intransigent.
Although some governed well, the colonial governors were not a particularly impressive lot. Aristocrats with political ambitions competing for prestigious posts within the government would not have considered an appointment as a colonial governor to be a plum assignment. Furthermore, they were subject to the will of the Crown, but they had few resources with which to enforce the mandates they received. Resistance to Royal policies from the colonists, often expressed through their assemblies, could be difficult for governors to resolve.
Colonial Legislatures Colonial assemblies were generally elected bodies, with members coming from the wealthy, landed classes. They often served for long periods.
Because the colonial assemblies were quasi-democratic in the colonies most white males who were free from indentures could voteofficials could not act without reference to public opinion.
The assemblies held the purse strings of the government, however, and the governor could not rule without reference to their wishes.
The assemblies could pass laws which had to be signed by the governor and sent to the king for approval. The process could be time-consuming, as bills had to be sent to England, where they might languish for weeks before being reviewed.
British monarchs overturned about five percent of colonial legislation—not much, but it was a constant irritant. Often vetoed laws would be immediately re-passed in slightly different form, and the whole process would begin again, and colonists soon learned to take advantage of loopholes in the system.
As a result, the colonists got in the habit of doing things their own way—often as a result of royal neglect.Ten Minute History - The Early British Empire (Short Documentary)
Theoretically the legislatures did not have much power, as everything they did was subject to review by the crown, but they dominated nearly every colony. As the colonial era moved closer to the Revolution, tension between the colonies and Parliament tended to grow more rapidly. The court system developed more slowly, and it was not really until the U. Supreme Court was created by the Constitution that the governmental triad of executive, legislative, and judicial branches moved toward the coequal powers that we now take for granted.
As we have noted elsewhere, the the economic fortunes of the colonies were heavily controlled by King and Parliament within the context of British Mercantilism. Governing the Empire according to mercantilist principles was supposed to lraise the level of British prosperity with the notion that a rising tide lifts all boats. In reality, however, the interests and needs of British subjects located on English soil had the highest priority, so that when it was deemed practical, the interest of the colonies were subordinated to those of the mother country.
And although the colonists sometimes objected to various practices incorporated into the navigation acts that restricted colonial trade, they did not question the theory that the Empire had the right to be governed as its leaders saw fit. Government in the American colonies starting with the early days of settlement evolved slowly. In the first settlements such as Jamestown and Plymouth, the numbers of inhabitants were so small that no organized government was necessary.
In those early colonial structures, government often took the form of a strong leader, a man like William Bradford, John Winthrop or John Smith, perhaps aided by a few trusted advisors. Naturally in the uncertain conditions in which they lived, an iron hand would not have been useful.
Thus consent of the governed was implied, if not actually stated. The Mayflower Compacthowever, an extraordinary document in that it laid out for the first time a governmental structure based on a written, signed document, was an exception. In general, however, governments took various shapes as the colony grew according to the origin of their legal status, which was based on the terms of their charter. It is important to keep in mind, first, that each colony was a separate political entity whose relationship was with the Crown, either directly or through a chartered company created by the Crown.
Nothing remotely resembling a general colonial government existed until shortly before the Revolutionary War. For most of the colonial era, relations between neighboring colonies lacked any formal structure, and although conflicts between colonies were rare, they did occur when encroachments of territory or religious differences arose.
We should also keep in mind that most of the colonies began their existence under charters, and the governments of those colonies where the business of the companies formed to manage them. Although all charters were written in such a way as to require general conformance with English law, they varied in their structure.
As the colonies grew larger, more sophisticated forms of government became necessary. Those forms, however, varied from colony to colony and within each colony, as different towns and nascent cities began to grow and prosper. The general structure was that all colonies had a governor and some sort of legislative entity, whether appointed or elected.
Governors generally had a council of advisors, sometimes members of the assembly. Those councils sometimes functioned as part of the legislature—a separate house. Court systems generally functioned around an appointed justice of the peace.
Church bodies sometimes performed quasi-judicial functions. Although some colonial assemblies consisted of elected members, it would be wrong to think of them as democratic bodies.
Those eligible to participate in elections were generally the elite of the colony, consisting at most of all white male property owners. Williamsburg Statehouse All colonial governors were required to conform to the dictates of the Crown, either directly or through the managers of proprietary colonies.
While their authority was strong, they could not possibly govern with an iron hand, for they depended upon their fellow colonists for support. They had the power to veto all laws passed by the assemblies, but the assemblies and their constituents had obvious means of exerting pressure on the governor. It is probably most important to note that the government of the colonies touched the people very lightly.
If government in the different colonies varied, local government varied considerably more.
The relationship between Great Britain and the american colo by Anthony Bell on Prezi
Organized governmental structures were rare. Police forces were haphazard at best. Social institutions of the kind we take for granted today were all but nonexistent.
In that regard, the churches in the colonies provided social support to the troubled and the needy.
Because of the high demand for employment—almost a able bodied adult could find plenty of work to do—there was very little crime, especially property crime. Even the more prosperous colonists had little real property that could be converted into the equivalent of cash.
In other words, there was not much to steal. Life in the colonies was also often quite harsh, meaning that cooperation and mutual assistance among the colonists was necessarily a common phenomenon. As colonial life moved into the s those fractured forms of government began to take a more modern shape. In the northern colonies, strongly influenced by the Puritan experience, local governments evolved relatively early.