Was the American Revolution bound to happen eventually?

1 Answer
Dec 18, 2015


Actually it wasn't.


Problems between American political leaders and the English government can be traced back, at least, to 1765. Americans had long accepted taxation on imported goods. But in the late 1760s Lord North encouraged Parliament to pass more restrictive laws upon the Americans who he saw as becoming too independent and resistant to English law, at least as he saw it. Parliament was never in full agreement with him. Still, at his behest a group of laws known as the Townshend Acts were passed. These laws both increased taxes and how those taxes were collected.

Then the English government decided that to inforce those laws it needed to send army troops to American cities to see that the laws were followed. This followed England's removal of colonial governors and replacing them with military governors. It also replaced the American court system with its English judges.

At the Boston Massacre where 5 colonist were killed, the riot was actually incited by the Bostonians and the troops reacted to someone yelling out "fire," something the soldiers' commander had not done. The commander was arrested and brought to trial. To assure a good and fair defense, John Adams defended Captain Preston at a trial run by Bostonians and won!

This is important because colonial leaders considered themselves both Americans and British subjects. As late as 1774 American political leadership had convinced Benjamin Franklin, who had been lounging in Paris and enjoying the company of Marie Antoinette, to become the American Ambassador to the English Government. Franklin argued fervently for the British government to treat its subjects in America the same as its subject in England. He was arguing also for a number of seats in the British parliament. Franklin was still arguing for this in April 1775 when the war broke out.

Franklin had a lot of support in Parliament but not nearly enough. The inevitability of the revolution is found in the obstinacy of British leadership to acquiesce to American demands.