Textbook: Mba Mbulu's Introduction to White History: The History of White America. Click here for purchase information.
Click Here and read the extract from Mba Mbulu's Introduction to White History: The History of White America for this class. Also read Chapter 23 of the textbook, Mba Mbulu's An Introduction to White History. Think about what you read and be able to respond to the following questions.
(1) What did character have to do with the dispute between
Great Britain and the American colonies?
(2) What was at the core of every dispute between Great Britain and the American colonies?
(3) Who was Pontiac and what role did he play in the dispute between Great Britain and the American colonies?
(4) How did the colonists respond to what they viewed as British aggressions?
(5) Is it likely that non-economic factors would have been the cause of an American revolution against Great Britain?
The mother country was Great Britain, and the child was
the American colonies. The character of each was sufficiently
lacking and the objectives of each were so essentially self-serving
that any dispute between the two should have been considered par
for the course. When the profit motive served as the basis of
a dispute, the outbreak of violence should not only have been
predictable, but expected.
The period that led up to the American Revolution was a period of discord between businessmen in the American colonies and money interested parties (government and business) in Great Britain. The everyday people in both areas were incidental to the hostilities that were evolving. Unfortunately, when the dispute exploded into war, everyday people took center stage, and bled and died for a cause that had little or nothing to do with their well-being.
Money was at the core of every dispute between Great Britain and the American colonies. In each and every issue, Great Britain was trying to either increase revenue by taxing the colonists or decrease expenditures by forcing the colonists to take on certain fiscal responsibilities. In each and every issue, the colonists were trying to either decrease their fiscal responsibilities or increase their share of the profits they earned. This contradiction began to reach critical mass when Pontiac, the chief of the Ottawa, took up arms in an attempt to drive the whites out of his territory. Even though Pontiac did not achieve his objectives, his response convinced the English that certain areas of the new land had to be set aside for the native Americans. The resulting Proclamation of 1763 restricted the areas that white settlers could move into and led to a frenzy of protests. By restricting the areas white settlers could move into, the British were restricting the ability of business-interested parties to expand into new markets, increase volumes of production and realize greater profits. The British were restricting the potential money sources of America's businessmen, and that was an economic sin.
Money was at the root of the Sugar, Currency, Stamp and Quartering Acts of 1764 and 1765. The British were trying to make the Americans assume more of their fair share of the tax burden, but the Americans were insisting that they were already being taxed excessively. Smartly, the American colonists did more than voice their disapproval; they also acted in a manner that made their convictions crystal clear. They organized defiant public demonstrations, partook of mob activities and terrorized tax collectors. One notable consequence of these defiant activities was the so-called Boston Massacre. The fact that British soldiers actually fired into a crowd of protesting colonists unified the colonists and made them aware of the need for them to be prepared to defend themselves against British aggressions.
The colonists also formed independent political bodies that represented their resolve to break with Great Britain if necessary. Great Britain was determined to make the colonies pay, one way or the other. The Tea Act (which was passed to save the British East India Company, a private business, from financial ruin) tried to force the colonists to buy tea from one company only. The colonists responded by refusing to drink tea and, in Boston, dumping shiploads of tea into the harbor. This led the crown to issue the so-called Intolerable Acts, which, in turn, led the colonists to form provisional governments called continental congresses. The First Continental Congress, formed in 1774, was composed of men who seemed intent on reconciliating with Great Britain. Sam Adams called them "half-way patriots," and John Adams was irate because they were reluctant to act with any independent conviction. However, when the Massachusetts Provincial Congress declared independence and formed a state army, the First Continental Congress had no choice but to act likewise. Great Britain could have relented and delayed the confrontation, but typically bundled up any chance it had of doing so. The road to the American Revolutionary War had been paved.
Traditional historians make it seem as if non-economic factors came into play that shifted the pendulum in one direction or the other. There were other factors at play, always, but these other factors were never so urgent that they dictated a course of action. Only the money factor was that powerful, and students of history should be aware of that reality. The fact that the everyday colonist resented British rule is beyond question, just as the fact that many colonists were looking for an opportunity to confront the redcoats "for once and for all." But these resentments would never have led to a confrontation of such magnitude as the American Revolution. Everyday people, though discontented, have a tendency to tolerate unjust conditions. Money interests, on the other hand, are so intent on getting their way that they will rub the flints until a spark is generated. Such is the stuff wars are made of.