Letters by Eliza Lucas Primary Source Paper 1. Select a primary source from Chapters 4 or 5 in the American Yawp that will help you answer the question for

Letters by Eliza Lucas Primary Source Paper 1. Select a primary source from Chapters 4 or 5 in the American Yawp that will help you answer the question for the next reading response. 2. Answer the following questions about the document a. What is the document saying? b. What do you know about the author’s background? Why did the author write the document? For whom was the author writing? c. How does the document relate to the reading response question? Expectations: All questions answered; at least 1.5 pages; double spaced. 6/16/2018
5. The American Revolution | The American Yawp
The American Yawp
5. The American Revolution
Paul Revere, “Landing of the Troops,” ca. 1770, via The American Antiquarian Society.
*The American Yawp is an evolving, collaborative text. Please click here to
improve this chapter.*
I. Introduction | II. The Origins of the American Revolution | III. The Causes of
the American Revolution | IV. Independence | V. The War for Independence |
VI. The Consequences of the American Revolution | VII. Conclusion |
VIII. Primary Sources | IX. Reference Material
I. Introduction

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In the 1760s, Benjamin Rush, a native of Philadelphia, recounted a visit to
Parliament. Upon seeing the King’s throne in the House of Lords, Rush said
he “felt as if he walked on sacred ground” with “emotions that I cannot
describe.”1 Throughout the eighteenth century, colonists had developed
significant emotional ties with both the British monarchy and the British
constitution. The British North American colonists had just helped to win a
world war and most, like Rush, had never been more proud to be British. And
yet, in a little over a decade, those same colonists would declare their
independence and break away from the British Empire. Seen from 1763,
nothing would have seemed as improbable as the American Revolution.
The Revolution built institutions and codified the language and ideas that
still define Americans’ image of themselves. Moreover, revolutionaries
justified their new nation with radical new ideals that changed the course of
history and sparked a global “age of revolution.” But the Revolution was as
paradoxical as it was unpredictable. A revolution fought in the name of
liberty allowed slavery to persist. Resistance to centralized authority tied
disparate colonies ever closer together under new governments. The
revolution created politicians eager to foster republican selflessness and
protect the public good but also encouraged individual self-interest and
personal gain. The “founding fathers” instigated and fought a revolution to
secure independence from Britain, but they did not fight that revolution to
create a “democracy.” To successfully rebel against Britain, however,
required more than a few dozen “founding fathers.” Common colonists
joined the fight, unleashing popular forces that shaped the Revolution itself,
often in ways not welcomed by elite leaders. But once unleashed, these
popular forces continued to shape the new nation and indeed the rest of
American history.
II. The Origins of the American Revolution

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The American Revolution had both long-term origins and short-term
causes. In this section, we will look broadly at some of the long-term
political, intellectual, cultural, and economic developments in the eighteenth
century that set the context for the crisis of the 1760s and 1770s.
Between the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the middle of the eighteenth
century, Britain had largely failed to define the colonies’ relationship to the
empire and institute a coherent program of imperial reform. Two factors
contributed to these failures. First, Britain was at war from the War of the
Spanish Succession at the start of the century through the Seven Years’ War
in 1763. Constant war was politically consuming and economically expensive.
Second, competing visions of empire divided British o
cials. Old Whigs and
their Tory supporters envisioned an authoritarian empire, based on
conquering territory and extracting resources. They sought to eliminate
Britain’s growing national debt by raising taxes and cutting spending on the
colonies. The radical (or Patriot) Whigs based their imperial vision on trade
and manufacturing instead of land and resources. They argued that economic
growth, not raising taxes, would solve the national debt. Instead of an
authoritarian empire, “patriot Whigs” argued that the colonies should have
equal status with the mother country. There were occasional attempts to
reform the administration of the colonies, but debate between the two sides
prevented coherent reform.2
Colonists developed their own understanding of how they fit into the empire.
They saw themselves as British subjects “entitled to all the natural,
essential, inherent, and inseparable rights of our fellow subjects in GreatBritain.” The eighteenth century brought significant economic and
demographic growth in the colonies. This success, they believed, resulted
partly from Britain’s hands-o
approach to the colonies. By mid-century,
colonists believed that they held a special place in the empire, which justified
Britain’s hands-o
policy. In 1764, James Otis Jr. wrote, “The colonists are
entitled to as ample rights, liberties, and privileges as the subjects of the
mother country are, and in some respects to more.”3

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In this same period, the colonies developed their own local political
institutions. Samuel Adams, in the Boston Gazette, described the colonies as
each being a “separate body politic” from Britain. Almost immediately upon
each colony’s settlement, they created a colonial assembly. These assemblies
assumed many of the same duties as the Commons exercised in Britain,
including taxing residents, managing the spending of the colonies’ revenue,
and granting salaries to royal o
cials. In the early 1700s, elite colonial
leaders lobbied unsuccessfully to get the Ministry to define their assemblies’
legal prerogratives, but the Ministry was too occupied with European wars.
In the first half of the eighteenth century, royal governors tasked by the
Board of Trade attempted to limit the power of the assemblies, but the
assemblies’ power only grew. Many colonists came to see their assemblies as
having the same jurisdiction over them that Parliament exercised over those
in England. They interpreted British inaction as justifying their tradition of
local governance. The British Ministry and Parliament, however, disagreed.4
Colonial political culture in the colonies also developed di erently than that
of the mother country. In both Britain and the colonies, land was the key to
political participation, but because land was more easily obtained in the
colonies, a higher proportion of male colonists participated in politics.
Colonial political culture drew inspiration from the “country” party in
Britain. These ideas—generally referred to as the ideology of republicanism
—stressed the corrupting nature of power and the need for those involved in
self-governing to be virtuous (i.e., putting the “public good” over their own
self-interest). Patriots would need to be ever vigilant against the rise of
conspiracies, centralized control, and tyranny. Only a small fringe in Britain
held these ideas, but in the colonies, they were widely accepted.5
In the 1740s, two seemingly conflicting bodies of thought—the
Enlightenment and the Great Awakening—began to combine in the colonies
and challenge older ideas about authority. Perhaps no single philosopher had
a greater impact on colonial thinking than John Locke. In his Essay
Concerning Human Understanding, Locke argued that the mind was originally
a tabula rasa (or blank slate) and that individuals were formed primarily by
their environment. The aristocracy then were wealthy or successful because

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they had greater access to wealth, education, and patronage and not because
they were innately superior. Locke followed this essay with Some Thoughts
Concerning Education, which introduced radical new ideas about the
importance of education. Education would produce rational human beings
capable of thinking for themselves and questioning authority rather than
tacitly accepting tradition. These ideas slowly came to have far-reaching
e ects in the colonies and, later, the new nation.
At the same time Locke’s ideas about knowledge and education spread in
North America, the colonies also experienced an unprecedented wave of
evangelical Protestant revivalism. In 1739-40, the Rev. George Whitefield, an
enigmatic, itinerant preacher, traveled the colonies preaching Calvinist
sermons to huge crowds. Unlike the rationalism of Locke, his sermons were
designed to appeal to his listeners’ emotions. Whitefield told his listeners
that salvation could only be found by taking personal responsibility for one’s
own unmediated relationship with God, a process which came to be known as
a “conversion” experience. He also argued that the current Church
hierarchies populated by “unconverted” ministers only stood as a barrier
between the individual and God. In his wake, new traveling preachers picked
up his message and many congregations split. Both Locke and Whitefield had
empowered individuals to question authority and to take their lives into their
own hands.
In other ways, eighteenth-century colonists were becoming more culturally
similar to Britons, a process often referred to as “Anglicization.” As colonial
economies grew, they quickly became an important market for British
manufacturing exports. Colonists with disposable income and access to
British markets attempted to mimic British culture. By the middle of the
eighteenth century, middling-class colonists could also a ord items
previously thought of as luxuries like British fashions, dining wares, and
more. The desire to purchase British goods meshed with the desire to enjoy
British liberties.6 These political, intellectual, cultural, and economic
developments built tensions that rose to the surface when, after the Seven
Years’ War, Britain finally began to implement a program of imperial reform

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that conflicted with colonists’ understanding of the empire and their place in
it.
III. The Causes of the American Revolution
Most immediately, the American Revolution resulted directly from attempts
to reform the British Empire after the Seven Years’ War. The Seven Years’
War culminated nearly a half-century of war between Europe’s imperial
powers. It was truly a world war, fought between multiple empires on
multiple continents. At its conclusion, the British Empire had never been
larger. Britain now controlled the North American continent east of the
Mississippi River, including French Canada. It had also consolidated its
control over India. But the realities and responsibilities of the post-war
empire were daunting. War (let alone victory) on such a scale was costly.
Britain doubled the national debt to 13.5 times its annual revenue. Britain
faced significant new costs required to secure and defend its far-flung
empire, especially the western frontiers of the North American colonies.
These factors led Britain in the 1760s to attempt to consolidate control over
its North American colonies, which, in turn, led to resistance.
King George III took the crown in 1760 and brought Tories into his Ministry
after three decades of Whig rule. They represented an authoritarian vision of
empire where colonies would be subordinate. The Royal Proclamation of 1763
was Britain’s first major postwar imperial action concerning North America.
The King forbade settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains in an
attempt to limit costly wars with Native Americans. Colonists, however,
protested and demanded access to the territory for which they had fought
alongside the British.
In 1764, Parliament passed two more reforms. The Sugar Act sought to
combat widespread smuggling of molasses in New England by cutting the
duty in half but increasing enforcement. Also, smugglers would be tried by

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vice-admiralty courts and not juries. Parliament also passed the Currency
Act, which restricted colonies from producing paper money. Hard money,
like gold and silver coins, was scarce in the colonies. The lack of currency
impeded the colonies’ increasingly sophisticated transatlantic economies,
but it was especially damaging in 1764 because a postwar recession had
already begun. Between the restrictions of the Proclamation of 1763, the
Currency Act, and the Sugar Act’s canceling of trials-by-jury for smugglers,
some colonists began to fear a pattern of increased taxation and restricted
liberties.
In March 1765, Parliament passed the Stamp Act. The act required many
documents be printed on paper that had been stamped to show the duty had
been paid, including newspapers, pamphlets, diplomas, legal documents,
and even playing cards. The Sugar Act of 1764 was an attempt to get
merchants to pay an already-existing duty, but the Stamp Act created a new,
direct (or “internal”) tax. Parliament had never before directly taxed the
colonists. Instead, colonies contributed to the empire through the payment
of indirect, “external” taxes, such as customs duties. In 1765, Daniel Dulany
of Maryland wrote, “A right to impose an internal tax on the colonies,
without their consent for the single purpose of revenue, is denied, a right to
regulate their trade without their consent is, admitted.”7 Also, unlike the
Sugar Act, which primarily a ected merchants, the Stamp Act directly
a ected numerous groups throughout colonial society, including printers,
lawyers, college graduates, and even sailors who played cards. This led, in
part, to broader, more popular resistance.
Resistance to the Stamp Act took three forms, distinguished largely by class:
legislative resistance by elites, economic resistance by merchants, and
popular protest by common colonists. Colonial elites responded with
legislative resistance initially by passing resolutions in their assemblies. The
most famous of the anti-Stamp Act resolutions were the “Virginia
Resolves,” passed by the House of Burgesses on May 30, 1765, which
declared that the colonists were entitled to “all the liberties, privileges,
franchises, and immunities . . . possessed by the people of Great Britain.”
When the resolves were printed throughout the colonies, however, they often

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included a few extra, far more radical resolves not passed by the Virginia
House of Burgesses, the last of which asserted that only “the general
assembly of this colony have any right or power to impose or lay any
taxation” and that anyone who argued di erently “shall be deemed an
enemy to this his majesty’s colony.”8 The spread of these extra resolves
throughout the colonies helped radicalize the subsequent responses of other
colonial assemblies and eventually led to the calling of the Stamp Act
Congress in New York City in October 1765. Nine colonies sent delegates,
including Benjamin Franklin, John Dickinson, Thomas Hutchinson, Philip
Livingston, and James Otis.9

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Men and women politicized the domestic sphere by buying and displaying items that conspicuously
revealed their position for or against Parliamentary actions. This witty teapot, which celebrates the end of
taxation on goods like tea itself, makes clear the owner’s perspective on the egregious taxation. “Teapot,
Stamp Act Repeal’d,” 1786, in Peabody Essex Museum. Salem State University.
The Stamp Act Congress issued a “Declaration of Rights and Grievances,”
which, like the Virginia Resolves, declared allegiance to the King and “all due
subordination” to Parliament, but also reasserted the idea that colonists
were entitled to the same rights as native Britons. Those rights included trial
by jury, which had been abridged by the Sugar Act, and the right to only be

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taxed by their own elected representatives. As Daniel Dulany wrote in 1765,
“It is an essential principle of the English constitution, that the subject shall
not be taxed without his consent.”10 Benjamin Franklin called it the “prime
Maxim of all free Government.”11 Because the colonies did not elect members
to Parliament, they believed that they were not represented and could not be
taxed by that body. In response, Parliament and the Ministry argued that the
colonists were “virtually represented,” just like the residents of those
boroughs or counties in England that did not elect members to Parliament.
However, the colonists rejected the notion of virtual representation, with one
pamphleteer calling it a “monstrous idea.”12
The second type of resistance to the Stamp Act was economic. While the
Stamp Act Congress deliberated, merchants in major port cities were
preparing non-importation agreements, hoping that their refusal to import
British goods would lead British merchants to lobby for the repeal of the
Stamp Act. In New York City, “upwards of two hundred principal merchants”
agreed not to import, sell, or buy “any goods, wares, or merchandises” from
Great Britain.13 In Philadelphia, merchants gathered at “a general meeting”
to agree that “they would not Import any Goods from Great-Britain until the
Stamp-Act was Repealed.”14 The plan worked. By January 1766, London
merchants sent a letter to Parliament arguing that they had been “reduced to
the necessity of pending ruin” by the Stamp Act and the subsequent
boycotts.15
The third, and perhaps, most crucial type of resistance was popular protest.
Violent riots broke out in Boston. Croweds burned the appointed stamp
distributor for Massachusetts, Andrew Oliver, in e
gy and pulled a building
he owned “down to the Ground in five minutes.”16 Oliver resigned the
position the next day. The following week, a crowd also set upon the home of
his brother-in-law, Lt. Gov. Thomas Hutchinson, who had publicly argued
for submission to the stamp tax. Before the evening was over, much of
Hutchinson’s home and belongings had been destroyed.17
Popular violence and intimidation spread quickly throughout the colonies. In
New York City, posted notices read:

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PRO PATRIA,
The first Man that either
distributes or makes use of Stampt
Paper, let him take care of
his House, Person, & E ects.
Vox Populi;
We dare.”18
By November 16, all of the original twelve stamp distributors had resigned,
and by 1766, groups who called themselves the “Sons of Liberty” were
formed in most of the colonies to direct and organize further popular
resistance. These tactics had the dual e ect of sending a message to
Parliament and discouraging colonists from accepting appointments as
stamp collectors. With no one to distribute the stamps, the Act became
unenforceable.

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Violent protest by groups like the Sons of Liberty created quite a stir both in the colonies and in England
itself. While extreme acts like the tarring and feathering of Boston’s Commissioner of Customs in 1774
propagated more protest against symbols of Parliament’s tyranny throughout the colonies, violent
demonstrations were reg…
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