The years 1750-1776 were very volatile years regarding the relationship between Britain and the North American colonies. A large scale war, taxes, and revolts all played a part in the hostilities between the two nations. Economics, however, may have been the spark that started the fire between the two nations, and might perhaps be the most significant cause of the future conflicts between the North American colonies and Great Britain. The French and Indian war was fought from 1754-1761 primarily between the French with Indian allies and Britain for control of North America.
This war was one of the first wars that would be fought on a global scale requiring more resources to aid in the war effort. Britain poured very large sums of money into the war in order to protect the colonists. By the end of the war, after Britain’s victory and the signing of the treaty of Paris of 1763, Britain had expended much of its resources. Americans, after hearing the news of Britain’s victory in the war, were readily making plans to venture westward into newly acquired lands. Britain, fearing that Indians would attack the colonies, quickly passed the proclamation of 1763 prohibiting settlement west of the Appalachians.
Doing this was one effort to prevent future conflicts that would in turn require Britain to utilize more of its resources. Britain had dug an economic hole so deep that it would require vast amounts of dirt to refill it. Where was the money to come from? The Americans, having barely supported the war effort, would become the mule that was to carry the burden. The war was in fact fought to protect the colonies; thereby the colonists should have to pay for the money that was used for their own defense. Britain embraced this idea and started passing tax acts and enforced the navigation acts.
Of the acts that were passed to raise tax revenue the first was the Sugar Act. This act placed a tax on all sugar that was imported into the colonies. Another act that was passed was the stamp act which placed taxes on playing cards, marriage licenses and other printed goods. The colonists showed fierce resentment to this as they eventually formed the stamp act congress. As seen in Document B sections III and IV the colonists believed that they did not need to pay these taxes as they were not even being implemented by their own government.
Other forms of resentment would arise as groups known as the sons of liberty and daughters of liberty would be formed. In document C it is shown that the sons of liberty were a group of common townsfolk workers. These men and women would cry for liberty, no stamps, and property as they believed that they should not have to pay for the taxes. They also enforced nonimportation agreements to make other fellow colonists support their cause to rebel against the mother country. The navigation acts also posed as a serious threat to the colonists as they forced trade specifically between them and England exempting other countries from the trade.
This was a major economic problem for the colonists as they were not able to sell goods to other countries as they could possibly obtain larger profits as they could sell more goods and at higher prices. In document D Benjamin Franklin talks about how the colonists are restricted to trade with England except for the smuggling that occurs between Spanish and colonial trade. He feels that some action should be taken that would eventually better the colonies economically. Overall, economics were the roots of the weeds that had been planted by Britain sparking a major conflict that cost them an entire nation.