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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > American Age of Discovery, Colonization, Revolution, & Expansion > American Revolution

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American Revolution 1763-1789 The birth of a new nation - to commence at the Proclaimation of 1763 to the end of the Articles of Confederation.

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Old 23 May 15, 15:43
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1776 a reaction to Austerity?

Hi

A rather interesting article in the NY Review of books (my emphasis):-

Quote:
Was the Declaration of Independence a powerful indictment of British austerity policies? Does America’s founding document need to be seen as part of an economic debate about the British Empire? These questions may seem jarring, almost anachronistic. But eighteenth-century political argument, like that of our own day, often revolved around responses to fiscal crisis. Just as political debates in Britain and the United States today turn in large part on the response to the great recession of 2008, so the events that made the United States were shaped by the British imperial government’s reaction to the debt crisis of the 1760s. What made the Declaration so offensive to British politicians then, and what makes it highly relevant to Europeans and Americans today, is that America’s founders offered a blueprint for a different kind of state response to fiscal crisis.....America’s founding document called for an American state that would promote economic growth just as the British state had done before the shift toward balancing the books. George Washington himself had, since the 1760s, lamented the loss of those “privileges,” those state supports for the colonial economy, and called instead for the British state to support “a more enlarged and extensive” colonial economy. Had George III and his ministers not adopted austerity measures in the 1760s and 1770s, had they chosen to follow Pitt’s policies of economic stimulus, America’s founders might not have needed to declare their independence at all.
http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog...nst-austerity/

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Andy H
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  #2  
Old 23 May 15, 20:48
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Interesting perspective. Thanks for the post
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Old 24 May 15, 06:17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy H View Post
Hi

A rather interesting article in the NY Review of books (my emphasis):-

http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog...nst-austerity/

Regards

Andy H
Excellent posting and one which makes a very valid point.

In teaching the American Revolution over the years, as well as studying it for longer than that, I came to a couple of conclusions. The first being that the Revolution lasted from 1763 with the British Proclamation of 1763 which hindered westward settlement beyond the Appalachians, to 1789 with the adoption and ratification of the US Constitution. The war itself was a subset of the Revolution (1775-1783).

That being the case, the Revolution was caused in great part by British arrogance in handling the financial/taxation issues brought on by the war debt from the French and Indian War which the British government rightfully believed the American colonists should share since a sizeable British army and fleet were sent to North America to fight the French, the common enemy.

Up until that time the colonies had been largely left alone ('benign neglect') to both govern themselves internally and to defend themselves in the series of wars with the French. British support in the last and most dangerous war came with a bill, and one that should have been shared with the mother country. The manner in which the British government handled it with the colonies was ham-handed and angered enough of the population in North America to start an independence movement which ended in a humiliating British defeat.

From the British perspective it was a great shame, and if it had been handled with just a little tact, the situation could have been averted in large part, if not avoided entirely. The American colonists, who considered themselves as Englishmen or British, were treated not as equals, but as a subservient group to the British Crown and were alienated from the mother country and this led to a long, bitter war that resulted in independence for the 13 North American colonies.

Sincerely,
M
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Old 24 May 15, 11:58
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Austerity?
They weren't getting anything in the 1st place!

Benign neglect, yeah, that's a heck of a way of putting it, for people who came over as indentured servants and learned to be independent because that was the only option. They learned to deal with things themselves, and their children more so.

The Crown charging the people for the war, that's rich. As if they gained nothing for themselves?
For instance, oh, I dunno.... Canada, for starters?
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Old 25 May 15, 13:05
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Originally Posted by The Exorcist View Post
Austerity?
They weren't getting anything in the 1st place!

Benign neglect, yeah, that's a heck of a way of putting it, for people who came over as indentured servants and learned to be independent because that was the only option. They learned to deal with things themselves, and their children more so.

The Crown charging the people for the war, that's rich. As if they gained nothing for themselves?
For instance, oh, I dunno.... Canada, for starters?
In Canada (New France) time period the early explorers like Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, Sieur de La Verendrye & his sons paid out of their own pockets to find the Great Western Sea.
I think the English did a wee bit more for their colony in New England than the French did in New France.
However taxes can be quite shocking!

Regards,

Patrick
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