Firstly, the American people were significantly independent. The Americans wanted to do things on their own without anyone dictating to them what they should and should not do. Great Britain was thousands of miles away, and the Americans felt that people from far across the ocean didn’t have to control their way of thinking. Secondly, enforcing new taxes which included the Sugar Act, the Stamp Act, and the Currency Act was considered harsh by the Americans (Frazer, 2015). Thirdly, the British government forced most of the American colonies to pay a substantial share of the war debt which had accrued from both the Indian and the French Wars. Lastly, Thomas Paine and Patrick Henry advocated for the independence of America. They wanted America to be free from British rule.
There were significant events which led to the Revolutionary War. In 1763, the Treaty of Paris was signed to end French and the Indian War on February 10. On October 7, the Proclamation of 1763 was signed.It entailed that the Appalachian Mountain be set aside and be ruled as Indian territory. In 1764, parliament was passed by the Grenville Act on April 5, and this included the Sugar Act. In 1765, the Stamp Act was passed on March, 22 which imposed direct taxes on the colonies. In 1766, Benjamin Franklin testified on February 13, before parliament about the Stamp Act. Townshend Act was passed in 1767. The legislative assembly supported Samuel Adam’s letter in 1768. In 1769, George Washington handed over the nonimportation resolutions to Virginia House of Burgesses. The Boston Massacre occurred in 1770. In 1772, Gaspee, a British customs vessel was attacked. Boston Tea Party happened in 1773. In 1775, Declarations and Resolved were given to parliament. Patrick Henry delivers his famous speech (Frazer, 2015).
The Sons of Liberty was a group of political dissidents formed in the North American British Colonies. The Sons of Liberty were against the passage of the Stamp Act in 1765 (Frazer, 2015). The group fought against taxation levied by the British. After the Stamp Act was repealed, the group disbanded immediately.
The Declaration of Independence was written to unify the American colonies against the British (Said, 2012). Great Britain was overtaxing the colonies, and therefore the Declaration of Independence was drafted by the founding fathers and sent to King George while affirming that American would free. The Revolutionary leaders felt it was necessary because it represented the ideals and wishes of the colonists to have their government.
There are three ideas of the Enlightenment represented in the Declaration of Independence. One of the ideas is that by virtue of being human, people are entitled ‘unalienable rights.’ The other ideal is that the legitimacy of the government comes from the consent of the people who are being governed. Lastly, the government serves the sole purpose of protecting the people (Said, 2012). These ideas are represented in terms of individual freedom, popular sovereignty and how the people should have the ultimate power as compared to the government. Typically, the main Enlightenment ideas influenced both the French and American Revolutions.
The American Revolution has enormous impacts on other parts of the world. For instance, when Americans decided to pull out from their colonial masters, they set an example which other countries emulated to free themselves from their colonialists. South America revolted against the European rule, and this is attributed to and inspired by the American Revolution (Frazer, 2015). Other countries had the urge to stand up against their masters during the colonial rule. Therefore, the American Revolution acted as a model for other states to follow in revolting against the Imperial European rulers. Secondly, the American Revolution influenced the French Revolution, and this happened thirteen years later after the American Revolution had come to an end.
Section B: Imperialism
Imperialism is the ideology or advocacy of extending both power and dominion over foreign nations. This extension is either through gaining economic and political control of other regions or military force. Various countries sought to create empires in the late 1800s. America and European nations built empires in Africa, North and South America and some parts of Asia(Nordenstreng, 2013). These European nations include Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, France, and Germany among many others. The desire to create empires was driven by multiple factors including economic, political and cultural motivations.
The desire to establish new markets necessitated nations to create empires. For instance, the European industrialized countries built empires to sell products which could not be sold domestically. Business people had a lot of capital to invest in overseas markets and in spite of the risks, they earned great profit. Again, the need for cheap labor and raw materials like oil and rubber made European nations to maintain control over their newly acquired empires. Cheap labor was readily available in African countries.
Political and cultural reasons
Growing imperial powers, as well as patriotism, encouraged different nations to enter a battle of supremacy with each other. Countries competed for supremacy to invoke as a sense of security, prestige and national pride as well. Empires were sought to create routes for armies and navies around the world. Mostly, political reasons were a result of national security, nationalism and military power. Culturally empires acquired territories to civilize their brother and sisters overseas. Civilization was witnessed in the form of Christianity, law, and medicine that the empires gained from European and other conquering nations. Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936) authored a poem titled ‘The White Man’s Burden’ (Said, 2012). In the poem, he expressed that Europeans had to make use of ‘their moral obligation’ to civilize those people who were uncivilized.
Imperialism in Africa
European nations controlled almost all regions in Africa during the late 1800s and the early 1900s. European invasion in Africa created significant changes which affected Africa as a whole. European nations took over Africa and created empires in different regions. Europeans had constantly admired rubber, slaves, ivory, timber and slaves from Africa (Nordenstreng, 2013). Indeed European imperialism in Africa started when South Africa began to spread and grow during the 1800s. Technological advances enabled Europeans to penetrate African countries like Angola, Mozambique and other parts in East and Central Africa. Ethiopia and Liberia were the only countries which were not colonized. The British for instance too over Kenya and fought the Mau Mau who was a group of locals fighting off European dominance (Wrong, 2005).
King Leopold of Belgium sent trade representative to Congo and after that was regarded as the hero for civilizing Congo (Wrong, 2005). Belgian invasion in Congo left the country into a devastating and despairing state. After that, disease, civil and political arrests plagued the Democratic Republic of Congo. Belgians were quite brutal to the Congolese. Leopold was obsessed with building national wealth, and this forced him to invade and acquire the Belgian Congo. After failing to secure Fiji, Sarawak and the Philippine, Leopold secured Congo with the help of the American explorer, Henry Stanley (Wrong, 2005). Leopold was not willing to disclose his secrets about Congo to the Belgians. The Belgians forced the locals to provide labor failure to which the men were slaughtered, and women were raped. Close to 13 million lives were lost during the Belgian rule.
Chinese imperialism has been a great feature in the history of East Asia for thousands of years. The mandate of Heaven in China was primarily held by the Emperor of China whose rule was universal. China exerted huge influences over neighboring states. However, there were times were vassal states acknowledged to be seized by China to gain access to the trade in China. The King of Qin in 221 BC unified Chinese empire by conquering all other states. The Han Dynasty took over parts of Central Asia, Northern Korea, and Vietnam. Chinese dynasties conquered many states out of China and gained dominance over them.
Frazer, G. (2015). The American Revolution: Not a Just War. Retrieved March 5, 2019, from https://doi.org/10.1080/15027570.2015.1035947
Nordenstreng, K. (2013). How the new world order and imperialism challenge media studies. Retrieved March 5, 2019, from DOI: https://doi.org/10.31269/triplec.v11i2.495
Said, E. W. (2012). Culture and imperialism. Vintage.
Wrong, M. (2005). Belgium confronts its heart of darkness. Retrieved March 5, 2019, from file:///C:/Users/user/Downloads/Belgium%20Congo.pdf
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