The American Revolution was one of the key events that took place in America during the second phase of eighteenth century. During this time Britain was much preoccupied with advancing its economy. For example, it was undergoing industrial revolution. In this regard, Britain enacted colonial policies that would favor its maximum exploitation of its colonies. The following economic factors therefore partly contributed to the onset of the American Revolution (Frank 146).
The British government came up with a number of land policies in America after the end of the war between it and France. This war lasted for seven years and it was mainly caused by the desire of the two powers to have colonial possessions in the western part of America.
Britain which emerged victorious after the war annexed all the land that had been contested. Soon after the war, Britain started enforcing major changes in land policies especially in its western colonies. The main importance of this policy was to facilitate British control over the western colonies. In this respect, three other polices also emerged after the enactment of the new policy, and they included the following.
Exclusion policy was the first one and it was meant to remove the Americans from the western region. Secondly, we had the implementation of the exclusion policy. Thirdly, they set up modalities of financing the exclusion program, which was to be financed through a series of taxation policies. In this case, it was the American citizens that were supposed to pay for the cost of removing their colleagues from the west.
Another economic factor that was responsible for the onset of the revolution was a series of taxes that were levied on the American citizens. Even though the British government could device other mechanisms for raising funds, they saw the Americans as the most viable source of finance for executing the exclusion plan. This was because the British government had incurred much expense during the war. Moreover, the taxes were relatively high in Britain compared to the colonies. The legislatures also had their constituencies in Britain and not in the colonies. With all these issues put into consideration, parliament saw taxation of the colonies as the most suitable way of raising funds for the exclusion program.
Accordingly, many taxation acts were implemented in order to generate revenue for the British army in America. The Sugar Act was implemented in 1764 and it was meant to reduce tariffs charged on non British products sourced from West Indies. It was also supposed to facilitate the collection of those goods.
This act was followed by the first Stamp Act which was implemented in order to provide income for the army. Soon after the enforcement of this act, the Quartering Act was also put in place and it was meant enable the British army to have access to social amenities from the Americans. More taxes were also levied on goods that were imported through the enforcement of the Townshend Act that was introduced in 1767. In addition to these acts, the British also implemented the Navigation Acts which further strained the economy of the Americans.
The Americans could not do much to eliminate the British army occupation of the west. However, they resisted the new taxes imposed on them through as series of peaceful methods. For example, they refused to buy goods that were imported from Britain. This boycott affected trading activities to an extent that the British government removed most of the taxes mentioned above.
Even after the elimination of these taxes, the British still had the feeling that it was important to continue taxing the Americans. This saw the implementation of new taxes after a few years. The Americans now reacted violently. The harsh economic policies led to serious economic decline among the Americans. Therefore, the economic issues together with other factors led to the outbreak of the revolution.
Frank, Andre Gunder. Reorient: Global Economy in the Asian Age. Berkley: University of California Press, 1998.