Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Thesis

Department

History

First Advisor

Dr. Tom Auffenberg

Second Advisor

Dr. Kevin C. Motl

Third Advisor

Dr. Steven Thomason

Abstract

Great Britain and her colonies began their disagreements leading up to the American Revolution over the idea of taxation and representation in Parliament. A new form of taxation came with the passage of Sugar Act in March, 1764. This form aimed at raising revenue to pay for part of the cost of Britain's colonial expenses in North America. All previous taxation on the colonies had only been used to regulate commerce. The British judged the colonists should be taxed to help pay for the cost of the French war that had been fought in their defense and protection. The previous method of voluntary taxation was unpredictable, unequal, and could take months to gather. Because it was voluntary, states like Pennsylvania and Massachusetts tended to give much more than states like Maryland and New Jersey. Colonies avoided paying this new tax by smuggling in sugar from other countries....

Tales of great patriotism, against both the tyrannical King George III and his allegedly evil Parliament, fill American text books. As the old saying goes, "there are always two sides to the story." American history books almost always portray the American colonies as victims of great injustice. Few studies have ever been done on the opinions of the British towards what they called the Great Rebellion. What needs to be asked are things like: Were the British people supportive, against, or indifferent to the prospective of America's becoming independent? Were the British soldiers and commanders optimistic about the war? How did the British government officials perceive the war? What were the opinions of the British commoners, especially as expressed in newspapers? How were feelings at the beginning of the war contrasted with the middle and then towards the end?

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