American History / Trace The Development Of The Anglo-American Conflict. Could The Relationship Have Been Saved?
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Autor: anton 21 March 2011
Words: 802 | Pages: 4
Trace the development of the Anglo-American conflict. Could the relationship have been saved?
Although American colonists always tried to negotiate the contentious policies which contradicted their principles with the British Parliament, the crown did not leave much room for the discussion fueling the Anglo-American debate with a stubborn constitutional position; with a ridiculous notion as virtual representation; with a large British army that limited the economic development of the country; with the unjust acts that forced to shell out revenues from the colonies;
One of the reasons that lead to the conflict was the lack of proper communication between England and America. Even though packet boats sailed regularly back and forth between London and the various colonial ports of America, the voyage across the Atlantic took too much time. It took a while for the Americans to receive answers to their long-awaited questions. The gap between the British and the Americans widened further when the Englishmen, only few of whom had actually visited America, passed on laws based on rumors and misunderstandings.
The Americans, who devotedly preserved the so-called Commonwealthman tradition that was developed by the English publicists Trenchard and Gordon, viewed a bad policy as a sign of sin and fraud. The followers of this tradition believed that the one should not be given power if lacking virtue for power without virtue can lead to the destruction of liberty. To a certain extent, Americans pleaded for a separate legislature because they regarded Parliamentâ€™s passage of the wrong policies as a sign of corruption that might have had spread in their highly morally charged religious community.
Despite that the idea of sharing and dividing power with the Americans that could save the British Empire from losing its most valuable colonies, the English Parliament had a hard line on the issue of the parliamentary sovereignty. The English elite viewed the Parliament as a key element within the constitution that had the supreme authority to â€œâ€¦to make laws in all cases whatsoeverâ€ and tax the British subjects. The Americans were not eager to preserve the supremacy of the Parliament for they barely understood the positions and the principles of the crown officials. The British considered the notion of separate legislatures within the same state completely illogical and unworthy of the Parliamentâ€™s attention.
The differences in political ideologies also kept the Anglo-American debate on the move. The British officials and the American Loyalists never quite understood why the colonial Americans valued the presence of a strong moral component in both public and private affairs. It is difficult to trace back the American outlook on a highly religious civil government.
In 1764, the irritated Americans, who failed to persuade the British government to give their provincial assemblies the same intrinsic rights as the House of Commons in England, turned the tide of the debate on the meaning of representation. The Americans were angry at the British for taxing them without letting them have a representative of their own at the Parliament, who could stand for their political interests. Instead of seeking for a compromise, the British offered the Americans a ridiculing notion known as virtual representation in which the august body, that had no direct contact with the colonists, â€œvirtuallyâ€ represented its subjectsâ€™ interests. At this critical point, Americans were not intending to step back.
The bonds of the empire eroded even more when George III, poorly educated, aggressive king of England, decided to send â€œâ€¦the largest peacetime army in British historyâ€¦to protectâ€¦the newly conqueredâ€¦Florida and Quebec.â€ Although the king was warned about the financial issues the maintenance of the army would bring, he was firm on his decision. To somehow ease the budgetary crisis stimulated by the preservation of an expensive army, the British government leaders passed on numerous acts, which were different ways of raising money in America, to carry on their plans. Perhaps, the American colonists wouldnâ€™t have complained about the maintenance of a force that cost too much money if that force actually protected them not merely limited their monetary growth. In 1763, during the Pontiacâ€™s Rebellion, the British army failed to protect the exposed settlements from the Indians thus bringing the deaths of thousands of people.
Although at the beginning of the revolution the Americans were less forceful than their British counterparts, they learned how to define and defend their interests in that Anglo-American debate. Devotion, courage and enthusiasm of the American revolutionaries were their main weapons in the war for independence. Despite that the British could avoid the imperial crisis, overconfidence deceived their intuition and played against them in the war. If the peace commission was sent to the Americans before the both sides took up arms against each other, the proposal might have gained the Congressâ€™ approval. Unfortunately for the British, the war strengthened the American will for independence leaving no room for negotiations.
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