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The American Pageant: Reasons of Uprising and Revolution


America had every right, mind and aspect, to throw off the almost inexorable chains of Great Britain. Not only declaring war against the British was justified, but it was the only choice America had. From the very beginning, (when the colonists first migrated to America) the colonists were displeased with Great Britain’s law-makings and government. When diplomatic options and agreements with Great Britain failed, America realized it was time to act and retaliate. The colonists’ disagreements with Great Britain’s law-makings, the specific unforgettable conflicts/events the colonists had with Great Britain, and the great desire for individuality, and freedom of rights of the colonists ultimately led to the declaration of war, the American Revolution.

Main Theses

One of the reasons that fueled America’s rage that ultimately led to the American Revolution and the breaking away from Great Britain was Great Britain’s government and law-makings such as the Stamp Act of 1765. [1] This act was passed mainly because Britain had amassed large war debts from wars like the French and Indian War. According to the Stamp Act, “American colonists were required to apply tax stamps to all official documents, including deeds, mortgages, newspapers, and pamphlets.” This act was intended to generate money from the colonies that would help pay for the cost to keep up a stable force of British troops in the American colonies, but instead, led to oppositions by the American colonists. The colonists convened the Stamp Act Congress to protest the act, which they called, “taxation without representation.” Colonists (who were already destitute) did not believe this act was righteous and fair, and it was because of this act that the colonists were forced to economic hardships and worst conditions of poverty. In addition, the Stamp Act not only led to economic depressions, but to the uprising of the colonists against the British and the increasing desire of the colonists for self-government. [2] Thus, this aided to build the foundations for the American Revolution and the motivation for seceding from Great Britain.

One of the specific unforgettable events that stimulated America in breaking away with Great Britain was the Boston Massacre in 1770. It was the “massacre” that changed the opinion the colonists’ opinions about how they felt about the British. The story told about this bloody event is that there was confusion among the British officers when the American colonists approached, and as a result, the British randomly fired on the crowd of colonists. According to chapter 7 of the AP US history book, the American Pageant, “the British troops opened fire and killed or wounded eleven innocent citizens. One of the first to die was Crispus Attucks, described by contemporaries as a powerfully built runaway mulatto and as a leader of the mob.” The results of this gory event depicted propagandas that the British were organized, and aimed to kill. Paul Revere’s drawing of “The Boston Massacre” best displays this propaganda. Not only did this picture energized anger in the colonists to break away from Great Britain, it also revealed the British as having the desire to kill people. Furthermore, it portrayed the British as murderers, more reason for the colonists to unite to rise and declare war against Great Britain. [3]

America’s powerful aspiration for individuality and freedom of rights also led to the motivation for breaking away from Great Britain. The colonists were weary of the tyranny of the King of Great Britain’s complete control and authority over the colonies. They were infuriated by how the King’s objective was to only strengthen the government, thus not allowing the people any freedom of speech (which was another reason why the colonists migrated to America). According to chapter 7 of the AP US history book, The American Pageant, “By 1770 King George III, then only thirty-two years old, was strenuously attempting to assert the power of the British monarchy… he proved to be a bad ruler. Earnest, industrious, stubborn, and lustful for power…” An example of the King’s terrible leadership is when he passed the Townshend Act in 1767 which placed duties on colonial imports of lead, glass, and other necessities. This act also specified that the tax money be to be used not only to support British troops in America, but also to provide salaries for British officials. American colonists were enraged by this because they were becoming “puppets” of the King, and how they had to struggle to survive because of the taxes the King established. John Dickinson argued in his influential letters from a farmer in Pennsylvania (1767) that the Townshend duties were “not for the regulation of trade… but for the single purpose of levying money upon us.” The only way that the people of America could accept the laws of the King is when the King accepted their ideas and beliefs. [4] This, the colonists knew, would be impossible. Furthermore, they knew that if they were not granted their individuality and freedom, their nation would be halted in augmentation. These men wanted to be recognized as their own people, and knew they had to act because they knew living under England’s shadow was no way to prosperity.


In conclusion, the several components that fueled the colonists to break away from Great Britain are the colonists’ disapprovals of Great Britain’s law-makings and governments (The Stamp Act), the many haunting events that triggered the American Revolution (The Boston Massacre as one of them), and the colonists’ relentless desire for individuality and freedom of rights. These evidences proved to be vital in the decision America made to shatter the chains from Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence is put best by saying that the Americans attempted their hardest to avoid war, by petitions and peaceful means, but when that failed, war was their last and only resort. Thus, America was indeed very justified in breaking away from Great Britain. [5]


  1. Foote, Shelby. The Civil War: A Narrative. 8 Volumes. Alexandria, Virginia: Time-Life Books, 1998.
  2. Barnes, Ian. The Historical Atlas of The American Revolution. New York City, New York: Taylor & Francis Group, 2000.
  3. Carnes, Mark. Editor. U.S. History: Selections from the Eight-Volume Dictionary of American History. Revised Edition and Supplements. New York City, New York: MacMillan Library Reference USA, 1996.
  4. Bailey, Thomas. The American Pageant: A History of the Republic. Tenth Edition. Lexington, Massachusetts: D.C. Heath & Company, 1994.
  5. Current, Richard N. The Essentials of American History. 2 Volumes. New York City, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977.