The British Empire in America
A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteedOrder Now
The British Empire in America is recorded to be one of the largest Empires that have ever existed. It was the greatest global power for over a century and it is originated as a product of the age discovery. This age discovery which gave rise to the British Empire in America began with the maritime exploration which took place in the 15th Century, this sparked the era of the European colonial empire.( Callender and Fowell, 1795)
It is recorded that almost a century ago, in 1921 there was a census which took place in the whole British empire and the total people that were counted were about a quarter of the world population. This was a census which covered the biggest area in the world ever of about 14.2 million square miles- this constitute about a quarter of the total earths area. (http://www.thecommonwealth.org/FAQs/20706/faqs/)
The British Empire had very many colonies and it was even a common joke that the sun never sets on the whole Empire, since because of its area the sun had to shine at least in one part of the empire.
The colonies of the British Empire was destroyed and became independent after the World War II, and this forced many of the colonies to join the commonwealth Nations. This is because the organization of the commonwealth nations is a free association of all the independent states and nations. (Callender and Fowell, 1795)
Among the colonies and the states England was notably slower as compared to Spain, to Portugal or to France in growing interest in the new world. There was very little which was done by the Tudor monarchs to encourage people and colonies in the exploration. This was challenged by the English adventurers which took place during the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603). The adventure finally begun to explore the North American coast and to plunder the Spanish, who were shipping in the Caribbean. The English adventures did they work on a private basis and there was no control of their operations and very minimal support Crown. Queen Elizabeth mobilized large armies at great expense to conquer Ireland, but made no equivalent investment in America. Instead, she granted Sir Walter Raleigh the authority to colonize at his own expense–and he failed at Roanoke 1584-1587 due to lack of supplies and support from the Crown..(Callender and Fowell, 1795)
The relationship between the colonies which was intended to be mutually beneficial and to support one another later on was found to be working in crossroads and with no unity of purpose. This was because the colonies were founded by a number of desperate independent groups which existed with no watch from any other colony or from the Crown, this is how the colonies regarded themselves and the supreme power also viewed them the same way. The view of the colonies tried to change in the wake of the seventeenth century when the parliament of England in 1696 tried to pass and to impose the mercantilist order with various navigation acts, this was further emphasized by the placement of colonies under the jurisdiction of the Board of Trade to oversee their engagements and to spearhead their corporation with England, this led to the emergence of a more unified American character and American Identity in the colonies. This unification was indicated by the Great Awakening of the early eighteenth century, which despite oft splitting Americans along class lines was proved to be a very unique and collective American experience.
The Colonies made Enlightenment thought as headway in America, this was influenced by the eras political thought. The follower’s scientific enquiry which went deep to the colonies natural environment fostered a developing sense of as a place that is profoundly different from Europe. In the whole process of concurring and the creation of the colonies, the colonies were fully growing hand in hand with England, and their existence was for gaining Identity as British subjects in the New Lands. —growing apart came as a result of colonists’ participation in the American theaters of England’s wars with the French and Spanish, the final one being the French and Indian War, fought mostly on American soil. The colonists absorbed heavy losses and emerged from the war deeply in debt; a wartime economic boom quickly faded into depression, coincidentally at the moment that Parliament decided that the colonies should contribute more toward their own administrative and defense costs.( http://www.thecommonwealth.org/FAQs/20706/faqs/)
The parliament made a lot of attempts to create many acts and duties which were to aid in the collection of taxes and revenues for its operations and filling the gaps left by war.
With the removal of the French Military threats, the American colonists on the other hand saw an opportunity to enlarge their already extensive political and economic liberties, they colonies saw less need to for the central imperial government, and with this they refused to accept any responsibility for the kings and the Crowns war debt.
The refusal of the payment and the responsibility for any of the crowns war debts opened a clear gap between the British and the American political expectations. It was at this time that that the difference was revealed to be so large and any of the spokesman from these sides were not willing to elaborate or to communicate the differences. The two political states even decided not to allow any little chance for effective negotiations. This was further evidenced clearly when the colonialists declined the payment of the new tax which was secured by George Grenville in1765.The colonialists refusal was due to the that it was the work of the colonial assemblies to raise revenue and the work of the parliament was to regulate the functions of commerce. These issues showed the differences between British and America. (Roger, 1999)
Since there was an ideological difference between British and America which was not smoothened, there was an emergence of the civil war within the empire. The civil war did not cool down and the Levying of Taxes by George III’s and his ministers just led to its spread. The civil war led to the emergence of movements which gained momentum in all the thirteen mainland colonies, this movement was driven by petitions and riots, boycotts and the neocolonial congresses. (Roger, 1999)
With all the riots and boycotts in the colonies, the Americans and the Crowns were all the time united and were using any resource within their disposal to stand against the rebellion. The stance stand which was taken by America against the rebellion made some of the civilians in the mainland colonies to be loyal to the crown to work according to the Crowns discretion. Other civilians from the island colonies also chose to remain loyal to the crown in the mainland colonies since the rebel cause attracted very little attention and support, this is because the imperial protection in such colonies made protection in the island colonies highly prized than the political freedom. The ministers in the mother country also veered towards open war with the rebels in 1775 which made the Britons and their Merchants who had pressed for the removal of the stamp act to fully support the home government’s decision to preserve centralized Imperial Authority.( Roger,1999)
The war and the struggle for independence for America from the British colony was proved to be very much longer and more a more difficult struggle than any of the wars that have been experienced, it was more than what was anticipated. The British were defeated from beating and conquering the rebel army and their territories. This was a contrast to what was expected by the rebels since the British had defeated George Washington troops while the rebels were poorly equipped and were not ready for war.(Roger, 1999)
Peace was only realized in 1783 when the rebel s accepted to enter into an alliance with the French whom they had fought in 1757 to 1763. During the peace conference the British accepted the breakup of their empire by recognizing the political independence and territorial sovereignty of the then newly created United States of America.
James Thomson Callender and Richard Folwell (1795). The Political Progress of
Britain: Mulberry- Street Publishers: Great Britain.
Louis Roger (1999). The Oxford History of the British Empire, Vol. IV, the Twentieth
Century. Oxford University Press, 330.
http://www.thecommonwealth.org/FAQs/20706/faqs/ Retrieved on the 21st July 2008.