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Although it was the consensus that most colonists opposed being British subjects, some opposed it more than others. Sailors and those in commerce as well as the common family farmer both were some of the most provoked.
The colonists were not used to the British imposing their rule as much as it was after the Seven Years War. Wars cost money, this is a fact. The British needed some income in order to pay for it. Being British subjects and being seen as a “cash cow” the British demanded that the colonists pay their fair share of the war. “To finance the wars, Britain’s public expenditures, taxes, and national debt rose enormously.” Taxes were imposed on the colonists and became lovingly known as the “Intolerable Acts”. Some acts passed really weren’t that bad. For example, the Stamp Act, weren’t necessarily bad. It only raised the price of paper nominally, but the British controlled the supply of paper. The British knew who was buying paper and why. The colonists didn’t like this invasion of privacy in the slightest. Some acts, like the Boston Port Act, were much more serious. The closure of the harbor put a major dent in colonial commerce. This angered sailors. These Intolerable Acts caused uprise in the colonies. Sailors and slaves were so angered a “motley crew” formed. As Rediker and Linebaugh describe it, they were “eighty strong and warm with drink and anger” . This group came to protest at the house of Henry Laurens. Laurens was a wealthy Charleston merchant that also happened to be storing the paper that the colonists would be forced to buy from the English. The way of life of sailors and other merchants were threatened and they didn’t take kindly to it.
Simple family farmers also heavily opposed these new taxes and the way the colonies were headed as a whole. Obtaining land was becoming harder and British taxes made farm life difficult. Subsistence farming revolved around the idea of self support. These people had no need for money, so they didn’t have much. They produced for themselves and bartered for what they didn’t have. Taxes which were to be paid in real money was difficult. This annoyance angered the farmers. The farmers were particularly aggravated. They left England in order to farm free from government interference and that is exactly what was beginning to happen.
Though, there was a group known as Loyalists that did not want to break free from England. For reasons that will be explained shortly this group wanted to remain loyal to the British crown. For reasons ranging from business to politics this group did not want to break away from England. Some held business interests in England and feared breaking off would permanently break them off from one of the biggest markets in the world. Some were employed by England for regulatory reasons. Some were simply too afraid of the uncertainty that came with going up against one of the biggest empires in the world. Elites enjoyed their role in British society and feared in a new society that wouldn’t be so lucky.
The common colonists saw a further and further divide between themselves and the British. The British soldiers were crude and uneducated. The colonists at this point were several generations from being British born. This generation was raised in the colonies by colonists. They identified more with other colonists than with the British ruling them. They were reminded of the rigid British class system observing officers and common soldiers interact. They had left England in an attempt to avoid this. This growing feeling of separation as well as the British overstepping their bounds allowed anger and resentment to simmer to the point of revolution. The colonists were about to take on the most powerful empire in the world.
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