By: Gittan Alicia | Contributing AOJ Journalist
If you are an American, you are likely aware of the fact that the United States originated as a colony of Great Britain. You are aware of the taxation and misrepresentation in government that the American Revolution was born out of, with the phrase, “no taxation without representation.” However, you may not know of the enormous societal differences in ideals between the British and the Americans.
At the start of the British colonies in America, Britain had allowed self-government for several decades. This allowed self-governance accustomed colonists to develop their own systems of government, which were usually democratic. The British, on the other hand, had a semi-democratic parliamentary system, which included representation from all of Britain, excluding foreign territories. After several years of an independent government in the American foreign territory, Britain would decide to take control of the American colonists in an effort to pay off war debt from the French and Indian War in America. This, of course, would not go over well with the colonists.
Having been accustomed to self-rule for so long, and there being such a huge amount of distance between the colonists and the British, the colonists had developed distinct societal values and ideology, differing greatly from the British. First of all, born out of their self-governments, the colonists held strong core democratic values, in which they believed all people should be given equal representation in government. The British, on the other hand, believed their elected British representatives, who did not live in the Americas, served as constituents for equal representation because they held the title of representing the American colonists. This issue bitterly divided the Americans and British, who by such distinct societal ideals were unable to understand the other.
The British could not understand why the Americans were rebelling against their policies. By the end of the French and Indian War, the British had blamed the American colonists for the war and viewed themselves as having done the colonists a favor. Based upon this premise, the British promptly took up control of the colonies and taxed them extra to pay for war costs. The colonists, however, considered the war a duty for the British to fight, since they were all a part of the same country and felt they deserved equal treatment by the British government. Neither side would understand the viewpoint nor concerns of the other, resulting in a deadlock in compromise and colonial rebellion. One famous case of such rebellion is known as the “Boston Tea Party”, in which a group of colonists resisted British taxation and policy by throwing over the tea of a British ship that belonged to a company which held a monopoly over the tea trade in America due to British policy.
The deadlock between the Americans and the British would continuously escalate. The British held a firm stance on their believed ungratefulness of the Americans, and as such, refused to loosen their policy even a smudge, in fact, they did quite the opposite. While the Americans would hold a belief that the British were an abhorrent tyranny out to oppress them, and the stricter the British policy became, the more this American ideal grew and the more resistant the Americans became. Eventually, after numerous petitions by the colonists to the king and parliament being met with stubbornness and stricter policy, the American colonists decided to declare independence, leading to the American Revolution.