The American Revolution has sparked great debate between many historians. It occurred due to two main principles: unfair taxation and misrepresentation of the colonists in Britain. The argument goes back and forth of whether or not this war was just or unjust. The War for Independence failed to meet the seven traditional standards of a “just war” and these included: a just cause, proportionality, right intention, competent authority, probability of success, last resort, and comparative justice.
The colonies suffered a lot during the reign of King George. Britain imposed strict laws over the colonists without letting them know what was going on, or why it was happening. The colonists drew up the Declaration of Independence and in it they listed several grievances against the British. The Declaration of Independence stated that “governments long established hold not be changed for light and transient causes” but that “when along train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism” it was the right and duty of people to ‘throw off such government. Here are some examples taken from the Declaration: imposing taxes on us without our consent, quartering large bodies of armed troops among us and protecting them by a mock trial from punishment for any murders they committed, abolishing the free system of English laws in neighboring providence [Quebec], suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. ‘Transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy paralleled in the most barbarous ways.’ (Keown 283, 284)
Taxation was one of the main causes that the colonies went to war with the British. The British Government would impose enormous taxes without any notice. The British imposed such high taxes because they were still in so much debt from the French and Indian War. They thought since they helped us out in the past, we owed our money to them. Yes, we could not have won without the British, but they are the ones who came in and helped us. There was land of low taxes out there, but America was still unexplored at that time and no one wanted to live away from the colonies (Liberty, Equality, and Power 23).The British wondered why should they should be plagued with the cost of this war because it will bring economic downfall to the motherland. That is the same way the colonist felt as well. Instead of taxing both the motherland and the colonies they decided to tax the colonies heavily. The colonists did have good reason to fear higher taxes rates, after all the War for Independence taxes rose by 300%.
The colonists claimed that it was unethical for the British to levy taxes through the colonies and they had no right to elect members of the British Parliament. The colonists were very upset at this; they wanted to find some way to revolt against the British. They revolted in 1773, which was known as the Boston Tea Party. The Boston Tea Party was a prelude to the start of the American Revolution. This showed Britain just how upset the colonists really…