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History Questions on Great Britain
1. Before 1763, Great Britain completely controlled the domestic affairs of the colonies and regulated them according to their vested interest. The colonies did not get any benefits from the government. For example, Great Britain forbade the issuance of paper money on the premises of colonies, prohibited the manufacture of wool and iron, installed high taxes on other types of products, and even controlled the international trade so that the colonies permanently lost their profits. Such a situation led to mass dissatisfaction and the desire of the colonists to eliminate the influence of the British government.
2. Great Britain spent plenty of money on the Seven Years War. As a result, it began to view the colonists as subordinates, whose main task was to enrich Great Britain. The British government hoped to return some of its losses during the war with the help of American economics and manufacturers. Correspondingly, Britain installed new rules for the colonists and treated them more respectfully and gratefully. Nevertheless, the main reason for change consisted in the necessity to get new funds and return debts.
3. The theory of virtual representation presupposed that every member of the British Empire protected the interests not only of his/her individual district but of the whole state. The House of Commons represented the whole nation despite the possibility to vote for the members. Actual representation allows every citizen to vote for members of parliament and electing their representatives.
4. The writs of assistance served as means to combat smuggling. Those writs allowed the British customs to look for the smuggled items everywhere they wanted. James Otis admitted that writs of assistance violated the English liberty and main principles of the Constitution, and had a destructive influence on the freedom and independence of the American citizens.
5. The Sugar Act was set in 1764 and presupposed the reduction of the taxes on the imported molasses from the French West Indies. The price for molasses decreased from 6 to 3 pence per gallon. However, this act also established severe rules in the fight against smuggling. According to it, the smugglers could have been punished without the jury trial. Thus, the colonists viewed this act as a threat to their freedom and profits. The Currency Act only worsened the situation since it prohibited the issuance and usage of paper money on the territory of colonies.
6. The main purpose of the Stamp Act of 1765 was to increase the profits of the British Empire. In fact, all of its laws and rules served this objective. However, the Stamp Act was a departure from the British colonial policies since it aimed at raising money on account of taxes rather than regulations of trade. This act affected the work of all printed materials (newspapers, books, etc.), which were made to buy a stamp from the authorities. The other purpose of this act was to provide extra costs for the British troops situated in North America.
7. External taxes are the ones that are imposed on the imported products and that regulate international trade. The external taxes inflicted by British Empire served for its own enrichment. Internal taxes are the ones that are imposed on the products and services consumed by the citizens within their country. Such taxes should raise the country's wealth and contribute to social health and well-being. However, in the case of the colonies, Great Britain imposed both external and internal taxes, getting benefits from both types.
8. Firstly, the colonists started to boycott British products. Secondly, they tended to hold manifestations and demonstrations, which included the symbolic burial of the Liberty as a result of the British repressions and severe laws. Thirdly, they organized public protests, which destroyed the shipments of stamps and forced the executives of the new laws. At that time, the Sons of Liberty were oriented to the middle and low classes of citizens and debated against the British regulations.
9. One of the internal conflicts of the colonists was connected with the corruption within authorities. As a result, the farmers in North Carolina denied paying taxes, kidnapped the official representatives, interrupted the court sessions, and assaulted the local speculator's lands and farms. The other problem appeared as a result of the population's migration westwards. This movement presupposed the occupation of new lands. However, it was a confusing task since the fertile lands became a subject of disputes between the government, land speculators, farmers, and Native Americans.
10. Charles Townshend suggested the imposition of taxes on the imported goods and the establishment of new customs commissioners, which would control the observance of new rules and fight against smuggling. The profits from the taxes would cover the salaries of the American officials, making them in such a way independent from the colonial assemblies. The new regulations caused a wave of dissatisfaction, although the protests were not so drastic and immediate as in the case with the Stamp Act.
11. The city of Boston was the location of the British troops. The soldiers controlled the observance of the trade regulations and supported the royal colonial officials. However, they also competed for the job places with the local merchants and city laborers, and, finally, they became unpopular. In 1770, the verbal debates between the Bostonian crowd and armed troops ended with the fire confrontation and led to five deaths of the civilians. The soldiers had no order to open fire, and this action was highly criticized. The very name Boston Massacre was given by Paul Revere, one of the Sons of Liberty, who spread a print of the Bostonian confrontation, depicting the armed soldiers and unprotected crowd.
12. The British government invested in the East India Company specializing in the sales of tea. However, the company happened to collapse, and Britain incurred enormous losses. Later, the British government decided to market the tea in North America and cover the losses with the help of taxes on the imported goods. The price for tea was very low, and this import threatened the earnings of many American smugglers and merchants. Thus, the Bostonian colonists decided to manifest their protest in the dumping of tea into the water. They fought not against the tea prices, but against the policies of Britain, which were oriented only to personal enrichment.
13. The government's reaction to the Boston Tea Party was immediate and severe. First of all, Great Britain closed the Boston port until the tea was paid for. Moreover, it reserved the right to choose the members of local councils, although the colonists used to elect their representatives personally. Britain also empowered its military commanders. At the same time, it passed the Quebec Act, which, provided the Canadian district with more rights and tolerance toward the Catholic religion. In such a way, Britain tried to isolate the North from the tensions in the South.
14. Patrick Henry emphasized the necessity to protect America from the destroying rules and laws of Great Britain. He understood that it was not enough to protect individual colonies and fight for partial freedom and independence. On the contrary, all American colonies should have united their efforts in the battle against the same enemy. From this standpoint, all colonists became united against one common threat.
15. After several armed confrontations and battles between the colonists and royal forces, it became obvious that Britain is a formidable rival, which prevails in power and possibilities. Starting from the 1770s, the Americans dreamt of liberty and independence. However, this idea was not easy to fulfill practically. In 1775, many political leaders wanted to part from Britain to preserve their positions in America. Many citizens understood that Great Britain constituted a serious threat to their liberty and interests. Actually, Britain did not protect Americans, but only destroyed their political and economic stability and slowed their development. Thus, the colonists wanted to break with the motherland and set their own policies and regulations.
16. The main aim of the Continental Association was the protection of the American economy and production. It was a response to the British Intolerable Acts, which oppressed American trade and economics in many ways. The Continental Association required the termination of any trading relations with Great Britain and West Indies and refusal to consume and buy their goods and products. Additionally, it emphasized the importance of the development of American manufactures and the consumption of native goods and services. In such ways, American society fought against the economic unfairness imposed by Great Britain.
17. The war between the British soldiers and Americans started on April 19, 1775. The British troops moved from Boston to Concord to seize the stockpiled arms. The political leaders of the region learned about their approach and made attempts to stop them. The clash between the Americans and the British army took place in Lexington and Concord. More than a hundred soldiers died in that skirmish.
18. The Second Continental Congress responded to the events in Lexington immediately. Their actions called for increasing the American army, printing paper money, and assigning George Washington as a commander. In fact, all of those actions were rather drastic and spontaneous. They evoked an immediate reaction of Great Britain, which considerably limited American rights and economic conditions. From this standpoint, the Second Continental Congress did not contribute to social welfare but promoted the quick development of the war. Respectively, it showed its immatureness in solving significant problems.
19. Some of the American political leaders served in the royal army and took pride in this membership as it was prestigious and honorable. Moreover, rich American citizens were afraid of independence since one of its ideas presupposed the division of property and money between the poor and wealthy. Therefore, many people were afraid of losing their wealth. Also, Americans understood that Britain was a very strong and powerful country, and the break with it might lead to notorious consequences. This idea made them think of the necessity to preserve connections with the motherland.
20. The pamphlet Common Sense was dedicated to the theme of American independence. Firstly, it dwelled on the British monarchy, describing it as tyranny, which did not follow any moral rules and destroyed the normal social and political order, presupposed by God and people. Paine stated that monarchy should be replaced with democracy, the only truthful way of governing the society. Democracy installs the supremacy of law and social power, as well as protects human rights and the constitution. Also, Common Sense depicts the brilliant future of America in case it manages to overcome the British monarchy and obtain liberty and independence.
21. The novelty of Common Sense was in the orientation of all classes of society. It was written clearly and comprehensively so that every citizen could get its sense and become inspired by its ideas. Indeed, Common Sense found its reflection in the millions of American hearts and encouraged them in the fight against Britain for the sake of independence and freedom. Just 6 months after publishing this pamphlet, the Second Continental Congress decided to break the relations with Great Britain.
22. Thomas Jefferson was the author of the Declaration of Independence. This text emphasized the criminal activities and misdeeds of the British king George III. Th. Jefferson depicted all his crimes against humanity and encouraged the readers to fight against the king's regime and demand liberty and respect. The declaration was based on the ideas of John Locke, who confessed the equality of humans and the presence of natural rights common for every individual. Thomas Jefferson also dwelled on the natural rights of humans and addressed all classes of society in his work.
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23. The Declaration of Independence had a great influence on the colonists and their perception of the world. It made them understand the absurdity of the British power and the necessity to fight against its injustice and unfairness. The declaration also set a new outlook, which focused the attention of colonists on the rights of humanity rather than the rights of an individual nation. It encouraged them to seek justice and demand fair authorities and exercise the basic rights of humans.
24. The British army enjoyed the following advantages at the primary stage of the war:
1) A qualified and well-trained army;
2) The strongest navy in the world;
3) The skillful and experienced commanders;
4) Great Britain led military campaigns outside its territories so that the country itself was not harmed or destroyed;
5) The common support from the society. Also, many Americans supported Britain and did not share the enthusiasm of the patriots. This factor also favored the British army.
25. Great Britain underestimated the degree of national support of the idea of freedom and independence. Moreover, the British were surprised at the patriotism of Americans and their enthusiasm to fight for justice and liberty. The British generals recognized the outstanding possibilities and strength of Americans. Britain did not expect Americans to act so bravely and devotedly.
26. The most significant incentive for black slaves to serve in the army was the promise of freedom. Dunmore's Proclamation offered liberty to those slaves who entered the Royal Army. The matter is that Dunmore was anxious about the situation in the country and wanted to protect himself and his colony from military actions. Thus, he wanted to get support from Britain by promising it to the force. Although approximately 5000 slaves served in the Royal Army, this idea did not gain mass support. Also, the American side started to grant the slaves freedom for their participation in the war.
27. In the summer, 1776, the British army headed by Howe moved to New York to capture the city. Washingtons army also moved to the city to protect it from the invasion. However, Howe managed to capture the city and cut all the ways for the retreat. Somehow, G. Washington managed to cross the Hudson River and escape to New Jersey. However, nearly 3000 of his soldiers were left in the trap. The army of Washington simply dwindled, and many men left it and went home. Those who remained in the army were still devoted to the idea of patriotism and independence.
Despite the successive breakthroughs, the British army did not obtain a complete victory over the Americans. The matter is that there were no confrontations and Howe lost time when it was suitable to attack.
28. The Americans managed to win the battle of Saratoga because the British soldiers demonstrated a lack of coordination of their actions and weak concordance. Howe moved his army to Lancaster instead of attacking Philadelphia. His decision made it impossible for General Burgoyne to counterattack the American forces. This victory was very important for the Americans. It proved the chances for victory and raised their patriotic spirit and inspirations. Moreover, the victory persuaded France to provide military support for the Americans and consider them as worthy allies.
29. At the final stage of the war, the Americans had huge advantages over their rivals. G. Washington conducted several successful campaigns against the Royal Army and gained brilliant victories. The Americans led many attacks and surrounded the enemy many times. The support from France allowed the American army to become stronger and more confident. All these factors contributed to the successful outcome and made Britain think over the immediate negotiations.
30. The Treaty of Paris was a guaranty of American freedom and independence. According to it, the Americans could control the whole region between Canada and Florida. They also gained control over the Atlantic waters of Canada. At the same time, Americans promised to remain loyal to those colonies, which were loyal to Great Britain. They also agreed to return them their property and wealth confiscated during the war.
Nevertheless, the Treaty of Paris did not introduce any new aspects or ideas. The previous peace pacts also granted Americans relative freedom and the possibility to control the American continent. However, history showed that the pacts remained valid only throughout a short period and did not change the situation in general.