American Revolutionary War > British Empire

British Empire

Background

In understanding American Revolutionary War it is essential to understand the context of the world at the time. There are many influences for the Revolutionary War that extend even further back in history to the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. But the thirteen states of the United States were originally the Thirteen Colonies of the British Empire that have a unique and storied history themselves.

During the early 18th century the continent of North America was divided up between the British Empire, the French Empire, the Spanish Empire and the Dutch Republic. The British Empire owned the eastern shore and the area of Canada along with holdings in the Caribbean while the French owned most of central North America and the Spanish holding Florida and Cuba along with its vast other holdings throughout Latin America.

Map of the British Empire - Walter Crane (1886)

During the early years before the actual Revolutionary War took place the thirteen colonies were beginning to get tired of British rule under colonialism and the economic policy of mercantilism. The colonists were being forced to pay enormous sums in taxes in order to help offset the costs of the French and Indian War and the draconian British Acts by the British Parliament were causing widespread discontent among the population and leaving it ripe for rebellion.

The main issues at the heart of American Revolutionary War were political independence and economics. The colonists felt repressed by the concept of no taxation without representation and were increasingly losing their right to self-govern as the Crown imposed tighter and tighter control over the colonies.

British Acts

Discontent in the colonies began when the British Parliament imposed the Sugar Act also known as the American Revenue Act in 1764.

Sources

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources