Video appunto: Britain and America in the XVIII century
-Britain and America in the XVIII century-
George III became the king of England in 1760 and his reign lasted 60 years and is one of the longest in English history.
In the 18th century Britain fought against France for domination; the wars, such as the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years’ War, gave Britain the advantage in colonial expansion.
With the Navigation Acts started the system of mercantilism: all colonial trade had to be in British ships and, so, all colonial produce had to come to Britain, who then had monopoly on the re-export of colonial resources.
The colonies of North America were populated by educated religious and political refugees and economic migrants that wanted to create a new life working hard.
In North America, philosophical ideas of the Enlightenment had found fertile ground.
Much of the fighting against France had place in North America and, after the win, the French Canada and the lands down to the Mississippi were ceded to Britain.
British government wanted the Americans to help pay for their defence and imposed taxes; these new high taxes caused the start of a rebellion: at the Boston Tea Party (1773) the rebels, dressed as native americans, threw the British tea coming from India into the harbour.
The rebels thought that the taxes were unjust, as the colony had no political power, and they used to say: “no taxation without representation”.
The Americans divided into Patriots and Loyalists and the War of Indipendence began in 1775.
The Patriots had no army, but the knew the land and they were also having support from France; the Britain had an army, but it was too small to both attack and defend.
George Washington became the leader of the American Army.
On 4th July 1776 in Philadelphia the Congress signed the ‘Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson; with that, the colonies were a new nation, where all people had a natural right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The British army was defeated, and Britain recognised the independence of its former colonies with the Treaty of Versailles in 1783.
The new republic of the United States of America adopted a federal constitution and George Washington became the first President.