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Economic Motivations For The American Revolution

The thesis of this study is that the American Revolution was fought for economic reasons. Although disputes between the Colonists and the British government had arisen frequently during the two decades preceding the initiation of hostilities, a significant disagreement existed among the Colonists with respect to seeking independence from Great Britain (Mason 23-25). The Colonists were divided generally between expansionists and non-expansionists (Egnal 271). Expansionists favored the rise of the American Colonies to the level of a world trading power, while the non-expansionists desired to maintain the existing social order. The expansionists included members of both the American aristocracy and the merchant class. Among the expansionists, however, the American aristocracy tended to play-down confrontation with Britain, while the merchant class openly pursued independence from Great Britain for the American Colonies. Non-expansionists tended to oppose revolution. Non-expansionists were drawn largely from the Loyalist segment of the Colonial population, and while virtually all of the American lower-class was in the non-expansionist camp, members of both the American aristocracy and the merchant class also were found among the non-expansionists.

Between 1774 and 1776 expansionists altered their tactics (Egnal 271). Before 1774, "affluent patriots had kept their protests against Britain within well-defined bounds; memorials, nonimportation, sporadic street demonstrations, and a single brief intercolonial meeting, the Stamp Act Congress, marked the limits of their program. Furthermore, these partisans had long regarded independence as no more than a distant, if likely, ramification of the burgeoning of the New World" (Egnal 271). Events subsequent to 1774, however, "gradually convinced the upper-class revolutionaries that more forceful initiatives were needed to defend their vision. Although profoundly concerned about the dan...

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Economic Motivations For The American Revolution. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 18:44, May 24, 2020, from