The American Revolution spans way back from the British colonization era. The first colony for the British was Newfoundland in 1497. Then a century later, it found its place in America. One of the major interests of the British to relocate to America (New England) was as a result of the ample space the continent provided for its population. This is so because the Rural England was said to be full by the 17th century.
By 1604, an agreement had been signed between the two countries and in 1606 America was subdivided into two monopolies, that is, North and South Virginia. North Virginia was reserved for merchants and fishermen from Plymouth (South West England) whereas South Virginia was set aside for investors and immigrants from London.
However, the 17th century turned out to be one of the most turbulent times for the British Empire which resulted to a civil war (British Civil War) between the Parliament and the King1. Though the war was as a result of political misunderstandings there were also religious strings that were attached to the war.
The English Civil war that began in 1642 was as a result of a contest which was of political nature between the King and the parliament. It was also fueled by religious circles which saw Anglicans favor the king whereas the Puritans supported the parliament.
This was a war against King Charles I, though the Puritans felt it was their obligation to remain in England opposing migration to the New England. The war came to halt in 1649 when King Charles I was executed and the parliament won the war. Therefore, during the following eleven years, between 1649 and 1660, the Puritans were the supreme leaders of England and this had an impact on the New England.
One impact was that the colonists in New England governed themselves and secondly they did not strictly conform to the orders or wishes of the rulers in England anymore.
This was as a result of the Parliament and Puritans defeat of King Charles I where the battle was of a political nature. Since the Puritans believed they had a religious obligation which implied they had to remain in England, this led to a low migration number of the Puritans from 1649 which in return made the New England colonists gain governance power over themselves2.
A great number of Puritans had migrated to New England between 1630 and 1642 where King Charles I had not prohibited then to do so. This was because it was in his favor if they migrated due the rising pressure between the Parliament and him since the Puritans were always against him; therefore they were in support of the Parliament. The reluctance of the Puritans to relocate to New England made life easier for the colonists as opposed to the time when King Charles I was in power.
This led to the colonists in Virginia to accepting Cromwell’s authority and those of the Puritans; which in return saw them reclaim power to govern over themselves.
The reign of the Puritans came to an end as from the 1660s when Charles II rose to the throne of England as King. This was viewed as a restoration to the throne by the people of England. King Charles II resurfaced the colonialism spirit and interest for this was to be his major focus during his reign. This saw the new government with increased and vigorous efforts in the colonial affairs.
Due to the heightened interests for England to resume its power over the colonists, the New Policy of the Stuarts (The Stuart Tyranny) was set in place. This was as a result of the growth of the colonies in terms of strength and liberty due to the authority Cromwell and the Puritans had bestowed to them which were against England’s laws3.
Charles II and James were not pleased with these results for the colonies had become too free as well as strong. Therefore, they reduced the colonies into royal provinces including Virginia with exception of Pennsylvania which was under their friend and ally, William Penn.
This went on well because of the reluctance of the colonists to team up with the French and the Indians. This new policy led to an attack on Massachusetts since the Puritans had initially taken it over and given full authority to the natives that even saw the Church of England decapitate its rights where the members would not worship freely as they could have wished.
This had made the natives so free that they did not give heed to the laws and the asserted acts by parliament because the Puritans held that such administrative rules and regulations had no force over the colony.
The attack as summoned by King Charles II saw England restore its power over the colony4. Sir Edmund Andros was given the mandate to govern Massachusetts and at the same time, was ordered to set up the Church of England once more where he could tax the people or take away their lands if deemed fit without their consultation or consent. This saw the Massachusetts governing power diminish for they were under new control.
This also led to Andros enforcing the Navigation laws that saw him take possession of Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Plymouth as he was still the governor of New Hampshire and New York.
By the time several cities including New York were founded, they already had religious toleration to Christians; they were not founded as royal colonies rather they were founded on a proprietary basis. The Navigation Acts provided that colonies were to exist solely in respect to the mother country. This concept was borrowed from Mercantilist theory with the aim of ensuring that England was the main parent of all these colonies therefore any colonial trade from any of the colonies was supposed to benefit England5.
This was the main reason why almost all exports were diverted to England.
The Act also abhorred foreign trade because it would have benefited foreign countries as well as enriching the colonies at England’s expense. These acts also geared to centralizing economic decision making by the parliament so as to enable the British Merchants to remain at the core of the colonial trade for the colonies were an important market to England (mother-country).
The trade goods were to be supplied to the colonies through British and Colonial merchants as well6. In the light of the Economic trade boom from the royal colonies, especially in tobacco, there was also a continuous deafening outbreaks of Malaria and Yellow fever among colonies especially Virginia which was the first southern colony. This posed to be a major risk for the colonists for their health deteriorated a great deal.
In 1606, Virginia was divided into two colonies which were served by two groups from England. 1607 saw the establishment of Jamestown in 1620. Plymouth colony was established by Mayflower; in 1629 Puritans were allowed to settle is Massachusetts by the Royal Charter. In the year 1642, the British Civil War started7. The war ended in 1649 and in 1651, Navigation Acts directed all colonial trade to be done in British ships.
King Charles I was beheaded and the Puritans coupled with the parliament took up power until 1660. Between 1649 and 1960, the Puritans took over most of the New England and changed English laws.
They also gave colonists power to govern themselves. In 1660, Charles II came into power as King and implemented colonial policy. Between 1660 and 1963, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island were acquired by the British as colonies. Bacon’s Rebellion took place in 1676. King Philip’s war between Indians happened between 1675 and 1976.
The Glorious Revolution occurred in the year 1689, instituted by William and Mary. Due to the bad government of Carolina proprietors, a rebellion ensued in I719. In 1681, Quaker colony was established by William Penn. During 1756-1963, French ambitions chastened. 1700 and 1960 saw prosperity of colonies which became stronger evidenced by development of commerce and establishment of manufacturing plants. Increase in Parliamentary power over royal power was also experienced in 1760s.
This was as a result of the Elected Legislators who had backing of the public opinion (creating a legitimate government perception). The Legislators also claimed the right to set governor’s salaries as well as impose local taxes and the British colonial policy (after the French-Indian War) stifled their power too.
1 Armitage David, “Civil War and Revolution”, Harvard University, 2009 – September 23, 2011, from,http://scholar.harvard.edu/armitage/files/civil_war_and_revolution_agora.pdf
2 British Empire, “Initial Contacts with the English British Empire Portal – United Kingdom”, 2011 – September 23, 2011, from,
3 Cottrell Peter, “The English Civil War in the American Colonies”, Royal Army-Sealed Society, 2006 – September 23, 2011, from,
4 Graves Spencer, “Violence, Nonviolence, and the American Revolution”, American History, 2004 – September 23, 2011, from,
5 Worcestershire. “Archeology of English War”, Worcestershire County Council. 2002 – September 23, 2011, from,
6 McDougall Walter, “The Colonial Origins of American Identity”, University of
Pennsylvania, 2004 – September, 23 2011, from,
7 U.S. History, “The Southern Colonies”, United States-History Page, 2011 – September 23, 2011, from,
8 Geo-Cities. 2002 – September 23, 2011, from,
Armitage David, “Civil War and Revolution”, Harvard University. 2009 – September 23, 2011, from,
British Empire. “Initial Contacts with the English British Empire Portal – United Kingdom”. 2011 – September 23, 2011, from,
Cottrell, Peter. “The English Civil War in the American Colonies”, Royal Army-Sealed Society. 2006 – September 23, 2011, from,
Graves, Spencer. “Violence, Nonviolence, and the American Revolution”, American History. 2004 – September 23, 2011, from,
McDougall, Walter. “The Colonial Origins of American Identity”, University of Pennsylvania. 2004 – September, 23 2011, from,
U.S. History. “The Southern Colonies”, United States-History Page. 2011 – September 23, 2011, from,
Worcestershire. “Archeology of English War”, Worcestershire County Council. 2002 – September 23, 2011, from,