Kayla Cash

Katherine Crawford

REL 319

Professor Westblade

September 26th 2013

America in the 1760Ős

America in the 1760Ős was in the wake of the Great Awakening two decades prior. The way in which religion played a role in this time period was as the foundation for the political acts that occurred in this decade. As a result of the resurgence of faith and the beginning shift toward a more emotional faith led to a new type of social progression and protestantism. Social, in the sense that it began to stir ideas in such a way that the colonists were sensing discontent with their leaders abroad and began to develop a new civil religion. In a way, the decade of the 1760s was a springboard decade for AmericaŐs formal split with the British Government. Through the last decade before the Declaration of Independence was composed, one will see Americans coming together and recognizing themselves as one voice and reacting to what they feel were impositions.

Political thought became more predominant in the American Colonies during the 1760Ős due to British politics enacted by parliament. In the fall of 1760, King George the Third was officially coronated, ushering in a new era of British rule. He inherited the throne in the midst of an expensive and laborious war with France and Spain, with major conflicts in North America commonly known at the French and Indian War. After the Treaty of Paris in 1763, Britain gains more control of territories outside of Europe. Faced with large amount of debt a mast from the wars, parliament sought for a speedy solution to repay their debts. Their plan was comprised of a series of taxes called Acts that were to be imposed on the American colonies. It was these acts that began crippling the colonists, ushering in a new era of American thought, one focused on rebellion and eventually independence. While the glory of the American Revolution belongs in later decades, it was the 1760Ős that launched the democratic age of American thinking.

            Following the Seven Years War, the British government began to take inventory and evaluate itŐs territories. The American colonies were increasingly found to be more independent, paying the salaries of their administration directly rather than relying on England. This simple act of independence was coupled with a sense of pride and superiority that characterized the average American. The British government observed that the colonies were only dependent on England in name only; only the acknowledgement of having the same King connecting the territories with Great Britain.[1] Concerned with expanding and strengthening the British Empire, George GrenvilleŐs ministry decided that the colonies should cease paying magistrates directly, instead placing a tax upon the people that would, through British means, pay the governors and leaders, thus stripping the colonies of their sense of independence from Britain.[2]

The series of acts imposed upon the colonies during the 1760Ős that resulted in the Revolutionary war were the Sugar Act (instituted in 1764), closely followed by the Currency Act, and the infamous Stamp Act in the following year. The Acts imposed taxes on attorney licenses, court documents and procedures, land grants, playing cards, newspapers, and plain sheets of paper. The immediate reaction to this tax on all mail was one of outrage; riots were carried out in multiple colonies. Because of the increasing amount of political and physical pressure, Parliament was focused to repeal Stamp Act less than a year after it was instated. It should be noted that the repealing of the Stamp Act did not mean the end of excess parliamentary taxes for the colonies. Within the span of five years (1765-1770), three other sets of Acts and taxes were imposed on the colonies: the Quartering Act, the Declaratory Act, and Townshend Acts.

In response to the Sugar and Stamp Acts, Samuel Adams, a recently elected Massachusetts legislator, became increasingly involved in defending the rights of the colonies. He used his position in government to appeal to the rights of British citizens and expose the unfair treatment of parliament in applying specialized taxes only upon the American territories.[3] Beyond his political role, Sam Adams also founded the Sons of Liberty. This group of men was responsible for the many demonstrations and protests that eventually led to repealing of the Stamp Act. Later this group of men would be most famous for the Boston Tea Party but it was during the 1760Ős that their political action began. It was also during this decade that Benjamin Franklin began his political career in the Pennsylvania. Losing an election to the Pennsylvania assembly, Franklin was appointed as an agent for the assembly in London. During the Stamp Act crisis Franklin was the leading spokesmen for Pennsylvania. Franklin was 58 at this time.

Without the events of the 1760Ős the American Revolution would either have not taken place or have been delayed. It was through the heavy taxes placed upon them that the colonies and their people united together to defend their rights and freedoms. Tension between the two continents increased during this time as Britain realized more and more the independent nature of itŐs colonists. It was the fights over these Acts implemented in the 1760Ős that brought the tensions between the two continents to the point of independence and war. The 1760Ős can truly be said to be the origin of the American Revolution. As the springboard for the subsequent decades, the 1760Ős play an important, if not partially understated, role in the American Revolution, forward.






[1] The reasons behind the stamp act. Bullion, John L. A Great and Necessary Measure, George Grenville and the Genesis

[1] of the Stamp Act. Chapter 1


[2]Thomas, Peter British Politics and the Stamp Act Crisis. Chapter 3

[3] Alexander, John K Samuel Adams The Life of an American Revolutionary. Chapter 2.