On Sept. 7, 1776, Stephen Sayre of Harley Street, London, wrote to the Duke of Portland urging him and others to come to a meeting to figure out how to cut Britain’s losses. The American Revolution—also called the U.S. War of Independence—was the insurrection fought between 1775 and 1783 through which 13 of Great Britain’s North American colonies threw off British rule to establish the sovereign United States of America, founded with the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know now on politics, health and more, © 2020 TIME USA, LLC. How do British people feel about the American Revolution? The Royal Navy was, at the time of the American Revolution, the … British General William Howe has decided to … The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution which occurred in colonial North America between 1765 and 1783. Colonists in this frontier land remained threatened by Native American attacks. We can foresee no good effects to the commerce or revenues of this kingdom at a future period from any victories which may be obtained by your majesty’s army over desolated provinces and […] people.”, The traders warned the King that “the subsistence of a great part of your kingdom has depended very much on the Honourable and in this instance amicable behaviour of your American subjects. So, the British merchants urged Parliament to the repeal of the Stamp Act. Some, though, blamed the British government for what was happening, and willed their leaders to give up and abandon the war with the Americans. From anxiety to a foreboding sense of the conflict being a civil war, to some admiration, and to a hardened resolve most present in their monarchy. Brudenell wrote from London, to H.F.C. British had the best military and best equipped. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our, What British People in 1776 Really Thought of American Independence. The lack of an ability to protect themselves would fester in the minds of America’s early leaders and influence the timing of the American Revolution… New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. We have in this single city received no less than one million bushels of wheat […].”, While they were confident that “none can profit by the continuance of this war,” the traders remained optimistic that the Americans would stay friendly if the British adopt a more conciliatory approach, despite things having been “carried to unfortunate lengths of hostility on both sides.”. Write to Ciara Nugent at ciara.nugent@time.com. Relevance. Therefore, Britain is a very gentle country, this culture and the way they treat the colonies which are in northern America might impact the result of revolution as well. The American Revolution was a huge event for the United States and continues to inform politics there to this day. Letter from Stephen Sayre, Harley Street, London, to the 3rd Duke of Portland; 7 Sep. 1776. By 1776, the colonists had declared themselves independent and in 1783, … Hutson, James H. John Adams and the Diplomacy of the American Revolution. Since the colonists refused to buy the British products, it began to affect their businesses. Literally, they had the better superiority and more advantages than America got. British Redditors, how is the American Revolutionary War perceived in your country? He warned of a possible revolution in the colonies if the Stamp Act was enforced. They supported the taxes since the money was going to help the British government and help pay for their own defense. The colonists had begun to boycott British goods. You can adjust your cookie choices in those tools at any time. After all, the Declaration of Independence was not the beginning of the American Revolution; the riot-provoking Stamp Act was passed in 1765, the Boston Tea Party took place in 1773 and the famous “shot heard ’round the world” that is seen as the start of the war was fired in 1775. Stanley Weintraub discusses Iron Tears, his recently published history of the American Revolution from the British perspective. The colony had prospered under royal rule, and many Georgians thought that they needed the protection of British troops against a possible Indian attack. American Revolution - American Revolution - French intervention and the decisive action at Virginia Capes: The entrance of France into the war, followed by that of Spain in 1779 and the Netherlands in 1780, effected important changes in the naval aspect of the war. Other letters, however, give indications that some people had given up hope that the King would give in to the colonists’ requests. The time is December seventeen seventy-six. “[Our] fellow subjects in that part of the world are very far from having lost their affection and regard to their mother country or departed from the principles of commercial honour,” they wrote. I have a debate tomorrow and I'm on the British side, I am supposed to say how I felt about it and stuff, any help would be appreciated! After all, this was the same year that Americans’ Second Continental Congress sent the crown the Olive Branch Petition, a last-ditch attempt to convince the King to back off so that the British subjects in the colonies could continue to live happily under his rule alongside their counterparts in England. By signing up you are agreeing to our. As with the Arab Spring today, the British felt threatened by the American Revolution in part because their own country had done so well under the order that the revolution sought to topple. What we do know is that Burke, when pushed, supported the American cause for independence, though he very much lamented the breakdown and breakup of the British commonwealth. To recoup some of the massive debt left over from the war with France, Parliament passed laws such as the Stamp Act, which for the first time taxed a wide range of transactions in the colonies. A page from the Declaration of Independence is displayed at the New York Public Library on July 3, 2009 in New York City. Scott, H. M. British Foreign Policy in the Age of the American Revolution. Save on the cover price & free e-Gift card for Giftees! First, the American Revolution secured the independence of the United States from the dominion of Great Britain and separated it from the British Empire. It was all caused by many different wars and conflicts between the British and the American Colonists. “I cannot for one, on any condition, give my assent to any of their measures in the prosecution of it,” he wrote, worrying that many such measures would be proposed at Parliament’s next session. “We still find among us souls who are sensitive to freedom, souls that have not been swallowed by the insulting dominion of priests, the barbarous constriction of the inquisition and the blind, despotic monarchy,” he wrote. Honourable Thomas Townshend wrote to the Duke of Portland complaining that “the Government and Majority have drawn us into a war, that in our opinions is unjust in its Principle and ruinous in its consequences.”, As he prepared for a meeting of Parliament, of which he was a longstanding member, Townshend told the Duke the British authorities “by their violence […] have driven the Americans to extremitys.”. But, he felt “every free country should be alarmed” that “in this century everything is tending towards the most illegitimate despotism.”. The British military shared a low opinion of the rebels’ fighting ability, thinking them fools and cowards. Townshend dismissed concerns about his letter being read by censors, writing “I have no objection to any one knowing my opinion on this subject.”. The American Revolution began in 1775 as an open conflict between the United Thirteen Colonies and Great Britain. The British felt that the American Revolution was a simple conflict that they would not have a problem winning. Great Britain Before the American Revolution: The British Empire was one of the most extensive empires in world history and was a product of the European Age of Discovery in the late 15 th century. This week in our series, we complete the story of the American Revolution. They wrote to the king to express their concern about the “unhappily distracted empires” and urged him to give the American colonists the freedoms they wanted rather than risk a precious trading relationship. A look through letters from the period, now held in the archives of the U.K.’s Nottingham University, shows that British people were divided about the outbreak of war with what was then their colony—over how bad it was, whose fault it was and what to do about it. Britain relaxed its trade restrictions on Ireland, so they could trade with British colonies and freely export wool, and reformed the government by allowing non-Anglicans to hold public office. Regulator Warns of Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Allergy, How People Celebrated Halloween During the 1918 Flu Pandemic. Pelham-Clinton, 2nd Duke of Newcastle under Lyne, giving news of the capture of Fort Washington by Gen. Howe, who drove the rebel forces from Manhattan, though at great cost. The Georgia colony represents this thinking well. When news finally broke that the Americans had, in fact, declared their independence—that they planned on being their own country, no longer part of the British empire—many in the English aristocracy were horrified. Again, it is possible that Burke actively disliked the principles of the American Revolution, but there exists no such evidence one way or another. The colonists who agreed with Parliament's point of view were called Loyalists . There are quite a few historical factors that contributed to the outbreak of the American Revolution. Prudence prevents me from saying any more as this letter is to go by the post.”. ... the virtual elimination of a second American army just three months after their triumph at Charleston did the British little lasting good. In 1775, war broke out between the British and the American colonists. Unsurprisingly, others were less sympathetic to the American rebels. On Dec. 30 1776, one G.B. One 1775 letter from a group of merchants and traders in the southwestern port city of Bristol sheds light on the economic concerns provoked by the burgeoning revolution. The American Revolution began in the mid 1700’s and ended in the late 1700’s and took place in the thirteen American colonies. But in 1776, when news reached Britain of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, the atmosphere was anything but celebratory. Lexington, Ky.: University Press of Kentucky, 1980. Why Did the British Lose the American Revolution? During the Revolution, the British hoped these people would remain loyal. British citizens living in England paid more taxes than the American colonists. “It is very melancholy to think,” Brudenell wrote, “that we must sacrifice so many brave lives, in order to put an end, to such an unnatural Rebellion.”. After all, the British army was the best trained, best equipped, and most professional army in the world. Two Reflections on the American Revolution I recapitulate why it's important that the American Revolution was not an ethno … So, how exactly did the British lose the American Revolution? In the United States, the Fourth of July is time to launch some fireworks and eat some hot dogs in celebration of American independence. Answer Save. Anyone in the United States can agree with me in saying that when we learn about the American Revolution, the British are viewed as evil, tyrannical and greedy oppressors and our Founding Fathers were portrayed as selfless and brave freedom fighters. Later on, at the age of about fourteen, we did a course on 'world revolutions' at school -- the American Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and (rather incongruously) the Industrial Revolution. “As to people’s opinion here of Great Britain’s disputes with America,” he wrote, “the well meaning all agree no doubt that it is a most unhappy business for both countries and probably will prove a mortal blow to the liberties of the people of England.”, He warned that the influence of certain ambassadors might lead the Dutch to take advantage of Britain’s loss, and “prevent this country from acting a part most consistent and honourable to themselves, as well as beneficial to the liberties of Europe. The American Patriots in the Thirteen Colonies defeated the British in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), gaining independence from the British Crown and establishing the United States of America, the first modern constitutional liberal democracy. 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