William Howe saw North America rather clearly: as a threat. Not just any threat, however; William Howe saw the colonies as a rage-induced organization of militias who were banding together against the misdeeds of the British government. William Howe had one personal question for the colonials: how long could they keep it going?
The History of America
In a tense social situation where colonialists were staring at government problems from across an ocean, one could only predict when the final match would burn down the thirteen colonies’ relationship with the motherland. Mercantilism was beginning to actually backfire, to the dismay of the British crown, but it is sad to realize that the people in power refused to actually change their ideals and laws towards the people that were obviously receiving the short end of the stick.
The end of the war for empire showed the powerhouse of Britain that debt wasn’t just a fictional plague. It was indeed a reality, and the Royal Government of Britain was over 122 million pounds of sterling silver in debt. Quite a large amount; this was a good sixty percent of all British revenues. Similar to how the French Revolution started, Britain had a large population that was paying more taxes than people that could actually afford it. Eight million people in Britain were being overloaded with new taxes, and the Treaty of Paris hastily demobilized large parts of the Royal Military so that the government wouldn’t have had to pay for soldiers they no longer needed.
The royal governments of Europe fell in love with these ideas almost immediately, and in 1689 the Parliament of England abolished all taxes on grain to drive down prices. This allowed English grain the cheapest in the world, and it sold quickly abroad — forcing countries to become dependent on Britain. Less than a year later, in 1690, the Parliament banned the sale of French liquor to encourage the manufacturing of English gin from, you guessed it, English grain. That same year, a centralized English bank was created to stabilize the currency. To make their economic power even stronger, the Parliament would force Scotland into “The United Kingdom” in 1707, successfully “taking” the wealth of another nation.
One of the greatest ironic facts about American history — or perhaps one of the greatest thing about America in general, as some could easily argue — is that none of the colonies became exactly what they had been designed to be. For example, Virginia never made it to the status of “corporate powerhouse.” Pennsylvania never became, much to William Penn’s dismay, a paradise for Quaker ideals. Georgia’s “let the worst of the worst take control of their own colony” plan, for heaven knows why, failed after a few decades. For some, it seemed that every original American colonial idea went downhill before they even had a chance.
While the new American settlers were busy growing tobacco and building city churches in their new environment, European immigrants who moved to America didn’t cease being or wanting to be Europeans. In fact, they wanted to reshape their new homes and cities into what they had left behind in Europe instead of attempting to create their own new society. American culture didn’t actually exist at this time, as a majority of what could be considered culture in the new world was brought from other countries.
What is freedom? The freedom to do what, exactly? As we discussed in past posts, America was in the middle of this smoke cloud at the time. There was this absence of restraint in North America, as nobody in Europe at the time cared enough or was close enough to want to watch the citizens and make sure they stay in their place. Three kinds of people moved to America…
A majority of English colonies, if you look past their misjudgment of the weather based on latitude, had excellent geographic locations in the minds of explorers. Perhaps the nonexistent Northwest Passage would be right around the next mountain range or Indian tribe! Well, as we know today, it wasn’t, and European explorers would continue to look haphazardly for this passage to the Pacific until the 1850s when a major British exploration led by John Franklin (1786 – 1847) vanished in the Arctic, never to be seen alive again.
Puritan is a complex term, and was not meant as a compliment in this time period. Puritan refers to England’s most radical protestants, people who were upset with Queen Elizabeth for being too lenient towards Catholics. Although Queen Elizabeth had no love or respect for Catholics, as she saw them as a threat to her realm, she did embrace Catholic ways of thinking. This can be noted by the Church of England’s adoption of the 39 Articles of Religion. She allowed the church to regain catholic governmental structure, including bishops and aristocrats. And in 1559, The Book of Common Prayer, the Church of England’s book, used enough catholic language to make radical protestants, who loved their kingdom of England but loved their religion just a bit more, very uncomfortable.
Of all European nations, it would seem that England would be one of the countries most involved in attempting to colonize America. Their long history of dominance in Europe along with their strong navy and vast middle class filled with entrepreneurs and investors seems like a good backup for said argument. But, why isn’t England not interested in America yet? Well, lets back up a bit.