The emergence of the USA is one of the major events of modern political history. The reaction against the colonial condition and the liberal political ideals crystallized in the first great bourgeois Revolution of the so-called “Atlantic cycle”.
The reasons commonly understood as triggers of the Revolution of the Thirteen Colonies point to political freedom against the British crown and the economic independence of economic-fiscal policies considered abusive. However, we must not forget the importance of the European geopolitical context of the eighteenth century in which the colonial empires disputed the hegemony of power. The American independence process was a relevant scenario for the geostrategic, ideological or economic interests of the European powers, which had a decisive influence on this historical process.
Independence combined a decolonizing process and a revolutionary process of a liberal political nature. These processes implied the previous conditioning of the colonies -marked by modern political thought and by the “usurpations” of the British Empire-, the War of Independence and the final establishment of a republican political system.
“WE HOLD AS SELF-EVIDENT THESE TRUTHS: THAT ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL; WHO IS ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR WITH CERTAIN INALIENABLE RIGHTS; THAT AMONG THESE ARE LIFE, FREEDOM AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS “PREAMBLE OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE OF THE USA
The Thirteen Colonies that declared their Independence Day of USA 2018 will be 242 Independence Day of the nation which was formed in in 1776 were founded by the British Empire between the 16th and 17th centuries. These colonies were: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. The political life of the colonies developed with a certain degree of autonomy, creating their own systems of government. The strong intervention on the American economic activity of mercantilism English for the benefit of the capital gradually made the colonies resist the control of London. Anticolonial relations increased for mutual collaboration, which began to provide a political and national identity. “There is no taxation without representation “was the slogan with which the Thirteen Colonies denounced taxes as illegitimate by not being represented in the British parliament, since the Bill of Rights prohibited the collection of taxes without parliamentary consent.
The then Prime Minister of Great Britain George Grenville , during the monarchy of Jorge III , increased the taxes to increase the income destined to cover the debt that the State had reached plus the costs of the maintenance of the troops that garrisoned the enclaves of the empire. The pressure of taxes fell mainly on the colonies of North America and the Antilles. In this line, the laws for the collection of taxes known as the Law of Sugar in 1764 and the Law of the Seal in 1765 were approved. The situation was aggravated with the decrees of Townshend in 1767 to rise by means of the imports of the colonies. In addition, with Townshend it was intended to untie the soldiers from the local authorities, linking them to the metropolis by the payroll and allowed the troops to raid the houses only on suspicion of crimes. The British economic policy and its coercive implantation hindered the commercial activities of the North American oligarchy. In addition, the rest of the classes of the society were affected by the restrictions.
An association of “patriots” was organized to defend the rights of the settlers against the British abuse called “Sons of Liberty”. The group was led by the ideologist and intellectual referent Samuel Adams and by the merchant John Hancock. Social conflicts did not take long to appear: in 1770 the Boston Massacre took place, in which soldiers occupying the city militarily shot at the protesting crowd, resulting in the death of five Americans. Samuel Adams said that night was the trigger for the desire for independence. In 1773 the Sons of Liberty pronounced themselves against the Tea Act which mainly taxes imposed on imports of tea to the metropolises and planned the Boston Tea Party (Boston Tea Party), in which settlers of this group disguised themselves as Indians and dumped into the waters of Boston harbor cargoes of tea they brought the boats.
Mutiny of the Tea, lithograph of 1846.
The challenge was answered with the approval by the British government of the so-called Intolerable Decrees in 1774 that limited the powers of the colonial authorities by practically implementing a state of siege. Given this, and taking into account that since 1772 they had already organized secret governments in correspondence committees, in 1774 the First Continental Congress was held, which brought together the representatives of the colonies in Philadelphia. The English king claimed the right of the colonies to take charge of their internal affairs without interference from the empire, which would mean the end of the colonial relationship.
The positions of the settlers were diverse: some asked for independence and others wanted to maintain the link but claimed autonomy and more rights as English. In any case, the Petition to the King of October 25, 1774 was not accepted by the English, so a boycott of British commercial products began. In 1775 the Restrictive Decrees were promulgated with which to assure the sovereignty of the empire over the colonies.
In 1775 the war broke out and lasted until 1783. The events that initiated the warlike actions and that ended the negotiation possibilities for the resolution of the conflict were the battles of Lexington and Concord in April of 1775 that ended in the siege of Boston. In May of 1775 the meetings of the Second Continental Congress began and military issues were addressed to achieve the formal and effective organization of an army (beyond the militia) and began the recruitment of soldiers. He was appointed George Washington, a military reputed and landowner in Virginia, as commander in chief of US forces. The Second Continental Congress took the functions of government of the set of colonies.
George Washington, Gilbert Stuart.
In June of 1775 the English won in the battle of Bunker Hill, but their forces were much depleted. After this, the Americans focused on Dorchester Heights, which took and fortified in March 1776 thanks to the action of the Continental Navy commanded by George Washington. The British troops, faced with the heavy guns that the patriots installed, had no choice but to withdraw from Boston. The guns were obtained in the capture of the fort of Ticonderoga and were transported by Henry Knox in the episode remembered as the “noble artillery train “. This is how the siege of Boston ended.
The Second Continental Congress approved on July 4, 1776 the Declaration of Independence of the United States written by Thomas Jefferson, a man especially recognized for his intellectual quality. This was a consequence of the resolution of July 2 by which Congress stated “these United Colonies are, and by right must be, free and sovereign states.” The statement contains an appeal to the need for a reasoned explanation of independence based on a natural-law rationality, a preamble with the theoretical-political ideals that justify the revolution, an accusation that rejects the ” insults and usurpations””, A denunciation of the case ignored by the English, a conclusion that makes explicit the need for the announcement of independence, and finally the signatures of the 56 signatories.
This declaration conferred unity and formal determination on the War of the Thirteen Colonies. The British Empire could not continue to take the conflict as a rebellion, so it then adopted war strategies. After leaving Boston, William Howe (commander of the British army in North America) gathered the troops in New York with the intention of dividing the enemy forces and concentrates the fight in a decisive battle. Its objective was to confront Washington since there was no command center to capture and end the war. The Americans avoided such confrontation and practiced guerrilla warfare.
The famous victory of Washington in the battle of Trenton in 1776 after the crossing of the Delaware River and the surrender in 1777 of an English army in Saratoga gave confidence to the continental army to defeat the English troops. The Saratoga campaign was a decisive strategic victory for the patriots. This was the point of inflection that opted for external support for the Americans. At this point the consequences of the Seven Years War were noted for the colonial primacy: Spain and France supported the enemy of England in the war of North America and the British Empire continued to suffer the costs and the debt incurred. Spain initially contributed money and weapons without entering into direct war, and France signed an alliance in 1778 and sent troops intervening militarily against the British Empire. In 1779 Spain signed the Treaty of Harangues to intervene in the independence of the United States in exchange for concessions by France. Subsequently Holland also joined and the conflict reached international dimensions with different interests involved and many open war fronts.
The British Empire could not take the situation any longer and in 1783 it recognized the independence of the United States of America and granted territories of the continent in the signing of the Treaty of Paris (not to be confused with that of 1763). This treaty ended the war and established agreements that involved other countries. For more information about the nation click on http://independenceusa.net/ and enjoy reading.
The representatives of the now independent territories met at the Philadelphia Convention in 1787. A presidential federal government was established with a bicameral legislative system, a president of the republic and a judicial power for life service. What at first was a discussion for the reform of articles of the Confederation approved in 1777 by the Second Continental Congress, led to the drafting and ratification of the Constitution of the United States?
The American Revolution was inspired by the thought of the Enlightenment sifted by English authors and political radicalism. Likewise, American republicanism is permeated by a Protestant political culture in an institutional context of firm religious freedom. These ideals inspired the conceptions and actions of the Founding Fathers of the United States such as Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, James Madison or George Washington, who pursued the establishment of democracy, the division of powers, freedom of conscience and expression, separation between church and state, freedom of the press and the protection of individual freedom.
The preamble of the Declaration of Independence synthesizes the political philosophy that underlies the revolution and on which the political constitution of the United States is based. The essence of what is said is reflected in the famous passage: “We hold as self-evident these truths: that all men are created equal; who are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are Life, Freedom and the pursuit of Happiness. ” It is often mentioned that the Declaration is especially indebted to Locke’s thinking.
Facsimile of the Declaration of Independence.
The revolutionary process of the United States set an important precedent for the constituent pacts supported by natural law, for the possibility of a federal republic over an extensive territory and for the establishment of the division of powers and checks and balances.