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10/10/96

American History AP period 9

The American revolution was a result of colonists wanting freedom from their mother country, England. Mercantilism, the Great Awakening, and the French and Indian War laid sufficient soil to the revolution. They were the most significant in laying the ground work which resulted in the American Revolution.

Mercantilism, the economic system for which colonies existed for the benefit of their mother country. This was the case in the thirteen colonies. These colonies existed only to help England s financial status. The infamous “slave trade” started in the southern colonies, in which they sent sugar to the north so they could make rum. Rum was then sent to Africa and in return slaves were sent to the English colonies by means of the Middle Passage. In New England however, timber was the major natural resource that England benefited from. The pine trees in New England were lighter and more durable, making British vessels even more powerful. Exploitation of colonies was considered a legitimate method of providing the parent countries with precious metals and with the raw materials on which export industries depended. Mercantilism, by its very success in stimulating industry and developing colonial areas, soon gave rise to powerful anti-mercantilist pressures. The use of colonies as supply depots for the home economies, and the exclusion of colonies from trade with other nations produced such reactions as the American Revolution, in which the colonists asserted their desire for freedom to seek economic advantage wherever it could be found.

The Great Awakening, a general revival of evangelical religion in the American colonies, which reached its peak in the early 1740s. Local revivals had occurred previously, inspired by the teaching of such clergymen as the congregational theologian Jonathan Edwards. In 1739 and 1740 the English evangelist George Whitefield made extended tours along the Atlantic seaboard, attracting large crowds as he preached the necessity for sinners to be converted. Whitefield, the Presbyterian clergyman Gilbert Tennent, and other traveling revivalists were generally welcomed at first. They stimulated religious passion, produced conversions, and increased church membership. Before long, however, the methods of the traveling clergyman and the eager emotionalism of the revival drew criticism, being seen by a large proportion of the settled clergy as a threat to the established order. Revivalists often accused settled ministers of being unconverted and of leading their congregations to spiritual destruction. As a consequence, many churches split into factions. In New England, separate congregational churches were organized, and in the Middle Colonies, Presbyterians divided into rival bodies, called the New Light and the Old Light, which remained apart until 1758. In community after community, the Great Awakening produced tension, conflict, and factional rivalry, so that whatever religious harmony and uniformity had existed was disrupted. Nevertheless, evangelical passion drew supporters of the revival together, producing a sense of unity transcending denominational and political boundaries. The Great Awakening was thus a significant intercolonial movement, which contributed to a sense of American nationality before the American Revolution.

The French and Indian War, 1754-1763 , was a war between the French and the British. The Treaty of Paris (1763) ended the French control in Canada, which went to Great Britain. France also ceded all its territories east of the Mississippi River to the British. In compensation for the territories west of the Mississippi given by France to Spain a year earlier in a secret treaty, Spain had to give Florida to the British. The war determined that English rather than French ideas and institutions would dominate North America. In winning the war, however, the British government had virtually doubled its national debt and acquired more territory than it could control. Attempts by British politicians to reform the administration of the empire and to raise revenue by taxing the colonies soon antagonized the colonists and eventually led to the American Revolution.

Overall, mercantilism, the Great Awakening, and the French and Indian War were all similar in that they one way or another created unity and a desire for independence. Eventually American colonists wanted to seek their own independence and in April of 1775 the first battle at Lexington and Concord began. Resulting in a eight year battle for independence

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