THE ECONOMIC CAUSES OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
One big factor that led to the colonists’ discontent is Mercantilism. Mercantilism was the idea that colonies were
an important source of raw materials. A lot of the raw materials were taken from America and sent to Britain to help the
mother country manufacture goods to trade with other countries. It was thought that by increasing exports and collecting
precious metals in return, that it would improve the national wealth and power.
2. THE NAVIGATION ACTS
The Navigation Acts channeled the flow of colonial raw materials into England and kept foreign goods and vessels out
of colonial ports. The Navigation Acts incorporated multiple laws that were created over a period of time. The Acts were
passed with the theory of mercantilism, which restricted free trade. They were intended to keep foreign goods and vessels
out of colonial ports. The Navigation Act of 1651 banned imported goods from other countries, unless the ship or cargo had
an all-British crew. The second Act was extended to exports in addition to imports. Four more Acts were passed between the
years of 1662 and 1773, which proposed even more restrictions on trade. The Molasses Act in 1773 forced the colonists to purchase
the more expensive sugar from the Britain because they had raised the tax on all sugar and molasses products coming from anywhere
else. Smuggling was also a huge result of these Acts.
3. THE COERCIVE ACTS
The Coercive Acts was passed in the spring of 1774. It was also known in America as the Intolerable Acts because they felt
the Britain’s answer to the current problems was coercion. The Americans thought it was intolerable and unendurable.
Some of the laws under the Coercive Acts which have economic repercussions for the colonists were: The Boston Port Act,
The Quartering Act.
The Boston Port Act closed the harbor of Boston to all commerce until its citizens paid for the tea that were destroyed
in the Boston Tea Party. This was not fair because the British government was punishing the whole state of Massachusetts
for a crime committed by a few of its citizens from Boston.
The Quartering Act required that towns provide the needs for British Soldiers; they were required to house and feed
new British troops sent to the colonies. They considered this a form of indirect taxation in which the Americans were forced
to use their money for the benefit of the monarchy. The soldiers were also particularly unwelcome because they took odd jobs
after work hours, competing with unemployed colonists.
4. THE TEA CRISIS ACT
The Tea Act passed in 1773 was Britains attempt to help the East India Company from their almost nonexistent sales of their
teas. The East India Company had millions of pounds of tea that they were unable to sell. Britain decided to help them by
letting them sell their tea in North America without the colonial tax and lowered the price so there wouldn't be any competitors.
Americans became angry over this because American tea traders still had to pay taxes to Britain. Their prices were so low
that the American traders could not compete. The Tea Act led to boycotts of tea and later on led to the Boston Tea Party.
5. THE TOWSHEND DUTIES
The Townshend Acts of 1767 was named after Charles Townshend. He came up with the idea to place tax on imported glass, paper,
paints, and tea. The British land tax had been cut, so Townshend decided to make it up by taxing the Americans for the goods.
Townshend thought that Americans were “ungrateful children” and he wanted to reinforce the control of the British
government on them. These taxes all went to earnings of the British officials. Many were against these taxes, which led to
boycotts of English goods.
6. THE SUGAR ACT
The Sugar Act was passed by British Prime Minister, George Grenville in 1764. His main concern was to reduce government
spending. This law placed tax on imported items that came into America in large amounts such as sugar, coffee, dyes, and
wines. Most imported wine and rum was banned. This Act also reduced the tax on molasses from six cent to three cents. It was
thought that this Act would help pay for the expenses of colonial administration. Those who were found going against the Sugar
Act were tried before British naval officers in court.