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Impact of British Ruling and Wars on American Colonies: Analytical Essay

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Under British rule, America underwent many changes which not only impacted its economy but also brought on a shift in culture and politics. Before the 1660s, the policies adopted by the British in ruling their American colonies were influenced by the politics of England. England’s domestic politics was characterized by instability in the 17th and 18th centuries and thus the policies adopted in the American colonies failed. In addition to this, the colonies were disoriented, and this prevented the establishment of more effective policies. However, by the 1660s, England took significant measures to reorganize her leadership of the colonies and establish a more effective rule. This shaped British America through developments in politics, economy, society, and culture. In this essay, the developments of British America from 1688 to 1755 will be evaluated and the major forces behind this will be identified and discussed.

In 1688, the Glorious Revolution took place in England which saw the overthrowing of King James II, and the throne was taken over by his daughter and her husband. The revolution was driven by religious and political forces. The revolution led to a change in the political practices of England and gave Parliament more control. Additionally, it marked the establishment of political democracy. Following their rise to the throne, King William and Queen Mary came to an agreement with Parliament to establish a joint monarchy. They also assented to Parliament having more power which differed from the mode of rule undertaken by their predecessors. The Bill of Rights was signed by the King which marked the establishment of a constitutional monarchy (Hodgson, 81). The revolution placed restrictions on the monarchy of England and this impacted the influence of Parliament in the subsequent years.

The revolution not only influenced England, but its 13 North American colonies as well. Once the Americans got wind of the news, there were uprisings from the colonies. Boston’s revolt took place in 1689 which saw the overthrowing of Sir Edmund Andros. He was overthrown due to his oppressive directives on Boston such as the Navigation Acts, banning town meetings, declaring land titles invalid, and appointing officers in disfavor of the people of Boston (Black, 37). The dominion officials were arrested by the citizens of Boston as well as the militia and those who favored the administration were apprehended as well. Following this revolt, an uprising took part in New York in the same year. Jacob Leisler, an American captain, took over the colony and became its ruler. Leisler ruled over the colony from 1689 to 1691and was eventually arrested. A similar uprising took place in Maryland when John Coode took over from Catholic rulers but he, like Leisler, was eventually arrested and the colony was taken over by the British (Black, 38). The uprisings were an expression of the Americans’ resentment of British governmental policies.

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While the rebellions failed in doing away with British rule over the colonies, they changed the political environment of British America. King William’s war was declared following the interest of France’s monarchy to take land from Germany. The war was conducted in the form of Guerilla warfare which was considered to be the most effective form of war in the wilderness. Guerilla warfare was commonly used among the Indians but was adopted by the people of England following the War of King Philip. A cultural change in the way of war took place among the colonists when they adopted Indian ways such as the use of scalping knives and hatches. War continued in North America and French militia were murdered by English troops in Montreal in 1690 (Geloso, 24). The French, in return, murdered the people of New York. England invaded Quebec in the same year and this led to the death of many England soldiers. The wars did not only affect England but also the North American colonies who were the collateral damage.

Other wars followed such as Queen Anne’s war of 1702, the war of Jenkins’ Ear of 1739, and King George’s war of 1744. The wars also impacted the economy of the North American colonies. For instance, the 1690 war between the French and England saw the use of paper money in the Massachusetts Bay colony. More economic activities were adopted in the colonies such as the growing of rice that was introduced in Carolina in 1693 (Cook, 16). There were also advancements in doing away with the slave trade. In 1732, South Carolina made efforts to abolish the importing of slaves and this led to the founding of Georgia. Within Georgia, slavery was banned in 1735.

In 1740, the Plantation Act was passed, and it was aimed at encouraging more people to move into the colonies. It provided a relatively cheaper means through which imperial naturalization could be accomplished. Georgia’s accomplishments towards slavery were short-lived as it was permitted again in 1750. The British experienced another military loss in 1755 in the Braddock Expedition where their war efforts against France led to the death of Braddock and marked one of the worst defeats for the British (Geloso, 24). The events of 1688 to 1755 therefore impacted British America’s economy, politics, and culture and ultimately shaped the colonies for the American revolution.

Works Cited

  1. Black, Jeremy. Geographies of an Imperial Power: The British World, 1688-1815. Indiana University Press, 2017.
  2. Cook, Chris, and John Stevenson. British historical facts: 1688-1760. Springer, 2016.
  3. Geloso, Vincent. “Trade or Raid: Acadian Settlers and Native Indians Before 1755.” Available at SSRN 3028206 (2017).
  4. Hodgson, Geoffrey M. “1688 and all that: property rights, the Glorious Revolution and the rise of British capitalism.” Journal of Institutional Economics 13. 1 (2017): 79-107.

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