British colonial control was repressive throughout the Americas. The British favored
colonial control over kingly rule. England aimed to make colonies self-sufficient and improve
colonists' lives. Many colonists could not abide being under an overlord they couldn't see or
visit. They believed the British simply wanted their devotion and obedience in exchange for
trade, riches, and military strength. The British denied most colonies the right to enact laws
on war, taxation, and trade. In certain colonies (like Virginia), the assembly was banned from
passing such laws. The people felt that the British would tax tobacco, bread, beer, etc. if they
tried to make a decision. This made the colonists feel less-than-British. The British planned to
use the Army to assert their rule, but the colonists were ready. Soldiers patrolled constantly to
arrest insurgents. During the French and Indian War, soldiers protected colonists and their
property. If a colonist was suspected of being a traitor or spy, he was jailed without a trial.
The British thought this was a good strategy to prevent betrayal or rebellion. Christopher
Gadsden's army idea came from this. He designed a flag with a British Crown on top and
"Don't give up the ship" on the bottom. To keep control, the British utilized spies, informers,
and even black slaves. The colonists disapproved of these tactics used by British colonialists.
The Declaration of Independence criticized British colonial government as unfair,
unjust, and impractical. It further prioritized taxation and representation. He thought colonial
assemblies should have more ability to adopt legislation about taxation, law enforcement, and
trade. Letters from a farmer addressed these themes from the Declaration of Independence.
Thomas Jefferson writes in Letters from a Farmer that colonies want to be represented in
Parliament and not regarded as subjects by Britain: "Our scheme is simple; we seek nothing
more." We're not jealous. We merely want for equal chance for our commerce and privileges
in your ports (farmer letter)" (Dickinson, 1769). Jefferson aimed to represent the colonists in
parliament so they may have a role on issues like the stamp act and tea taxes. Colonial
assemblies petitioned, protested, and rioted for representation in Parliament. Many colonial
society members felt Britain was utilizing them for its own gain. Britain thought
representation would turn more people against them, making it harder to rule the colonies.
Cogliano examines Hutchinson's Stamp Riot Act. Thomas Hutchinson penned 1774's
History of Massachusetts Bay. In his book, he discusses the Stamp Act and the 1774
Regulating Act. "The national indignation that had been suppressed by art suddenly erupted
in New England." Boston was hostile." Hutchinson explains. When colonists discovered they
had to pay a tax on their papers and Boston tobacco, they were angry. This was a Boston-only
law. After learning they'd be taxed, several people rioted. Hutchinson writes, "All New
England towns were soon ablaze…" Colonial society opposed the Stamp Act and its
consequences. People rioted and thought it was unfair that only Boston suffered for the
colonies' tax issues (Fradin, 2010). Thomas Hutchinson quotes Bostonians, says Cogliano.
Bostonians created riots in Boston and elsewhere. Cogliano stated that the Stamp Act of 1765
outlawed newspapers and playing cards. Wines, beer, whiskeys, and tobacco were taxed
more. People were furious because they saw it as an infringement on their rights to free
expression and spending their hard-earned money. Again, this was about America's newfound
freedom of speech. Many colonists felt taxed without proper representation.
British mistreatment made colonists feel oppressed. Virginians, Pennsylvanians, and
New Yorkers aimed to vote for their colony's governor to get better representation. The
British government wanted only loyal subjects to vote on who would rule. They avoided
colonial elections. British wanted colonists to accept their authority by law, not popular vote.
Many still got representation and votes in these counties so they could voice their opinion on
matters like taxes and British representation in colonial assemblies. Local colonies would
have more power and a say in Britain's governance. Colonists disliked the British's power.
The British mistreated the colonists. The British didn't allow them to own guns or organize
militias to defend themselves from Native Americans or Frenchmen who sought to take over
the colonies (Richter, 2003). This was part of their control by ensuring colonists didn't lose
up on Britain and protected themselves from French or Native American attacks. Again, the
colonists felt mistreated. These ideologies meant the government couldn't control them.
Many colonists resented the British for their harsh treatment. This is clear from
protests in Boston and New York. In Boston, Sons of Liberty opposed the British tea tax (so
they couldn't enjoy tea at home). “No taxation without representation! "No draft!” The New
York Sons of Liberty denounced the Sugar Act and tried to stop British forces from taxing
the colonies. Boston's Sons of Liberty demonstrated. Due to their protestations, they
occasionally fought British soldiers alone. Boston massacre was another occurrence. Five
protesters opposing the Sugar Act and tea tax were slain here. Many colonists saw British
soldiers as "terrorists" because of their harsh treatment and violence. The Boston Tea Party
protested taxation without representation in 1770. Most historians agree with Cogliano that
the riots contributed to the conflict. These facts demonstrate British colonial rule and
Dickinson, J. (1769). Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, to the Inhabitants of the British
Colonies. Against taxation of the Colonies by Great Britain. Each letter signed: A
Farmer. By John Dickinson, President of the State of Delaware. William & Thomas
Fradin, D. B. (2010). The stamp act of 1765. Marshall Cavendish.
Richter K, D. (2003). Facing East From Indian Country: A Native History of Early America.
Havard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London, England.
https://hdl.handle.net/2027/heb.03491 Accessed 24 Jan 2021.