⒈ Transportation During The Revolutionary War Essay

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Transportation During The Revolutionary War Essay



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Changing Times - Railroads \u0026 Canals I THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

One estimate suggests the per capita tax burden in the colonies ranged from two to four per cent of that in Britain Palmer, It was time in the British view that the Americans began to pay a larger share of the expenses of the empire. Accordingly, a series of tax acts were passed by Parliament the revenue from which was to be used to help pay for the standing army in America. The first was the Sugar Act of It was hoped this would reduce the incentive for smuggling and thereby increase tariff revenue Bullion, The following year Parliament passed the Stamp Act that imposed a tax commonly used in England. It required stamps for a broad range of legal documents as well as newspapers and pamphlets.

While the colonial stamp duties were less than those in England they were expected to generate enough revenue to finance a substantial portion of the cost the new standing army. The same year passage of the Quartering Act imposed essentially a tax in kind by requiring the colonists to provide British military units with housing, provisions, and transportation. In the Townshend Acts imposed tariffs upon a variety of imported goods and established a Board of Customs Commissioners in the colonies to collect the revenue.

American opposition to these acts was expressed initially in a variety of peaceful forms. While they did not have representation in Parliament, the colonists did attempt to exert some influence in it through petition and lobbying. However, it was the economic boycott that became by far the most effective means of altering the new British economic policies. In representatives from nine colonies met at the Stamp Act Congress in New York and organized a boycott of imported English goods. The boycott was so successful in reducing trade that English merchants lobbied Parliament for the repeal of the new taxes. Parliament soon responded to the political pressure. During it repealed both the Stamp and Sugar Acts Johnson, In response to the Townshend Acts of a second major boycott started in in Boston and New York and subsequently spread to other cities leading Parliament in to repeal all of the Townshend duties except the one on tea.

In addition, Parliament decided at the same time not to renew the Quartering Act. With these actions taken by Parliament the Americans appeared to have successfully overturned the new British post war tax agenda. However, Parliament had not given up what it believed to be its right to tax the colonies. On the same day it repealed the Stamp Act, Parliament passed the Declaratory Act stating the British government had the full power and authority to make laws governing the colonies in all cases whatsoever including taxation.

Policies not principles had been overturned. Three years after the repeal of the Townshend duties British policy was once again to emerge as an issue in the colonies. This time the American reaction was not peaceful. It all started when Parliament for the first time granted an exemption from the Navigation Acts. In an effort to assist the financially troubled British East India Company Parliament passed the Tea Act of , which allowed the company to ship tea directly to America.

The grant of a major trading advantage to an already powerful competitor meant a potential financial loss for American importers and smugglers of tea. In December a small group of colonists responded by boarding three British ships in the Boston harbor and throwing overboard several hundred chests of tea owned by the East India Company Labaree, Stunned by the events in Boston, Parliament decided not to cave in to the colonists as it had before. Among other things these so-called Coercive or Intolerable Acts closed the port of Boston, altered the charter of Massachusetts, and reintroduced the demand for colonial quartering of British troops.

Once done Parliament then went on to pass the Quebec Act as a continuation of its policy of restricting the settlement of the West. Many Americans viewed all of this as a blatant abuse of power by the British government. Once again a call went out for a colonial congress to sort out a response. On September 5, delegates appointed by the colonies met in Philadelphia for the First Continental Congress. Drawing upon the successful manner in which previous acts had been overturned the first thing Congress did was to organize a comprehensive embargo of trade with Britain.

It then conveyed to the British government a list of grievances that demanded the repeal of thirteen acts of Parliament. All of the acts listed had been passed after as the delegates had agreed not to question British policies made prior to the conclusion of the Seven Years War. Despite all the problems it had created, the Tea Act was not on the list. The reason for this was that Congress decided not to protest British regulation of colonial trade under the Navigation Acts. In short, the delegates were saying to Parliament take us back to and all will be well.

What happened then was a sequence of events that led to a significant increase in the degree of American resistance to British polices. Before the Congress adjourned in October the delegates voted to meet again in May of if Parliament did not meet their demands. Confronted by the extent of the American demands the British government decided it was time to impose a military solution to the crisis. Boston was occupied by British troops. In April a military confrontation occurred at Lexington and Concord. Within a month the Second Continental Congress was convened. Here the delegates decided to fundamentally change the nature of their resistance to British policies. Congress authorized a continental army and undertook the purchase of arms and munitions.

To pay for all of this it established a continental currency. With previous political efforts by the First Continental Congress to form an alliance with Canada having failed, the Second Continental Congress took the extraordinary step of instructing its new army to invade Canada. In effect, these actions taken were those of an emerging nation-state. In October as American forces closed in on Quebec the King of England in a speech to Parliament declared that the colonists having formed their own government were now fighting for their independence.

It was to be only a matter of months before Congress formally declared it. Given the nature of British colonial policies, scholars have long sought to evaluate the economic incentives the Americans had in pursuing independence. In this effort economic historians initially focused on the period following the Seven Years War up to the Revolution. It turned out that making a case for the avoidance of British taxes as a major incentive for independence proved difficult. The reason was that many of the taxes imposed were later repealed.

The actual level of taxation appeared to be relatively modest. After all, the Americans soon after adopting the Constitution taxed themselves at far higher rates than the British had prior to the Revolution Perkins, Rather it seemed the incentive for independence might have been the avoidance of the British regulation of colonial trade. Unlike some of the new British taxes, the Navigation Acts had remained intact throughout this period. One early attempt to quantify the economic effects of the Navigation Acts was by Thomas Building upon the previous work of Harper , Thomas employed a counterfactual analysis to assess what would have happened to the American economy in the absence of the Navigation Acts.

To do this he compared American trade under the Acts with that which would have occurred had America been independent following the Seven Years War. Thomas then estimated the loss of both consumer and produce surplus to the colonies as a result of shipping enumerated goods indirectly through England. These burdens were partially offset by his estimated value of the benefits of British protection and various bounties paid to the colonies. The outcome of his analysis was that the Navigation Acts imposed a net burden of less than one percent of colonial per capita income.

From this he concluded the Acts were an unlikely cause of the Revolution. A long series of subsequent works questioned various parts of his analysis but not his general conclusion Walton, The work of Thomas also appeared to be consistent with the observation that the First Continental Congress had not demanded in its list of grievances the repeal of either the Navigation Acts or the Sugar Act. Did this mean then that the Americans had few if any economic incentives for independence? Upon further consideration economic historians realized that perhaps more important to the colonists were not the past and present burdens but rather the expected future burdens of continued membership in the British Empire.

The Declaratory Act made it clear the British government had not given up what it viewed as its right to tax the colonists. This was despite the fact that up to the Americans had employed a variety of protest measures including lobbying, petitions, boycotts, and violence. The confluence of not having representation in Parliament while confronting an aggressive new British tax policy designed to raise their relatively low taxes may have made it reasonable for the Americans to expect a substantial increase in the level of taxation in the future Gunderson, , Reid, Furthermore a recent study has argued that in not only did the future burdens of the Navigation Acts clearly exceed those of the past, but a substantial portion would have borne by those who played a major role in the Revolution Sawers, Seen in this light the economic incentive for independence would have been avoiding the potential future costs of remaining in the British Empire.

The American colonies had both strengths and weaknesses in terms of undertaking a revolution. The colonial population of well over two million was nearly one third of that in Britain McCusker and Menard, The growth in the colonial economy had generated a remarkably high level of per capita wealth and income Jones, Yet the hurdles confronting the Americans in achieving independence were indeed formidable. The British military had an array of advantages. With virtual control of the Atlantic its navy could attack anywhere along the American coast at will and would have borne logistical support for the army without much interference. A large core of experienced officers commanded a highly disciplined and well-drilled army in the large-unit tactics of eighteenth century European warfare.

By these measures the American military would have great difficulty in defeating the British. Its navy was small. The Continental Army had relatively few officers proficient in large-unit military tactics. Lacking both the numbers and the discipline of its adversary the American army was unlikely to be able to meet the British army on equal terms on the battlefield Higginbotham, In addition, the British were in a better position than the Americans to finance a war. A tax system was in place that had provided substantial revenue during previous colonial wars. Also for a variety of reasons the government had acquired an exceptional capacity to generate debt to fund wartime expenses North and Weingast, For the Continental Congress the situation was much different.

After declaring independence Congress had set about defining the institutional relationship between it and the former colonies. The powers granted to Congress were established under the Articles of Confederation. Reflecting the political environment neither the power to tax nor the power to regulate commerce was given to Congress. Having no tax system to generate revenue also made it very difficult to borrow money. According to the Articles the states were to make voluntary payments to Congress for its war efforts. This precarious revenue system was to hamper funding by Congress throughout the war Baack, It was within these military and financial constraints that the war strategies by the British and the Americans were developed.

In terms of military strategies both of the contestants realized that America was simply too large for the British army to occupy all of the cities and countryside. This being the case the British decided initially that they would try to impose a naval blockade and capture major American seaports. With plenty of room to maneuver his forces and unable to match those of the British, George Washington chose to engage in a war of attrition.

The purpose was twofold. First, by not engaging in an all out offensive Washington reduced the probability of losing his army. Second, over time the British might tire of the war. Frustrated without a conclusive victory, the British altered their strategy. During a plan was devised to cut off New England from the rest of the colonies, contain the Continental Army, and then defeat it. An army was assembled in Canada under the command of General Burgoyne and then sent to and down along the Hudson River. It was to link up with an army sent from New York City. With the victory at Saratoga the military side of the war had improved considerably for the Americans. However, the financial situation was seriously deteriorating.

The states to this point had made no voluntary payments to Congress. At the same time the continental currency had to compete with a variety of other currencies for resources. The states were issuing their own individual currencies to help finance expenditures. Moreover the British in an effort to destroy the funding system of the Continental Congress had undertaken a covert program of counterfeiting the Continental dollar. These dollars were printed and then distributed throughout the former colonies by the British army and agents loyal to the Crown Newman, Altogether this expansion of the nominal money supply in the colonies led to a rapid depreciation of the Continental dollar Calomiris, , Michener, Furthermore, inflation may have been enhanced by any negative impact upon output resulting from the disruption of markets along with the destruction of property and loss of able-bodied men Buel, By the end of inflation had reduced the specie value of the Continental to about twenty percent of what it had been when originally issued.

This rapid decline in value was becoming a serious problem for Congress in that up to this point almost ninety percent of its revenue had been generated from currency emissions. The British defeat at Saratoga had a profound impact upon the nature of the war. The French government still upset by their defeat by the British in the Seven Years War and encouraged by the American victory signed a treaty of alliance with the Continental Congress in early Fearing a new war with France the British government sent a commission to negotiate a peace treaty with the Americans.

The commission offered to repeal all of the legislation applying to the colonies passed since Congress rejected the offer. The British response was to give up its efforts to suppress the rebellion in the North and in turn organize an invasion of the South. The new southern campaign began with the taking of the port of Savannah in December. Pursuing their southern strategy the British won major victories at Charleston and Camden during the spring and summer of As the American military situation deteriorated in the South so did the financial circumstances of the Continental Congress. Inflation continued as Congress and the states dramatically increased the rate of issuance of their currencies.

At the same time the British continued to pursue their policy of counterfeiting the Continental dollar. In order to deal with inflation some states organized conventions for the purpose of establishing wage and price controls Rockoff, With its currency rapidly depreciating in value Congress increasingly relied on funds from other sources such as state requisitions, domestic loans, and French loans of specie. As a last resort Congress authorized the army to confiscate property.

Fortunately for the Americans the British military effort collapsed before the funding system of Congress. In a combined effort during the fall of French and American forces trapped the British southern army under the command of Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia. Under siege by superior forces the British army surrendered on October The British government had now suffered not only the defeat of its northern strategy at Saratoga but also the defeat of its southern campaign at Yorktown.

Following Yorktown, Britain suspended its offensive military operations against the Americans. The war was over. All that remained was the political maneuvering over the terms for peace. The Revolutionary War officially concluded with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in Under the terms of the treaty the United States was granted independence and British troops were to evacuate all American territory.

While commonly viewed by historians through the lens of political science, the Treaty of Paris was indeed a momentous economic achievement by the United States. The West was now available for settlement. To the extent the Revolutionary War had been undertaken by the Americans to avoid the costs of continued membership in the British Empire, the goal had been achieved. As an independent nation the United States was no longer subject to the regulations of the Navigation Acts. There was no longer to be any economic burden from British taxation. It seemed that the closest thing black Americans could have to cultural pride was to be found in our vague connection to Africa, a place we had never been. That my dad felt so much honor in being an American felt like a marker of his degradation, his acceptance of our subordination.

Like most young people, I thought I understood so much, when in fact I understood so little. My father knew exactly what he was doing when he raised that flag. In August , just 12 years after the English settled Jamestown, Va. The pirates had stolen them from a Portuguese slave ship that had forcibly taken them from what is now the country of Angola. Those men and women who came ashore on that August day were the beginning of American slavery. They were among the Almost two million did not survive the grueling journey, known as the Middle Passage. Before the abolishment of the international slave trade, , enslaved Africans would be sold into America. Through backbreaking labor, they cleared the land across the Southeast.

They taught the colonists to grow rice. They laid the foundations of the White House and the Capitol, even placing with their unfree hands the Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol dome. They lugged the heavy wooden tracks of the railroads that crisscrossed the South and that helped take the cotton they picked to the Northern textile mills, fueling the Industrial Revolution. It was the relentless buying, selling, insuring and financing of their bodies and the products of their labor that made Wall Street a thriving banking, insurance and trading sector and New York City the financial capital of the world. But it would be historically inaccurate to reduce the contributions of black people to the vast material wealth created by our bondage. Black Americans have also been, and continue to be, foundational to the idea of American freedom.

The United States is a nation founded on both an ideal and a lie. Yet despite being violently denied the freedom and justice promised to all, black Americans believed fervently in the American creed. Through centuries of black resistance and protest, we have helped the country live up to its founding ideals. Without the idealistic, strenuous and patriotic efforts of black Americans, our democracy today would most likely look very different — it might not be a democracy at all.

The very first person to die for this country in the American Revolution was a black man who himself was not free. Crispus Attucks was a fugitive from slavery, yet he gave his life for a new nation in which his own people would not enjoy the liberties laid out in the Declaration for another century. In every war this nation has waged since that first one, black Americans have fought — today we are the most likely of all racial groups to serve in the United States military. My father, one of those many black Americans who answered the call, knew what it would take me years to understand: that the year is as important to the American story as It was common for white enslavers to keep their half-black children in slavery. Jefferson had chosen Hemings, from among about enslaved people that worked on the forced-labor camp he called Monticello, to accompany him to Philadelphia and ensure his every comfort as he drafted the text making the case for a new democratic republic based on the individual rights of men.

At the time, one-fifth of the population within the 13 colonies struggled under a brutal system of slavery unlike anything that had existed in the world before. Chattel slavery was not conditional but racial. It was heritable and permanent, not temporary, meaning generations of black people were born into it and passed their enslaved status onto their children. Enslaved people were not recognized as human beings but as property that could be mortgaged, traded, bought, sold, used as collateral, given as a gift and disposed of violently. Enslaved people could not legally marry. They were barred from learning to read and restricted from meeting privately in groups.

In most courts, they had no legal standing. Enslavers could rape or murder their property without legal consequence. Enslaved people could own nothing, will nothing and inherit nothing. They were legally tortured, including by those working for Jefferson himself. They could be worked to death, and often were, in order to produce the highest profits for the white people who owned them.

For this duplicity, they faced burning criticism both at home and abroad. Conveniently left out of our founding mythology is the fact that one of the primary reasons some of the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery. By , Britain had grown deeply conflicted over its role in the barbaric institution that had reshaped the Western Hemisphere. In London, there were growing calls to abolish the slave trade.

This would have upended the economy of the colonies, in both the North and the South. The wealth and prominence that allowed Jefferson, at just 33, and the other founding fathers to believe they could successfully break off from one of the mightiest empires in the world came from the dizzying profits generated by chattel slavery. In other words, we may never have revolted against Britain if some of the founders had not understood that slavery empowered them to do so; nor if they had not believed that independence was required in order to ensure that slavery would continue. Jefferson and the other founders were keenly aware of this hypocrisy.

Instead, he blamed the king of England for forcing the institution of slavery on the unwilling colonists and called the trafficking in human beings a crime. Yet neither Jefferson nor most of the founders intended to abolish slavery, and in the end, they struck the passage. There is no mention of slavery in the final Declaration of Independence. Similarly, 11 years later, when it came time to draft the Constitution, the framers carefully constructed a document that preserved and protected slavery without ever using the word. In the texts in which they were making the case for freedom to the world, they did not want to explicitly enshrine their hypocrisy, so they sought to hide it.

The Constitution contains 84 clauses. Six deal directly with the enslaved and their enslavement, as the historian David Waldstreicher has written, and five more hold implications for slavery. With independence, the founding fathers could no longer blame slavery on Britain. The shameful paradox of continuing chattel slavery in a nation founded on individual freedom, scholars today assert, led to a hardening of the racial caste system.

This ideology, reinforced not just by laws but by racist science and literature, maintained that black people were subhuman, a belief that allowed white Americans to live with their betrayal. By the early s, according to the legal historians Leland B. Ware, Robert J. Cottrol and Raymond T. This made them inferior to white people and, therefore, incompatible with American democracy. On Aug. It was one of the few times that black people had ever been invited to the White House as guests. The Civil War had been raging for more than a year, and black abolitionists, who had been increasingly pressuring Lincoln to end slavery, must have felt a sense of great anticipation and pride.

The war was not going well for Lincoln. The president was weighing a proclamation that threatened to emancipate all enslaved people in the states that had seceded from the Union if the states did not end the rebellion. Like many white Americans, he opposed slavery as a cruel system at odds with American ideals, but he also opposed black equality. That August day, as the men arrived at the White House, they were greeted by the towering Lincoln and a man named James Mitchell, who eight days before had been given the title of a newly created position called the commissioner of emigration.

This was to be his first assignment. After exchanging a few niceties, Lincoln got right to it. He informed his guests that he had gotten Congress to appropriate funds to ship black people, once freed, to another country. Your race suffer very greatly, many of them, by living among us, while ours suffer from your presence. In a word, we suffer on each side. You can imagine the heavy silence in that room, as the weight of what the president said momentarily stole the breath of these five black men. The Union had not entered the war to end slavery but to keep the South from splitting off, yet black men had signed up to fight. Enslaved people were fleeing their forced-labor camps, which we like to call plantations, trying to join the effort, serving as spies, sabotaging confederates, taking up arms for his cause as well as their own.

And now Lincoln was blaming them for the war. Nearly three years after that White House meeting, Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox. By summer, the Civil War was over, and four million black Americans were suddenly free. Beneath its sod lie the bones of our fathers. Here we were born, and here we will die. They did the opposite. The South, for the first time in the history of this country, began to resemble a democracy, with black Americans elected to local, state and federal offices. Some 16 black men served in Congress — including Hiram Revels of Mississippi, who became the first black man elected to the Senate.

Demonstrating just how brief this period would be, Revels, along with Blanche Bruce, would go from being the first black man elected to the last for nearly a hundred years, until Edward Brooke of Massachusetts took office in More than black men served in Southern state legislatures and hundreds more in local positions. These black officials joined with white Republicans, some of whom came down from the North, to write the most egalitarian state constitutions the South had ever seen.

They helped pass more equitable tax legislation and laws that prohibited discrimination in public transportation, accommodation and housing. Perhaps their biggest achievement was the establishment of that most democratic of American institutions: the public school. Public education effectively did not exist in the South before Reconstruction. The white elite sent their children to private schools, while poor white children went without an education. But newly freed black people, who had been prohibited from learning to read and write during slavery, were desperate for an education. So black legislators successfully pushed for a universal, state-funded system of schools — not just for their own children but for white children, too.

Black legislators also helped pass the first compulsory education laws in the region. Southern children, black and white, were now required to attend schools like their Northern counterparts. Just five years into Reconstruction, every Southern state had enshrined the right to a public education for all children into its constitution. In some states, like Louisiana and South Carolina, small numbers of black and white children, briefly, attended schools together.

Led by black activists and a Republican Party pushed left by the blatant recalcitrance of white Southerners, the years directly after slavery saw the greatest expansion of human and civil rights this nation would ever see. In , Congress passed the 13th Amendment, making the United States one of the last nations in the Americas to outlaw slavery. It codified black American citizenship for the first time, prohibited housing discrimination and gave all Americans the right to buy and inherit property, make and enforce contracts and seek redress from courts.

In , Congress ratified the 14th Amendment, ensuring citizenship to any person born in the United States. Today, thanks to this amendment, every child born here to a European, Asian, African, Latin American or Middle Eastern immigrant gains automatic citizenship. The 14th Amendment also, for the first time, constitutionally guaranteed equal protection under the law. Ever since, nearly all other marginalized groups have used the 14th Amendment in their fights for equality including the recent successful arguments before the Supreme Court on behalf of same-sex marriage. For this fleeting moment known as Reconstruction, the majority in Congress seemed to embrace the idea that out of the ashes of the Civil War, we could create the multiracial democracy that black Americans envisioned even if our founding fathers did not.

Anti-black racism runs in the very DNA of this country, as does the belief, so well articulated by Lincoln, that black people are the obstacle to national unity. The many gains of Reconstruction were met with fierce white resistance throughout the South , including unthinkable violence against the formerly enslaved, wide-scale voter suppression, electoral fraud and even, in some extreme cases, the overthrow of democratically elected biracial governments. In , President Rutherford B. Hayes, in order to secure a compromise with Southern Democrats that would grant him the presidency in a contested election, agreed to pull federal troops from the South.

With the troops gone, white Southerners quickly went about eradicating the gains of Reconstruction. Democracy would not return to the South for nearly a century. White Southerners of all economic classes, on the other hand, thanks in significant part to the progressive policies and laws black people had championed, experienced substantial improvement in their lives even as they forced black people back into a quasi slavery. Georgia pines flew past the windows of the Greyhound bus carrying Isaac Woodard home to Winnsboro, S. After serving four years in the Army in World War II, where Woodard had earned a battle star, he was given an honorable discharge earlier that day at Camp Gordon and was headed home to meet his wife.

When the bus stopped at a small drugstore an hour outside Atlanta, Woodard got into a brief argument with the white driver after asking if he could use the restroom. About half an hour later, the driver stopped again and told Woodard to get off the bus. Crisp in his uniform, Woodard stepped from the stairs and saw the police waiting for him. Before he could speak, one of the officers struck him in his head with a billy club, beating him so badly that he fell unconscious. At 26, Woodard would never see again.

It was part of a wave of systemic violence deployed against black Americans after Reconstruction, in both the North and the South. White America dealt with this inconvenience by constructing a savagely enforced system of racial apartheid that excluded black people almost entirely from mainstream American life — a system so grotesque that Nazi Germany would later take inspiration from it for its own racist policies.

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