Western Civilization Class

Constitutional Disputes

One of the issues that led to the American War of Independence was the dispute between the colonists and the British government over the British Constitution. The colonists viewed the British Constitution as a compilation of the right to govern themselves concerning internal matters, traditional laws and principles, and the God given rights of all Englishmen. The British government, however, did not see it the same way. Instead, the government thought that Parliament was supreme. Following tradition, customs and the God given rights of Englishmen was not how the British government ruled the people. The government thought that if the colonists had the freedom to govern their internal affairs it was only because the British government gave that privilege to the colonists. The colonists, on the other hand, believed that their freedom to govern themselves came from God and the traditional British Constitution.

The Declaration Of Independence, Photo Credit: Wikipedia
The Declaration Of Independence, Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Some examples of when the British government infringed upon the liberties of the colonists were the Currency Act (1764), the Stamp Act (1765), the Quartering Act (1765) and the Townshend Act (1767). For example, the Currency Act intended “to regulate the issue and legal tender status of paper money in the colonial economy” [1]. The colonists knew this was a serious violation of their rights. In the Declaration of Independence the colonists wrote down many other grievances they had against the British government. The Americans would not stand by while they were being striped of their liberties. They declared their independence and fought for their rights.   

[1] The Currency Act

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