A Seed Fails Not: The Largest British Colony

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That made it difficult to follow the parliamentary debate over the Stamp Act. Such delays were especially common on trips to America, as trips back to England or Europe tracked westerly trade winds further north in the Atlantic. In England, they offered felons a choice between prison and the military — considered a virtual death sentence because of the likelihood of contracting disease or dying in combat or at sea. Running a global empire was not all tea and crumpets. The Townshend Duties of threw fuel on the fire, especially since part of the tax went toward the troops there to collect the tax in the first place.

The law taxed imports that colonists relied on from Britain such as lead, paper, paint, glass, and tea. Resistors boycotted these goods in impressively organized fashion, forming non-importation groups to network their cause. Women sewed their own homespun to undersell English cloth exports. Wearing the rougher cloth became a badge of resistance. In the 20th century, Mahatma Gandhi did the same with Indian cotton to protest British rule. Fearing that taxes would only make the colonists more self-sufficient, English merchants and manufacturers blinked first, pressing Parliament to rescind the duties.

It had seemingly worked twice with the Stamp Act and Townshend Duties. In just two years, the British had managed to alienate pretty much every level of society: merchants and lawyers with the Stamp Act, consumers with the Townshend Duties, and laborers with Redcoats competing for part-time jobs. A relative lull ensued in the early s with no new taxes and little broad-based resistance.

These disputes included trade, ongoing taxes, state-sanctioned religion, and military occupation. Before high tide could free it, the mob boarded, looted, and burned the ship, then shot and imprisoned the captain. They were retaliating for recent British attempts to enforce their longstanding trade restrictions on the colonists, and local courts offered the Brits no hope of justice since they sided with smugglers.

Hancock was an elite businessman who had enjoyed a special handshake arrangement with the forenamed Governor Hutchinson; he paid Hutchinson a kickback to look the other way. But when the Crown sent more troops to occupy Boston after the Stamp Act Riots, that arrangement ended. In any event, John Hancock and Sam Adams teamed up to trade goods on the black market and resist British authority. In so doing, they helped to cement revolutionary ties across class lines.

Tensions also mounted over control of colonial timber, with the Crown mandating that the tallest trees be preserved as masts for the Royal Navy. The light fines assessed to the guilty parties underscored the limits of British authority in more remote areas of the Empire, and some historians suggest that the arguments over lumber set the stage for the Tea Party the following year.

Rebels met in taverns, airing their grievances and cementing their organizational ties.


Great Britain in the Seven Years' War

Bars served not only as meeting places but also post offices and courthouses. Lacking cloud space or a smartphone, Benjamin Franklin even initiated a colonial-wide postal system to keep people in contact that later morphed into the U. The overriding issue was that the colonies had enjoyed over a century of neglect before the British tried to assert greater control in the midth century.

And the aforementioned Proclamation Line, while not always obeyed, inhibited western expansion. Import taxes continued on tea and sugar. While laws allowing for the mild torture of non-Anglicans in nine of the colonies went mostly unenforced, the tax aggravated colonials who prided themselves on their relative religious freedom in relation to Europeans. As we saw in earlier chapters, some had even migrated for that very reason. A pattern emerged of dissenters from the established church agitating for more freedom while Anglicans tended, by and large, to appreciate the benefits of being in the British Empire.

These Anglicans were much more likely to remain Loyalists to Britain once musket balls flew in The king on the left is playing his harp, oblivious to the anguish of his children the colonists , while the figure executing Absalom, Joab, is dressed as a Redcoat. The Hanging of Absalom silk, weft-silk fabric, foil wrapped threads, paper, watercolor , Attributed to Faith Robinson Trumbull, c. It seems that the American Revolution, while led by an elite of mostly multi-millionaires adjusted for inflation , was launched in a combination of pulpits, streets, and taverns. And the revolution was violent by modern standards when it degenerated into war in But, as of the early s, that was a long way off and no one anticipated war or a new country.

Ten days earlier, a British customs officer named Ebenezer Richardson shot dead an eleven-year-old German immigrant named Christopher Seider , which had the whole city in an angry mood. Similar to American experiences later in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the British found that occupying forces, even those with instructions to treat civilians well, tend to wear out their welcome because of these inevitable conflicts.

Some brandished clubs and cutlasses short swords. You bloody backs, you lobster scoundrels, fire if you dare, God damn you, fire and be damned, we know you dare not. The same thing happened in Boston years earlier. One snow-baller hit a Redcoat hard enough that he dropped his musket and fired it when he picked it back up. Others followed suit and fired into the crowd, killing five men and injuring six. They were probably scared out of their wits being surrounded by an angry mob of nearly Rather than being lynched, the guilty soldiers were defended by John Adams , who got their trials delayed and sentences reduced to branded thumbs m for manslaughter.

Ironically, the Boston Massacre occurred the very day Parliament rescinded most of the Townshend duties, March 5th, , though no one on either side of the pond was aware of the coincidence. Boston Tea Party Britain left the Townshend tax on tea, leading to a crisis three years later, also in Boston. Tea was as popular in the 18th century as coffee today and the BEIC joint-stock company was so large and powerful that it flew its own flag.

As an attempt to dissuade Americans from smuggling Dutch tea, the Tea Act lowered the price of tea below the going rate by exempting the BEIC from taxes, despite continuing fat dividends and high salaries. The company could now ship directly from China to America, skipping the British import duty, and sold directly to distributors instead of middlemen. By lowering the price, the new law followed the same pattern set by the earlier Sugar Act. Parliament was allowing the BEIC to dump its surplus in America at a cut rate to undersell smugglers.

Salvaging the BEIC was essential to buoying stock markets in London and Amsterdam, as it was the second-biggest financial concern in the empire outside of the Bank of England. Powerful people stood to lose fortunes. For the wealthy at least, the British East India Co. You see, middlemen themselves like middlemen, even if they raise prices for consumers. That price hike is what they call a living. Smuggling tea from the Dutch and molasses from France was a time-honored right Americans wanted to hold onto even if it raised prices.

However, in Massachusetts, Governor Thomas Hutchinson ordered the tea off-loaded. Southern colonists saw the tea destruction as juvenile vandalism and the British were not amused either. They demanded immediate compensation for lost income amounting to over one million dollars adjusted for inflation. They saw any leniency toward Boston as signaling leniency toward rebels like Wilkes in England. Parliament even excoriated Ben Franklin over the affair just because he was an easy in person target, even though he was in London on a mission to improve colonial relations and supported Massachusetts compensating for the tea after he learned of the riot.

The history of the history of the Tea Destruction is interesting in its own right. They also strengthened the First Quartering Act, allowing for troops being housed in any public building e. This fake news contributed to Americans barring the practice during peacetime in the Third Amendment to the Constitution.

In a separate act meant to appease French settlers to the north and west — but one that was interpreted by Americans as being aimed at them — the British declared Catholicism the official state religion of Quebec and at least according to American patriots banned self-government there. The British were actually enacting traditional French civil codes and making sure French citizens could vote along with the British.

Paul Revere drew a widely distributed cartoon entitled This Sir, is the Meaning of the Quebec Act , showing Catholic bishops celebrating having conquered the Americas. The act reinforced the Proclamation Line that aimed to keep Americans out of that very area, especially since Quebec expanded to include the entire Ohio Valley and Great Lakes — now western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Nearly the whole Big 10 was in Canada.

Two more laws, the Restraining Acts, expanded British control over New England governments that had run virtually on their own for years except for a brief interruption in the s and prohibited American fishing in the North Atlantic, an important and lucrative industry.

Other colonies were angered rather than intimidated by the crackdown on Boston. Collectively, these Coercive or Intolerable Acts triggered a chain of events that led to armed conflict, but not yet calls for independence. In truth, he waited until the Virginia Convention vacated to avoid being arrested for treason. The Chesapeake tobacco gentry was descending further and further into the debt of English merchants and they suspected the British of depressing tobacco prices to worsen their plight. Jefferson was guilty of a capital crime at this point and would commit his dipped quill to parchment even more treasonously two years later with the Declaration of Independence.

What Was the British Policy of Salutary Neglect?

Britain tried to teach its colonists a lesson by punishing Boston severely but their strategy backfired, only rallying other Americans to the point they were willing to risk their necks. Capitol, WikiCommons. Colonial representatives met under one roof for the first time, forming the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia and erecting shadow governments called Committees of Correspondence atop the foundation of earlier networks.

In retrospect, this was the germ of the future U. Then, there was no talk of breaking off and forming a separate country, only addressing grievances within the British Empire. It turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy as Redcoats aka Regulars were sent to keep Minutemen from drilling outside Boston, leading to a fight.

A nearby woman offered her flannel petticoat, which they tore up and wrapped around their oars. The warning system set up by Revere, William Dawes, and ringleader Joseph Warren gave militia time to prepare, though Revere never made it to deliver the word. Redcoat sentries captured him while another man, Samuel Prescott , hurdled a fence on his horse and evaded capture. Troops under Henry Knox hauled them by hand across upstate New York and Massachusetts to the outskirts of Boston, where 30k angry Yankees surrounded the Redcoats.

The Second Continental Congress sent Virginian George Washington north to form the rebel militia into a coherent army. At no point in the coming war, though, did he really have a full-blown professional army. Washington struggled throughout to unify various state militias, with citizen-soldiers often coming and going on their own terms. Of course, there was no new country yet despite Continental Congress ruling as a de facto government and having already formed an army, navy, and marines. Had they gone with a single word e. France, Mexico, Japan they may have come up with something like America or Columbia , perhaps Washington ten years later.

Instead, the name describes a concept , maybe because they improvised it gradually. The federal idea of a national tier sharing power with existing states underneath was embedded in the name of the country before the Founders actually chose or designed such a system, or even declared independence. Their choice is only obvious in retrospect. Chester Co. At first blush, they seem to have stolen their design from of all people! Yet, they put some thought into this transitional banner. The thirteen stripes represent colonial autonomy, but the Union Jack in the upper left corner shows their continued allegiance to the United Kingdom.

You can see how easily something like Commonwealth status e. This pennant indicates that compromise was still on the table as of By , though, you see early versions of a flag with the same layout but stars signifying new states in the upper left. As this site chronicles in detail, the first-ever known image of such a flag comes from the Chester County Militia, flown at the Battle of Brandywine outside Philadelphia in Back to our story. They fought the British to a standstill until they ran out of munitions and retreated. Before that, in October , the Royal Navy laid siege to Falmouth, Maine now Portland , burning ships and razing the harbor town.

Their first U. Even if raising a militia was technically within their colonial rights, forming a navy was definitely an act of treason. In the meantime, Continental Congress sent an Olive Branch Petition to King George asking for reconciliation olive branches are a universal sign of peace. The Union Jack was still on their flag, after all.

But George refused their offer, if he even read it. Given the debate about representative government then ongoing, George was a fitting example of the downside to hereditary rule. Instead of seeking a compromise or resolution, the erratic, unstable George issued the Prohibitory Act in December that blockaded all American harbors. But many colonists felt betrayed by a king to whom they owed their allegiance precisely because it was his job to protect them. At the head of each colony was the governor, who was responsible to the Secretary of State at the colonial office.

He administered the colony with assistance of a partly nominated legislative council and executive council of officials. Most of the laws of the colony were drawn up by the government or his council. Each colony was divided into regions under a regional or chief administrator. The regions were divided into provinces which were controlled by the provincial commissioners. Each province was divided into districts under leadership of a district commissioner. Each district was divided into one or more traditional states which were ruled by traditional rulers. Indirect Rule saw to the mapping out of relatively large areas which were subject to single authority: Smaller ethnic groups were included in the jurisdiction of their larger, more highly organized neighbors.

And district heads, especially in Igbo and Ibibiolands, Nigeria, were appointed to defined areas without much consideration to their relationship with the populations under their authority. Indirect Rule sustained tyrannical and corrupt governments and promoted divisions in populations: In Northern Nigeria, the system strengthened the emirates, therefore increasing the possibility of revolution by the oppressed peasantry.

In Igboland and Ibibiolands, warrant chiefs were created to fill the leadership positions, because the Igbo and Ibibios had no chiefs, instead they had egalitarian systems of government which recognized authority as coming directly from the people. These warrant chiefs were corrupt and miniature tyrants. Indirect Rule weakened traditional rule: The traditional paramount ruler in British West Africa was not really the head of social and political order. Rather, he was a subordinate of the British overlord who used him to implement unpopular measures such as compulsory labor, taxation, and military enlistment.

Moreover, the British had the power to dispose of traditional rulers and replace them with their own nominees. And the British often interfered with existing paramountcies by breaking them up and raising subordinate chiefs to the status of paramount chiefs. The British District officers dictated to traditional rulers and treated them as employees of government rather than supervising and advising them.

Members of ruling families were not encouraged to attend new schools that were introduced for fear they may become denationalized. In northern Nigeria and northern Ghana, the people as a result were not given the sort of education that would enable them cope with new problems of colonial society, thus making them even more dependent on District Commissioners and British Technical Officers. The greatest fault of the Indirect Rule system, however, was its complete exclusion of the West African educated elite from local government: the educated elite were excluded from both Native Administration and colonial government, and thus became transformed into an alienated class.

In conclusion, Indirect Rule was implemented because it was cheap and practical. It preserved old conservative authorities who were ill equipped by education and temperament to cope with the changing environment. They were colonial subjects trained to work in administrative positions.

First, to cut down on costs by replacing French manpower. This would never really happen however. In French West Africa, the colonies were integral parts of the metropolitan country, and were also considered overseas provinces. West Africans were regarded as subjects of France, and like children were expected to have patriotic duties to their mother country. West Africans that were deemed civilized were rewarded by conferring the privileged status of French citizen on them.

They must also have a merited a position in the French service for at least ten years; and have evidence of good character and possess a means of existence. They must also have been decorated with the Legion of Honor, a military award. The advantages of French citizenship were many. A West African Frenchman could commute compulsory labor for a monetary payment. The person could be appointed to any post in France and in colony. He would however fall out of favor with West Africans because the French colonial government used him to forcibly conscript West Africans to fight for the French army during WWI.

However, the assimilation policy was abandoned as impractical. By , only eighty thousand of the fifteen million French West Africans had become French citizens. Seventy-eight thousand of those had because French citizens because they were born in one of the communes.

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Thus, in the s, the policy was changed to the policy of association, which was advocated as the most appropriate for French Africa. On paper, association reorganized the society supposedly to achieve maximum benefit for both the French and the West African. In practice however, scholars have argued that this policy was like the association of a horse and its rider, since the French would at all times dictate the direction that the development should take and determine what would be of mutual benefit to themselves and West Africans. The colonial belief in the superiority of French civilization was reflected in the judicial system, their attitude toward indigenous law, indigenous authorities, indigenous rights to land, and the educational program.

They condemned everything African as primitive and barbaric. The French employed a highly centralized and authoritarian system of administration. At the head of Federation was governor-general who answered to minister of colonies in Paris, took most of his orders from France, and governed according to French laws. At the head of each colony was the Lt. The Lt. The French policy of assimilation, was a policy of direct rule through appointed officials.

Like British, they divided their colonies into regions and districts. The colonies were divided into cercles under the commandants du cercles. Cercles were divided into subdivisions under Chiefs du Subdivision. Subdivisions were divided into cantons under African chiefs. Portugal, one of the poorest of the European colonist nations in Africa operated what amounted to a closed economic system in their African colonies. They created a system which welded their West African colonies to mother country, Portugal, both politically and economically. As such, their territories in West Africa were considered overseas provinces and integral part of Portugal.

One underlying connection of all West African Portuguese colonies was the presence of relatively large numbers of Portuguese in the colonies, especially after when there was a full-scale emigration program from Portugal, especially to Angola. The Portuguese operated a very authoritarian and centralized system of government. At the top of government was the Prime Minister. All of these offices were in Portugal. There were also Governors of Districts, Administrators of Circumscricoes , Chefes de posto and at the very bottom of the governmental hierarchy, the African Chiefs.

As in the British case, the Portuguese corrupted the systems of chieftaincies.

Open issues

They sacked chiefs who resisted colonial rule in Guine, and replaced them with more pliant chiefs. Thus, the historical authority of chiefs and their relationships with subjects was corrupted to one of authoritarianism which reproduced the authoritarian system of government in the Estado Novo dictatorship Real authority was held by the Portuguese council of ministers, which was controlled by the prime minister.

The direction of colonial policy was determined by the overseas ministry, aided by the advisory overseas council and two subsidiary agencies. The governor-general appointed the chief official resident for the colony. The chief official of the resident for the colony had far reaching executive and legislative power. The Circumscricoes and Chefes de posto roughly corresponded to the British provincial and district officers. They collected taxes, were judges and finance officers.

West African chiefs were subordinate to the European officers with little power to act on their own. Moreover, they could be replaced at any time by a higher Portuguese power. The assimilado policy held that all persons, no matter their race, would be accorded this status if they met the specific qualifications.

Similar to the French policy of assimilation, the Portuguese West African had to adopt a European mode of life; speak and read Portuguese fluently; be a Christian; compete military service; and have a trade or profession. However, only a small number Portuguese West Africans became assimilados because of the difficulty in achieving this station. Additionally, the Portuguese did not support education in their colonies. They built few secondary schools, and almost entirely neglected elementary education.

Most of their emphasis was given to rudimentary levels of training where Portuguese West African students were taught moral principles and basic Portuguese; making it almost impossible for the Portuguese West African, even if she or he wanted to, to achieve the status of assimilado. German colonialism was too short-lived to establish a coherent administrative policy. German African colonial experience essentially amounted to thirty years and was characterized by bloody African rebellions.

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However, their harsh treatment resulted in intervention and direct rule by German government. The Germans had a highly centralized administration. At the top of government was the Emperor. The Emperor was assisted by the Chancellor, who was assisted by Colonial Officers , who supervised the administration.

At the bottom were the jumbes or subordinate African staff. These men had been placed in the stead of recognized leadership. The colonialists thus instituted the Colonial Pact which ensured that West African colonies must provide agricultural export products for their imperial country and buy its manufactured goods in return, even when they could get better deals elsewhere. To facilitate this process, the colonialists therefore forced West Africans to participate in a monetized market economy. They introduced new currencies, which were tied to currencies of the metropolitan countries to replace the local currencies and barter trade.

Railroads were a central element in the imposition of the colonial economic and political structures. Colonial railways did not link West African economies and production together. They did not link West African communities together either, rather they served the purpose of linking West African producers to international trade and market place; and also connecting production areas to the West African coast. Moreover, railroads meant that larger amounts of West African produced crops could be sent to coast. All equipment used to build and operate the railroads were manufactured in Europe, and brought little to no economic growth to West Africa beyond reinforcing the production of West African cash crops for the external market.

What was more, thousands of West African men were forced to construct these railroads; and many died doing so. The key to the development of colonial economies in West Africa, was the need to control labor. In the colonies, this labor was forced. There were basically two types of forced labor in Africa.

The first, was peasant labor. This occurred in most parts of West Africa where agriculture was already mainstay. In East, Central, and South Africa, Africans performed migrant wage labor on European owned and managed mines and plantations. The colonial masters also imposed taxation in West Africa. By taxing rural produce, the colonial state could force West Africans to farm cash crops. West Africans had to sell sustenance crops on the market for cash.

Then use cash to pay taxes. Taxes could be imposed on land, produce, and homes hut tax. The requirement to pay tax forced West Africans into the colonial labour market. The imposition of foreign domination on West Africa did not go unchallenged. West Africans adopted different strategies to ensure survival. Some West African people living outside the cash crop areas found that they could get away with very little contact with the Europeans. Still others pursued Western education and Christianity while holding strong to their identities.

West African people struggled against the breaking up of their historical states as well as any threat to their land through petitions, litigations, uprisings. West Africans organized protest against colonialism in form of the assertion of the right to self-rule. The Congress was formed in Accra in under the leadership of J. Casely-Hayford, an early nationalist, and distinguished Gold Coast lawyer. Its aims were to press for constitution and other reforms , demand Legislative Council in each territory with half of members made up of elected Africa. However, they soon met with the same kind of British racial arrogance encountered by West Africans in the colonial government.

The British replaced Creole archbishops and superintendents with Europeans. A European succeeded Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther, and no African was consecrated to this high office again for next sixty years. The West African response to this was to break away from European churches and form new, independent West African churches. By , there were no less than 14 churches under exclusive African control.

The Independence movement among churches demanded that control be vested in West African lay or clerical leaders. Many churches incorporated aspects of West African ideas of worship into their liturgies, showing more tolerance for West African social institutions like polygamy.

The Prophetic Church Movement also emerged during this time, propelling the establishment of at least three prominent churches in West Africa which related Christianity to current West African beliefs. These prophets offered prayers for the problems that plagued people in villages, problems which traditional diviners had previously offered assistance in form of sacrifices to various gods. The Prophet Garrick Braide movement Began in , ending with imprisonment in The Aladura people of prayer Movement in Western Nigeria, began during the influenza epidemic , achieving its greatest impact during Great Revival of The African Church and prophetic movement was represented a nationalist reaction against white domination in religious sphere, whim encouraged Africans to adopt African names at baptism, adapt songs to traditional flavors, and translate the bible and prayer books into West African languages.

Despite the rapid spread of Christianity in West Africa, Islam was spreading even more rapidly. The emergence of African owned presses and newspapers played an important role in sowing the seeds of early nationalism. The West African elite, through their newspapers and associations, acted as watchdogs of the colonial government, protecting their citizens against its abuses.

Isaac Wallace Johnson and Nnamdi Azikiwe, for instance, were active in the West African press; and the press served as an important element in keeping the elite united. He propagated racial and national consciousness in Nigeria during the period. All worked to spread nationalism among West Africans. The press was in fact the single most important element in the birth and development of nationalism in British West Africa. They obtained necessary education to fight white domination effectively.

The fact that they often suffered from white racism while abroad made them far more militant. Solanke, one of fathers of Nigerian nationalism, toured West Africa to raise funds for union which published its own journal. Members stressed cultural nationalism and emphasized the greatness of the African past. One of members, Ghanaian J. Members believed that West Africans should seeks their independence in near future.

Ethiopia held a special significance for colonized Africans. It was an ancient Christian kingdom, an island of freedom in a colonized continent. Ethiopia was taken as symbol for African and African Christians. WW1 had far reaching political and economic impact on West Africa.

French West Africans were more affected than those in the British colonies. It is estimated that , Africans were recruited from Francophone Africa. Of these , fought in Europe. Official figures say that 24, died, but this number is assumed to be low, and did not account for Africans missing in action. Compulsory military service was introduced in From , French West Africans actively resisted, as wounded and mutilated Africans began to return home.

It soon became obvious that no adequate provision made for families of absent soldiers. Few Africans fought in British Africa. They took part in the conquest of Togo and Kameron. Like early nationalistic movements, this Pan African Congress was elitist and concerned with issues such as the disabilities of black civil servants. Resolutions made at this congress were moderate. Few delegates from English West Africa attended. Later congresses in , , and were even weaker and less influential. He spoke of pride in black identity and said that to be an African was a matter of joy and pride, and that black men everywhere would gain their rights by militancy and not by supplication.

Branches of the movement were established in Lagos and Gold Coast. Garvey urged black people in the New World to return to Africa and fight or what was their own. Liberia was going to be the launching point for this return. It was not a political party, but a discussion center which brought together larger numbers of debating clubs to discuss issues of national importance. Vaughan formed. In , it changed its name to the Nigerian youth movement. The movement was restricted first to Lagos, then Nnamdi Azikiwe and H.

Davies joined on their return to Nigeria in and respectively, and the movement became nationalistic in its outlook. The West African Youth League was formed in Wallace-Johnson had international background. He had visited London and Moscow and had worked for communist newspaper in Hamburg. On his return to the Gold Coast, he was jailed for sedition.