British Colonialism Essay
A group of patriots was responsible for much anti-British sentiments in the colonies. Who were these men? How did they accomplish their goals?
The British colonization policy made Great Britain one of the most powerful country in the world. The empire covered enormous territory and millions of people were under its control. At the same time, the policy of Great Britain in colonies often provoked the opposition and dissatisfaction of the local population. In such a situation, it was quite natural that the population of colonies started to resist to the oppression of British, to the extent, that they targeted expel British from the colonies. In this respect, it should be pointed out that such an opposition was not spontaneous, instead, there was a group of people that actively resisted to Great Britain interference and pure exploitation of the colonies in its own interests. In the US such a group of people that encouraged and spread anti-British sentiments was later known as the Republican Party, which after the war of Independence fell apart forming the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. Obviously, the leaders of the patriots were Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Paine.
First of all, it should be said that the patriots were really enthusiastic and eager in the struggle of the colonies for independence. In fact, it is possible to estimate that such patriots as Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Paine were the major inspirers of anti-British sentiments in the colonies and the following war on Independence. Unlike many other inhabitants of the colonies who had a stable, high social position, who were wealthy and had a high level of income, these patriots, even though their socio-economic position may be not very good but still they were intellectual and social elite of the colonies. At the same time, other representatives of the elite in the colonies often did not share their views and, on the contrary, many of them were interested in the maintenance of the British rule in the colonies since it provided them with wealth, high income, and stable future.
In stark contrast, the patriots could not admit that Great Britain continued their colonial policy defining the life of the colonies without any regard to the real interests and needs of the local population. In actuality, they perfectly realized that the colonial policy of Great Britain resulted in the total oppression of the liberty of the population of colonies, its economic exploitation and permanent deprivation. In fact, they had no doubt that the policy of Great Britain in relation to its colonies could not be just because it was not interested in the development of the colonies not only economically but also technologically and socially.
It should be said that such patriots and Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine were really outstanding thinkers of their time, but what was more important in the spread of anti-British sentiments in the colonies, was the fact that they were real patriots. This means that they really wanted to free the colonies from the domination of Great Britain and, naturally, they have strong reasons to strive for independence. In this respect, it is important to underline that the interest of people living in the colonies and the future of the colonies were apparently more important for these patriots than their own future perspectives and social position because their ideas of struggle against British colonialism naturally resulted in the growing dissatisfaction of the colonial authorities. As a result, instead of having good career perspectives, a possibility to get wealthy and prosperous following the example of many other people who were loyal to British and assisted them to exploit the colonies that made them rich and powerful, the patriots risked to get persecuted by the colonial authorities and, therefore, lose everything they had and all perspectives. Nevertheless, they continued their struggle.
Obviously, the major reason for such a risky decision of the patriots was the desire of freedom and independence of the colonies and the local population. To a significant extent, such a desire was determined by their education and philosophical views. As it has been already mentioned above, they were intellectual elite of the colonies, but what is more they were also significantly influenced by the progressive philosophical ideas of their epoch, including those of John Lock. At the same time, the life in the colonies made them closer to the nature and more distanced from the European civilization with its boundaries and limitations. As a result, they developed their own philosophy, their own viewpoint on the development and future of the colonies and this vision had nothing in common with British colonialism. Instead, they insisted on the necessity of the implementation of the new legislation that would give all people equal rights and opportunities. In other words, they simply wanted to make people living in the colonies free and protected from the violation of the basic civil rights.
In this respect, it should be pointed out that the patriots spread their ideas concerning freedom and civil rights of the population of colonies using the means that were accessible to them. Basically, they used media, basically newspapers, to spread their ideas, though it is necessary to underline that they were also outstanding authors who created their own writings and spread their published worked in the colonies. For instance, “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine had been widely read and provided a simple, clear case for independence that many found compelling. Not less or probably eve more significant was the work of other patriots, especially of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. Their liberal and democratic views were also widely spread throughout the colonies, basically due to the printed media by means of which their works and ideas were spread.
In such a way, their position was well-known to the public and, what was even more important, their ideas were apparently progressive and naturally attracted a large amount of people living in colonies to support their intentions to gain independence. In this respect, it is worthy of mention that the patriots were quite convincing. For instance, Thomas Jefferson insisted on the declaration of independence arguing that its purpose was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of… but to place before the mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take” (Barthelmas, 2003, p.135).
Similarly Benjamin Franklin spread his ideas of independence and freedom. In this respect, it is worthy of mention that he issued “Poor Richard’s Almanac”, in which he spread his ideas about his vision of the future of the colonies and the new mode of life. Eventually, the activity and ideas of the patriots became the ideological basis of the war of Independence and evoked strong anti-British sentiments among people living in the colonies.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the patriots, such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine produced a profound impact on social and political life of the colonies. In fact, they revealed the essence of the British colonialism and the extent to which it was destructive for the colonies. They had progressive ideas based on the principle of democracy and respect of civil rights of all people, which they spread using printed media. In such a way, their ideas soon gained the popularity among people living in the colonies because they really suggested an alternative, free mode of life to the oppressive British colonialism.
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