Policial Development In Colonial America
Although the colonists were essentially British, the culture of colonial America had an identity of its own, well distinguished from its motherland. New political ideas and practices that arose in colonial America were very different from Britain's deep- rooted monarchial and parliamentary customs.
However, despite the variations, the two separate ideological governments did have one similarity in terms of both being egoistical societies. Neither society was based on the feelings of humanity and self sacrifice. They only believed in extracting the best for their own benefit regardless of how it would affect the other government.
With the enlightenment of the Americans, new ideas came into being that in turn led to the alteration in ideas of the colonists as well. Under the influence of these new ideas, colonists now had begun to think in a different fashion, one that no longer bared much resemblance to the British mode of thought. These very changes in the colonial political ideas triggered off a rift between the American colonies and Great Britain, which in due course of time resulted into the American Revolution. The prime issue contributing to the political quarrels between the two was the exaggerated taxation laws placed on the American colonial citizens. Taxation acts such as the Stamp Act of 1765, which stated that revenue stamps be placed on all legal documents for defense and security of the colonies, and the Quartering Acts, which stated that all colonial citizens were required to house British soldiers and feed them as needed, only led to more agitation and instigated the conflict further. Moreover, such taxing procedures on the colonials aggravated them further with the British system and aided in shaping the political view of the budding country.
The foremost political view spelled out independency and fair exchange of power, which can be understood in the notable colonial dogma of ‘No taxation without representation’. This simple doctrine illustrates the belief that is still held in America's present political system, which states that if one cannot have full authority of one's own actions then he must have an equal say in what he is a component of. Each of the thirteen colonies had its own legal and political systems, based initially on their governmental charter with very minor and inconsequential differences. This system, resembling what would later be regarded as federalism, did allow for mobility and competition among colonies. Each colony had elective assemblies and a governor, who was often appointed by the Crown. It set its own suffrage requirements, made its own budgetary decisions and was responsible for its own economic arrangements.
Despite this, the colonies could not exert complete independent powers since they were still part of the developing British Empire and subject to metropolitan controls. All were bound by the terms of the metropolitan Navigation Acts, influencing exports, imports, and shipping and no colony could opt out of its provisions. The Navigation Acts were part of the system of mercantilism, aimed at increasing shipping, ships, production, and incomes of merchants, all to benefit residents of England. Similarly, when most of the settlements became Crown Colonies, decisions made in colonial legislatures were required to obtain final approval from the British parliament, which could overrule colonial decisions. In times of warfare, the colonies fought on the side of the British, and colonial militias were often called upon in wars against the French and Indians. The main army and navy costs were paid by the British, thus saving the colonies from the expense of defense and reducing manpower needs. Therefore, colonies were a combination of colonized nation and independent region, with their own leaders and legislatures.
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