Why was it Fought and What For?
July 4, 1776. A document is signed that will forever change the world. It will spawn the world’s greatest superpower and champion of freedom. The events that led to this historic signing however are much bigger. The British Army was the most powerful in the world and the British Empire spanned the globe. Yet somehow a ragtag army of farmers and militiamen beat them.
Why? What were the reasons that this incredible feat could’ve come to pass? There were certainly many; they all contributed to what some could consider the most important and influential war in history. This is a list of grievances that the king committed towards the colonists, compiled by the colonists themselves, found in The Declaration of Independence:
“He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
- For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
- For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:
- For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
- For imposing taxes on us without our consent:
- For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:
- For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:
- For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:
- For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:
- For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions”(Continental).
For all these wrongs did the colonists decide to free themselves from England.
What did they fight for?
The colonist militia men fought for liberty, justice and freedom. They no longer would passively stand for the Tyranny of the King. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “ I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery”(Jefferson). This shows the militiamen’s fight for an ideal of something greater. And their ultimate purpose to make their land a better place to live. What they fought for is stated in the preamble to the United States Constitution: “ We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity”(Congress). This was the militiamans fight, to keep his country free.
The American Revolution was one of the most important wars in history. It showed that a smaller seemingly weaker force, when motivated by the principles of liberty, could take on a Tyrant and win. It was fought to free the people from tyranny and to secure the blessings of liberty for all Americans. It motivated people around the world, and still does today. The revolution instilled into the hearts of men the eternal drive for freedom. God Bless the USA.
Congress. “The Constitution of the United States of America” 1787.
Continental Congress. “The Declaration of Independence” 1776. USA.
Jefferson, Thomas. “Quotation” 1787.