The American Revolution for Kids - British Parliament & Colonial Government Illustration

Road to Revolution for Kids - British Parliament vs Colonial Government

British point of view: The deal was that the colonists were supposed to buy finished goods from England and send back raw materials to make more goods. These goods were to be carried on English ships. The British king and parliament expected the colonists to obey British law.

Colonial point of view: Each colony had created their own laws and their own constitution. These constitutions were based on British law, but each colony had adjusted their constitution to fit their needs.

Each colony created an elected assembly of colonial representatives. These assemblies enforced the colony's laws, collected taxes, budgeted expenses, and carried out a few public works programs.

Colonial Agriculture & Trade: Many colonists had become wealthy by doing whatever business they could get away with on their own, bypassing British ships and controls.

Still, in their own way, most colonists thought of themselves as loyal to the crown.

Robert Walpole was Britain's Prime Minister from 1721-1742. He had his hands full with problems in Europe. Walpole thought of the American colonists as rude and coarse. Walpole believed as long as the colonies were sending needed raw materials back to England, the colonists could govern themselves. His attitude was shared by many men in Parliament.

So, although there were British government representatives in the colonies, their main job was not to govern, but to make sure raw materials from the colonies flowed back to England. That left the colonists free to govern themselves, which was just fine with them. It was the way things were for quite a while.

But the Proclamation of 1763, the Sugar Act in 1764, and the Stamp Act in 1765 changed things.

Explore the reaction of the American colonists to three new laws enacted by British Parliament in the 1760's: