But the most difficult of all colonial problems was that of determining proper political relations with the motherland. While the colonies were weak and exposed to external dangers these relations gave rise to no acute controversies; but after 1760, when America’s economic interests had grown greatly in importance, and when the treacherous arm of France had been removed from the northern frontiers—then it was that serious estrangements began. Matters which might have been easily adjusted under earlier conditions became sources of open friction and ill-feeling; the breach widened and active resistance to the authority of the home government ensued.

It is to be borne in mind, however, that the causes of the American Revolution were neither superficial nor few. The Declaration of Independence catalogues the colonial grievances as the colonists saw them, and their name is legion.〖H. C., xliii, 150–155.〗

The thirteen revolted colonies could not very well manage their struggle for independence as a joint enterprise without some form of central government, and a congress of delegates, sitting at Philadelphia, was established to meet this necessity. With no legal basis during the early years of its existence, this congress eventually framed and secured the adoption of the Articles of Confederation which served as a working constitution for the body of States during the next decade.〖H. C., xliii, 158-168.〗 These articles gave very little power to the central government and while they served a useful purpose in their time, facilitating the settlement of matters at the close of the war, it was realized everywhere that they could not afford a permanently satisfactory basis of union.

All Directories