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Old November 27th, 2012, 08:19 AM   #1
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Did some of the founding fathers have economic interests in independence?


Were Boston merchants like Samuel Adams and Johns Hancock concerned about British restrictions on manufacturing and trade outdside the British Empire? Was Washington influenced by investments in land west of the line of legal settlement held by him and his family?

Interesting that the British were putting limits on American trade and manufacturing and western expansion. The independent US became so large and such an economic power.
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Old November 27th, 2012, 08:27 AM   #2

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I've always thought the bedrock reason for starting the AR (American Revolution) was
over the landed wealthy Northern states wanted more say in making more profit.
The instant lack of a united front from the rest of the colonies against the British, proves
there was no great ground swelling from the common man, who in the end, would be doing
all the fighting and dying. Thomas Paine's writings helped convince the general populace that
it would be in their best interest, and futures, if they rallied behind the banner of independence.
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Old November 27th, 2012, 08:54 AM   #3

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Yes, they had economic interests that very much included access to Western Lands. After all, Taxation without Representation is, itself, really just an economic interest.
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Old November 27th, 2012, 09:04 AM   #4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjadams View Post
I've always thought the bedrock reason for starting the AR (American Revolution) was
over the landed wealthy Northern states wanted more say in making more profit.
The instant lack of a united front from the rest of the colonies against the British, proves
there was no great ground swelling from the common man, who in the end, would be doing
all the fighting and dying...
If you'll pardon me for "cutting and pasting" from primary sources, Patrick Henry, of Virginia, might beg to disagree:

Quote:
The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfil the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offence, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

...
I ask, gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us; they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done, to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne
...
There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.


- Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775

Source: Patrick Henry's "Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death" Speech : The Colonial Williamsburg Official History Site
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Old November 27th, 2012, 09:26 AM   #5

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You can, this time.
A fine speech from a man who owned 10,000 acres, almost 100 slaves &
two time governor of Virginia.
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Old November 27th, 2012, 09:33 AM   #6

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Originally Posted by tjadams View Post
You can, this time.
A fine speech from a man who owned 10,000 acres, almost 100 slaves &
two time governor of Virginia.
Slow clap, nod of approval

Right said!
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Old November 27th, 2012, 09:51 AM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjadams View Post
You can, this time.
A fine speech from a man who owned 10,000 acres, almost 100 slaves &
two time governor of Virginia.
Yes indeed, it was. Unfortunately I can't cut and paste the speeches of the 200,000 American soldiers who fought for the American cause, as they spoke with bullets.
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Old November 27th, 2012, 09:54 AM   #8
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Just like many of the Tory faction had an economic interest in the Empire, many in the Whig faction had an economic interest in independence.

However, purely economic motives as a source of political action were thrown out of respectable historical circles in the 60's and 70's. While you can still cite the Progressives with some sense (Jensen's book on the Articles period is still the only decent work on the matter), you usually have to water it down with some of the ideological work of later historians.
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Old November 27th, 2012, 12:25 PM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjadams View Post
You can, this time.
A fine speech from a man who owned 10,000 acres, almost 100 slaves &
two time governor of Virginia.
Patrick Henry was also a prominent player in the Kentucky land companies. I don't question his devotion to liberty and the cause but there is no point in denying that some economic interest was at play in the revolution. Without their unhappiness at the Proclamation of 1763, the VA and PA colonists make unlikely patriots. These men considered their economic future tied to continual speculation in land. They considered the Stamp Act and other taxation to be a stranglehold on them economically. Primarily because the taxes always had to be paid in specie and immediately. No tobacco receipts allowed.
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Old November 27th, 2012, 12:28 PM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rongo View Post
Yes indeed, it was. Unfortunately I can't cut and paste the speeches of the 200,000 American soldiers who fought for the American cause, as they spoke with bullets.
There is nothing wrong with viewing one's freedom and one's economic future as tied together. That said, I see your point, the common soldiers were not likely members of any land companies, etc. However, back to the other side of the coin, they very much had their eyes on those land bounties, etc. Desire for new lands actually ranged from the poor to the rich.
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