Rebellion in the Colonies
Most historians agree that England's King George was a stubborn man. And his pride made him do things that really angered the American colonists. King George thought Americans had to be under his and Parliament's authority. He didn't understand that the colonists had sailed to America to take charge of their own lives. On top of this the king needed money. England had huge war debts and since much of the debt had come fighting the French and Indian War in America, George III thought the colonists should pay their share. Besides, England was sending an army to America to protect the colonists from the Native Americans. Who was going to pay for that? Not us, said the colonists. We can protect ourselves. So when Great Britain levied taxes on sugar and stamps, the colonists wouldn't pay them. Worse than that, they attacked the tax collectors. Since they didn't have representatives in Parliament, they complained that they were being taxed without being represented . They said "no taxation without representation." They wanted to vote on their own taxes in their own assemblies, as they had been doing. George III was outraged. His former minister, William Pitt, issued an ultimatum in the House of Lords : "I maintain that the Parliament has the right to restrain America. Our power over the colonies is sovereign and supreme. This is the mother country, they are the children. They must obey ."
In many ways the problem between England and the colonies was like a problem between a parent and a growing child . In Philadelphia one of America's most famous citizensa great writer, thinker, and inventor named Benjamin Franklinwrote a funny poem about "Mother England." It went like this:
"We have an old mother that peevish is grown,
She snubs us like children that scarce walk alone;
She forgets we're grown-up and have sense of our own."