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061 Why did the colonists fight the British?

61. Why did the colonists fight the British?
• because of high taxes (taxation without representation)
• because the British army stayed in their houses (boarding, quartering)
• because they didn’t have self-government

When people first began living in the British colonies (or areas of land that belonged to Great Britain but that were far away), they still thought of themselves as British citizens. But over time, something changed. They began to rebel against (or stop obeying) the British government because they thought that they were being treated unfairly. The people had created a new identity (or the way that they saw and understood themselves) and were becoming Americans. They began to fight against the British for three main (or most important) reasons: high taxes, quartering, and the lack of self-government. Let’s look at each of these three reasons.

The new Americans were unhappy with the high taxes (or money paid to the government) that were imposed (or forced on them) by the British government. It was taxation without representation, meaning that Americans were supposed to pay money to the British government even though they had no representation or ability to give their opinion in that government. This made the new Americans very angry.

Americans were also angry about the way that the British army treated them. British soldiers (or people who work in the army) were often quartered (or allowed to live, eat, and sleep in a place for a short period of time) in American homes without the permission (or approval) of the person who owned the home. Often these soldiers behaved very badly while they were in the home. This is the second reason why the new Americans decided to begin fighting against the British.

The third reason that Americans fought against the British was because they lacked (or didn’t have) self-government, which was the ability to create and run their own government. The land that would become the United States was far away from Great Britain, yet all the government decisions were being made in Great Britain. The new Americans longed (or strongly wanted) to make their own decisions, but the British wouldn’t let them.

So Americans fought against the British, and this fighting became known as the American Revolution, or the war that ended when the United States became its own country, separate from Great Britain.


colony – an area of land that is far away from the country it belongs to
* Pennsylvania was one of the earliest British colonies in North America.

to rebel against (something or someone) – to stop obeying something or someone; to stop doing what one has been told to do
* Many teenagers rebel against their parents by wearing strange clothing and staying out later than they are supposed to.

self-identity – the way that one sees and understands oneself
* Alexia's identity changed when she stopped working and decided to stay at home with her children.

taxes – money that people and businesses pay to the government so that it can do good things for its citizens
* If we raise taxes, the library will be able to buy more books.

to impose (something) on (someone) – to force someone to do or have something, especially if he or she does not want it
* Europeans imposed their way of life on Native Americans.

taxation without representation – a system where a group of people paying money to a government when they cannot give their opinion to that government
* Taxation without representation was one of the main reasons why Americans wanted to form their own government.

soldier – a person who fights in the military; a person who fights in the war
* Soldier need to know how to use guns.

quartered – allowed to live, eat, and sleep in a place for a short period of time
* During the storm, the refugees were quartered in other people's homes in a nearby town.

lack – to not have something that one needs
* They lacked food and water for two days when they got lost in the forest.

to long – to strongly want to have or do something
* Gray longed to travel to other states, but he didn't have enough vacation time.