The Royal Navy in America, 1760-1775: A Study of Enforcement of British Colonial Policy in the Era of the American Revolution

The Royal Navy in America, 1760-1775: A Study of Enforcement of British Colonial Policy in the Era of the American Revolution

The Royal Navy in America, 1760-1775: A Study of Enforcement of British Colonial Policy in the Era of the American Revolution

The Royal Navy in America, 1760-1775: A Study of Enforcement of British Colonial Policy in the Era of the American Revolution

Excerpt

From the time of England's first overseas expansion, she was a prime example of Alfred Thayer Mahan's dictum: sea power is a necessary prerequisite for empire. From the age of the "wooden walls" to the age of the dreadnoughts, England disdained to use her Royal Navy as a static defense line around her island kingdom. Instead, by gaining mastery of trade routes and establishing overseas bases, the Royal Navy made England sovereign over large areas of the world.

This book is but one chapter in the many-sided story of the Royal Navy and the British Empire. It is a study of the navy as an instrument of British colonial policy during the years 1760 to 1775, a period when thirteen of England's American colonies resisted that policy and began their fight for independence. Many historians have been aware that the Royal Navy played a role in the events leading to the American Revolution, but no one has treated that role as a separate topic.

British colonial policy after the end of the Seven Years' War in 1763 had three basic aims: (1) to defend the empire, (2) to place colonial government and trade under stricter central control, and (3) to raise a revenue in the colonies that would help defray defense expenditures and ease the debt burden at home. The British government counted on the Royal Navy to help achieve these aims, and the Americans, in resisting, came into direct conflict with the navy. The purpose of this book is to show what the North American Squadron of the Royal Navy did during the fifteen years before the battles of Lexington and Concord, how it enforced British colonial policy, how the American colonists challenged the navy, and how the navy dealt with colonial opposition.

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