Causes of the Failure of the English

Causes of the Failure of the English:

The defeat of the English was a surprising fact because England was thought to be invincible after the Seven Years’ War and America stood in a weaker position. The condition of the colonies was miserable in contrast to that of the English. England possessed a vast empire. It possessed an invincible naval force, modern arms and weapons, a well-trained army and experienced commanders-in-chief. At all strategic places, there were English cantonments. On the contrary, George Washington possessed a small force and had never managed a standing army of more than 4000 soldiers. American forces faced a shortage of good weapons and cannons. Moreover, the American soldiers were in want of uniform. Many American Soldiers had to do without shoes. Even in the face of adversity, America obtained victory, and England was defeated.

We should note that the revolt against the British government did not erupt all of a sudden. The revolt was planned and led by very prudent persons. Very skilled and dedicated Americans executed the course of revolt with great diligence. The revolt would have never succeeded if it had been handled loosely. The learned historians Ellen Nevins and Henry Steele Comegar attribute the success of America to the “solid organization of the American patriots and disorganization of Tories or loyalists.”

The planners of the British war policy underestimated the strength of America. They were overconfident of their power. General Geize sent his report to London stating that four regiments of the army would be sufficient to conquer the American colonies.

Certain Whig leaders like Willam Pitt, Edmund Burke, and Charles Fox had sympathy with Americans. Besides, many soldiers of the British army held the American side right. Therefore, they did not fight with a dashing spirit which was generally required against the enemy. British traders were not in favor of fighting with America.

England is 3000 kilometers away from America. The lack of means of transportation extended the distance between the two countries and made it difficult to send provisions to the army in time. Conditions worsened when the marine forces of France and Spain disrupted the supply of provisions that came through the Atlantic Ocean. The British soldiers had to face great hardship in the absence of local cooperation. In addition to it, the theatres of war were scattered over an area of about 1000 kilometers. The colonists were well acquainted with the geographical situation of their land. Therefore, the Americans did not face any difficulty in fighting the war on their own soil whereas the English soldiers had to fight on a foreign land.

George III was accountable for the formation of ministry on various occasions from 1760 onwards. Therefore, he was responsible for losing America. The policies of the government lacked in harmony. The Greenville government enforced the Stamp Act but the Rockingham government revoked it. The Declamatory Act (1766), declared that the British Parliament was empowered to levy taxes on Americans; but at the same time, it was also declared that the imposition of such taxes was illegal. Townshend levied taxes on five things without a well-thought-out plan so they were greatly opposed and had to be revoked except the tax on tea. George III was mistaken when he guessed that the war would end very soon and England would come out victorious. He imagined that the resources of France would soon exhaust but the power of England crumbled even before that. Truly speaking, the British government had neither policy nor project; neither a firm determination nor a war strategy. On the whole George III, cannot be held solely responsible for the revolution because he did not create problems that had been pestering England for a long time. There had been a great dissatisfaction among the American colonists for the past many years. There were many reasons for the dissatisfaction such as the contemporary business system, economic exploitation, racial disparity, corrupt and imperialistic attitude of the government. The British government overlooked the problems of the colonies instead of solving them. With the passage of time, the problems became complex and unfortunately, George III was not competent enough to solve them.

George Washington’s competent and efficient leadership contributed to the success of the colonists. George Washington became a cynosure of inspiration in the war because of his dedicated patriotism, sobriety, wisdom, and moral courage. Even in the face of the most difficult situation, he did not lose his patience, determination, and prudence. He possessed a harmonious blend of diligence and foresight. On the strength of his inexhaustible integrity, courage, and modesty he got victory in the end. “He was quick in taking a timely action and was crowned with the title of “Refevius” because of his forbearance and integrity.” He commanded his army with strict discipline and meted out severe punishment to soldiers for their wrong-doing. But he earned the complete loyalty of his companions by dealing with them with love and uprightness. In praise of Washington and his army, Goldwin Smith rightly said, “The revolution had three fine things: Washington’s inimitable character, exemplary morale of his army in the Forge Valley, and loyalty of the elite.” It may be concluded that Washington was a leader of high ambitions and good character who led the American Revolution successfully even in the face of adverse circumstances. The colonists reposed their firm faith in Washington. On the strength of his military leadership, he maintained the confidence of his nation. Whenever defeat seemed to be inevitable, his war tactics steered the course of war. Generally, his companions ate cheap food. His soldiers had to do without shoes and coats even in winter and were constrained to live in dirty and unhealthy trenches. But their faith in Washington was steady and intact and did not waver or exhaust up to the last moment of victory. In support of Washington’s efficient leadership, the learned historian Ramsay Muir has stated: “His leadership kindled deep faith and intrepidity in the minds of colonists which led him to exemplary victory even in the face of very tough struggle.”

British commanders and soldiers played a decisive role in the success of colonists. Nothing could be expected of the army of European mercenary soldiers fighting against the colonies. British commanders also committed many mistakes. Howe and Burgoyan performed their task with ease. Becuase of their carelessness, they missed rewarding occasions several times and never performed their duty with complete dedication.

With the open participation of France in the war, victory leaned to the side of the colonies. The determination of Spain and Holland to extend help to colonies weakened the position of England. The marine force of these countries put the English marine force in great distress by disrupting the supplies of provisions meant for the British forces stationed in America. With the help of France, Washington compelled Lord Cornwallis to capitulate in York Town.

British forces lacked the skill to deal with guerrilla warfare and American war was fought on this strategy. In fact, Washington had to keep a watch over a few fighting targets while Cornwallis and Howe had to win a whole continent. Lord North and George III failed to take stock of this situation.

Important Links:

Ideas and Principles
Negligible Interference by British Government
No Affection for England in the American Colonies
Development of Intellectual Awareness
The Colonists Love for Freedom
Impact of Seven Years War
Economic Exploitation of the Colonies
Greenville Policy
Rockingham Declaratory Act
Townshend Tax Project
Lord North Tea Policy
Intercontinental Conference of the Congress
Declaration of Independence
Independence War of USA Significant Events
Paris Pact September 3, 1783
The Constitution of America
Nature of the Independence War of USA
American Revolution or American War of Independence