Unit 3 Essay: Debate over Taxes and Representation

In the years between the end of the French and Indian War and the skirmishes at Lexington and Concord, 1763-1775, the colonies and the mother country debated the right of Parliament to legislate for the colonies. The British claimed that Parliament held this right without question, while the colonies insisted that only a body which they actually elected could tax them. While the British espoused the commonly-held notion that Parliament represented all British possessions virtually, the colonists drew on their experiences with their colonial legislatures, maintaining that the only true representation was actual representation. Read the accounts below, which are written from either a British or American point of view, and write a paper that discusses both sides of the debate.

Assigned Readings

Focus Questions
Discuss the following questions in your essay for both perspectives:

  1. British perspective: According to the documents that support the British position (Declaratory Act, Soame Jenyns and Samuel Johnson), what is the relationship of the colonies to Great Britain? What rights and authority does Great Britain have over the colonies?
  2. American perspective: According to documents supporting the American position (Resolutions of the Stamp Act Congress, The Rights of the British Colonists Asserted and Proved), what rights belong to the colonists? How do they view the relationship between the colonies and Great Britain?

Your essay should be a minimum of 2 pages (500-750 words), and you should spend AT LEAST one page discussing each position (one page discussing the British perspective and one page discussing the American perspective. Your answer should reflect the main points from each reading, and ALL readings should be addressed in your essay. The above questions for each perspective should be addressed in your essay. Use examples from the readings to illustrate your main points. When you write your essay, don’t just go reading by reading; rather, see what common themes are found in the readings for both perspective and write paragraphs based on themes rather than examining each reading individually. Yes, this requires more thought, but then your essay won’t read like an extended book report on each article. If you have any questions, just let me know and I’ll be more than happy to help.

As per the instructions in the syllabus, most of the essay should be in your own words and reflect your own analysis of the readings. Please re-read the syllabus for expectations regarding essays.

  • Essays should be original and analytical and must contain a well thought out response to the question posed. Avoid plagiarizing. You must complete the Plagiarism Quiz with a score of 100 before you can submit either of your essays. All submissions will automatically be sent through Turnitin for an originality check. Any submissions that contain plagiarism will earn a grade of 0. This is not to say that you may not quote from your sources. In fact, the careful and limited use of direct quotes is encouraged, but such quotes must be formatted correctly and the source must be acknowledged using the MLA format. If you use direct quotations, you must not only cite your source, but must also use quotation marks. Example: Columbus explains that the weapons of the natives he encountered on the islands of the Caribbean were unsophisticated and that their javelin, a much-used weapon, was “no more than sticks” joined together. (Columbus, Journal, paragraph 12)
  • Use a 12-point font such as Arial or Times New Roman. Double-space between each line. Use 1-inch margins on all sides.
  • Each essay should contain a Works Cited page.
  • You should include specific examples from each of the secondary and/or primary sources specified in the development of your paper and you must cite these sources following the MLA style listed at the Purdue Owl’s Guide to the MLA Style . Use of an outside source not listed in the instructions will result in a grade of 0. Please contact me if you have questions about the sources.
  • Essays are to be written following the rules of correct grammar and spelling, both of which will be taken into consideration in the evaluation of the essay. Be sure to proofread your essays as grammar and spell checks typically do not catch words used in incorrect contexts. Avoid the use of first person unless otherwise instructed (I think, I believe, etc.).
  • Essays submitted after the due date will receive a twenty point deduction in points.