The long-range causes for the American Revolution may be found in the different social environment developing in England and America during previous decades. John Adams once wrote: "The Revolution was effected before the war commenced, in the minds and hearts of the people." For over a century and a half English colonists in North America had been transforming their Old World culture into something greatly different. The wilderness conditions of the new land generally promoted wider economic opportunity. England's colonial administration allowed extensive experience in self-government in her American possessions. Together these two developments introduced a high degree of social mobility, and without realizing it, perhaps, the "free-born American" aspired to a future different from that of his Majesty's subjects in the mother country. Each passing generation knew increasingly little of England, "having only heard of her." as one writer phrased it, "as a distant Kingdom, the rulers of which had, in the preceding century, persecuted and banished their ancestors to the woods of America." Nevertheless, the loyalty of the colonists was hardly in doubt until an unenlightened British ministry and an obstinate British monarch decided on an abrupt change of policy for their North American provinces. [excerpt]
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Bloom, Robert L. et al. "1. The American Revolution, 1776-1789. Pt. XI: The Revolutionary Years, 1776-1815." Ideas and Institutions of Western Man (Gettysburg College, 1958), 2-29.