Their combined population now exceeded 1,500,000-a six fold increase since 1700 (Greene, 1987).
The implications of the physical growth of the colonies were far greater than mere numerical increase would indicate. By the mid-eighteenth century, as the pre-American Revolutionary War was raging on, many Americans had a change of heart and mind with respect to their attitudes about the mother country.
As the French and Indian war was coming to a close, and the period of salutary neglect was flourishing, there was a profound shift in American's feelings. The Americans started to become infuriated with England, and wanted their freedom to life, liberty, and property without interference.
The zeitgeist, or "spirit of the times," included the far-reaching period of salutary neglect and the conclusion of the French and Indian War. Salutary neglect refers to the state of Anglo-American relations before the end of the French and Indian War. British Parliament did not interfere in the government of the colonies during this time, and America existed in relative political isolation.
Britain was the mother country; however, Britain was looked upon as a lenient and easygoing parent, not interfering with its child's (America's) decisions. Many Americans even took pride in the mother country, and respected and honored it as their legacy. "For the great majority of Americans who still spoke of England as 'home' even though they had never been there, being English meant having a history that stretched back continuously into a golden age of Anglo-Saxton purity and freedom."
Britain served as the mercantilist dominating country, and not a monarchy over America. Britain helped America's trade; and, as far as many colonists thought, America was just an extension of England itself.
Initially, before the change in attitude toward England occurred, the Americans did not even want independence. They merely wanted to be treated justly under English law. When the Stamp Act was passed in 1765, colonists did not believe that this "internal taxation without representation" was abiding by the law. They thought this was unjust and wrong.
As Benjamin Franklin tried to point out to England, America was pretty much exclusively opposed to internal taxes. He made England believe that the colonists were more likely to comply with external or "indirect" taxes. However, the Stamp Act, one of the first direct taxes on the American people, caused the most uproar, and foreshadowed what was to come within the next two decades.
Down to 1763, Great Britain had formulated no consistent policy for her colonial possessions. The guiding principle was the confirmed mercantilist view that colonies should supply the mother country with raw materials and not compete in manufacturing. But policy was poorly enforced, and the colonies had never thought of themselves as subservient. Rather, they considered themselves chiefly as commonwealths or states, much like England herself, having only a loose association with authorities in London.
At infrequent intervals, sentiment in