The American Revolution: Introduction

Just War, Rebellion, and the American Revolution: John Keown and Modern Critiques on Whether the War of Independence was Just.

Part 18: Context – The American Experience Culminating With The American Revolution, Introduction

By Leonard O. Goenaga

After the struggles of Englishmen against tyranny in the Thirty Years War and Glorious Revolution, Colonists experienced what historians call salutary neglect.1 Between 1607-1763, this unofficial British policy would leave absent Royal supervision and allow the Colonists both the freedom to prosper economically, and the freedom to govern their affairs. Various chartered colonies developed their own legislatures and courts absent the involvement of Parliament, and by the time the Crown would come to solidify direct control, they found systems of established law and self-rule. Between the years 1756-1763, the British would fight numerous wars of expansion across the globe in what is known as the Seven Years War. A rise in interest among the British to solidify control over the Colonies would result from a need to generate funds to pay down a substantial debt acquired during its military campaigns against the French.


1 James Henretta. “Salutary Neglect,” Encyclopedia Virginia. Ed. Caitlin Newman, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (26 Dec. 2011, 7 Jun. 2011) <>. “Salutary neglect was Britain’s unofficial policy, initiated by prime minister Robert Walpole [who would himself encourage the policy, saying ‘If no restrictions were placed on the colonies, they would flourish.’], to relax the enforcement of strict regulations, particularly trade laws, imposed on the American colonies late in the seventeenth and early in the eighteenth centuries. Walpole and other proponents of this approach hoped that Britain, by easing its grip on colonial trade, could focus its attention on European politics and further cement its role as a world power. Because the policy was unwritten, it went unnamed until March 22, 1775, when Edmund Burke, addressing Parliament, cited British officials’ “wise and salutary neglect” as the prime factor in the booming commercial success of the country’s North American holdings. . . . But the policy had an unintended side effect: it enabled the colonies to operate independently of Britain, both economically and politically, and to forge an American identity. Some historians argue that this loose hold on the colonies, which George III and his ministers tightened in 1760, gave them the freedom to pull away from Britain and start down the path to revolution. ”

Self-Educated American Research Writer, Leonard O. Goenaga
, is a Baptist Associate Pastor (assigned to the Youth) at Glory of God Christian Fellowship, Raleigh, North Carolina; a Mentor (Computer Lab/Technology) at the Wake Forest Boys & Girls Club; a husband (to Katrina); and rugby coach. He holds a B.A. in Political Science (with a specific concentration in Political Theory, Social Contract, and Constitutionalism), a second B.A. in Religious Studies (with a concentration in World Religions and Early Christianity), a Master of Divinity in Christian Ethics, and an A.A. in Entrepreneurship. He has begun Ph.D with a concentration likely centered on an analysis of Locke’s Social Contract, H.L.A. Hart’s Legal System, American Constitutionalism, and Baptist Ecclesiology of Covenant. Visit his website at