The 3 most prevalent causes of the American Revolution are imperialism, social tradition, and the Age of Enlightenment.

Imperialism
playing-british-empire.gif
This comic shows the Mother (mom) country, telling the colonist (son), what to do in the model, much like reality.

Imperialism is the theory that any given colony (in this context America) exists for the sole purpose of bettering, helping, and enhancing the “mother” country, or country of origin (Britain). This idea was the most important cause of the American Revolution because it created a political and economic rift between Britain and the American colonists.
Imperialism creates a political rift because to the people of England, the colonists in America are not considered people and have no voting rights or any form of influence on British parliament. As a result of having no voting rights and having no influence on the rulers (tyranny, as John Locke would say) the Americans felt they did not have to pay taxes, and so did not have to for a while with English approval.
The Americans were also angered by the British returning the Ohio Valley (which the Americans just won a seven year long war to gain) to the French and the Native Americans. This brings up the issue of the Americans having no representation or opinion on the British parliment and their decisions.
tarring-feathering-1773-granger.jpg
tarring-feathering-1773-granger.jpg

The major economic rift between America and Britain stems from Britain’s economic crisis. Britain was severely in debt from war and they turned to America for tax money.
At this time the Americans were not paying taxes, so after the British instilled taxes (beginning with the stamp act) Americans were irritated to the point of some radicals tarring and feathering the tax collectors, leading to the idea of “no taxation without representation”.
The entire declaration of Independence was based around the lack of representation.
The idea of “No taxation without representation.” was a central rallying point in the Declaration of Independence, as was the idea of no representation at all, specifically around the laws imposed on the colonies.
These ideas led to anger and talk of revolution. The Sons of Liberty was formed by and for the angry colonists to share ideas and to discuss matters about the rebellion against Britain, their mother country.

Social Tradition

The social tradition in America was one of general dislike for Britain, as all of the colonists were disaffected British people. The colonists were mostly, Irish, Scottish, Puritan, or simply people that did not want to live in Britain.
The Stamp Act further angered the colonists, as now they were taxed to help pay for the wars they had fought (in vain, as now the Ohio valley was once again the Natives and French).
The Proclamation Act of 1763 returned the Ohio Valley to the Natives and the French, the same Ohio Valley that was fought over in the Seven Years war. By giving the Ohio Valley away to the French and the Natives, the British alienated the colonists even more. This also brings about the lack of representation as seen in imperialism.
Through all of the colonists being disaffected British, the absence of taxation, and the return of the Ohio Valley to the Natives and the French, the British broke the colonial social tradition and this resulted in anger and talk of revolution.
Tarring and Feathering, what the Americans did to the tax collectors

The Enlightenment

The Enlightenment was a significant cause of the American Revolution because it gave the colonists the ideas and theories necessary to the revolution. The two most important of these ideas were Montesquieu’s social contract and John Locke’s idea of liberty with a government’s responsibility to its people.
The American colonists agreed with Montesquieu’s social contract because it gave everyone (specifically the government) responsibility to do operate effectively, which the Americans thought the British were not doing.
This idea is further explored in John Locke’s idea of tyranny and governmentalresponsibility, namely that the British imposed taxes on the Americans without giving them representation in government. According to Locke’s idea, this is considered tyranny and should be rebelled against.
Another concept of Locke’s was the idea of liberty, life, and property, Locke believed that these were all fundamental rights to all people. These ideas were a large part of informing the Americans of some of the rights that they did not have, despite the fact that the social contract applies to all people, colonial or European.

These three reasons, imperialism, social tradition, and The Enlightenment, are the three most important causes of the American Revolution, in that order. These ideas started the anger and interest in the Americans to the supposed injustice, and also alerted the colonists that these injustices must be rebelled against.

Pictures and sources of information:
Pictures:
http://fineartamerica.com/images-medium/tarring-feathering-1773-granger.jpg
http://www.marriedtothesea.com/030410/playing-british-empire.gif
Sources of information:
In-class notes
Text-book