1. Evaluate the system of mercantilism. What were the benefits for Britain and for the colonies? What were the costs to Britain and to the colonies? Is the system of mercantilism sustainable or will colonies inevitably revolt?
2. Was the American Revolution inevitable? Could America have gradually and peacefully developed independence within the British Commonwealth, as Canada later did, rather than engaging in a violent revolt? At what point in time, if any, was a violent revolt inevitable? What could the British have done to stop the Revolution?
3. Were all the American grievances really justified, or were the British actually being more reasonable than most Americans have traditionally believed?
4. What was the Revolutionary movement at its core really all about? The amount of taxation? The right of Parliament to tax? The political corruption of Britain and the virtue of America? The right of a king to govern America? The colonies’ growing sense of national identity apart from Britain? Was the Revolution truly a radical overturning of government and society—the usual definition of a “revolution”—or something far more limited or even “conservative” in its defense of traditional rights?
5. In 1775 which side would a neutral observer have expected to win—Britain or the colonies?