The American War of Independence, culminating in the declaration of independence on July 4, marked a pivotal moment as the 13 North American states liberated themselves from the British Empire’s oppressive tax system, forming the United States of America.
The American struggle for independence distinguished itself from nationalist movements in other British colonies, where locals collectively revolted against Western rulers. In contrast, America saw British immigrants engaging in a heated dispute with the ruling British government officials.
(Source: How Mahatma Gandhi drew inspiration from the American independence struggle by Adrija Roychowdhury)
Parallels in Resistance:
Gandhi’s iconic Dandi March in 1930, protesting the British salt tax, echoed the spirit of the Boston Tea Party in the American Revolution.
The Boston Tea Party, a protest against the Tea Act of 1773, exemplified resistance to monopolistic practices, akin to Gandhi’s opposition to oppressive British policies.
Gandhi, in a message published in ‘Young India’ on January 4, 1932, drew a parallel between American independence and India’s struggle for freedom. He envisioned India achieving freedom through suffering, sacrifice, and non-violence, inspired by America’s path to independence.
Symbolism of Monopoly:
The Tea Act of 1773, granting a tea trade monopoly to the English East India Company, was ideologically opposed by American colonists. This monopoly, described by Samuel Adams as “equal to a tax,” sparked resistance that escalated into the American Revolution.
The Boston Tea Party, a protest against the tea monopoly, surprised the English Crown and triggered a conflict lasting from 1775 to 1783. This armed struggle ultimately led to the independent creation of the United States of America.
Gandhi’s salt march in India, mirroring the impactful nature of the Boston Tea Party, served as a wake-up call for British authorities, compelling them to acknowledge and address the demands of Indian nationalists.
In conclusion, Mahatma Gandhi’s admiration for the American struggle for independence is evident in the parallels between the two movements. The symbolic acts of resistance, ideological inspiration, and the impactful protests resonated in both contexts, shaping Gandhi’s vision for India’s path to freedom. The lessons drawn from the American War of Independence played a crucial role in guiding Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violent resistance and sacrifice towards achieving India’s independence.