The rise of the Second British Empire (1783-1815):During the 1760s and 1770s, Relations between the thirteen colonies of America and Britain became increasingly strained, primarily because of resentment of the British Parliament's ability to tax American colonists without their consent. Disagreement turned to violence and in 1775 the American Revolutionary war began. The following year,1776, the colonists declared the independence of the United States, and with the assistance of France - would go on to win the war in 1783.
The loss of the United States, at the time Britain's most populous colony, is seen by historians as the event defining the transition between the 'first' and 'second ' empires in which Britain shifted its attention away from the Americans to Asia, The pacific and later Africa. Adam Smith's 'Wealth of Nations', published in 1776, had argued that colonies were redundant, and that free trade should replace the old merchantilist policies that had characterised the first period of colonial expansion.