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America Declares Independence (1775-1776)
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America Declares Independence (1775-1776)


An overview of the events leading up to America's Declaration of Independence, including the Siege of Boston, Battle of Bunker Hill, the words of Patrick Henry and Thomas Paine, and the affect the …

An overview of the events leading up to America's Declaration of Independence, including the Siege of Boston, Battle of Bunker Hill, the words of Patrick Henry and Thomas Paine, and the affect the declaration had on the American people.

Published in Education , News & Politics
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  • 1. Grade 7: Ch. 6, Sec. 4
  • 2. “The American Revolution was not simply about home rule, but who was to rule at home.”- Carl Becker
  • 3.  American Colonies not expected to put up much of a fight  British Army and Navy is superior, in numbers, fighting ability, and leadership  War was expected to be quick, with an easy British victory  Dire consequences for those in rebellion
  • 4.  Patriot: pro-revolution, supported American colonies  Loyalist: anti-revolution, supported British Army  New York and New Jersey were hotbeds of loyalist activity  Major example: Governor William Franklin of New Jersey  Father vs. Son is a mini example of the ENTIRE war
  • 5.  First major conflict of the American Revolution  15,000 America militiamen surround the city of Boston, where British soldiers had fled after the battles of Lexington and Concord  Siege: when military forces encircle another in the hopes they will surrender
  • 6.  Ethan Allen: led an attack of his backwoods fighters known as the “Green Mountain Boys” on the British Fort Ticonderoga  Artillery: cannons  Second Continental Congress: America’s makeshift government during the war, which met in Philadelphia  Continental Army: created by George Washington and Patrick Henry. Would be a centralized fighting force instead of many individual militias
  • 7.  “…Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
  • 8.  Major battle to take place near Boston  Most of the fighting actually took place on nearby Breeds Hill  British attack led by William Howe to push the militia off the hill  The power and strength of the British army would be on display  They charged three separate times and lost 2,200 men (in comparison to the Americans’ loss of only 400), yet they still were able to force them off the hill and win the battle
  • 9. “Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes!”
  • 10.  Taverns became places of political discussion  To revolt, or not to revolt?  Olive Branch Petition (1775): Members of congress drafted a letter asking for peace between England and America. The request was rejected by the King  “When once these rebels have been dealt a smart blow, they will submit.”  King announced new measures which would punish the colonies, including blockades of port cities and thousands of additional troops being sent to fight
  • 11.  Summer 1775: Washington arrives to take command. Gathers supplies and plans an invasion of the Quebec region of Canada, hoping to defeat the British there and gain Canadian support for the American cause  Co-commander of attack is Benedict Arnold  Attack in Canada fails after many months, and army returns home defeated
  • 12.  After many months under siege, the British are going to flee from Boston  Cannons captured from Fort Ticonderoga are brought to the heights above Boston and aimed at the city  Rather than risk destruction, William Howe and his soldiers fled, to never return
  • 13.  There was now no quick end in sight for the war  The simple rebellion needed to become more than just a series of battles. It needed to be more serious  Writers like Thomas Paine (“Common Sense”) wrote about the evils of King George III and the freedoms American colonists should have, inspiring a Declaration of Independence to take place  “Common Sense” published anonymously
  • 14.  “But where says some is the King of America? I'll tell you Friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal Brute of Britain...let it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve of monarchy, that in America the law is king!”  “The king is not to be trusted without being looked after, or in other words, that a thirst for absolute power is the natural disease of monarchy. Secondly.- That the commons, by being appointed for that purpose, are either wiser or more worthy of confidence than the crown.”
  • 15.  “Everything that is right or reasonable pleads for separation. The blood of the slain, the weeping voice of nature cries, 'tis time to part.”  “I consider the war of America against Britain as the country's war, the public's war, or the war of the people in their own behalf, for the security of their natural rights, and the protection of their own property.”
  • 16.  In summary:  It was absurd for an island to rule a continent. (Remember “home rule”?)  America was not a "British nation"; but was composed of influences and peoples from all of Europe.  Even if Britain were the "mother country" of America, that made her actions all the more horrendous, for no mother would harm her children so brutally.
  • 17.  Being a part of Britain would drag America into unnecessary European wars, and keep her from the international commerce at which America excelled.  The distance between the two nations made governing the colonies from England impossible. If some wrong were to be petitioned to Parliament, it would take a year before the colonies received a response.  Britain ruled the colonies for her own benefit, and did not consider the best interests of the colonists in governing Britain.
  • 18.  “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation...”
  • 19.  We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
  • 20.  Slavery was just as much a political issue in 1776 as it was in 1861 at the beginning of the Civil War  Slavery an issue among signers of DOC  Slavery not mentioned in the DOC, but several contradictory statements are (“all men are created equal”)  Are the seeds of the Civil War planted in 1776?  The DOC gets politicians talking as to whether slavery should be kept legal, because of this issue of freedom
  • 21.  “To contend for liberty and to deny that blessing to others involves an inconsistency not be excused.”- John Jay  “Slavery is such an atrocious debasement of human nature, that its very extirpation, if not performed with solicitous care, may sometimes open a source of serious evils.”- Benjamin Franklin
  • 22.  The American Revolution and DOC accidentally created a movement to end slavery  Between 1777 and 1804, all northern states would at least begin to consider gradually ending slavery  Vermont became the first state to outright ban it, in 1777  Massachusetts Supreme Court in 1781:“There can be no such thing as perpetual servitude of a rational creature.”
  • 23.  “Historians are taught not to judge the past by present standards…To exonerate slave owners on this basis erases from our history the thousands of early Americans, from Benjamin Franklin to Wendell Phillips, who proclaimed slavery wrong.”- Eric Foner  Exonerate: to excuse, or let someone get away with something