Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense”
• Jan 1776 (same time Washington training
troops in Boston)
• A persuasive pamphlet (120,000 sold) arguing
– Put pressure on Continental Congress
• John Locke’s Natural Rights
• Europe is “Mom”—not just England.
• Get people “off the fence.”
Common Sense Cont’d
• If England is Mom, how has she treated her
• Class Equality
– Don’t bow down.
Battle of Long Island 1776
March—British abandon Boston
April—Washington takes army to NY
July—British land 34,000 troops,200 ships
July 9th—Washington reads Dec. Of Ind. to his
• August 27th battle begins. British and Hessian
mercenaries attack and beat Patriots.
• Howe waits for Washington to surrender
• Heavy fog rolls in, Col. John Glover’s
Massachusetts fishermen ferry troops (9500)
from Long Island to Manhattan.
• Fall 1776—Washington on the run. NJ—
Penn—British Fox Hunt
• December 1776—troops down to 3,000.
– Enlistments expire December 31st.
TRENTON - CHRISTMAS NIGHT, 1776
Washington’s troops were demoralized, down to 3,000 men, and near
desertion. Washington needed a victory. He decided to complete a
surprise attack against Hessian troops at Trenton, New Jersey on Christmas
WHAT HAPPENED: On Christmas Night, 1776, Washington and his men
crossed the Delaware River into Trenton. At 9 AM the next morning, they
surprised and captured the Hessians in 45 minutes. On January
3, Washington went on to capture Princeton, New Jersey and to reclaim
New Jersey for the Americans. He wintered in Morristown. These victories
quickly raised American spirits since they knew that they needed some
victories if France was going to help them win the war.
Battle of Saratoga (Oct. 1777)
• British strategy in 1777 was to cut off the New England
colonies from the Middle and Southern colonies.
• Burgoyne down from Canada, Howe up from New York
• Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne is slow moving. (Baggage
and Patriot sabotage)
• Patriots led by Gen. Gates along with Benedict Arnold cut
off British near Saratoga.
• Arnold is hero on first day—placed under tent arrest by
• Leaves and saves the day again but is wounded.
• American victory—France and Spain will become allies.
• Gates takes the credit for victory.
VALLEY FORGE - WINTER 1777-1778
• Washington decided to spend the winter in
Valley Forge after losing Philadelphia to British
General Howe. Valley Forge was located just 20
miles west of the British in Philadelphia.
Washington was extremely low on supplies.
• Washington used this time to train his soldiers.
Washington and Baron von Steuben, the
Prussian general who was helping the
Americans, drilled the soldiers. When spring
came, the army was disciplined and well
Battle of Monmouth
• Clinton replaces Howe as British commander
• Leaves Philadelphia to head back to NY.
• Washington and newly trained troops chase
Clinton and engage in battle.
• Americans winning—British escape by
retreating across Hudson River to NY.
• Both sides back to where they started.
Bonhomme Richard vs Serapis
• Naval battle off the coast of England
– Brings the war to England—away from America
• John Paul Jones attacks faster stronger
ship(Serapis). Ships fight for 3 hours
• “I’ve not yet begun to fight”
• John Paul Jones wins the battle even though
his ship sinks (captures the other ship)
Benedict Arnold—West Point 1780
• His Plan: Give plans and troop locations to
British. Spread out his troops.
• What goes wrong? Major Andre(British) gets
captured by Skinners, plans are discovered.
Arnold escapes. Andre gets executed.
• After West Point:
Name not spoken
Trusted by no one
Name not to be on stone or granite
Regrets betrayal on deathbed.
Erected 1887 by
John Watts de Peyster
Brev. Maj. Gen. S.N.Y.
2nd V. Pres’t Saratoga Mon’t Ass’t’n
In memory of
the “most brilliant soldier” of the
who was desperately wounded
on this spot, the sally port of
Burgoynes “Great (Western) Redoubt”
7th October 1777,
winning for his countrymen
the Decisive Battle of the
and for himself the rank of
5 Reasons Arnold becomes a Traitor
Love--Loyalist wife (Peggy Shippen)
Wants to be on winning side (thinks British
• Hates France (Catholics)
War In the South
• British hope for Loyalist support.
• Americans use guerilla warfare.
– Francis Marion “swamp fox” “ghost”
• Late 1780: Cornwallis chases Greene
• January 1781 Cowpens, S.C.
– Heavy British casualties—time to leave south
– Guerilla warfare
Battle of Yorktown, Fall 1781
• 6 week siege
• Rochambeau, Lafayette and Washington
• French navy controls Chesapeake Bay
• Hamilton takes last position
• End of War
– “Yankee Doodle”
– “World Turned Upside Down”
Treaty of Paris 1783
• U.S. land to Mississippi River
• Loyalists to get rights and property back
• U.S. accepted as independent country.