HIST-8 lec.5: Revolution

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  • 1. The Revolution, Part I: From Resistance to Revolution 1763 End of the French & Indian (Seven Years’) War 1764 Sugar Act 1765 Stamp Act 1766 Declaratory Act 1767 Townshend Acts 1770 Boston Massacre 1773 Boston Tea Party 1774 Coercive (“Intolerable”) Acts First Continental Congress 1775 first battles: Lexington & Concord, Ticonderoga, Breed’s Hill Second Continental Congress 1776 Declaration of Independence
  • 2. Thinking about the Revolution • The British and the colonists often looked at the same situation and drew completely different conclusions. • The British and the colonists often believed that each other’s actions were part of some kind of sinister plot. • Independence was not a serious option until the very last moment (Spring 1776). • Colonial unity barely existed. • It seemed impossible that the colonies could win a war against Britain.
  • 3. … but what still heightens our apprehension is that those unexpected proceedings may be preparatory to new taxation upon us. This we apprehend annihilates our charter right to govern and tax ourselves; it strikes at our British privileges, which as we have never forfeited them, we hold in common with our fellow subjects who are natives of Britain. (Mass. town meeting petition)
  • 4. it is true] that we cannot be HAPPY, without being FREE—that we cannot be free, without being secure in our property—that we cannot be secure in our property, if, without our consent, others may, as by right, take it away— that taxes imposed on us by parliament, do thus take it away (Dickinson)
  • 5. It is a very improbable supposition, that any people can long remain free, with a strong military power in the very heart of their country: Unless that military power is under the direction of the people, and even then it is dangerous. – History, both ancient and modern, affords many instances of the overthrow of states and kingdoms by the power of soldiers, who were rais’d and maintain’d at first under the plausible pretense of defending those very liberties which they afterwards destroy’d. (Sam Adams) it is well known that from the first landing of the troops that the troops’ behavior was to a great degree insolent, and such as looked as if they really believed that we were a country of rebels and that they were sent here to subdue us. (Sam Adams)
  • 6. Friends! Brethren! Countrymen! The worst of plagues, the detested TEA … is now arrived in this harbor. The hour of destruction, or manly opposition to the machinations of tyranny, stares you in the face. Every friend to his country, to himself and posterity … is now called upon … to make a united and successful resistance to this last, worst, and most destructive measure of administration.
  • 7. We were immediately ordered by the respective commanders to board all the ships at the same time, which we promptly obeyed. The commander of the division to which I belonged, as soon as we were on board the ship appointed me boatswain, and ordered me to go to the captain and demand of him the keys to the hatches and a dozen candles. I made the demand accordingly, and the captain promptly replied, and delivered the articles; but requested me at the same time to do no damage to the ship or rigging.
  • 8. Lord North: ―The Americans have tarred and feathered your subjects, plundered your merchants, burnt your ships, denied all obedience to your laws and authority; yet so clement and so long forbearing has our conduct been, that it is incumbent on us now to take a different course. Whatever may be the consequence, we must risk something. If we do not all is over.‖ another member of Parliament: ―The town of Boston ought to be knocked about their ears and destroyed. I am of the opinion you will never meet with that proper obedience to the laws of this country until you have destroyed that nest of locusts.‖
  • 9. What fools you are to pretend to resist the power of Great Britain! She maintained last war 300,000 men, and will do the same now rather than suffer the ungrateful people of this country to continue in their rebellion.
  • 10. “Ye villans, ye Rebels, disperse; Damn you, disperse! Lay down your arms, Damn you, why don’t you lay down your arms!” (British officers)
  • 11. “Rascals … concealed villans … making the cowardly disposition … to murder us all.” (British officer) “… opened my curtains with his bayonet fixed, pointing the same at my breast. I immediately cried out, ‘For the Lord’s sake do not kill me.’ He replied, ‘Damn you!’ One that stood near said, ‘We will not hurt the woman, if she will go out of the house. But we will surely burn it.’” (Hannah Adams)
  • 12. The enthusiastic zeal with which these people have behaved must convince every reasonable man what a difficult and unpleasant task General Gage has before him; even women had firelocks. (British officer) [the colonial forces are] not the despicable rabble too many have supposed them to be. These people show a spirit and conduct against us they never showed against the French, and everybody has judged of them from their former appearance and behavior, which has led many into great mistakes. (British officer)
  • 13. ―should be called the Act of Independency, because it makes us independent in spite of our supplications and entreaties‖ (John Adams)
  • 14. Mass. Assembly asks towns: “If the honorable Continental Congress should decide that, for the safety of the United Colonies, if was necessary to declare them independent from Great Britain, would they solemnly engage with their Lives and Fortunes to Support the Congress in the Measure?”
  • 15. The Revolution, Part II: Securing Independence • Phase 1: A Show of Force – 1775 militia battles (Lexington, Concord, Ticonderoga, Boston) – 1776 Independence • Phase 2: Split at the Middle – 1776 New York – 1777 New Jersey, Philadelphia, Valley Forge – 1778 Saratoga, NY French alliance • Phase 3: Control the South – 1781 Yorktown, VA – 1783 Treaty of Paris
  • 16. Thinking about the Revolution: 1. The British and the colonists often looked at the same situation and drew completely different conclusions. 2. The British and the colonists often believed that each other’s actions were part of some kind of sinister plot. 3. Independence was not a serious option until the very last moment (Spring 1776). 4. Colonial unity barely existed.
  • 17. Thinking about the Revolutionary War: 1. Common misconceptions – Bumbling redcoats vs. crafty patriot militiamen – Hindsight: Patriot or Traitor? 2. British advantages Experience, leadership Funding, supply, size 3. British disadvantages Logistics: the Atlantic Navy Tribal alliances Loyalists Debt Imperial enemies 4. Colonial advantages 5. Colonial disadvantages Sympathy for Americans
  • 18. Thinking about the Revolutionary War: 1. Common misconceptions – Bumbling redcoats vs. crafty patriot militiamen – Hindsight: Patriot or Traitor? 2. British advantages Experience, leadership Funding, supply, size 3. British disadvantages Logistics: the Atlantic Navy Loyalists Debt Sympathy for Americans Imperial enemies Hostile civilians 4. Colonial advantages Home turf advantage Total war The cause Do not need France to win Washington 5. Colonial disadvantages Logistics: organization, funding, supply, size Tribal alliances Experience Morale Unpredictable citizen armies
  • 19. THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.
  • 20. My face is now almost as well known as that of the moon.
  • 21. To see men without clothes to cover their nakedness, without blankets to lie upon, without shoes ... without a house or hut to cover them until those could be built, and submitting without a murmur, is a proof of patience and obedience which, in my opinion, can scarcely be paralleled. … Our distress from want of shoes is almost beyond conception. (Washington)