THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
The Seven Years’ War was fought from
1756 to 1763.
The British Navy
declined in the
years after the
Seven Years War .
France began to
rebuild its navy
after the war.
during the Seven
13 Colonies 1763
This decree, passed
in 1763 to pay off
war debts built up
during the French
and Indian War,
exports to the
The Revenue Act
King George III
The Stamp Act of 1765
It required that every
from legal documents,
and even playing
cards, carry a stamp
on it to raise money
for the defense of the
The Townshend Act
This act, passed in 1767, taxed paper,
lead, and tea.
British soldiers shot and killed several
people including Crispus Attucks. They
were the first casualties of the American
5 March 1770
Samuel Adams and
as Indians, dumped
British tea into the
harbor rather than
pay taxes on it.
Boston Tea Party - 1773
The Coercive Acts
• Passed in retribution for the Boston
• Closed the port of Boston
• Abolished the right of the people of
Massachusetts to select their own
• Restricted other civil liberties
Lexington and Concord
19 April 1775
19 April 1775
The colonies had been supplying most
of England’s ship-building materials:
• Timber for masts and hulls
Armed American merchant ships that
had helped the British win the French
and Indian War or Seven Years’ War
American privateers that once helped
the British now captured British ships
and goods with the blessing of the
These ships carried coastal commerce,
attacked British supply boats, and kept
open the coastal lines of communication
on which so much of life in the colonies
The Coastal Cavalry
Congress was initially reluctant to
establish a Continental navy because
of the “coastal cavalry” force.
Congress bought, fitted out, and armed
the Andrew Doria and the Cabot to
intercept British supply ships.
Congress soon added
two larger ships, the
Alfred and the Columbus.
Privateers captured some 2,200
British vessels by war’s end, and many
privateer captains would become
famous in the new U.S. Navy.
George Washington commissioned
seven ships to capture British supplies,
and in 1775, his “navy” took muskets,
shot, and a huge mortar.
Birth of the Marine Corps
10 November 1775
In the early days of
war, men were eager
As war continued,
it became difficult
to recruit because
of stricter discipline,
low pay, and rewards
Forcing men to serve in the Navy by taking
them on board ship against their will
Finding men to serve in the Navy would
be a problem throughout the war, and
ships were often unable to go to sea
because they lacked crews.
First Continental naval squadron was
composed of six small schooners, brigs,
and sloops assembled at Philadelphia.
Congress directs Hopkins
to neutralize loyalist craft
in the Virginia Capes.
Hopkins sailed to New Providence in the
Bahamas and overcame two British forts
and took more than eighty artillery pieces,
powder, and naval stores.
The Nassau expedition turned out to be
the last time American ships would put
to sea as a squadron during the war.
In a single month, August 1776, Jones
captured sixteen enemy vessels and
destroyed many others.
John Paul Jones would become
legendary among early American
in 1775 by
The Bat t l e of Lake
Champl ai n st opped
t he Bri t i sh
advance i n 1775The
When British reinforcements arrived,
the American patriots retreated toward
By not following
the British plan,
to the eventual defeat
of the British in the
Colonies. He was
relieved and sent back
By the summer of
forces were in
On 19 September,
his men, European
style, through an
open field to break
American lines near
The British made easy targets for
American sharpshooters, who were
firing from behind trees.
On 7 October,
Burgoyne led his
in a final attempt
to break through
Daniel Morgan’s riflemen mowed down the
British, and Benedict Arnold led a charge.
Daniel Morgan Benedict Arnold
The Turning Point
General Burgoyne surrendered
at Saratoga, 1777.
Significance of the
Battle of Saratoga
• The British government was less
willing to carry on the war.
• France, and later Spain and the
Netherlands, came into the war as
Treaty of Friendship with France
American naval efforts in the war were
mostly just a nuisance to Britain and
did not affect the outcome of the war.
• Hurt British trade in the West
• Delayed troop reinforcements
• Captured needed arms and supplies
Role of the Privateers
Washington was right. Naval power would
decide the outcome of the war, but in the end,
it was French, not American, naval power that
made the difference.
Most Famous Officer
of the Continental Navy
John Paul Jones renamed the East
Indiaman the Bonhomme Richard
in honor of Benjamin Franklin, who
had written Poor Richard’s Almanac.
As the Bonhomme Richard slowly
began to sink, John Paul Jones was
asked if he was ready to strike.
He replied with the immortal words,
“I have not yet begun to fight!”
• Maintain the defensive in the
• Mount an offensive in the
• Take the war to the West Indies.
British Strategy in 1778
Sir Henry Clinton now commanded British
forces in the colonies. He abandoned
Philadelphia to reinforce New York City.
Confident that Washington's troops were
not a threat to New York City, Clinton set
sail for Charleston, South Carolina, and
surrounded the American forces.
The last Continental
captured during the
Battle of Charleston
Navy was never
again an effective
Southern Campaigns under
Gates at Camden,
S.C., and then
moved into North
do nothing to stop
Cornwallis followed Morgan and Greene
through North Carolina and won a battle
at Guilford Courthouse, but lost so many
men that he had to retreat.
Marquis de Lafayette
sent word to
Yorktown, on the
They commanded 5,000 militia in the area
and kept Cornwallis under observation.
agreed to battle
superior troops in
New York even
not arrive in May,
Comte de Rochambeau
wrote the French
minister asking that
Admiral de Grasse
come north from
the West Indies to
help in the New York
Admiral de Grasse
Admiral de Grasse
drove the British fleet
from Chesapeake Bay
In September, 1781.
Cornwallis’ defeat at
Yorktown.Admiral de Grasse
August 14, 1781
General Washington’s 4,500 Americans,
with 5,500 French troops, marched from New
York to Yorktown to battle British troops.
On 9 October 1781, 20,000 American
and French troops attacked the British
General Cornwallis surrendered his
army of 7,600 men on 19 October 1781.
England, tired of
war, now faced
of France, Spain,
and Holland in
The American Peace Delegation
• Benjamin Franklin
• John Jay
• John Adams
A group of people
chosen to represent
a political entity such
as a country or state
Treaty of Paris
3 September 1783
in 1783 as
a result of
Gulf of Mexico
The small Continental Navy was
generally ineffective against the
powerful Navy of England.
Sea power played an important role in
• The artillery and supplies used by
the Continental Army came from
prizes captured at sea.
• The French fleet, off the Virginia
Capes in 1781, prevented the British
from helping Cornwallis, leading
directly to his surrender.
It was obvious to many Americans that
to keep its freedom America needed a
navy of its own.