The American Revolutionary War (1775-1783) By Meghan O’Farrell
The founding of the thirteen colonies began withVirginia (1607) and ended with Georgia (1733).
“Taxation without Representation”During the French and Indian War (1754-1763), Great Britain fought against the French to protect its American colonies. Americans prospered during this period while Great Britain suffered severe financial loss and high taxes. To compensate, the British King and Parliament imposed incredibly high taxes on the colonists while refusing to permit their representation in the government of Great Britain.“Tarring and Feathering” (alquitrán) of British collectors was common.
The Intolerable Acts (consequences of the Boston tea party)• The Boston Port Act: The first of these closed the port of Boston until the East India Company was paid for the lost tea. This created a great hardship for the people of Boston whose livelihood depended on trade.• Massachusetts Government Act: The second modified the Massachusetts government, taking away many of its rights. It was aimed at punishing Boston. Almost all positions in the colonial government were to be appointment by the governor or directly by the King. Activities of town meetings were limited.• Administration of Justice Act: The third measure provided that British officials accused of committing crimes in a colony be taken to England for trial. Because it would mean witnesses would be forced to travel, the practical effect was thought to be that the British officials would escape justice.• The Quartering Act: The fourth measure allowed the British to house British soldiers in colonial buildings at the expense of the colonists, including colonists homes, if there were insufficient space in other buildings.• The Quebec Act: The fifth act extended the boundaries of the province of Quebec. Because Quebec did not have representative assemblies, many colonists thought this transfer of land from the colonies to unrepresented Quebec was another attempt to punish the colonies and solidify British control.
“Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”The American Revolution was fueled by the reaction of these laws and a series of social, political and intellectual transformations in the colonies in opposition to the aristocracies and oligarchies common in Europe. Of course, the Enlightened ideas were a great influenceThe American colonies instead fought for a democratically-elected representative government. The Declaration of Independence was ratified in July 1776 which proclaimed that the colonies were the independent United States of America and no longer part of the British Empire.
The Founding Fathers presenting the Declaration of Independence to Congress in 1776
Thomas Jefferson • “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.”
George Washington General of the Continental Army and America’s first, and arguably greatest, president. He is considered to be the single most important figure in American History.“Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages”
“The reflection upon my situation and that of this army produces an uneasy hour when all around me are wrapped in sleep. Few people know the predicament we are in.” -January 14th, 1776 General George Washington Because of the horrific winters, many roads were impassable which caused near starvation for the Continental Army. Washington’s men were also ill,unruly, untrained and lacked discipline, food and equipment that was essential for a successful military.
The British Army was the most powerful in the world, so how did they lose to the colonists?Americans learned guerilla fighting The British also wore bright red tactics from the Native Americans. uniforms responsible for the They hid behind trees and in the nickname “the Red Coats” which countryside, attacked the British caused them to be excellent then retreated back to the targets for American bullets. countryside. British soldiers also fought accordingAmericans wore ordinary clothing to old war-fare traditions- straight which made it difficult to lines, announcing attacks before distinguish between soldiers and arrival, etc. common citizens.The British were unfamiliar with the land and the wilderness and the Americans had “home field” advantage.The French and Spanish soon provided incredible help to the colonists.
General Washington crossing the Delaware River on Christmas Day, 1776
How Spain helped the American coloniesAfter the French and Indian War, both the French andthe Spanish sought revenge on the British. In 1779,Spain declared war on Great Britain due to their alliancewith France and, therefore, forced the British intoanother military struggle on a second front and created alarge strain on the British military. The Spanish wantedto reclaim Gibraltar and secure its borders in NorthAmerica. The Spanish also provided weapons,ammunition and money to the colonists but were hesitantto acknowledge the colonies as independent, thusencouraging other similar colonial secessions.
Surrender at Yorktown, Virginia It was in October 19th, 1781, although the independence was recognized later in the Treaty of Paris (1783)
Disease in the ColoniesMalaria was endemic in the marshlands ofeastern Virginia during the time, andCornwalliss army suffered greatly from thedisease; he estimated during the surrender thathalf of his army was unable to fight as a result.The Continental Army enjoyed an advantage, inthat most of their members had grown up withmalaria, and had acquired resistance to thedisease. As malaria has a month-long incubationperiod, most of the French soldiers had notbegun to exhibit symptoms before the surrender.
George Washington resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of theContinental Army. The action was significant for establishing civilian authority over the military, a fundamental principle of American democracy
George Washington in London In 1921, the “Commonwealth of Virginia” gave a statue of George Washington as a gift to Great Britain. It can be found in London. George Washington famously proclaimed “I will never set foot in London again!” so dirt was brought from Virginia to surround the statue to ensure Washington’s wishes were carried out.