Patriots were American Colonists who wanted to be
free of British rule.
John Adams Ben Franklin Sam Adams Thomas Paine
Alexander Hamilton Paul Revere George Washington
Loyalist were Colonists who wanted to stay British
citizens and thought of themselves as loyal subjects
of the King.
The Virginia Conventions were a series of 5 political
meetings in the Colony of Virginia during the American
Royal Governor Lord Dunmore had dissolved the House of
Burgesses in 1774.
The Burgesses, operating as the first convention, on August
1, 1774, met and elected representatives to the Virginia
convention, banned all business and payment of debts with
The Burgesses declared support for the colonies and called
for a congress of all the colonies called the Continental
First Continental Congress
Sept. 5 – Oct. 26, 1774
56 Delegates from 12 of the 13 colonies (not including
Met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (midway between
the New England colonies and the southern colonies.)
Met in response to the Intolerable Acts
People in attendance were: Benjamin Franklin, Thomas
Jefferson, John Adams, Sam Adams,
John Jay, Patrick Henry &
Accomplishments of the Congress
Colonists would continue to boycott English goods
Prepare militias/ armies in the colonies
10 Resolutions sent to the king - Declaration of rights
such as life, liberty and property
The 56 delegates wrote a polite, respectful petition and
sent it to King George III, urging him to consider their
complaints. But the King didn’t listen.
Planned to meet again in May 1775 if the king did not
They did NOT want independence YET.
“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!”
The second convention of the Virginia
Convention began in Richmond, VA on
March 20, 1775.
At the convention, Patrick Henry proposed
arming the Virginia militia and delivered
his “Give me liberty or give me death”
speech to rally support for the measure.
War is near…..
Some Patriots, like Samuel Adams expected a war.
But most Patriots still hoped to find peaceful ways
to settle their differences with England.
The colonies prepared for the worst. The New
England colonies began to stockpile cannonballs
and gunpowder. Colonists kept their weapons in
Concord, 20 miles northwest of Boston.
When the British officers heard about the
colonists weapons being stored in Concord they
decided to attack.
War is near…..
Paul Revere and Billy Dawes found out that the British
were coming to Concord but Revere was worried about
his friends, Sam Adams and John Hancock, that were
in Lexington (located next to Concord.) The British
wanted to hang Adams and Hancock for being traitors.
Someone had to get the warning to Lexington
But Revere and Dawes didn’t know what route the
British would take. Would they travel by land or
Revere sent someone to send a signal….One lantern if
they traveled by land…Two lanterns if they traveled
Revere saw two lanterns…the British were going to
Minutemen Paul Revere and William Dawes warned everyone
that “the British were coming!”
When American colonists heard that the British were coming
they grabbed their guns and were ready to fight in a minutes
notice. These men were known as minutemen.
Paul Revere and Billy Dawes made it in time to Lexington to
tell Sam Adams and John Hancock that the British were
Leader of the minutemen stated: “Stand your ground. Don’t
fire unless fired upon. But if they mean war let it begin here!”
Lexington, Massachusetts - 1775
Each side said the other fired first. No one knows for
sure who really did
8 American minutemen were dead
It was April 19, 1775 and the shots first fired began
the American Revolution known as The Shot Heard
Round the World.
The British were more concerned with finding the weapons
hidden in Concord so the British marched to Concord, but
the weapons had been moved.
The British fired and the colonists fired back.
The song Yankee Doodle was made up by the British to
insult the Americans.
They said a Yankee Doodle was a backwoods hick who
didn’t know how to fight.
After the battle in Concord it was the Americans who sang
the song and said “We’ll be Yankee Doodles and be proud
British suffered 250 casualties, Colonists less than 100
After violence erupted in
1775, Benjamin Franklin won
support from France and
France & Spain secretly
supplied the Continental army
with gold, guns (arms),
gunpowder, uniforms, and
In May 1775, representatives from all the colonies, except Georgia, met
Decided NOT to break away from Britain
The Colonists create an army and call it the Continental Army.
Congress appointed George Washington as commander-in-chief of the
Washington accepted the position but refused to take any money for the
Olive Branch Petition was sent to King
George III – the olive branch is a
symbol of peace- so the colonist asked
the king to consider their problems and
frustrations before going into battle, but
King George III didn’t even read the
Began the process of producing the
Declaration of Independence.
The Patriots went to ask Ethan Allen
and his friends, the Mountain Boys for help in
fighting the British.
Ticonderoga was an important fort which guarded
the water route to Canada
During this battle the colonists took valuable
cannons and artillery, which was eventually shipped
to General Washington in Boston.
Battle of Bunker Hill
Colonial militia vs. British regulars
First major battle of the war
Colonists held off two British attacks, but ran out of
gunpowder during the third attack
Colonel William Prescott – “Don’t fire ‘til you see
the whites of their eyes!”
Colonists lost the battle, but proved they had the
ability to fight against the British soldiers
Battle at Breed’s Hill – July, 1775
•One night in 1775, while
the British were sleeping
the Americans began
digging structures used for
defense and they dug all
night. By morning the
Americans were done
building their defenses and
the British were surprised
and caught off guard.
•The British had never seen
the Americans work so
fast……this whole time
they thought the Americans
The British won Breed’s Hill and Bunker Hill.
But what a price to pay for two small battles that didn’t
More than 1,000 British soldiers were killed or
wounded and the Americans had lost 441 men.
Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense”
In January 1776, Thomas Paine
published a pamphlet (booklet) called
Thomas Paine argued that it was
ridiculous for the colonies to be
governed by a far-off island like
Paine said it was only “common
sense” that Americans should seek
The pamphlet electrified the country.
Thomas Paine - “Common Sense”
Paine’s pamphlet sold 500,000 copies throughout colonies, or
one for every five people in America, including slaves.
Common Sense was easy to read, since it was written for the
Said that people, not monarchs (kings & queens), should
make the laws
Stated that a monarchy was not fair - people, not kings
should make laws
New idea, helped gain colonial support for the American
Colonist had a new reason to fight for their independence
The Crisis is a collection of articles written by
Thomas Paine during the American Revolutionary
The essays comprise of Paine's ongoing support for
an independent and self-governing America through
the many severe crises of the Revolutionary War.
General Washington found the first essay so
inspiring, he ordered that it be read to the troops at
Thomas Paine - “The Crisis”
Continental Congress – May 1776
Continental Congress met in Philadelphia while battles are being
The Continental Congress decides to be free of Great Britain.
Congress decides that a declaration of independence must be
made, but who’s going to write it ?
Thomas Jefferson was the primary author of the Declaration of
Independence (he had help from John Adams and
The D of I announced that the 13 American
colonies were now officially at war with Great
Britain and were now independent states, and
therefore no longer a part of the British Empire.
Declaration of Independence, 1776
Jefferson declared that governments were created to serve the people, and
could only act with the consent of the people.
There are 3 parts to the Declaration of Independence:
Natural rights (3) – the preamble describes the peoples rights and states
that “all Men are created equal” and have the God-given right to “Life,
Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
Grievances against King George III
Declaring Independence from Great Britain
The Battle of Trenton
In July 1776 the British officer, General William Howe arrived in New York
with over 30,000 British soldiers and Hessian troops.
Hessian troops were German soldiers who were hired to fight for the British
army. 25% of the British army was Hessians.
General Washington had to abandon New York.
Washington and his men had been running and fighting for 4 long months
and they were tired, footsore and hungry.
Washington decided to attack the British army and Hessians in a town called
Trenton just across the Delaware River.
During the night of December 25, Washington led his troops across the icy
Delaware River about 9 miles north of Trenton.
The Battle of Trenton
The weather was horrible; high winds combined with snow, sleet and rain. What’s
worse is that some of Washington’s men did not have shoes.
The next morning Washington and his men attacked to the south, taking the
Hessians by surprise.
The Hessians surrendered.
This victory is just what the American colonists needed.
Women’s role in the Continental Army
Many women helped the Patriot cause, and
in many different ways.
Some joined sewing clubs, others
served as messengers, nurses, and
Mary Hays also helped on the
battlefields by carrying water
pitchers to thirsty soldiers & loaded
cannons. She was known as Molly
Battle of Saratoga, 1777
Fighting began on Oct. 7, 1777
“Turning Point Battle”
Fought in Saratoga, New York
British troops ran out of supplies
20,000 Patriots surrounded 6000 Redcoats
British Gen. Burgoyne surrenders to American Gen.
Gates on Oct. 17, 1777
News of the American victory helped convince France
to enter the war fighting along side the Americans.
Countries who helped the U.S.
Following the American victory at Saratoga, Benjamin
Franklin negotiated a treaty in which France openly declared
its support and recognized American independence.
Holland, Spain, and France provided troops and warships
and challenged Britain worldwide transforming the war for
American independence into a war that Britain could not
By the end of the war France had provided nearly $20
million in aid in various kinds and it’s estimated as much as
90% of the gunpowder used by the Americans in the
Revolution was supplied or paid for by the French.
The Continental Army arrived at Valley Forge on
December 19, 1777 after a series of tough battles with
General Washington had problems with getting
supplies to his troops.
As winter approached, the problems became
worse. It was extremely cold.
Soldiers received irregular supplies of meat and bread.
Shortages forced the men to look for food in the forests
and farm fields that they passed.
Feeding the 12,000+ men at the encampment was only one of the
problems facing the Commander-in-Chief.
General Washington also was having a tough time getting
support from Congress.
There were threats made based on his leadership.
Washington’s officers were unhappy and he needed to better
prepare the troops to meet the enemy in the coming battle.
Clothing, too, was a problem. Long marches had destroyed the
Blankets were scarce.
Many soldiers became very sick due to being undernourished,
poorly clothed and living in crowded, damp quarters.
George Washington read the following quote from The Crisis by
Thomas Paine to his men at Valley Forge to inspire them to
continue serving their country considering the difficult conditions
they were in.
“These are the times that try men’s souls. The
summer solider and the sunshine patriot will, in
the crisis, shrink from the service of their country;
but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and
thanks of man and woman.”
Battle of Yorktown, 1781
British General Cornwallis moved him and his men into Yorktown,
The city of Yorktown is surrounded by water on three sides, but
Cornwallis was confident the British navy could rescue him if
Washington is currently in New York working with the French army
Washington and his men along with the French army (led by Marquis
de Lafayette) marched down to Yorktown, cornering and trapping
Cornwallis in the city.
The French fleet blocked the Chesapeake Bay, preventing British
warships from helping Cornwallis.
After 8 days under fire, Cornwallis had no choice but to surrender.
French and Americans join forces at
Final battle of the American Revolution
British General Cornwallis surrendered
The war is over
Treaty of Paris, 1783
Written by Benjamin Franklin and John
Ends the American Revolution
Britain recognizes the 13 Colonies as the
Thirteen United States America and that they
are a free and independent country.
The U.S. receives all land East of the
Mississippi River, except for Spanish Florida
Britain agrees to leave all British Forts on U.S. property
We are now known as the Thirteen United States of America
and are free of Great Britain's rule. YIPEE!!
The Colonies are
finally free from