The crisis over the stamp act aroused and
unified American as no previous political event
In 1776-68 the government created the
American Board of customs, located in Boston
and reporting all directly to treasury.
The colonial governors were instructed to
maintain tight control of the assemblies and not
to agree to acts that would increase popular
representation in the assemblies or the length
of time the legislatures sat.
Early November 1774 George III had told North that “blows must
decide whether they are subject to the country or independent”.
British Government thus built up it’s army and navy and began to
restraining the commerce first of New England and then of there
In April of 1775 fight had broke out in
Massachusetts. During the long march back to
Boston, the strung out British columns were
repeatedly harassed by patriot militia. By the
end of the day 273 redcoats and 95 patriot had
been killed or wounded.
On July 4, 1776 the delegates formally
approved the declaration of Independence.
For over a year before the declaration of independence, American
and British forces had been at war. It was a war that would go on
for nearly eight years-the longest conflict in American history
until the Vietnam war two centuries later.
British troops had suffer heavy losses in their
first clashes with American militia in
Massachusetts in the spring of 1775.
The prospect of American peace with Britain now compelled
Spain to abandon it’s demands for Gibraltar and to settle for the
return of East and West Florida. In the final treaty signed on
September 3,1783 the united states, by shrewdly playing of the
mutual fears of the European power, gained both independence
and concession s that stunned the French and indeed all of
Europe. It was the greatest achievement in the history of America.
Equality –the most powerful idea in all of
American history- predicted an end to the
incessant squabbling over position and rank
and the bitter contentions of factional politics
that had afflicted the colonial past.
Yet in the end equality meant more than
careers open to talented few. Ordinary people
may not have been as educated or wise as
gentleman who had college degrees, but they
Jefferson’s affirmation in the Declaration of
Independence that all men are created equal
was, as he recalled , simply “the common
sense” of age.
Indeed, far more black lived in slavery at the end of the revolutionary era than
at the beginning, and slavery in part of America, far from declining, was on the
verge of it’s greatest expansion.
The colonist had generally taken slavery for granted as part of the
natural order of a monarchical society and as one aspect of the
general brutality and cheapness of life in those pre modern and pre
humanitarian times. Pre Revolutionary America, and the colonist
had felt little need to defend slavery any more than forms of
By 1810 the number of free blacks in the
northern states had grown from several
hundred in 1770 to nearly 50,000. the
Revolutionary vision of a society of
independent freeholders led congress in the
1780s especially to forbid slavery in the newly
organized northwest territory between the
Appalachians and the Mississippi.