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Diary entries

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  • 1. Diary Entries from theAmerican Revolution
  • 2. IntroductionIts hard to imagine that America consisted of merely 13 colonies. In the 1700s,America consisted of only thirteen colonies occupying the east coast, all ownedby a country far away in Europe, Britain, under the rule of one man, KingGeorge III. The Americans were unsatisfied with British rule over them.The Americans believed they were being treated differently from the British andthey made a bold move to achieve independency. Britain had just recently goneto war with the French, fighting for land in America. The British had won, buthad left them in great debt. Taxes were raised in the colonies, leading tooutrage and violence. How did the United States, a new nation, go against thecountry with the greatest military power, and achieve victory? The AmericanRevolution spanned 8 years, from 1775 to 1783.The following diary entries are written by Billy Baker, a 17 year old living in thecity of Boston, Massachusetts. He was an orphan, but was old enough to takecare of himself. Both his parents were killed in the 7 years war with the French.
  • 3. Entry 1 (March 6, 1770)Is it right to call myself British? I’m not sure, but afteryesterday’s events, I’m beginning to think it’s wrong.The British soldiers killed 4 fellow Bostonians, withno apparent reason. What cruelty!My name is Billy Baker, and both my parents are dead.I’m an orphan, and live by myself in the town ofBoston. I barely get by working at the dock, barelyscraping by.I have considered myself British all my life, my parentsboth being of British descent. They even fought in theFrench Indian War! But us British that moved over tothe colonies aren’t being treated as such. Were wesupposed to stand idly by and watch our friends getslaughtered like cows? We deserved to be treated likeBritish, not under them.The events in the past few years only reinforced this message. We were taxed on countless things, with the Tea Act, theStamp Act, the Sugar Act, etc.Normally, I would be fine with tax, but the problem was, we had no representation. There was nobody in Parliament torepresent the colonists, and King George III just did as he pleased, without our consent. This “Taxation withoutRepresentation” infuriated many, including me.The British had their fair share of excuses, saying they taxed us to pay back the debt they were in after fighting the 7 YearWar with the French. Yet why were taxes not raised in Britain? Had my beloved parents would not have wanted their sacrificeto end like this. We were being deprived of the rights we ought have, and we didn’t like it.Right: PaulRevere’sdepiction of theBostonTea Party,showing Britishsoldiers firingonhelplesscitizens, rilingup the colonists.
  • 4. Entry 1 (cont.)All these events led up to what happened on March 5, 1770, the Boston Massacre. I can still remember the events ofthat day clearly. I was returning home, a normal looking, run of the mill man, when I saw a young Bostonian saysomething to one of the British sentries. The red coat’s response was a blow to the head with the butt of his rifle. I wassurprised at this sudden violence, but it was nothing unusual. Scuffles among colonist and British occurred all the time,and I assumed this was just one of those times. Oh, how wrong I was.I arrived home, and sat down to enjoy a book I had been reading. A few hours later, I began to hear a commotionoutside. I set down my book, grabbed my coat, and was about to head outside when I heard gunshots. Panicking, Idecided it was best for me to stay inside, in hopes of avoiding injury.Word began to spread quite quickly. 4 were killed, many more injured. This was ludicrous. For the British soldiers to kill4 colonists, for no reason, was unacceptable. By today, news had spread all over the colonies. British soldiers hadattacked unarmed, helpless citizens, ordered to by their commander.Colonists were furious. The recent events of the Boston Massacre had given many a reason to demand freedom fromBritish rule. I didn’t know what I wanted. Patriots and colonists throughout the thirteen colonies wanted a revolution. Iknew, though, that I was sick of being told what to do, and getting taxed without having a say in it. It was time for achange in government.
  • 5. Entry 2 (July 4, 1776)July 4, 1776. A day to remember. A day that will be celebrated from this day on. The day the Declaration ofIndependence was signed, signaling our freedom from Britain. However, this step forward for our new country wasn’twell received by the British.Lets take a step back from the present. Nearly three years ago, the Boston Tea Party took place. As I was unhappyand displeased at the British rule, I took part in the Tea Party, dumping imported tea from foreign ships into the BostonHarbor. We weren’t happy with the Tea Act. I enjoyed every moment of the “Party.”The British responded harshly, and swiftly. The Intolerable Acts were passed, closing the Port of Boston, among otherthings. The Intolerable Acts, were, to put it one way, intolerable. They prohibited Manhattan, where I lived, from beingself governed. This was outrageous. This was pushing us to the brink of revolution.Less than two years after the Tea Party and the passing of the Coercive acts was another confrontation with the British,one that would heighten the need for independence. The Battle of Lexington was the battle that started the AmericanRevolution. The British in New York wanted to capture leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock. This was whenPaul Revere went on his famous ride, warning the people about the approaching threat.
  • 6. Entry 2 (cont.)I can remember getting woken up by Revere, shouting for us to get up, as the British were approaching. I was bothexcited and scared. Were more people going to die at the hands of our cruel leaders?The start of the Battle of Lexington was “the shot heard round the world”, the shot that started the Revolution. TheBritish outnumbered the local militia, and seven were killed. American blood spilled on American soil. Us Americanswere furious at the British. At least, I was.The British marched onwards towards Concord, only to be stoppedby colonial reinforcements. They were forced to retreat to Boston.Although this was only a minor win for the Americans, I wasoverjoyed.This brings us to the present, the writing and signing of theDeclaration of Independence. Important revolutionary leaders,such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adamsmet in the city of Philadelphia to discuss the document. ThomasJefferson was to write America’s founding document. This was ahuge step for America, but it was unknown as to how the Britishwere going to respond. I didn’t care. We were free.The Declaration stated the wrongs the British have done, and whenthe government does not protect the rights of the people, the peoplehave the right to overthrow and replace said government. Thesewords influenced the colonies. They influenced me. I was now anAmerican. To call myself British was a lie.Paul Revere’s Ride throughBoston. Drawn by HenryWadsworth
  • 7. Entry 3 (June 20, 1778)What a victory! The Americans have just won a war at Valley Forge, awar with themselves. We have survived the winter in Valley Forge,Pennsylvania.We, the Continental Army had been losing many battles, including theBattle of Long Island, in which the army barely escaped under the coverof night. The British then occupied New York City, taken over in the NewYork Campaign. I was beginning to fear the worst, defeat. Thingsweren’t looking good, and my hope was beginning to dissipate. Moralewas falling.Another defeat at the Battle of Valcour Island did nothing to raise ourhopes. The Hessians, German mercenaries the British hired, capturedFort Washington in November of 1776 My hate towards the British alsodirected towards Germany. How dare the Germans side with the British?On Christmas Day, 1776, things took a turn for the better. George Washington launched a surprise attack on Trenton,New Jersey that night. The troops set out that night to cross the river, march 10 miles, and attack the Hessians. Thefuture of our country rested on their soldiers. Morale was low. Enlistments within the army would soon expire. This wasit, that decisive moment, where new hope could be brought forward, and the army would live to see another season.Victory. I was overjoyed. We were overjoyed. Morale rose, and the army grew stronger. The British had just seen uschange from an unorganized, weak army to a formidable foe over the course of ten days. Ten crucial days.George Washington in Valley Forge.I am in the background.
  • 8. Entry 3 (cont.)When Winter settled in 1777, we retired to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania to set up Winter camp, while the British set upcamp in neighboring Philadelphia. The past year had been filled with losses, and although none of them major, moralewas falling low again. I remained hopeful that the army would pull through, but many around me weren’t. Losses hadbeen suffered at Brandywine and Germantown. The victory at the Battle of Whitemarsh was a victory short lived, asWinter was settling in.At this point in time, the army was already in bad shape. Lack of supplies, food, and weariness had taken its toll on us.Huts were constructed within 6 weeks, so shelter wasn’t too big a problem. Yet the winter was brutal, and the shortageof supplies plagued the army. We needed to survive the winter, and come out more capable than we had been. If wedid, victory was within sight. If we didn’t, well, I was hoping that we would.When February came, the future didn’t look promising. Disease claimed many in the camps, and so did starvation andmalnutrition. On February 6, 1778, the Treaty of Alliance with France was signed, giving us hope. With the aide of theFrench, the British were now a much more manageable opponent.Friedrich von Steuben arrived at Valley Forge on February 23, 1778. He was a drill instructor, and it was his job to trainthe largely unorganized army. He was efficient and dedicated, and with the help of aides, was able to transformamateur troops, like me, into a confident organization. The French began to send supplies to the army at Valley Forge,and farmers started bringing food to a camp market. Everything was coming together.The Continental Army left Valley Forge on June 19, 1778 completely changed. The British left Philadelphia, where theyhad set up their own winter camp, to return to New York. Washington and his army set out in pursuit of the British. I setout with confidence. Morale was rising. Much had changed at Valley Forge. Hope filled the air.
  • 9. Entry 4 (October 20, 1781)The victory that occurred yesterday could easily be considered a miracle. Everything we had worked for up until nowconverged, at the perfect time, at the perfect location, and we won. We WON. The British surrendered. I can’t describeon paper what I’m feeling with accuracy. I can only say: I’m ecstatic. I feel euphoric. Overjoyed. Delighted.The Revolution has been hard on the army, hard on everybody. And those hardships, those tough times, have paid off.The Revolutionary War has slid to a screeching stop. And we have come out victorious. VICTORY!!!This decisive victory took place on October 19, 1781. Just earlier that year, in 1780, the French sent soldiers to aid usin our fight against the British. I remember meeting the British for the first time, both armies regarding each other withrespect. They were disciplined, and stood with an air of confidence. I was very grateful that they would help our country.George Washington, our great commander, led our army to victory that night, with Comte de Rochambeau leading theFrench. Comte de Grasse, another French leader, brought the French Navy, sailing to Chesapeake Bay. LieutenantGeneral Lord Cornwallis had been ordered to make a port easily defensible, so he started to make one at Yorktown. Amistake.In the summer of 1781, the French and American armies converged north of New York City. I felt emotions bubblinginside me. These French were willing to sacrifice their lives for the independence for our country. I would be forevergrateful.
  • 10. Entry 4 (cont.)Word of Comte’s decision reached both armies, and we set out in unison towards Yorktown. Washington andRochambeau, both being brilliant leaders, fooled the British into thinking we were going to launch a siege on New YorkCity. How wrong they were.Meanwhile, Comte had sailed from the West Indies, arriving in Chesapeake Bay during the end of August. He broughtalong with them much money for supplies and funds. The Americans thank him for his help in our creation of a newnation. In September, he defeated a British fleet that had come to reinforce Cornwallis. Now there was no escape bysea for Cornwallis, meaning the only routes were land routes.This was our chance. We arrived in lateSeptember, effectively surrounding Cornwallisfrom all sides. We attacked. I fought, fought forthe colonists. I fought for freedom. For myancestors. For me. The British were crushed,and they were in no position to retaliate. Theysurrendered.Yesterday, the surrender ceremony took place. Itwas a joyous time, as we had just defeated theBritish. The worst was over. In the ceremony, allthe armies and generals involved in the Battle ofYorktown were present, except for LordCornwallis. He was scared, shamed. A wimp. Hehad lost.Despite this victory, the hardships weren’t over.The revolution was coming to an end, but thiswas just the beginning of a new nation. The taskof building a new nation would be very difficult,and I just hoped that our fights and battlesweren’t all for naught.The capture of Redoubt at Yorktown. You can seeme in the fighting, near the cannon.
  • 11. Entry 5 (September 17, 1787)Ever since 1776, we had officially been free from British rule. But we didn’t feel free. Now, we were truly free. We wereour own nation. Our own country. We didn’t want to to make the same mistakes that the British did in governing theircountry. We wanted our own government.After the Treaty of Paris was signed on September 3, 1783, it was a time to rejoice. Everyone was in high spirits, andthe soldiers could go back to their families. I had no family, but it was not the time to dwell on that. Our country had justwon a revolution against the nation with the greatest military power. WON.Just earlier today, September 17, 1787, the Constitution of the United States was adopted by the ConstitutionalConvention, held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Constitutional Convention consisted of many great and wiseleaders, such as George Washington, the president of the Convention, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and manydelegates of the states. I felt that the government was in good hands.The Constitution was to be our new government, the founding laws of our nation. We had already had the Articles ofConfederation, but they didn’t work out. These Articles provided the laws which everybody in the nation should follow,but it was weak. In early 1781, the Articles of Confederation became official, but I hope that it will be replaced soon, asthe Constitution has been signed by the delegates.
  • 12. Entry 5 (cont.)The Articles of Confederation hadn’t been a problem for me, it was a problem forthe nation. The Articles didn’t enforce taxes and policies, it suggested them.States didn’t pay tax, and the government lacked money. They had no money dodeal with foreign affairs, national affairs, or wars. I was paying my taxes, anddoing what was “suggested” of me, but others weren’t. I simply wanted thenation we had worked so hard for to grow and prosper.But now, the Constitution was here to fix those problems. The Constitution wasmore detailed, and more demanding and specific, as opposed to the Articles ofConfederation. I hoped this would work out. The Constitution gave much powerto the people, which I definitely liked, different from ruling systems such asBritains, which had a king. However, many people thought this wouldn’t work,that having one ruler, or few rulers, made for a more efficient, better government.But I didn’t. I thought this would work.The Constitution was made up of an assortment of Amendments, the first ten being known as the Bill of Rights. TheseBills protected the rights of both liberty and property. This was what we needed. The Articles of Confederation hadn’tguaranteed anything.One of the main problems that new governments faced was that the problems that plagued the old government wouldbe present in ours. Because of this, James Madison, one of the main writers of the Constitution, spend countless hoursidentifying the flaws in other country’s governments, and making sure it was avoided in ours. James Madison. I wouldremember him until death do me apart.The Bill of Rights, written by James Madison.
  • 13. ConclusionAfter 8 years of revolution, America had finally become a free country. They were nolonger under the rule of another country or a king. They were finally their own country.The Constitution of the United States remains the Constitution to this day, although it hasgone through revisions. The United States has grown since the revolution, and is nowone of the most influential countries in the world.After the Revolution, Britain and France went to war, but surprisingly, the United Statesstayed uninvolved, George Washington giving a farewell speech. The AmericanRevolution most likely influenced the French Revolution, which happened not too longafter the American one.Billy Baker died a few years after the revolution, killed by one of the few remainingloyalists to the crown. The murderer was soon arrested and hanged. However, after therevolution, he did whatever was in his power to make America the best country it couldpossibly be.To this day, we still celebrate the moment the Americans won their independence, liberty,and freedom.
  • 14. Citations (Entry No. 1)Picture:Revere, Paul. The Landing of British Troops inBoston. Digital image. Boston Massacre HistoricalSociety. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2013.<http://www.bostonmassacre.net/gravure_large.htm>.Text:Gerlach, Larry R. "Boston Massacre." GrolierMultimedia Encyclopedia. Grolier Online, 2013.Web. 15 May. 2013.
  • 15. Citations (Entry No. 2)Picture:Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Paul Reveres Ride.Digital image. Godly Gentleman. N.p., 24 Sept. 2012.Web. 14 May 2013.<http://godlygentleman.com/2010/09/paul-reveres-ride-by-henry-wadsworth-longfellow/>.Text:Greene, Jack P. "Declaration of Independence,United States." Encyclopedia Americana. GrolierOnline, 2013. Web. 15 May. 2013.
  • 16. Citations (Entry No. 3)Picture:Washington and Lafayette at Valley Forge. Digitalimage. Wikimedia Commons. N.p., 4 Mar. 2006.Web. 14 May 2013.<http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Washington_and_Lafayette_at_Valley_Forge.jpg>.Text:Gruber, Ira D. "Valley Forge." EncyclopediaAmericana. Grolier Online, 2013. Web. 15 May.2013.
  • 17. Citations (Entry No. 4)Picture:Battle of Yorktown: Capture of Redoubt atYorktown. Digital image. U.S. History Images.N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May 2013.<http://ushistoryimages.com/battle-of-yorktown.shtm>.Text:Esposito, Vincent J. "Yorktown, Campaign andSiege of." Encyclopedia Americana. GrolierOnline, 2013. Web. 15 May. 2013.
  • 18. Citations (Entry No. 5)Picture:Bill of Rights. Digital image. United for HumanRights. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May 2013.<http://www.humanrights.com/what-are-human-rights/brief-history/declaration-of-independence.html>.Text:Murphy, Paul L. "Constitution of the United States."Encyclopedia Americana. Grolier Online, 2013. Web.15 May. 2013.
  • 19. Citations (General)PBS. "Timeline of the Revolution." Liberty! TheAmerican Revolution. PBS, n.d. Web. 15 May2013.<http://www.pbs.org/ktca/liberty/chronicle_timeline.html>.Kindiq, Thomas. "Timeline of the RevolutionaryWar." Revolutionary War Timeline. N.p., n.d.Web. 15 May 2013.<http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/revwartimeline.htm>.

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