• amanda0195

American Revolution

--- Under Construction --


British Advantages

  • Population: 11 million (Engl.) v. 2.5 million (Col. incl. 20% enslaved)

  • Wealth: Access to wealth from other colonies and Industrial Revolution

  • Navy: Most powerful navy in the world

  • Troops: 48,000 Britons + 1000s of Hessian German troops

  • Americans only had 18,000 poorly trained troops

  • Most colonists wanted to stay near their farms

  • soldiers were poor youths, ex-convicts, former indentured servants - hoping to get bonus ($20) and 100 acres of land. Also "camp followers" - women who cared for troops.

  • More experienced officers

  • Only 1/3 of Americans wanted war

  • Loyalists

  • Supported British

  • Royal governors, Anglican priests, merchants who traded with Britain

  • Ethnic minorities who feared they'd lose their freedoms

  • Many southern backcountry farmers and NY tenants who opposed wealthy planter patriots and landords.

  • Quakers, Amish, Mennonites were pacifists

  • Slaves attracted by Lord Dunmore's proclamation promising to free slaves who fought for British.

  • Support of Indians

  • Cherokee and four of Iroquois Nations led by Mohawk chief Joseph Brant)

  • ​Brant had converted to Anglicanism

  • Iroquois: Mohawk, Seneca and Cayuga to British

  • Iroquois: Oneida and Tuscarora with patriots

American Advantages

  • Home turf: Colonists fighting closer to home, knew terrain

  • British had long supply lines

  • British generals made mistakes

  • Howe was against Coercive Acts and didn't want to destroy American army , he just wanted them to give up struggle.

  • "Gentleman Burgoyne" slowed troops because he traveled with amenities from home (luxuries, champagne, dinner stoves, crystal glasses, his mistress etc.)

  • Not all people in Britain were excited about the war.

  • George Washington

  • Tactic, keep British away from supply lines on coast and sap their morale

  • Used unorthodox military strategies to defeat British (like ambushes)

  • American fervor of revolution

  • French joined American cause




  • ​Political Change (not just regime change but new nation based on democracy)

  • ​Monarchy became republic

  • Voting extended among white, males

  • = Popularly elected public officials represented interests of voters (not just elite)

  • = Greater participation in the political process (small farmers, artisans, laborers)

  • Social changes

  • Middle elements of society had more power (because of vote)

  • Women (educated in virtu) valued for role in educating young citizens ("Republican motherhood")

  • Slavery

  • ​In interest of "liberty" and "equality," slavery and indentured servitude were questioned

  • Indentured servants no longer used

  • Emancipation (state sponsored freeing of slaves) in North (first in PA and NY)

  • Some manumission (slaves set free voluntarily by owners) in South


  • ​Politics

  • ​​Women, slaves and Native Americans still can't vote (except NJ)

  • Property ownership still required to vote and hold office

  • Local and state governments continue with same leaders (no royal governors)

  • Social: No radical social changes like French Revolution 1789, Russia,1917, China, 1949

  • Slavery still exist

  • Women still considered subordinate to men

  • Rich still rich, poor still poor

  • Institutional foundations not destroyed

  • Churches still intact for example




First Continental Congress (Sept. 5, 1774)

  • ​Met in Philadelphia to respond to Intolerable Act

  • Most were gentlemen: planters, lawyers, wealthy merchants

  • John Adams, Sam Adams, George Washington, Patrick Henry etc.

  • Suffolk Resolves (Sept. 9): boycott British goods unless Intolerable Acts repealed

  • Colonial militias beginning to drill ("minutemen" ready to fight with minute's notice) 1/2 unarmed, poorly trained, officers selected because of popularity


Lexington and Concord (April 19, 1775)

  • British Gen. Gage wanted to seize rebel supplies at Concord and arrest rebel leaders, supposed to be surprise. Led by Maj. Pitcairn.

  • Paul Revere, William Dawes warn colonial militias.

  • Colonial militiamen (no minutemen) meet British at Lexington (on way to Concord) "shot heard around the world" was fired, redcoats volley back

  • British faced more colonists at Concord.

  • Pitcairn retreats to Boston. Militiamen shoot at British from behind trees. Br. Redcoats = 73 dead, 173 wounded.

Second Continental Congress (May 10, 1775)

  • President: John Hancock

  • Royal authority was disintegrating

  • Established Continental Army with George Washington (from Virginia) as commander

  • Printed money

  • New flag (Grand Union Flag) showed allegiance to British (Union Jack in corner)

  • Declaration of the Cause and Necessity of Taking Arms published (July 1775) - colonists only seeking rights as British subjects

Ticonderoga (May 10) and Quebec City

  • Benedict Arnold chosen to attack British Fort Ticonderoga

  • Arnold joined by Green Mountain Boys from Vermont led by Ethan Allen

  • Fort Ticonderoga gave up without a fight (didn't know about Lexington, Concord etc.)

  • Arnold moved on to Quebec but not successful

  • Lost at Plains of Abraham in Quebec City

Bunker/Breed's Hill (June 17, 1775)

  • Br. PM Lord North sends 1000 troops to Boston

  • Henry Clinton

  • "Gentleman" Johnny Burgoyne

  • William Howe

  • Gage

  • Boston vulnerable to attacks from high grounds

  • Breed's Hill and Bunker Hill to north

  • Dorchester Heights to south

  • Howe sent troops to Breed's Hill

  • Colonists waited to shoot until saw the "whites of their eyes" (short on ammo)

  • British won but lost 200 men, 1000 wounded.

  • Moral victory for colonists

Olive Branch Petition (July 1775)

  • Written by John Dickinson (a Quaker)

  • Continental Congress sent petition to king

  • Said colonist still loyal to king, asked George III to call off hostilities and work for peace.

  • King George refused to look at it (considered colonists rebels)

  • Aug. 1775 George III issued "Proclamation for Suppressing Rebellion and Sedition" - said colonists were avowed enemies.


Common Sense (Jan. 1776)

  • Pamphlet written by Thomas Paine

  • Argued

  • Called King George III a "royal brute" who didn't care about colonists interests

  • Why should an island (Britain) rule a continent (America)?

  • America too far from Britain

  • Being part of Britain would drag Americans into European wars and hurt international commerce

  • System of hereditary monarchy was outdated ("a child or idiot" may fill position)

  • Widely read

  • Caused Americans to consider separating from Britain

Boston (March 5, 1776)

  • Colonists, under Washington, climb Dorchester Heights with artillery moved from Ft. Ticonderoga

  • Threaten to take Boston

  • Howe leads British out of Boston to Halifax, Nova Scotia

  • Howe makes plans to make NY the British headquarters

Richard Henry Lee (June 7, 1776)

  • Lee introduced Resolves that "these United Colonies are and ought to be, free and independent states"

  • South: solidly for independence

  • Middle: divided (NY for, Penn = pacifist Quakers)

Dec. of Independence (signed July 4, 1776)

  • Commissioned to Thomas Jefferson

  • Based on philosophy of John Locke (Social Contract) and Enlightenment

  • Signed by 56 members of Continental Congress (inc. John Hancock)

  • Ben Franklin: "If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately.

Benjamin Franklin

  • Congress sent Franklin to Paris to form French alliance.

  • Seen as "noble savage"

  • Wore homespun clothes, popular

New York (August, 1776)

  • First British ships arrive in New York Harbor Jun. 29, invade Long Island late August.

  • British capture Americans and force Washington to escape across Hudson into New Jersey

  • Washington's troops then across Delaware R. to Pennsylvania demoralized

  • Panicked Continental Congress leaves Philadelphia to Baltimore

  • Paine wrote "these are the times that try men's souls"

  • British troops rest in New York for the winter.

Washington crosses the Delaware (December 25-26, 1776)

  • Howe decided not to invade Pennsylvania but wait in New York for the winter.

  • Washington led troops from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, then crossed the Delaware River.

  • Surprised 1,500 Hessians celebrating Christmas in Trenton, N.J. killed 100 of them

  • Morale booster for colonists, but didn't take back New York


Britain's three-pronged strategy

  • Howe's army to move north up Hudson R., joining forces with Iroquois (led by Joseph Brant)

  • Barry St. Leger coming east

  • Burgoyne south from Montreal with 8000 men

  • But Howe changed route

  • Didn't want Burgoyne to get credit

  • Decided to go toward Philadelphia (largest American city) instead

Battle of Saratoga, October 17, 1777

  • Burgoyne's troops slow (see three-pronged attack) - because he had too much luggage (36 oxcarts full, champagne, silverware, china, crystal, bed and linens, )

  • Turning point in war:

  • More than 5,000 British/Hessian troops surrender

  • Convinces France to enter war on American side

Valley Forge, December, 1777

  • Howe occupied Philadelphia Sep. 26, 1777

  • Forced Washington and his troops to spend winter at Valley Forge




First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia to respond to Intolerable Acts


  • Rides of Paul Revere and William Dawes (April 18)

  • Battles of Lexington and Concord (April 19)

  • Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys seize Ft. Ticonderoga (May 10)

  • Second Continental Congress (Philly May 10).

  • Created Continental Army and named George Washington as commander-in-chief.

  • Battle of Bunker Hill (fought on Breed’s Hill) (Jun. 17)

  • Montgomery captures Montreal for Americans (Nov. 13)

  • Benedict Arnold’s failed attack on Quebec (Dec. 30)

  • Brilliant general who won several battles against the British and then joined them.

  • He won at Lake Champlain and helped Ethan Allen take Fort Ticonderoga.

  • He played a major part in the American victory at Saratoga.

  • Yet, he joined the British and tried to help them win the war.

  • He had planned to deliver his own keys to West Point, site of the U.S. army, to Britain's Major John Andre.

  • Andre was captured and hanged. Arnold escaped and actually commanded British troops later in the war. He died in Britain, unrecognized and alone


  • Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” published (Jan. 15)

  • British leave Boston (Mar. 17)

  • Richard Henry Lee proposes Independence (Jun. 7)

  • Declaration of Independence adopted (July 4) signed (Aug. 2)

  • Arrival of 30,000 British troops in NY harbor (under Gen. William Howe and Cornwallis)

  • British win Battle of Long Island (Battle of Brooklyn) (Aug. 27-30)

  • First real battle between British and American forces

  • Redcoats under Generals William Howe and Charles Cornwallis advanced on New York and tried to trap the Americans in Brooklyn.

  • George Washington retreated across New Jersey to Pennsylvania

  • British occupy NYC (Sept. 15)

  • American retreat at the Battle of White Plains (Oct. 28)

  • Washington Crosses the Delaware and captures Trenton (Dec. 26)

  • Washington caught Hessians off-guard while they were celebrating Christmas

  • Battle lasted 45 minutes

  • Resulted in 900 Hessian prisoners.

  • The Americans then marched on Princeton and won there, too.

  • They were smashing victories for the weary Americans,

  • And an opportunity to gain badly needed guns and ammunition.


  • Washington wins Battle of Princeton (Jan. 3)

  • Victory at Princeton drove the British out of New Jersey, almost for good.

  • Washington winters in Morristown, NJ (Jan. 6-May 28)

  • Flag Resolution (flag possibly designed by Hopkinson, likely sewn by Betsy Ross) (Jun. 14)

  • St. Clair surrenders at Fort Ticonderoga to the British (Jul. 5)

  • Ft Ticonderoga was New York fort on the western shore of Lake Champlain that was originally a French fort, called Carillion, that was seized by the British in the French and Indian War.

  • The fort was later captured by the Americans in their first "official" victory of the Revolutionary War.

  • The fort wasn't garrisoned very well but still held a stock of British weapons.

  • Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys, along with Benedict Arnold, captured the fort on May 10, 1775.

  • The capture stalled a planned British invasion from Canada and also enabled American troops to invade Canada themselves.

  • The British recaptured the fort in 1777 but abandoned it in 1780.

  • Lafayette arrives in Philly (Jul. 27)

  • Lafayette was a French officer who fought for America in the Revolutionary War.

  • He participated in the Continental Congress and served under George Washington at the Battle of Brandywine and at Valley Forge. He also had a part in the final battle of the war, Yorktown.

  • Americans under Herkimer defeat the British under St. Leger at Ft. Stanwix, in the Mohawk Valley in Oriskany, NY (Aug. 6)

  • American Militia under general Stark triumph over Hessians at Bennington (Aug. 16)

  • British General Howe lands at Head of Elk, MD (Aug. 25)

  • Howe was a British general who commanded troops at the Battle of Bunker Hill and replaced General Thomas Gage as commander of British troops in America in October 1775,

  • when Gage was called home to Britain.

  • Howe commanded the British to victory in the Battles of Brooklyn and Brandywine

  • and managed to escape with most of his army intact from the trap set for him at Germantown.

  • His decision to go to Philadelphia, not Albany, doomed General John Burgoyne's grand plan for the occupation of New York,

  • leading to the British surrender at Saratoga (and the entrance of France into the war). In May 1778,

  • Howe was replaced by General Henry Clinton and returned to Britain.

  • British success at the Battle of Brandywine, PA (Sep. 11)

  • Battle fought on September 11, 1777, when American troops under General George Washington tried to stop British troops under Generals William Howe and Charles Cornwallis from reaching Philadelphia, the temporary American capital.

  • Howe's 18,000 British troops were more than enough for the 11,000 Americans, who backtracked to Chester, leaving Philadelphia dangerously exposed.

  • The British occupied the capital and then pressed on to Germantown.

  • Rain-out at the Battle of the Clouds, PA (Sep. 16)

  • General Burgoyne checked by Americans under Gates at Freeman’s Farm, NY (Sept. 19)

  • Burgoyne: British general who met with great success early in the war but met his end at Saratoga.

  • He was at the Battle of Bunker Hill and helped capture Fort Ticonderoga.

  • He had plans for an invasion of New York and got as far as Saratoga,

  • where he was stopped and forced to surrender to American General Horatio Gates,

  • partly because Burgoyne's support, in the person of General William Howe, had marched toward Philadelphia instead.

  • Burgoyne left the army and returned home a disgrace.

  • Gates: American general who fought in the French and Indian War and then was, at different times, commander of both the Northern Army of the U.S. and the Southern Army of the U.S.

  • He was the commanding officer of the American force that retreated from the recaptured Fort Ticonderoga,

  • and he was in command at the pivotal Battle of Saratoga.

  • This success, coupled with George Washington's recent failures, prompted a movement to replace Washington with Gates as commander-in-chief.

  • Washington, however, stayed on. Gates retired to his farm in 1789 but was called back a year later and given the command of the Southern Army.

  • The defeat at Camden proved disastrous,

  • and Gates was replaced by Nathanael Greene

  • Paoli Massacre, PA (Sep. 21)

  • British under Howe occupy Philadelphia (sept. 26)

  • Americans driven off at the Battle of Germantown (Oct. 4)

  • Burgoyne loses second battle of Freeman’s Farm, NY (At Bernis Heights) (Oct. 7)

  • Burgoyne surrenders to American General Gates at Saratoga (NY) (Oct. 17)

  • Turning point of the Revolutionary War in that it convinced France to enter the war on the side of the Americans.

  • British General John Burgoyne came up with a brilliant plan

  • to take all of New York away from the Americans.

  • His three-pronged attack

  • called for a meeting of three forces at Saratoga.

  • Burgoyne would advance south from Canada and plan to meet at Albany with Generals Barry St. Leger and William Howe.

  • St. Leger was to move east from Fort Oswego, on Lake Onratio;

  • and Howe was to march north from Virginia.

  • This was a brilliant plan, Burgoyne thought, and he hoped to crush the American Northern Army.

  • Trouble was, it didn't work.

  • Howe never got the message

  • and went to Philadelphia instead.

  • Burgoyne himself

  • was stopped by American General Benedict Arnold at Saratoga.

  • St. Leger

  • made it to Albany and had it all to himself.

  • At the Battle of Saratoga (which was really a handful of battles),

  • Burgoyne surrendered almost his entire army to General Horatio Gates on October 17, 1777.

  • The American victory convinced France that America really did have a chance of winning.

  • Soon thereafter, French money and supplies (and eventually, troops and ships) were making their way to America. The end had begun

  • Hessian attack on Ft. Mercer, NJ repulsed (Oct. 22)

  • British captured Fort Mifflin, PA (Nov 16)

  • Americans repulse British at White Marsh, PA (Dec. 5-7)

  • The Winter at Valley Forge, PA (Dec. 19, 1777 to Jun. 19, 1778)

  • Starvation, disease and exposure killed nearly 2,500 American soldiers by end of Feb. 1778

  • Martha Washington came and organized a sewing circle of women who patched socks etc.

  • Camp followers of wives, children, mothers, sisters.

  • American public criticized Washington for his inability to advance war effort.

  • A few soldiers wanted to replace him with Gates (who had won a decisive victory at Battle of Saratoga)

  • Said he had left the surrounding countryside unprotected by moving into the isolated area of Valley Force

  • Winter imbued in soldiers will to persevere, endure and later triumph over obstacles and bring independence to the US.

  • Von Steuben

  • Once member of Prussian Army (Frederick Great)

  • Offered military skills to patriot cause “without pay or rank”

  • Arrived at Valley Forge from France

  • with letter of introduction from Benjamin Franklin

  • Tasked with training program, drill instructor

  • Taught soldiers how to aim muskets accurately, charge with bayonets, maneuver together in compact ranks

  1. 1778

  2. French Alliance (Feb. 6)

  3. British General William Howe replaced by Henry Clinton (Mar. 7)

  4. Von Steuben arrives at Valley Forge

  5. Battle of Barren Hill, PA (May 20)

  6. Washington fights to a draw at Battle of Monmouth (Jun. 28)

  7. George Rogers Clark captured kaskaskia, a French village near Detroit (Jul. 4)

  8. French and American forces besiege Newport, RI (Aug. 8)

  9. British occupy Savannah, GA (Dec. 29)

  10. 1779

  11. Militia beats Tories at Kettle Creek, NC (Feb. 14)

  12. American George Rogers Clark captures Vincennes on the Wabash in the Western campaign (2/25)

  13. Fairfield, CT, burned by British (7/8)

  14. Norwalk, CT, burned by British (7/11)

  15. American "Mad" Anthony Wayne captures Stony Point, NY (7/15-16)

  16. "Light Horse" Harry Lee attacks Paulus Hook, NJ (8/19)

  17. John Paul Jones, aboard the Bonhomme Richard, captures British man-of-war Serapis near English coast (9/23)

  18. The Tappan Massacre ("No Flint" Grey kills 30 Americans by bayonet) (9/28)

  19. American attempt to recapture Savannah, GA fails (10/9)

  20. Coldest Winter of the war, Washington at Morristown, NJ

  21. 1780

  22. British capture Charleston, SC (5/12)

  23. British crush Americans at Waxhaw Creek, SC (5/29)

  24. Patriots rout Tories at Ramseur's Mill, NC (6/20)

  25. French troops arrive at Newport, RI, to aid the American cause (7/11)

  26. Patriots defeat Tories at Hanging Rock, SC (8/6)

  27. British rout Americans at Camden, SC (8/16)

  28. Benedict Arnold's plans to cede West Point to the British discovered (9/25)

  29. King's Mountain, SC: battle lasted 65 minutes. American troops led by Isaac Shelby and John Sevier defeated Maj. Patrick Ferguson and one-third of General Cornwallis' army. (10/7)

  30. Washington names Nathanael Greene commander of the Southern Army (10/14)

  31. Nathanael Greene: American general who had a large hand in bringing about the final surrender of British General Charles Cornwallis at Yorktown.

  32. Greene was first an aide to General George Washington,

  33. serving at Trenton, Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth.

  34. After the Battle of Charleston,

  35. Greene replaced General Horatio Gates as commander of the Southern Army.

  36. He won a smashing victory at Cowpens.

  37. Although the Battle of Guilford Courthouse was technically a British victory,

  38. it weakened the British forces so much that Cornwallis decided to abandon the Carolinas and march to Virginia.

  39. Greene followed and trapped Cornwallis into surrendering at Yorktown.

  40. 1781

  41. Mutiny of unpaid Pennsylvania soldiers (1/1)

  42. Patriot Morgan overwhelming defeated British Col. Tarleton at Cowpens, SC (1/17)

  43. Articles of Confederation adopted (3/2)

  44. British win costly victory at Guilford Courthouse, NC (3/15)

  45. British victory near a courthouse in North Carolina in March, 1781. Together with the American victory at Cowpens, the engagement at Guilford Courthouse weakened the British forces in the South.

  46. General Charles Cornwallis, the commander of the southern British forces, decided to abandon North and South Carolina and march to Virginia

  47. Greene defeated at Hobkirk's Hill, SC (4/25)

  48. Corwallis clashed with Greene at Guilford Courthouse, NC (5/15)

  49. Cornwallis: British general who won more battles than he lost

  50. but surrendered at Yorktown, ending the war.

  51. As second-in-command to General Henry Clinton,

  52. he was on the winning side at Brooklyn, Brandywine, Monmouth, and Charleston.

  53. After that, he was placed in command of the southern British forces.

  54. His big success was the smashing victory at Camden,

  55. although he did technically win at Guilford Courthouse.

  56. But he was beaten at Kings Mountain, Cowpens, and at Yorktown.

  57. Americans recapture Augusta, GA (6/6)

  58. British hold off Americans at Ninety Six, SC (6/18)

  59. "Mad" Anthony Wayne repulsed at Green Springs Farm, VA (7/6)

  60. Greene defeated at Eutaw Springs, SC (9/8)

  61. French fleet drove British naval force from Chesapeake Bay (9/15)

  62. Cornwallis surrounded on land and sea by Americans and French and surrenders at Yorktown, VA (10/19)

  63. American victory that ended the Revolutionary War on October 20, 1781.

  64. British General Charles Cornwallis had met defeat in the south, at Cowpens, and his force had been continually weakened,

  65. especially by American General Nathanael Greene at Guilford Courthouse.

  66. Cornwallis left the Carolinas and proceeded north to Yorktown, Virginia,

  67. there to await reinforcements from General Henry Clinton,

  68. who was occupied in the north.

  69. American forces under Greene and Commander-in-Chief George Washington

  70. pursued Cornwallis by land while French ships surrounded the bay of Yorktown.

  71. Faced with the prospect of no reinforcements,

  72. Cornwallis stood and fought.

  73. But the Americans won the battle and the war.

  74. At the surrender ceremony,

  75. Cornwallis's sword was accepted by General Benjamin Lincoln while a British band played "The World Turned Upside Down."

  76. This was the last major battle of the war, although some minor skirmishes took place for the next two years, until the Treaty of Paris ended the war in 1783.

  77. 1782

  78. Lord North resigned as British Prime Minister (3/20/82)

  79. Lord North: Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1770 to 1782.

  80. A former Lord of the Treasury, he focused on economic problems for the first part of his reign.

  81. He thought to make an example of Massachusetts by coming down hard on the insurrection there.

  82. An example was the Tea Act, which so angered American colonists that they dumped 342 crates of tea into Boston Harbor.

  83. But his experiment backfired.

  84. Not only did the Massachusetts colonists fight back,

  85. but the rest of the colonies also caught the revolutionary fire.

  86. War was declared, and the fighting began.

  87. North continued to serve as prime minister throughout the war, managing the affairs of the country from home while his armies fought in the field afar.

  88. He tried to resign several times during the war, but King George III would not accept the resignation.

  89. Finally, a year after Yorktown, while peace negotiations were dragging on, North resigned for good.

  90. British evacuated Savannah, GA (7/11/82)

  91. British sign Articles of Peace (11/30/82)

  92. British leave Charleston, SC (12/14/82)

  93. 1783

  94. Congress ratifies preliminary peace treaty (4/19/83)

  95. Treaty of Paris (9/3/83)

  96. Treaty that officially ended the Revolutionary War on September 3, 1783.

  97. It was signed in Paris by Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay.

  98. Under the terms of the treaty,

  99. Britain recognized the independent nation of the United States of America.

  100. Britain agreed to remove all of its troops from the new nation.

  101. The treaty also set new borders for the United States,

  102. including all land from the Great Lakes on the north to Florida on the south,

  103. and from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River.

  104. The United States agreed to allow British troops still in America to leave

  105. and also agreed to pay all existing debts owed to Great Britain.

  106. The United States also agreed not to persecute loyalists still in America and allow those that left America to return

  107. British troops leave New York (11/25/83)

  108. Washington Resigns as Commander (12/23/83)

  109. 1787

  110. U.S. Constitution ratified (9/17/87)

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