Stamp Act March 22 1765
The Stamp Act was a tax that took the form of a stamp that had to be purchased then stuck on items that were bought and sold. Americans had no representatives in the British parliament so they felt they were being taxed without their consent, “taxation without representation”. This tax was necessary to pay the cost of the British soldiers defending the colonies but American colonists refused to pay it. When officials came around to enforce the tax, Americans would pour tar and dump feathers on them to cause pain and humiliate them. This tax was soon abolished.
Townshend Acts June 1767
The Townshend Acts were taxes placed on goods such as, paper, paint, glass, and tea. These taxes were required to pay the cost of operating governments in the colonies. The taxes were repealed except for the one on tea.
Boston Massacre March 5 1770
The Boston Massacre was an event that everyone had different views on. The drawing above by Paul Revere (an American) is a source of anti-British propaganda that many people use to imagine how this event would happen. However, this is in fact not how it occurred. On March 5 1770, a crowd of Americans were taunting and throwing snowballs at a group of American soldiers. This caused one of the soldiers to accidentally fire his weapon creating a line of fire from the others. Meanwhile, the leader of the soldiers is yelling at them to stop. Paul Revere’s drawing makes it look as though the leader of the British soldiers is commanding them to all fire at a cornered, scrambling crowd of Americans that look innocent. He calls this event a massacre. The definition of massacre is a brutal killing of a large amount of people. In the event a total of 5 people were killed so it is not a massacre.
Tea Act and Boston Tea Party December 16 1773
The Boston Tea Party was an act of defiance towards the British. After British parliament monopolized the countries tea brand, 116 colonists dressed in disguises, boarded British ships docked in Boston. They then threw boxes of tea into the harbour to protest the Tea act. They had destroyed the tea and disobeyed the law as this act was very much illegal.
Intolerable Acts April 22 1774
Parliament passes a series of acts that were meant to punish American colonists and assert British authority. Many Americans viewed these acts as a threat to their freedoms. Every position in the colony’s government are now taken by the British. Town meetings are now only held once a year. British officials accused of crimes can have their trials in another colony or in Great Britain. Boundaries of the colony of Quebec were expanded deep into the Ohio Valley, which prevented the Americans from settling there.
First Continental Congress September 5-October 26 1774
All thirteen colonies except Georgia sent delegates to the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia. It began by defying British authority and government. Leaders demanded a boycott of goods from England. British General Gage readied British troops from his headquarters in Boston. Disobedient colonists began to train and to store weapons and ammunition. King George declined the colonists’ petition that demanded the Intolerable Acts be abolished.
Battle of Lexington and Concord April 19 1775
General Gage sent 700 troops under Colonel Francis to Concord to seize and destroy artillery and ammunition. The colonists already knew their weapons were in jeopardy and had moved them to secret locations in advance to the arrival of the Redcoats. Dawes road to Concord to warn Hancock and Adams and Revere rode through the countryside yelling “The Regulars are coming”. Gage’s wife, Margaret Kemble Gage, gave information about her husband’s planned raid in sympathy to the Revolution. When the British arrived, someone fired a shot that was known as “The Shot Heard Round’ the World”. The Redcoats unleashed devastating volleys before charging the minutemen with their bayonets. Eight minutemen were killed and ten wounded but their numbers arriving swelled. In revenge for one of theirs dead, the Redcoats sometimes pillaged houses and communities along the way. Colonials continued to snipe away the line of Redcoats. In conclusion, 73 Redcoats were killed and 174 were wounded.
Battle of Bunker Hill June 17 1775
On the night of June 17 1775, American troops under orders from Artemas Ward, moved out of their camp to Bunker Hill. Ward’s men misunderstood his orders and went to Breed’s Hill by mistake. In the first wave of attack, scores of British troops were killed or wounded and the rest retreated down the hill. British rushed the hill in a second wave and again they retreated, suffering a great number of casualties. When the British charged the hill for the third time, the Americans were low on ammunition and hand-to-hand fighting took place. The British eventually took the hill, but at a great cost. Of the 2,300 British soldiers, 1,054 were either killed or wounded.
Thomas Paine’s Common Sense February 14 1776
The Americans separating from the British would not be a walk in the park. Although they did want to break apart, Americans were taught at a young age that England was to be loved and the British respected. Thomas Paine wrote a piece called Common Sense that was instantaneously a best-seller. Published in early 1776, he had two main points in his work. 1.Independence from England and 2.the creation of a democratic republic. He quoted the bible often in this and wrote in the language of the people. It made no difference to the people that Thomas Paine was new to America as it was published anonymously. Many people thought that John Adams wrote it, but he denied involvement. Thomas Paine’s piece was very beneficial to the American Revolution and it spoke to the people.
Declaration of Independence July 4 1776
The Declaration of Independence was a formal, legal document that states the reasons that led the 13 colonies to separate from the British Empire. Thomas Jefferson created this document because American colonists were wanting more freedom and independence. The most known line from the declaration is, “that all men are created equal”. Although ending slavery was a big part of that line, Thomas Jefferson (the main author), owned many slaves as did many of his signers.
Battle of Trenton December 26 1776
General Washington planned an attack on the Hessians on December 26, 1776. He chose this date because everyone was celebrating Christmas with drinks and music, unprepared for an attack. This time of year however, came with a cost. It was extremely harsh cold weather and it took a lot of effort to cross the Delaware River on their way to Trenton. They lost a few troops on the journey due to extreme frostbite. Washington’s army was joined by armies under the command of Generals Nathaniel Greene and John Sullivan. Artillery was set up on the two main streets running through the city. Hessian forces became surrounded by American troops and they surrendered when their escape routes were cut off. Only 2 American soldiers were killed in the end and 5 were injured, although, many more suffered from hypothermia and disease. As for the Hessians, they had 83 deaths, 896 were captured, and all 4 Hessian colonels were killed.
Battle of Saratoga October 7 1777
The British were planning on cutting off New England from the rest of the colonies. They would do this by taking New York, Albany and the Hudson River. Generals Burgoyne, St. Leger and Howe were to meet at Albany to take down the rebel armies. Burgoyne and his army got trapped in Saratoga blocked by General Gates. Burgoyne’s army attempted to attack the larger Patriot force but was defeated Arnold’s army at Bemis Heights. Lack of supplies and a high number of casualties forced Burgoyne to surrender. The Patriot’s victory at Saratoga was a turning point in the war. It renewed the morale of the Americans and it convicted France the Americans could win the war and decided to support the Americans. France once decided to support, sent generals, troops, ships, supplies, and money to the Americans to help in winning the war.
Battle of Camden August 16 1780
In 1780 the British shifted their military strategies to focus on the southern colonies. The continental congress voted to give command of a second southern army to Horiato Gates, the hero of the battle of Saratoga. This action was taken without the consent of Commander-in-Chief George Washington. They had 4000 soldiers but many were unable to fight.
Battle of the Cowpens January 17 1781
After initial British charge, the first two lines of Patriot fighters withdrew. Tarelton believed that the Patriots were in full retreat and ordered his soldiers to charge but he was not aware of the third line of Patriot soldiers waiting for the British charge. British advance was halted by the third line of Patriots with a bayonet charge. British soldiers were forced to either surrender or turn and run, yet Patriot forces continued to attack from behind. The British soldiers continued to retreat despite Tarelton urging them to resume fighting. In the end, 712 British soldiers were captured and 110 were killed.
Battle of Guildford Courthouse March 15 1781
The Patriots won the Battle of Cowpens which led to British General Charles Cornwallis resolving to wipe out the southern branch of the Continental Army led by Nathaniel Greene. Cornwallis had chased Greene through North Carolina. Little did Cornwallis know, Greene had assembled an army of North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland militia at the Guildford Courthouse in North Carolina. Cornwallis decided to launch an attack even though he had less than half as many soldiers as Greene. General Greene had prepared his army in 3 lines, but unlike the battle of Cowpens these lines were farther apart and unable to support each other. The battle started in the afternoon and as soon as it had begun, the British immediately charged 2 lines of Patriots. The 2 Patriot lines retreated leaving the third on a hill. Cornwallis decided to fire heavy weapons over his own soldiers, which caused many deaths but was effective and resulted in Greene’s army in full retreat. Cornwallis lost over 25% of his men in the end.
Battle of Yorktown October 6-19 1781
By 1780, the French were fully committed to supporting the British in the Revolutionary war. A major objective for the French-American army was to take over New York city. French and American forces, which included 5,500 new French soldiers, met near New York city to begin movements to Virginia. British thought this meeting was meant to liberate New York city so they did not send aid to where the army was actually going to, Virginia. Throughout September of 1781, the French-American soldiers marched south over 200 miles within two weeks. This plan was effective, and by the end of September, Americans had trapped Cornwallis’ army from the west and the French had trapped them from the east. Washington’s troops began digging a trench that would be 2,000 yards long, running from Yorktown to the York River. The purpose of these trenches was to allow the movement of larger artillery toward the British defensive walls. French and American guns began launching bullets into British forces from land and water. As the days went on, trenches were dug closer and closer to British fortifications. On October 14, French-American forces stormed the British and took most of the land. Leader of the British, Cornwallis, had a plan to escape across the York River. Due to bad weather, his plan was unsuccessful and he was forced to surrender to the French-Americans. The Americans then took over 7,000 British troops prisoner and the war had almost reached its end.
Treaty of Paris 1783
The Treaty of Paris ended the revolutionary war and also helped recognize American independence. Britain agreed to recognize American independence and gave them fishing rights to the Grand Banks off the coast of Newfoundland. This also granted U.S all territory between the Allegheny Mountains on the east and the Mississippi River on the west. United States then agreed to end the persecution of Loyalists and restore the property that was confiscated during the war.
About 20% or 1 in 5 American colonists remained loyal and supported British rule. Approximately 25,000 Loyalists fought with the British during the war. The Patriots persecuted the Loyalists. Loyalists were abused by the Patriots and had their farms and homes burned. Due to the Treaty of Paris being signed, between 80,000 and 100,000 Loyalists were forced to leave the U.S. Many of them settled in other colonies in North America such as, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and PEI.
The Constitution outlines the structure and powers of government. The basic principles of the Constitution are; three branches of government are separate and checked and balanced off by the power of the other two, US Constitution is supreme, all persons are equal before the law, as we are all states and each state must be democratic and respect the law of others, the people can change the US Constitution by the methods outlined within it.
Bill of Rights 1791
The following ten points became known as the Bill of Rights to the Constitution. They represent rule of law, ideals regarding individual liberty, and limited government. These rights set law and freedom to the people, which was strict yet beneficial. The amendments are; 1.freedom of worship, speech, press, right of peaceful assembly, right to petition the government. 2. right of citizens to bear arms. 3. troops may not be quartered in private homes without owner’s consent. 4. guards against unreasonable searches, arrests, seizures of property. 5. requires indictment by a grand jury for major crimes before trial, prohibits repeated trials for the same offense, forbids punishment without process and that you don’t have to testify against yourself. 6. guarantees a speedy trial for criminal offenses, trial by an unbiased jury, legal counsel for the accused, and that witnesses must attend the trial in the presence of the accused. 7. guarantees trial by jury in civil cases in anything valued at more than 20 US dollars. 8. forbids excessive bail or fines and cruel or unusual punishment. 9. people have other rights than those mentioned in the Constitution. 10. powers not delegated to the federal government belong to the states or the people.
The American Revolution had a domino effect on other revolutions such as the French Revolution in 1789. The Declaration of independence also created an impact on the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, also in 1789. I see it as though since the French were supporting the Americans in the war, it influenced the French to follow in their foot steps and make a change. The revolution prompted other colonial peoples to break apart and become self-governing nations with their voice heard with directly elected representative government.