Chapter 4 Independence! (1736-1783) Section 1 The Seeds of Unrest



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Chapter 4 Independence! (1736-1783)

Section 1 - The Seeds of Unrest

A) American Indian Resistance



  • Pontiac’s Rebellion (1763)=Unsuccessful attack by Ottawa chief Pontiac and his allies against British forts on the northwestern frontier in an attempt to drive out European settlers

B) Proclamation of 1763: British ban on colonial settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains.

- Financing the Empire

  • Parliament (British Government): needs money to pay for the debt of the French and the Indian War. They need money for the protection of colonies.

  • Parliament decides to raise money by taxing the colones.

-Sugar Act (1764): law passed by parliament imposing taxes on molasses, sugar, and other items imported by the colonies.

-Stamp Act (1765): Law passed by Parliament that placed a tax on printed matter.



Example: advertisements, legal paper, newspaper, cards, etc.

  • Colonies had always been taxed, but they were now been enforced because the British needed the money for their debts.

  • Materials had to have a special stamp to show that the tax had been paid.

-Colonial Protest

  • Many of the colonist believed they were wrongly taxed.

  • No Taxation without representation.

  • British Parliament: Colonies are being “virtually represented.” We all are British, thus, we all want the same thing.

  • Non importation agreements: documents sign by colonial merchant promising not to buy or import British goods.

  • Colonies take to the street to protest.

  • Sons of Liberty: Committees of artisans, lawyers, merchants, and politicians formed to protest the Stamp Act.

  • Samuel Adams: a leader of the Boston Sons of Liberty. Leader in the fight for colonists’ right.

  • He staged demonstrations and wrote articles expressing the colonists’ anger with taxes.

  • Stamp Act Congress (1765): Delegates from nine colonies who gather in New York City to voice their rejection of the Stamp Act and to deny parliaments right to tax the colonies.



  • Parliament (British Government)

  • Declaration Act (1766): Law passed by Parliament that asserted its right to make laws governing its American colonies.

  • Charles Townshend: Britain’s finance Minister.

  • Townshend Act: Law passed by Parliament placing duties on certain items imported by the colonies. Example: Tea, lead, glass and dyes for paint.

  • These acts were created because Parliament, specifically Townshend, believed that the colonists had opposed the Stamp tax because it was collected within the colonies; instead they should be collected at the colonial ports. He was so wrong!!!

  • Writs of assistance: special search warrants that allowed colonial tax collectors to search for smuggled goods.

  • Parliament passed the writs of assistance to enforce the Townshend Acts.

  • Quartering Act: Law enacted by parliament; required colonists to house and supply British troops.

-Boston Massacre

  • March 5, 1770 General Thomas Gage dispatches British troops into Boston to silence the protest and enforce the writs of assistance.

  • 50-60 colonists throwing snowballs, racks, etc, at the British soldiers. British soldier “accidentally” sets off his gun and the British shoot at the crowd.

  • 5 colonists end up dying.

Section 2 Shot Heard Round the World

-Continuing Unrest

  • King George III: “There must always be one tax to keep up the right”: to show that the British government still had the right to tax the colonies; show who is in power.

  • Committee of Correspondence: Group formed in 1770’s to keep colonists informed about British violations of their rights.

  • Tea Act: Law passed Parliament that excused the British East India Company form paying certain duties and allowed it to sell tea directly to American agents, resulting in a fall in colonial tea prices. Colonists refused to buy from them, afraid it would create a monopoly of the tea trade.

  • Sons of Liberty: come together in protest.

  • Boston Tea Party: Protest against the tea Act in which a group of colonists boarded British tea ships and dumped 342 chests of tea into the Boston Harbor.

-Results of the Boston Tea Party.

  • The Boston Tea Party infuriated British officials. Parliament responded by passing the coercive Acts.

  • Coercive Acts/ Intolerable Acts: four laws passed by parliament to punish colonists for the Boston Tea Party and to tighten government control of the colonies.

  • Coercive Acts= Intolerable Acts

  1. 1st Act: Closed the port of Boston until the colonists paid for the destroyed tea.

  2. 2nd Act: Revoked the Massachusetts charter and forbid the colonists from holding town meetings without the governor’s permission.

  3. 3rd Act: Allowed royal officials who were charged with crimes in Massachusetts to be tried in other colonies or in Britain so as to avoid hostile juries.

  4. 4th Act: New Quartering Act ordered local officials to provide food and housing, in private homes if necessary for British soldiers stationed in the colonies.

-Hostility toward Britain

  • Intolerable Acts deepened hostility towards Britain.

  • Colonists sympathized with MA and sent food and money to help offset the effects of the port closing.

  • Colonists denounced the actions of King George III and Parliaments as threats to colonial liberty.

  • Quebec Act: Law enacted by parliament; extended Quebec’s boundary south to the Ohio River and granted full religious freedom to French Roman Catholics.

  • This Act upset many Protestant colonies.

  • The Intolerable Acts and the Quebec Act quickened the movement towards colonial Unity.

  • Colonists’ anger grows towards the crown and Parliament.

-The Revolutionary War Begins

  • First Continental Congress: Convention of colonial delegates to discuss their grievances against parliament.

  • Representative from every colony attended except Georgia.

  • Some delegates wanted the colonies to remain part of the British Empire.

  • Others favored Independence.

  • They came up with the Declaration of Resolves: it expressed loyalty to the British crown but it also stated that the colonists had rights as British subjects.

  • Colonists: “have the right to free and exclusive power of legislation in their provincial legislatures.”

  • Colonists: called for ban on all trade with Britain.



  • King George III: colonies “are in a state of rebellion, blows must decide whether they are to be subjects to this country or independent.”

  • Parliament orders General Thomas Gage to put down the rebellion.

-Battle of Lexington and Concord

    • General Gage decides to seize rebel military supplies stored in Concord, MA.

    • Patriots (Colonists who supported independence) were ready for them thanks to Paul Revere and company who galloped to alert the Patriots.

The British are coming, the British are coming”

  • Captain John Parker and 70 minutemen confront the British in Lexington.

*Minutemen: members of the militia who promised to be ready at a minute’s notice.

  • Someone shots a fire: each side blames the other. “The shot heard around the world”

  • Fighting begins between the colonies and the Red Coats (British Army).

  • Casualties: Colonists less than 100/ British about 273.



  • (1775) Second Continental Congress: Meeting of colonists in Philadelphia to decide how to react to fighting at Lexington and Concord.

  • Radicals like Samuel Adams want immediate independence.

  • Others urge restrain.

  • Both agree on a “Continental Army for the defense of American liberty.”

  • George Washington commander of Continental Army.

-Battle of Bunker Hill: revolutionary war battle near Boston that resulted in more than 1000 British casualties and fewer than 450 Patriot casualties.

  • Too many loses for British troops led by General William Howe.

  • After the battle some colonists persuaded the Continental Congress to send a final plea to King George III.

  • Olive Brach Petition (1775): rejected peace request sent by the Second Continental Congress to King George III.

  • King George III: ordered royal Navy to blockade the colonies and sends Hessian Mercenaries to defeat the colonies.

*Hessian mercenaries: hired soldiers form German States.

Section 3 Independence Declared

-Reasons for Independence

  • 1) British Government had violated their rights as British subjects.

  • 2) Fellow colonists had already died defending these rights.

  • Patrick Henry and Thomas Paine: powerful supporters of Independence.

  • Thomas Paine: Common Sense- support for Revolution and end of Britain’s rule of colonies. “Government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”

-Declaration of Independence.

  • Richard Henry Lee introduces a resolution calling for the establishment of a confederation, or loose pact, of the states.

  • Thomas Jefferson and his committee write most of the actual writing in the Declaration of Independence.

  • July 4, 1776 Congress formally adopts the Declaration of Independence.

  • Declaration of Independence details the King’s misdeeds, the right of people to alter or abolish governments who deprives them of “unalienable rights.”

  • Unalienable Rights: life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

-Reaction to Independence

  • Mixed reactions through the colonies.

  • Patriots: rejoice wildly, ringing “liberty bells,” singing and dancing.

  • Loyalist (Tories): oppose or simply ignored the Declaration of Independence.

  • They believed that to resist the King was to rebel against God.

  • Some loyalists would lose power and wealth if royal authority ended.

  • Many loyalists left to Canada, British West Indians, or England for fear of their lives and their families’ lives.

-Fighting the War

  • The lack of a powerful central government made the American war effort particularly difficult.

  • Second Continental congress had no real authority. It could only ask states for help.

  • Some merchants and famers sold their produce to the highest bidder, whether American or British.

  • George Washington troops suffered, from illness because of poorly prepared food, which caused germs, and contaminated water supplies. These unsanitary conditions killed thousands.

  • George Washington also face constant troop storage because of short-term enlistments, and the soldier/farmers in the ranks often deserted at planting or harvesting time.

  • These limitations made it impossible to maintain a large, well-trained fighting force.

-Those Who Served

  • Patriot forces enjoyed 2 key advantages over British.

1) They fought on familiar ground.

2) Were motivated by revolutionary Zeal.



Continentals: less than 23 years old, owned little or no property, and had grown up on farms.

  • Many enlisted because of Independence, others because they received small cash bonuses and promised of free land after the war. Others were simply drafted.

  • Not well trained, supplied or disciplined.

  • Britain’s Redcoats: mostly young men from poor rural background, highly trained, well supplied, and accustomed to strict military discipline.

  • African Americans: many slaves fought for the British because they were promised freedom. At first Continental Army did not want to have African Americans but eventually they had to. They enlisted free slaves and African Americans that would receive freedom in exchange for enlistment.

  • American Indians: They fought for both sides because of their knowledge of the land and their fighting skills. They were promised protection of their land rights.

  • Women: Patriot women- spies or messengers, others fought in actual war dressed as men, others accompanied troops as cooks, laundresses, and nurses. Others distributed medical supplies, made uniforms, and help manufacture bullets. Women also manage businesses and farms.

  • Loyalist women: spied for British army, aided British prisoners, or hid British soldiers in their homes.

Section 4 An American Victory

  • Battle of Trenton (1776): Revolutionary War battle in New Jersey in which patriot forces captured more than 900 Hessian troops fighting for Britain.

  • The Americans suffered just five wounded and no dead in the battle.

  • This raised American morale.

  • Battle of Saratoga (1777): Turning point of the Revolutionary War; Patriot victory led to more support form European powers.

  • British troops were outfoxed and outnumbered by Patriot forces.

  • 1777 France officially forms an alliance with the United States.

  • They recognized the U.S. as an Independence country.

  • They supply them with gold, naval support, supplies and troops.

  • Eventually France declares war on England.

  • Spain and the Netherlands also allied themselves with the U.S.

  • In the winter of 1777-78 Washington troops had greatly been reduced. The news that powerful allies had joined them gave the Patriots new hope.

  • Fighting in the West and South.

  • Patriots had better luck in the west and south where most of the fighting took place between small detachments of troops.

  • They used guerrilla warfare: wearing down the enemy in hit-and-run battles.

  • Eventually Patriots force British troops to leave the southern interior and retreat to the coastline.

  • Battle of Yorktown (1781): last major battle of the Revolutionary War; site of British general Charles Cornwallis’s surrender to the Patriots of Virginia.

  • Cornwallis’s surrender effectively marked the end of the war.

  • Treaty of Paris: (1783) Peace agreement that officially ended the Revolutionary War and establishes Britain’s formal recognition of the United States.

  • U.S. is granted independence.

  • U.S. receives land from the Atlantic coast westward to the Mississippi River and from the Great Lakes south to Florida

  • Americans have to pay any debts owed to the British.

  • Treaty gave the U.S. more room to grow now that they were forging a new country.

  • U.S. only negotiates with Britain.

  • Spain and France were not in the treaty talks.

  • Spain wanted to confine the U.S. to the land east of the Appalachian Mountains.



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