A. A feeling of distrust between the colonists and Britain grew due to
1. British soldiers stationed in the colonies and on the frontier
2. The Proclamation of 1763 -was an attempt to prevent the colonists from going west and passed the Appalachian Mountains. The British did this to prevent future issues between Native Americans and the colonists. This angered the colonists because they wanted the benefits that would come with the western lands. Naturally, thousands disregarded the imaginary boundary line.
3. Taxation due to the French & Indian War Colonists feared that British soldiers might interfere with their liberties, and they saw the proclamation as limiting their freedom.
B. Britain began to watch colonial trading more closely in order to catch colonists who were involved in smuggling. In 1764, customs officials were able to obtain writs of assistance to search homes and warehouses for smuggled goods. Colonists were outraged by this intrusion without warning.
C. Parliament passed the Sugar Act in 1764 to stop the molasses smuggling between the colonies and the French West Indies.
1. The act lowered the tax on imported molasses.
2. The British hoped that by lowering the tax, the colonists would be encouraged to pay the duty on foreign molasses. When Britain collected the taxes, its revenues would increase.
3. The Sugar Act also allowed special courts that had judges, not juries, to hear smuggling cases. The colonists were outraged again because this took away their basic right of trial by jury.
II. The Stamp Act
A. The Stamp Act taxed almost all printed material in the colonies such as newspapers, pamphlets, wills, and playing cards. British officials placed a stamp on all printed materials. Colonists were opposed because the British Parliament taxed the colonists directly, and it had passed the act without their consent.
B. The colonists protested this act.
1. In Virginia, Patrick Henry, persuaded the burgesses to take action against the Stamp Act. They passed a resolution saying that they had the “sole exclusive right” to tax their citizens.
2. The Sons of Liberty, originally organized in Boston by Samuel Adams, protested by burning effigies, raiding and destroying houses of British officials, and marching along the streets to protest Britain’s taxing of Americans.
3. Boycotts against importing British and European goods occurred.
C. In October, Congress petitioned the king and Parliament saying that only their own assemblies could tax the colonies. In February 1766, Parliament repealed the Stamp Act.
D. Parliament passed another act, the Declaratory Act of 1766, on the same day it repealed the Stamp Act. The act allowed Parliament the right to tax and to make decisions for the British colonies “in all cases.”
III. New Taxes
A. Parliament passed the Townshend Acts in 1767, which taxed imported goods at the port of entry. It taxed basic items such as glass, tea, paper, and lead––items that the colonists did not produce and therefore had to import.
B. Another boycott occurred in hopes of showing Britain that only the colonies’ representatives had the right to tax them. The Daughters of Liberty, an active group in the protest, urged Americans to wear homemade fabrics and produce other goods so as not to buy British products.
IV. Trouble in Boston
A. Parliament sent two regiments of troops (often referred to as redcoats) to Boston. They set up camp in the heart of the city. These soldiers were in some cases rude and violent toward the colonists. Because Boston resented the presence of the soldiers, fighting broke out between the redcoats and Bostonians and continued throughout the next year.
B. The Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770, was a result of the heated tension between the redcoats and the Bostonians. Townspeople wielding weapons marched through the streets toward the customhouse. The redcoats fired, killing five colonists. Among the dead was Crispus Attucks, an African American dockworker.
C. The Boston Massacre led colonists to call for stronger boycotts of British goods. Colonial leaders used the killings as propaganda against the British.
D. Parliament repealed the Townshend Acts except the tax on tea.
E. Some colonial leaders still called for resistance to British rule. In 1772 Samuel Adams revived the committee of correspondence in Boston to circulate colonists’ grievances against Britain. Other colonies began committees of correspondence that brought together protesters opposed to British measures.
V. A Crisis Over Tea
A. Parliament passed the Tea Act of 1773 to save the British East India Company from going under. This act gave the East India Company a favorable advantage over colonial merchants because it was able to ship its extra tea to the colonies without paying most of the tea taxes.
B. Because its tea was sold directly to the shopkeepers at a low price and bypassed colonial merchants, the tea from the East India Company was cheaper than any other tea. The colonists again boycotted British goods to denounce the British monopoly.
C. The Daughters of Liberty marched through town and burned the East India Company’s tea. Colonists in Boston and Philadelphia planned to stop the company’s ships from unloading. In all colonial ports except Boston, colonists forced the company’s ships to return to Britain.
D. In Boston Harbor in December 1773, the royal governor ordered the tea unloaded. At midnight on December 16, the Boston Sons of Liberty disguised as Mohawks boarded the ships and threw 342 chests of tea overboard. This became known as the Boston Tea Party.
E. The king and Parliament vowed to punish Boston and the people of Massachusetts for using the Boston Tea Party to resist British rule. They passed the Coercive Acts.
F. These acts closed Boston Harbor until the colonists paid for the ruined tea. Closing the harbor prevented Bostonians from receiving food and other supplies.
G. The laws also banned town meetings and forced Bostonians to house British soldiers in their homes- Quartering Act.
H. The colonists renamed these acts the Intolerable Acts.
VI. The Continental Congress
A. The Continental Congress was a group of prominent colonial leaders who met in September 1774 to establish a political group that would fight for American interests and challenge British rule. Among the delegates who attended were Samuel Adams, John Adams, John Jay, Richard Henry Lee, Patrick Henry, and George Washington.
B. The delegates worked together to draft a statement of grievances. They called for repeal of the 13 acts of Parliament. They voted to boycott all British goods and trade.
C. They also passed a resolution to form militias, or groups of citizens, so that the colonies would have their own armed forces.
VII. The First Battles
A. Paul Revere rode to Lexington, a town near Concord, to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that the British were coming.
B. The redcoats approached Lexington and continued to Concord. They found that the gunpowder was removed, but they destroyed the remaining supplies.
C. The minutemen were waiting all along the British return trail from Concord to Boston. They ambushed the British. More than 200 British were wounded, and 73 of them were dead. The battles of Lexington and Concord began the struggle for independence from Britain. VIII. More Military Action)
A. Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys captured Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain on May 10, 1775.
B. The colonial militia grew to 20,000 after committees of correspondence enlisted more volunteers.
C. The Battle of Bunker Hill took place on June 16, 1775. Although the British won the battle, they suffered heavy losses and learned that defeating the Americans would not be easy.
D. Americans chose sides. Those who wanted to fight the British until they won their independence were called Patriots. Loyalists wanted to remain with Britain. XI Colonial Leaders Emerge
A. The Second Continental Congress met for the first time on May 10, 1775. In addition to the delegates from the first Continental Congress, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, and Thomas Jefferson were new delegates.
B. The Congress governed the colonies. It
1. Authorized the printing of money
2. Set up a post office
3. Established a Continental Army with George Washington as the commander
4. Sent a formal request to King George III asking for peace and for the king to protect the colonists’ rights. King George III refused this Olive Branch Petition and prepared for war.
C. Washington trained the army, and on March 17, 1776, led his troops into Boston after surrounding the city and forcing the redcoats to withdraw.
X. The Colonies Declare Independence
A. The Second Continental Congress debated a resolution to support independence. Some delegates thought the colonies were not ready to separate, and others felt that a large part of the population wanted to separate from Britain.
B. The Congress formed a committee to draft a Declaration of Independence. Members included Jefferson, Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, and Robert Livingston of New York.
C. On July 2, 1776, twelve colonies voted for the resolution for independence. On July 4, they approved the Declaration with some changes. John Hancock was the first to sign it. His signature was large so that the king would have no trouble reading it. D. The Declaration has four main sections:
The Opposing Sides A. In order for the colonies to actually gain their independence from Britain, they had to fight a war. No one expected it to last so long, however.
B. Patriots, or Americans who supported independence, faced several obstacles:
1. Britain had a larger population––9 million against 2.5 million.
2. Britain had the strongest navy in the world and a well-trained army as well.
3. The Americans did not have a regular army or navy. Many colonists belonged to militias who were basically volunteers and served for short periods of time.
4. Not all Americans supported the war effort. Some were neutral, some were opposed to fighting, and some were loyal to Britain.
C. Loyalists, or Tories, supported Britain for several reasons:
1. Some were members of the Anglican Church and thus loyal to Britain.
2. Some depended on the British for jobs.
3. Some feared the changes a new government might bring and feared challenging an existing government.
4. Some just did not understand the war.
D. Some African Americans were promised their freedom if they fought on the British side, so they became Loyalists.
E. Patriots had some advantages over the British troops.
1. They fought on their own ground, not 3,000 miles from home.
2. They had a personal stake in fighting to protect the freedom of their own land as opposed to the Hessian mercenaries, or hired soldiers, who fought for the British for money.
3. George Washington was a leader with courage, honesty, and determination.
F. Raising an army was difficult. Congress had trouble enlisting soldiers and raising money to fight the war. The Americans had militias, not a regular army. Soldiers usually signed up for one year of service. The Congress offered a three-year term, or length of service, but the one-year enlistment was most common.
II. Fighting in New York
A. British troops outnumbered the Americans. During the summer of 1777, Britain sent 32,000 troops to fight in America. The British hoped to win an early victory.
B. British defeated the Continental Army at the Battle of Long Island in August. Nathan Hale became a hero for America. He was discovered as a spy and hanged. After the defeat, Washington retreated to Manhattan and then across New Jersey into Pennsylvania, pursued by the British.
C. Continental Army faced many obstacles. They ran short of supplies. The size of the army shrank. Soldiers became discouraged. Some soldiers finished their term of service and went home. Others ran away.
III. Patriot Gains
A. More soldiers were needed, so some states enlisted African Americans.
B. American troops scored victories at Trenton and Princeton, New Jersey. Washington caught the British troops off guard when he surprised them at Trenton in late December 1776. The British sent more troops under Lord Charles Cornwallis, but Washington marched his troops to Princeton and drove away the British.
IV. A British Plan for Victory
A. The British planned to gain control of Albany and the Hudson River to separate New England from the Middle Colonies. First, John Burgoyne would lead troops south from Canada. Second, Lieutenant Colonel Barry St. Leger would move east from Lake Ontario. Third, General Howe would move north from New York City, and they would all meet in Albany.
B. Howe’s troops captured Philadelphia, and the Continental Congress fled to the countryside. Howe postponed the move to Albany and stayed in Philadelphia during the winter.
C. The Americans, however, was able to slow down the British. American forces led by Benedict Arnold (traitor) forced the British to retreat at Fort Stanwix, New York. General Burgoyne’s army captured Fort Ticonderoga but had trouble after that. Short of supplies and men, Burgoyne retreated to Saratoga, New York, in October.
D. The British lost the Battle of Saratoga. Burgoyne’s troops were completely surrounded by the Patriot Army. On October 17, 1777, they handed over their weapons to the Americans and surrendered.
V. Gaining Allies
A. European nations helped the American cause. France and Spain were at war with the British in Europe and hated the British. They realized that the Americans had a chance to win their war, so they offered assistance.
B. France at first secretly gave money to help the American war effort and then publicly announced its support. In February 1778, the French and the Americans worked out a trade agreement and an alliance. France declared war on Britain and gave the Americans money, equipment, and troops to fight the British.
C. Spain and the Netherlands were at war with Britain. Spain did not recognize America’s independence until after the Revolution, but the Spanish governor of Louisiana, Bernardo de Gálvez, helped the war effort.
D. Washington’s troops spent a hard winter at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. The army lacked enough food, clothing, and shelter. Some men deserted; others resigned. Yet the Continental Army survived. In April news of France’s alliance cheered them.
E. A French nobleman, Marquis de Lafayette, spent the winter at Valley Forge. He offered his services and became one of Washington’s trusted aides.
F. Getting money to finance the war was difficult. To pay for the war, Congress and the states printed hundreds of millions of dollars of paper money. Soldiers had to be paid and supplies bought. The paper quickly lost its value and in turn led to inflation. Congress stopped issuing paper money because no one would use it.
VI. Glory at Sea
A. The British had a powerful navy and thus were able to wage battles at sea. They blockaded American harbors, preventing ships from entering or leaving ports. This effectively cut off supplies and reinforcements from getting to the troops.
B. The American Navy was too weak to fight the British, so they used privateers. Privateers were privately owned merchant ships with weapons. The privateers attacked the British ships. Congress authorized more than 100 ships to sail as privateers.
C. John Paul Jones became a naval hero as a result of his battle near the coast of Great
Britain in September 1779. The battle involved his ship, the Bonhomme Richard, and the British warship Serapis. After more than three hours of battle, the Serapis surrendered. The Bonhomme Richard sank because it was so badly damaged.
VII. Victory at Yorktown
A. Washington planned a complex and secretive takeover at Yorktown, Virginia, in hopes of surprising Cornwallis. Washington was originally going to attack New York City because he was expecting a French fleet to arrive there to help. The French fleet never reached New York City because the British fleet trapped them in Newport.
Washington planned an attack on Yorktown instead.
1. He knew the British expected him at New York City, so this change would surprise and confuse them.
2. He learned that a second French fleet was to arrive near Chesapeake Bay, and he hoped that they would meet at Yorktown.
B. The Yorktown plan was kept secret. Three groups were to meet there and surprise the British.
1. In August 1781, Admiral François de Grasse’s fleet was to land along the Virginia coast near Yorktown.
2. In July the first French fleet that was trapped in Newport would meet
Washington’s troops and marched south to Yorktown. Their commander was General Rochambeau.
3. A third group from the west under Anthony Wayne was to march toward Yorktown, Virginia.
C. The plan worked. By the end of September, 14,000 American and French troops trapped Cornwallis’s 7,500 troops. The British troops could not escape by sea because de Grasse’s troops blocked them. The rest of the British Army was in New York under General Clinton, unable to help Cornwallis in the South.
D. On October 11, American and French troops bombarded the British. On October 19,
Cornwallis surrendered. The Patriots had won the Battle of Yorktown.
A. Fighting continued after the Battle of Yorktown, but the British realized that the war was too costly to continue. Delegates from both sides met in Paris. After a preliminary treaty was ratified in April 1783, the final Treaty of Paris was signed on September 3, 1783. It said that
1. Britain recognized the United States as an independent nation!
2. The United States territory extended from the Atlantic Ocean west to the Mississippi River and from Canada in the north to Spanish Florida in the south
3. The British promised to withdraw all troops and agreed to give Americans the right to fish off the coast of Canada
4. The United States agreed that British merchants could collect on debts owed by Americans.
Additional Key People:
Wentworth Cheswell: Revolutionary war veteran who was the first African American elected to office.
Haym Salomon: American financier and Revolutionary patriot who helped fund the army during the American Revolution
Mercy Otis Warren: A 19th century American historian who wrote a 3-volume history of the American Revolution.
James Armistead: African American Patriot who spied for the Americans during the American Revolution.
Benjamin Franklin: The Albany Plan of Union (Join or Die) & American patriot, writer, printer, and inventor. During the Revolutionary War he persuaded the French to help the colonists.
Abigail Adams: Wife of John, who informs the famous quote “Remember the Ladies” to her husband John when meeting to draft the Declaration.
Thomas Paine: American Revolutionary leader and pamphleteer (born in England) who supported the American colonist's fight for independence; Author of Common Sense 1775–76 that inspired people in the 13 colonies to declare and fight for independence from Great Britain
Unalienable Rights: Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness, they are natural not stated in by government or laws.
Mercantilism: an economic system where the colony exports raw materials to the mother country who then turns the raw materials into manufactured goods that are then sold to the colonies
Documents: Articles of Confederation:
The agreement made by the original 13 states in 1777 establishing a confederacy to be known as the United States of America; replaced by the Constitution of 1788