The War of Inconsistency

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Chapter 8

America Secedes from the Empire 1775 - 1783

Part 1

pp. 141-151(G-W)

“The War of Inconsistency”

1st phase of War

April 1775-July 4, 1776
The independence movement - was fueled by established colonial elites, as well as by grassroots movements that included newly mobilized laborers, artisans, and women, and rested on arguments over the rights of British subjects, the rights of the individual, and the ideas of the Enlightenment.
The War - Despite considerable loyalist opposition, as well as Great Britain’s apparently overwhelming military and financial advantages, the patriot cause succeeded because of the colonists’ greater familiarity with the land, their resilient military and political leadership, their ideological commitment, and their support from European allies.
The War of Inconsistency (Phase 1 of 3)- from Lexington & Concord, April 1775 to….The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

The Colonies Drafted Appeals to the King For cessation of War & Fought a war at the same time…. Thus Inconsistency. (Independence NOT the Goal, immediately for all in the CC… there are several in the CC who were conservatives who opposed Ind. and several who were moderates who wanted to take things very slowly and appeal to the King and Parliament… at this point)

Questions to consider:

  • Explain how the exchange of ideas among different parts of the Atlantic World shaped belief systems and independence movements.

  • Analyze how competing conceptions of national identity were expressed in the development of political institutions and cultural values from the late colonial period through the Revolution.

  • Analyze the factors behind competition, cooperation, and conflict among different societies and social groups in North America during the colonial period through the Revolution.

  • Analyze the role of environmental factors in contributing to regional economic and political identities and how they affected conflicts such as the American Revolution.

  • Analyze how changing religious ideals, Enlightenment beliefs, and republican thought shaped the politics, culture, and society of the colonial era through the Revolution.

THE WAR – A timeline of Phase 1 (War of Inconsistency)

Colonial Response to Lexington & Concord:
2nd CC meets May 1775 in Philly

Most importantly: Appointed George Washington, Head of the Army

Why G.W? Political Choice

  1. Powers of leadership and character (trust)

  2. Served without Pay (Not out to enrich himself)

  3. From Virginia (to check jealousy of other colonies)

  4. Aristocratic by nature (check excesses of the masses)

May 1775 – Ft. Ticonderoga – Benedict Arnold, Ethan Allen, & Henry Knox capture Fort, gunpowder & cannon for siege of Boston (trip during winter through snows and over the Berkshire Mtns. Incredible feat)…brought to the GW and Continental Army gathering on Dorchester Heights above Boston… which forces the British to Evacuate (Evacuation Day still celebrated - March 1776)
June -1775 Bunker Hill – British Launch “Frontal” Attack (“do not fire until you see the white in their eyes”) Americans entrenched close to the top of the hill….(Breed’s Hill- actually not Bunker Hill)

Americans outnumbered and under supplied BUT slaughter advancing Redcoats (French Minister) quote… “with two more victories, the British would have no Army left in America.”

90% of military supplies “in secret” from French…why secret at this time?
July 1775 2nd CC Issues “Olive Branch Petition” ****

Kings reply read aloud in 2nd CC …
Professing loyalty to King, Asking king to end hostilities

King Rejects and formally declared Colonists “in Rebellion” quote pg. 148

August 1775 King George III Hires German mercenaries “Hessians”

Thousands of colonists outraged

Many deserted to America Later
October 1775 –

  1. British Burn Falmouth, Maine

  2. Colonists attempt to invade Canada (quote and Montreal)

    1. Fails miserably, why offensive operation if still loyal?****inconsistent

    2. Am. Gen. B. Arnold injured severely…

January 1776 – British Burn Norfolk VA

February 1776 – Moore’s creek Bridge, NC and Charleston, SC

March 1776 – British forced to evacuate Boston
The Tide begins to turn torward independence….
Americans are reluctant Revolutionaries - however, the colonists’ belief in the superiority of republican self- government based on the natural rights of the people, the burning of both Falmouth, (Maine today) and Norfolk, Virginia, the hiring of mercenaries (Hessians), and Thomas Paine’s, “Common Sense,” open the eyes of the American people gradually to INDEPENDENCE…
Common Sense- quote p.143 Brown Box…and p.144

Called for a new type of Gov’t – A republic, where power came from the people not a King, enlightenment influences (Locke, Rousseau).

The Colonies under Salutary Neglect had already been practicing this… Town meetings - House of Burgesses

Colonists experienced with “republicanism,”- the idea that individuals had to sacrifice their personal self- interests for the public good

Colonists receptive…Radical Whiggishness (sensing a conspiracy to deprive them of their rights)…

Paine’s Prescription… to reject monarchy and empire and embrace an independent republic…

Note: not all Patriots agreed with Paine… some favored a republic led by a “natural aristocracy” of talent…certainly not a system led by the “lower orders of society” a kind of runaway republicanism that “leveled society.”
*Declaration of Independence

June 7, 1776 Richard Henry Lee Proposes Independence and Congress appoints a Committee to write an explanation

July 2, 1776 – motion adopted by 2nd CC T. Jefferson’s Explanation” Approved

July 4, 1776 – Formally approved by 2nd CC..Independence Day…

The Declaration of Independence” (see Document)

Link to video:

Based on Various Enlightenments writers especially….

(John Locke and Rousseau) “Natural Rights of Man and Social Contract theory”

  1. “All men are created equal” entitled to certain rights: Life, liberty, Pursuit of Happiness (Locke- property)

  2. “Gov’ts are instituted among men, deriving their just powers

From the consent of the governed”… “That if any form of gov’t becomes destructive of these ends it is the right of the people (duty) to alter or abolish it and institute a new gov’t” (Social Contract )

Also - listed 27 Grievances against the King…Making a Case to the World…

Tyrannous misdeeds of KGIII

1. Taxes w out consent

2. No trial by Jury

3. Establishing military dictatorship

4. Standing army during peacetime

5. Cut off trade

6. Burned towns

7. Hired mercenaries

8. Incited hostility among Indians
Refers to “Supreme judge of the world” “Divine providence” -God, Creator, Evidence of Faith?
And declares: The representatives of the “United States of America”… declare that

…These United Colonies are Free and independent States…as free and Independent states, THEY full power to levy WAR…and do all things which INDPENDENT STATES may have right to do…

***Does Jefferson refer to the STATES in Plural??
Jeff: “we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor”

Frank: “We must all hang together or we will surely hang separately”

Examining the Evidence…p.147 Abigail Adams letter to John Adams… April 5th, 1776 (see document)****

“I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.

That your sex are naturally tyrannical is a truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute; but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up the harsh title of master for the more tender and endearing one of friend. Why, then, not put it out of the power of the vicious and the lawless to use us with cruelty and indignity with impunity? Men of sense in all ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your sex; regard us then as beings placed by Providence under your protection, and in imitation of the Supreme Being make use of that power only for our happiness.”
Note: Enlightenment ideas and women’s experiences in the movement for independence promoted an ideal of “republican motherhood,” which called on white women to maintain and teach republican values within the family and granted women a new importance in American political culture. Women during this period, Abigail Adams and Mercy Otis Warren, for example, did not naturally accept a secondary role for women in this new country…as the letter attests…  A “Cult of Domesticity,” (a women’s place is in the home) surely develops as the industrial age begins in the new United States… but remember many women do not accept this idea and continuously struggle to achieve their freedom… NJ – only state which allows women to vote for a short period…how long ? XC  Mercy Otis Warren XC 
Patriots and Loyalists – nicknames after the political parties in England

Rebels (whigs) - minority/maybe 20%, younger, families often split (BF) – NE, NC, SC..most numerous where Presbyterianism and Congregationalism flourished…

Loyalists (tories)- -16%, –, from NY/Penn/NJ/Charleston, Conservative, wealthier, older, Anglican, educated, provided 50,000 volunteers. Most loyalists remain in America, yet some 80,000 fled abroad to other British colonies… Including many Black loyalists who escaped slavery due to Lord Dunmore’s proclamation.

Ch. 8 Part 2 -151- 161

Phase 2 - War in the North 1776-1778

Phase 3 - War in the South 1778 – 1783
“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of Man and Woman.” Thomas Paine–Dec. 1776
March 7 1776 British evacuation of Boston… after the cannon appear on Dorchester Heights…( timeline above Knox-Allen)…The British go to Nova Scotia to plan phase 2 …and then appear at NYC….
Battle of Long Island:

(500 ships, 35,000 Br. Vs. 18,000 Am.)

  • G.B. destroys colonist

  • G.W. returns across Hudson R. to NY to Pennsylvania

  • Howe hesitates to crash G.W. and allows escape (winter approaching)

  • A very low point in American morale… the New Jersey campaign upcoming is a major turning point due to the boost received from the twin victories…

***Battles of New Jersey 12/76 to 1/77***

  • 1777 (picture page 151) G.W in his famous Ride across the Delaware R. attacks Trenton.

  • The American victories in the battles of Trenton and Princeton

  • Huge colonial victories “saves” moral…”old Fox GW” at his best… We just had to Survive to win…The American Strategy…*****

Br. Strategy changes: (Map page 152)

- Gen. Burgoyne from Canada down Lake Champlain

- Gen. Howe from NYC up Hudson River

- Col. St. Leger from west to Albany

Goal: to cut off N.E. from colonies……*****

Results: Burgoyne delayed (key)….(Delayed by B. Arnold on L. Champlain/ Had to return to Canada and start much later….) Eventually the rebels are waiting and the fight at Saratoga is THE TURNING POINT OF THE WAR. *** - Howe goes wrong way… to philly? *** and St. Leger defeated at Oriskany, NY …They were all supposed to meet at Albany… effectively cutting off the NE Colonies… OOPS

* Burgoyne left alone at SARATOGA – where B. Arnold…(Gen. H. Gates receives credit for the victory but was actually in his tent and tried to stop BA and Rodgers Rangers (Birth of Special Forces) from attacking… We slaughter them…9,000 British surrender (ouch)

Saratoga effects: ************* Turning point of war…

-Br. offers colonies “home rule” – (Am. Refused)

- France signs 1778 Treaty of Alliance with America  (HUGE) The single most important factor in our winning the war they provide 90% of Gunpowder lots of money equipment, almost all-naval strength NOTE: THIS TREATY IS SIGNIFICANT…WE PROMISE TO SEND TROOPS TO HELP FRANCE AT ANY TIME..OUR LAST TREATY OF ALLIANCE TO PROMISE THIS UNTIL nato IN 1949****THIS COMBINED WITH gw’s LATER RELUCTANCE TO HONOR THIS PLEDGE WHEN HE IS pres.-(neutrality) AND his comments in his farewell address, “no entangling foreign alliances,” LEADS TO AN “isolationist” view of foreign policy for almost 200 years.****

- WORLD WAR- they begin to believe we can win…

  • 1779 (Spain) and 1780 (Holland) soon declare war against Great Britain.

  • “Armed Neutrality” formed (Catherine the Great of Russia) Rest of European nations “passively against England”


(1777- 1778) Howe takes Philly [ or does Philly take Howe?]

  • G.W. defeated at both:

    • Brandywine 9/77

    • Germantown 10/77

    • CC is forced to leave Philly….

Miserable winter at Valley Forge for Americans…. However

    • Emerge with/help from Von Steuben- Training soldiers…

    • Von Steuben quote p.158 about “unique” American Soldiers

British decides to leave Philly and travel to NYC

  • (1778 June) Battle of Monmouth N.J.  A DRAW and the last major battle in north. Gen. Clinton replaces Howe as Br. Commander in chief

Other Theatres of the War:

** George Rogers Clark successful in West

  • Dominates “Illinois” country, 1778-79, floats down Ohio River…takes Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and Vincennes…(at Treaty of Paris, 1783, these victories are the reason for us acquiring this large area)****

  • Treaty of Ft. Stanwix 1784 – With Iroquois allied with Britain…(2 side with USA) 1st treaty by USA with Indians***

The Navy

John Paul Jones (Primary naval Hero)  (Scottish immigrant) Our nondescript infant Navy begins to establish its brilliant tradition by destroying many merchant ships around G.B…. and brought victory when victories were rare and we also use, “privateers”, who capture 600 British ships. These efforts brought in needed Gold, harassed the enemy, and influenced British Shippers to pressure Parliament to end the war….
PHASE 3 ** 1778War in the South- Britain changes its strategy for the last time and due to the presence of strong loyalists they believe they can “roll up the colonies from the South,” very violent civil war!!!

One of the darkest periods of the War…inflation, our Gov’t almost Bankrupt, Congress still had not Adopted the Articles of Confederation (our 1st written constitution) (states arguing over western land claims and borders- will do so in 1781), Gov’t almost Bankrupt (“Continental” Dollar – paper $ became worthless…

Georgia crushed 1778-79

War moves to Carolinas…

Charleston captured 1780- loss of 5,000 men…one of worst defeats of the war…

Battle of Camden, SC - August 80’ -Horrible defeat for Americans…. Horatio Gates , “hero” of Saratoga and Commander in the South “Rides Away” never to return…

Nathaniel Greene takes command and leads them to victory! Delays Cornwallis…..

France Marion - “swamp fox” and Nathanael Greene turn the tide for Am. (the movie “Patriot,” the character is actually an amalgamation of a few patriot backcountry leaders who were very successful at harassing the British…like the Battle at Kings Mountain in 1781 and again at Cowpens, 1781, both American victories…eventually crossing the Catawba River Cornwallis and the British meet again at Guilford Courthouse…(last scene in Patriot) …after which Cornwallis retreats to Wilmington for supplies and then attempts to go through Virginia…however…is efforts fail and he is forced to retreat again to the coast to be resupplied at YORKTOWN… (Map p.156 War in the South)
Battle of “Yorktown” October 1781…

-A “pincer” movement eventually destroys Cornwallis who was in Yorktown attempting to join with Br. Navy to get resupplied….

- Adm. DeGrasse in command of the French fleet trapped him by sea

- Conte Rochambeau commander of French army [6,000 troops land in R.I. in summer 1780] G.W comes with French from NY (300 miles) and the combined armies trap him by land…. By October 19th, 1781….

Cornwallis surrenders 8,000 men 25% of all Br. Soldiers in America
Hearing of the news of Yorktown…Lord North, prime minister, cries, “Oh God! It’s all over! It’s all over!.... Fighting continues sporadically for about another year… HOWEVER – HE WAS CORRECT… his time as PM ends in March of 1782…a Whig leader takes over who was much more favorable to the Americans… The remaining Br. troops were stuck in cities: G.W returns to NY to keep eye on British [they still had 54,000 troops in North America and 32,000 in the Colonies…Most are evacuated from NYC] Note: many British troops stay in USA in Forts on Great Lakes after the war due to the failure of the Americans to keep promises made in the Treaty of Paris, 1783… eventually will leave after the War of 1812….
Treaty of Paris, 1783 (ends war)****** French reluctant to help USA after war, they wanted a free America…. but, weak USA…. Which makes it difficult for John Adams, Ben Franklin, and John Jay in Paris… So they turned to Whigs in Britain for favorable terms when John Jay goes to London to negotiate…CONGRESS had ordered them NOT to do this… but he signs a preliminary peace in 1782 and then in Paris the French have no choice but to agree and the formal Treaty is signed in Paris…Details****

  1. America receives Independence from England

  2. Boundaries. Miss. River in west, Great lakes in north, sp. Florida in south

*** Chapter 9  Map page 175***

  1. America granted fishing rights off New found land

Britain Receives: PROMISES…never kept which leads to the War of 1812…

  1. Loyalists” protected

  2. Congress to “recommend” to states to return loyalist property

  3. All debts to be re- paid to G.B.

Why such a Generous peace??

- Britain hoped to revive trade w/USA and weaken French influence…

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