Chapter 6 Section 1end I. The Opposing Sides

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American Revolution Notes

Copyright © by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc

Chapter 6 Section 1end

I. The Opposing Sides (Pages 162–166)

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. The 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. The 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.

Loyalist strength varied from region to region but was strongest in the Carolinas and


D. Some African Americans were promised their freedom if they fought on the British

side, so they became Loyalists.

E. The 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.turn

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.

G. Some women also fought in the war as Patriots.

II. Fighting in New York (Pages 166–167)

A. The 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. The 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. The 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 (Page 167)

A. More soldiers were needed, so some states enlisted African Americans. By the end of

the war, every state except South Carolina had enlisted African Americans. In fact

Rhode Island had an all African American regiment in 1778.

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 (Pages 167–168)

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


C. The Americans, however, were able to slow down the British. American forces led by

Benedict Arnold 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.

Copyright © by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc

Chapter 6 Section 2


I. Gaining Allies (Pages 172–175)

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. AFrench nobleman, Marquis de Lafayette, spent the winter at Valley Forge. He

offered his services and became one of Washington’s trusted aides.

F. Other Europeans also volunteered to help.

1. Casimir Pulaski from Poland died fighting for the Continental Army in 1780.

2. Friedrich von Steuben from Germany taught military discipline to Washington’s


3. Juan de Miralles from Spain lent money, became friends with Patriot leaders, and

convinced Cuba, Spain, and Mexico to send financial aid to the colonies.

G. 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.n

II. Life on the Home Front (Pages 175–176)

A. Women often took over the duties of men while the men were in the military. Some

women questioned their place in society, and some fought for women’s interests.

B. The Loyalists in the colonies faced hard times. Those who actively helped the British

by spying and informing on the Patriots could be arrested and tried as traitors. Some

were victims of mob violence or ignored by their neighbors. Many fled to Britain, to

Spanish-owned Florida, or to the frontier.

C. The issue of slavery was questioned, especially in light of the ideals of freedom for

which people went to war. African Americans fought as soldiers in the Revolutionary

War. They hoped that they would soon see the day when slavery would be abolished.

Copyright © by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc

Chapter 6-3


I. War in the West (Pages 177–178)

A. The war in the West took place along the frontier, west of the Appalachian Mountains,

and involved Native Americans. They often helped the British by raiding American


B. George Rogers Clark went west to end the attacks. In June 1778, he and 175 soldiers

took the British post at Kaskaskia in present-day Illinois and then captured the town

of Vincennes in present-day Indiana.

C. The British recaptured Vincennes under Henry Hamilton in December. In February

Clark and his troops surprised the British and forced Hamilton to surrender. This victory

helped strengthen the western position.

II. Glory at Sea (Pages 178–179)

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.

recognized by a foreign government.n

III. Struggles in the South (Pages 179–182)

A. By 1778 the British saw that it would be difficult to unite the American colonies back

into their empire. They concentrated their efforts in the South, which had many


B. In late 1778 the British occupied Savannah, Georgia, and took over most of the state.

In 1780 General Henry Clinton himself went to attack Charles Town, South Carolina.

In May Charles Town surrendered. It was the worst defeat for the Americans during

the war.

C. General Charles Cornwallis remained in the South as commander of the British forces.

The British scored another victory at Camden, South Carolina, in August 1780.

D. The Patriots used guerrilla warfare to catch the British off guard. Frances Marion was

one of the successful guerrilla leaders of eastern South Carolina.

E. The Patriots were victorious at Kings Mountain in central North Carolina in

September 1780. They forced the British to retreat.

F. Another battle at Cowpens, South Carolina, saw the British defeated in January 1781.

In March the Continental commander Nathaniel Greene met General Cornwallis’s

army at Guilford Courthouse in present-day Greensboro, North Carolina. Greene’s

army retreated, and even Cornwallis’s troops ended the battle. They suffered many

losses, so Cornwallis abandoned the campaign to take North Carolina.

G. In April 1781, the Cornwallis troops retreated north to Virginia, carrying out raids and

nearly capturing Governor Thomas Jefferson and the Virginia legislature in June.

Cornwallis set up camp at Yorktown, Virginia.

H. George Washington sent Lafayette and Von Steuben to fight Cornwallis. The battle for

the South was almost over, but the war was at a point where each side needed a victory

to win.
Copyright © by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc

Chapter 6-4

I. Victory at Yorktown (Pages 183–185)

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


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 march 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.urn

II. Independence (Pages 185–187)

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


5. property taken from Loyalists would be returned to them

B. George Washington gave up his command and on December 4 gave his farewell

speech. Two weeks later, he formally resigned and returned home to Mount Vernon.

C. America won the war against the world’s strongest power.

1. Americans fought on their own land.

2. Americans controlled the countryside, where they knew the local terrain, even

though Britain captured the cities.

3. Help from other nations contributed to the victory.

4. Mostly, the people fought the battles with determination and belief in their ideal

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