Samuel Adams- was a member of the Sons of Liberty who started the Committees of correspondence to stir public support for American Independence. He was also the cousin of John Adams (2nd president of the U.S)
Ben Franklin- was an inventor, statesman, diplomat, signer of the Declaration of Independence and oldest delegate to the Constitutional Convention. Writer of Poor Richard’s Almanac.
King George III- was the King of England who disbanded the colonial legislatures, taxed the colonies, and refused the Olive Branch Petition leading to the final break with the colonies.
William Blackstone - His classic Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765 – 69) is the best-known description of the doctrines of English law; it became the basis of university legal education in England and North America. It is believed that the philosophy of the Declaration of Independence asserting the "self-evident" "unalienable Rights" of people granted by "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" could have come from Blackstone's description of the rights of Englishmen under the British Constitution. The indictment against the Crown, the bulk of the Declaration, recites many of the absolute rights of individuals covered by Blackstone including the prohibition of taxation without consent.
Thomas Jefferson- Wrote the Declaration of Independence; became the 3rd president of the United States and purchased the Louisiana territory, doubling the size of the United States.
Thomas Paine- wrote pamphlets like Common Senseand The Crisis to encourage American independence and resolve.
George Washington- was the leader of the Continental Army who became the first President of the United States. President of the Constitutional Convention. ―Father of our country.
Marquis de Lafayette- 19-year-old French man who helped Washington during the American Revolution.
Patrick Henry- was a passionate patriot who became famous for his fiery speeches in favor of American independence. His most famous quote included the words, ―Give me liberty or give me death!‖
John Paul Jones- commander of the Bonhomme Richard. Known as the most famous naval officer of the Revolution. Said, ―I have not yet begun to fight!‖
Baron Von Steuben- a German who was put in charge of
training Americans at Valley Forge in February 1778.
Benedict Arnold- turned against the Revolutionary forces. Known as a traitor.
Abigail Adams – wife of John Adams (2nd President) and mother of John Quincy Adams (6th President). She advocated and modeled an expanded role for women in public affairs during the formative days of the United States. Best known for the many letters she wrote to her husband while he stayed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, during the Continental Congresses. John Adams frequently sought the advice of his wife on many matters, and their letters are filled with intellectual discussions on government and politics. The letters are invaluable eyewitness accounts of the Revolutionary War home front as well as excellent sources of political commentary.
John Adams – A delegate from Massachusetts to the first and second Continental Congress. One of the five person committee appointed to write the Declaration of Independence. Helped to negotiate the Treaty of Paris, 1783 and also signed that document. Becomes the 2nd President of the United States. Father of John Quincy Adams (6th President). Signed the controversial Alien and Sedition Acts into law during his presidency.
Wentworth Cheswell – first African American elected to public office – the Town Constable in Newmarket, New Hampshire. Supported the revolutionary movement by signing the Associaton Test – signatures of people were gathered to oppose the hostile proceedings of the British fleets and armies.
Mercy Otis Warren – an American writer and playwright. She was known as the "Conscience of the American Revolution". The first woman to create a Jeffersonian (anti-Federalist) interpretation of the Revolution entitled History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution. Long time friend of both John and Abigail Adams.
James Armistead – the first African American (slave) double spy. He worked under General Lafayette and his reports were instrumental in the defeat of the British at the Battle of Yorktown. He so admired General Lafayette that he later took the name of Lafayette to be his own last name.
Bernado de Galvez – was a Spanish military leader and the general of Spanish forces in New Spain. Gálvez aided the Thirteen Colonies in their quest for independence and led the Spanish armies against Britain in the Revolutionary War, defeating the British at Pensacola and reconquering Florida for Spain. He also gained control of New Orleans thus giving control of the Mississippi River to the French, the Spanish, and the Americans. Galveston, Texas is named after him.
Crispus Attucks – one of the five people killed in the Boston
Massacre. He was a black American that played a significant role in the pre revolutionary period. The son of an African man and a Nantucket Indian woman, often referred to as a mulatto.
Haym Salomon – a member of the New York Sons of Liberty. While imprisoned as a spy he worked as a German translator and was able to convince over 500 Hessian soldiers to leave the British Army and join the American cause during the Revolution. He personally funded the $20,000.00 needed by George Washington to attack Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown.
Causes of the American Revolution
A. Economic restrictions-
Great Britain had long practiced the economic theory of mercantilism. Under mercantilism, the key to a country’s power was its wealth and a country could best maintain its wealth by controlling its colonies. Great Britain had followed a hands-off policy (salutary neglect) toward American colonies during the first half of the 1700s. In the 1760s, Great Britain began to enforce mercantilist trade laws taxing colonial trade and prohibiting the colonies from directly trading with any country except Great Britain. Navigation Acts.
1. Proclamation of 1763- Following the French and Indian War, Great Britain said that colonists could not settle west of the Appalachian Mountains because Britain wanted this land to remain in the hands of its Native American allies. The cost to protect settlers who moved to this region would have been too great.
2. Sugar Act 1764- a tax on sugar, molasses, and other products shipped to the colonies.
3. Stamp Act 1765- required all legal and commercial documents to carry an official stamp showing that a tax had been paid.
4. Quartering Act 1765- required the colonies to quarter or house British soldiers and provide them with supplies.
5. Townshend Act 1767- Placed duties or import taxes on various goods brought into the colonies such as glass, paper, paint, lead, and tea.
6. Tea Act 1773- Gave the British East India Company a monopoly over the American tea trade. Colonists were forced to pay taxes on this regulated tea. Previously, colonists had been smuggling tea from
Holland untaxed. The Tea Act led to protests organized by the Sons of Liberty which was led by Samuel Adams.
7. Boston Tea Party 1773-colonists disguised as Indians boarded ships in Boston harbor and dumped tea into the harbor. Example of Civil Disobedience.
B. Political Causes- The colonists did not have the right to elect representatives to Parliament. Passage of the acts listed above angered the colonists because they believed it was unfair to be taxed by the British government without their consent. ―No taxation without representation.‖
1. Boston Massacre 1770-
British troops fired on a group of colonists, killing 5 including Crispus Attucks who was a free African living in Boston. This incident added to the resentment of British rule in the colonies.
2. Lack of Representation in Parliament - King George III was not allowing the colonists to elect a representative in Parliament. Thus rendering the phrase ―No Taxation without Representation‖.
3. Intolerable Acts 1774 - passed by Great Britain in response to the Boston Tea Party. These acts would close the port of Boston until the colonists paid for the destroyed tea, banned the Committees of Correspondence (created by Samuel Adams as a means of colonists to communicate with each other), allowed Britain to house troops wherever necessary, and let British officials accused of crimes in the colonies stand trial in the colonies.
4. First Continental Congress-
Sept. 1774- Delegates voted to ban all trade with Britain until Intolerable Acts were repealed.
5. Olive Branch Petition- The colonies last attempt at peace but the king rejected it.
6. Common Sense- The pamphlet written by Thomas Paine calling for independence.
7. Second Continental Congress- May 10, 1775, delegates met in Philadelphia. Among the delegates were: John and Sam Adams, Franklin, Patrick Henry, and George Washington. Washington was chosen as the commanding general of the Continental army.
8. Declaration of Independence- was a document written by Thomas Jefferson, declaring the colonies independence from England. Adopted on July 4, 1776. The influences of Montesquieu and Locke (life , liberty & the pursuit of happiness) are evident in the DOI. Grievances Listed in the Declaration of Independence were:
- King quartered trips in colonists’ homes without their consent
- King deprived colonists of a trial by jury
Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts- The first shots fired and the first battle of the American Revolution in April 1775.
The Battle of Bunker Hill- (Breed’s Hill) A victory for the Redcoats but at a high cost. More than 1,000 men were lost. It gave the colonials the confidence that they could stand up to the strongest army in the world.
The Battle of Saratoga- the turning point of the American Revolution. This battle also convinced the French that the Colonies might have a chance to win.
Valley Forge- The site where Washington and his troops spent a harsh winter. Despite the hardships, the troops persevered.
The Battle of Yorktown, Virginia- The British were defeated by the American and French troops. This battle signaled the end of the Revolution. Lord Cornwallis surrendered on October 19, 1781.
The Treaty of Paris 1783- The treaty that officially ended the American Revolution.
The United States was independent.
New boundaries were formed. Mississippi River was the western boundary. Canada to the North. And Spanish Florida to the South.
The British would return any enslaved persons they had captured.