The American Revolution From the British Perspective

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The American Revolution

From the British Perspective

1775-1783 countries_flags.html

Table of Contents

  1. British Perspective and summary of the American Revolution

  2. Pictures of the American Revolution from a British Viewpoint

  3. The Glorious Lessons Exhibit

  4. History Standards for Standardized Testing

  5. British Links to the American Revolution

  6. Bibliography

British Ships off the Pacific Coast
Erin Spallone- History 206

The War of American Independence 1775 – 1783
In 1775, during George III's reign, the British North American colonies revolted - due mainly to their opposition to British economic exploitation and also their unwillingness to pay for a standing army. Anti-monarchist sentiment was strong, as the colonists wanted to participate in the politics affecting them. On 4 July 1776, a Declaration of Independence was signed. Initial confrontations were mixed - the British being successful at Brandywine but suffering badly at Saratoga - but the situation improved for the colonists when France (1778), Spain (1779) and the Netherlands (1780) all utilized the opportunity caused by the confrontation to declare war on Britain as well. By 1782, the British campaign was crumbling. Parliament demanded an end to the war, largely due to its expense. The Prime Minister, now Lord North, resigned and, on 3 September 1783, treaties were signed at Versailles. Britain retained Canada and the West Indian Islands but the thirteen rebellious states were formally recognized as the United States of America.

The Bostonians paying the exciseman, or tarring and feathering. Cartoon in mezzotint, published by Sayer and Bennett, London, 1774. 148-GW-436. (revolutionary_war_060.jpg)

The Bostonians in distress. Cartoon in mezzotint, published by Sayer and Bennett, London, 1774. 148-GW-437. (revolutionary_war_061.jpg)

The landing of the British forces in the Jerseys on Nov. 20,1776, under the command of Rt. Hon. Lt. Gen. Earl Cornwallis. Watercolor by Thomas Davies, a British officer, 1776. 148-GW-365. (revolutionary_war_063.jpg)

The left bank of the Hudson River 3 miles above Still Water, upon which the army under the command of Lieutenant General Burgoyne took post on Sept. 20, 1777. (Showing General Frazer's funeral.) Engraving by Barlow; published by William Lane, London, 1789. 148-GW-442. (revolutionary_war_064.jpg)

The unfortunate death of Major Andre, Oct. 2, 1780. Engraving by Goldar, 1783, from drawing by Hamilton. 208-LU-25K-7. (revolutionary_war_066.jpg)

British cartoon criticizing the King's use of Indians in the war, ca. 1780. 111-SC-92711. (revolutionary_war_067.jpg)

The Glorious Lessons Exhibit at St. Bonaventure University ties directly into the British Perspective during the American Revolution. The Glorious Lessons Exhibit holds a collection of artifacts from the colonial period encompassing the American Revolution. The British Perspective is important to the American Revolution because it gives an alternate viewpoint of the American Revolution that is often overlooked. In the Glorious Lessons Exhibit there are some artifacts that tie directly into the British side of the War. Item number 14 are British tax revenue stamps. The tax stamps that the British imposed on the colonists can be identified with the source of the American Revolution. Item number 148 is a letter written by John Burgoyne to his constituents upon his late resignation. John Burgoyne was a British General that was forced to surrender at the significant battle at Saratoga. There are also many artifacts that describe the culture of the time period for the British as well, such as pottery, artillery, and utensils. Viewing this exhibit not only to few the above items, but the exhibit as a whole would be beneficial for students because it would help instill the cultural, political, and social aspects of the American Revolution.

On October 17, 1777, following a defeat at the second Battle of Saratoga, British General John Burgoyne surrendered to American General Horatio Gates at Saratoga, New York. The surrender, depicted here in a painting by John Trumbull, encouraged France to join the American side and was thus a turning point in the American Revolution.

Standards for the New York State Regents Exam

Standard 1
Social Studies

Students will: use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments, and turning points in the history of the United States and New York.

History of the United States
and New York

Key Idea 1: The study of New York State and United States history requires an analysis of the development of American culture, its diversity and multicultural context, and the ways people are unified by many values, practices, and traditions.

Performance Indicators--Students will:




• know the roots of American culture, its development from many different traditions, and the ways many people from a variety of groups and backgrounds played a role in creating it

• understand the basic ideals of American democracy as explained in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and other important documents

• explain those values, practices, and traditions that unite all Americans

• explore the meaning of American culture by identifying the key ideas, beliefs, and patterns of behavior, and traditions that help define it and unite all Americans

interpret the ideas, values, and beliefs contained in the Declaration of Independence and the New York State Constitution and United States Constitution, Bill of Rights, and other important historical documents

• analyze the development of American culture, explaining how ideas, values, beliefs, and traditions have changed over time and how they unite all Americans

• describe the evolution of American democratic values and beliefs as expressed in the Declaration of Independence, the New York State Constitution, the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and other important historical documents

Related Links
-BBC Radio 4: This Sceptred Isle- American Independence. A British Website
-English Timeline- Revolutions and Reformers. A British website.
-Michigan State University: American Revolution.
-American Revolutionary War, Encyclopedia.


  • The American Revolution. MSN Encarta.

  • The War of American Independence 1775-1783.

  • Pictures of the Revolutionary War.

  • Glorious Lesson: The Idea of America, Exhibition Checklist. The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, St. Bonaventure University. September 24, 2004- March 20, 2005

  • New York State Standards for Regents Exams.

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