Unit 4 The American Revolution

Chapter 8 The War for Independence

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Chapter 8 The War for Independence

Vocabulary Preview


On July 4, 1776, the American colonies said that they wanted independence from Britain. Every year we celebrate our country's freedom on July 4, Independence Day. page 262


Thomas Jefferson wrote a long statement, the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration explained why the American colonies should be free. page 264

Chapter Timeline



A rise in prices is called inflation. During the War for Independence, inflation caused colonists to pay more money for food and clothing. page 273


The Battle of Yorktown was a victory for the Americans. They beat the British and won the War for Independence. page 279


Core Lesson 1 Declaring Independence






Vocabulary Strategy


Look for the word depend in independence. Independence means not depending on others.


Predict Outcomes As you read, predict the outcome of the arguments over independence.

Build on What You Know You may have a birth certificate at home. This paper tells when you were born. In a way, our country has a birth certificate. It's called the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration marks the beginning of the United States.

The Steps to Independence

Main Idea Common Sense and debates in Congress changed people's minds about being ruled by Britain.

After the battles of 1775, the American colonies and Britain were at war. However, not all colonists felt this was right. Many still thought of King George III as their ruler. They did not want a war with Britain. Other colonists were Patriots. They wanted independence. Independence means freedom from being ruled by someone else. Some Patriots felt that independence was worth fighting for. Patrick Henry, a Patriot from Virginia, said in a thrilling speech to a group of Virginia delegates

“Give me liberty or give me death!??

Another Patriot, Thomas Paine, used the written word to argue for independence.

Patrick Henry Bold, persuasive speeches by Patrick Henry moved colonists toward independence.


Thomas Paine's Common Sense

Thomas Paine In his pamphlet Common Sense, Paine argued that the only choice that made sense was to separate from Britain. SKILL Primary Source Look at the cover. To whom does Paine address his ideas about independence?

Thomas Paine wrote a pamphlet called Common Sense in January 1776. Common Sense pushed for independence. The pamphlet was brief, inexpensive, and easy to understand. Paine wrote that King George treated the colonies unfairly. He claimed that the only way to stop this was to become independent from Britain.

Colonists bought over 100,000 copies of Common Sense within a few months. George Washington said, “I find Common Sense is working a powerful change in the minds of many.??

Thomas Paine put into writing what many of the boldest Patriots were already saying. He wrote that colonists had nothing to gain and much to lose by staying tied to an unjust king.

Debate in Congress

Delegates to the Second Continental Congress had read Common Sense. Many agreed that independence from Britain was necessary, but they also knew it was risky. Britain was a powerful country. King George III was already gathering soldiers to attack the colonies. Could the colonies stand up to Britain? Some delegates also worried that not enough colonists wanted independence. However, support for independence was growing all across the colonies.

John Adams argued strongly for independence. More and more of the delegates agreed with his point of view. At last, on June 7, 1776, a Virginia delegate named Richard Henry Lee asked Congress to officially declare independence.

REVIEW What were Thomas Paine's arguments for independence?


Declaration of Independence

Main Idea The Declaration of Independence explains why the colonies should be free.

Writing the Declaration It took Thomas Jefferson two weeks to write the Declaration.When he finished his draft, four other delegates helped edit it. Shown here are Benjamin Franklin (left), John Adams (center), and Jefferson, who is standing.

Congress asked Thomas Jefferson and four others to write a declaration of independence. A declaration is a statement that declares, or announces, an idea. Congress needed a document to declare why the colonies had to become independent of Britain. In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote what many Americans believed about their rights. Rights are freedoms that are protected by a government's laws. Jefferson argued that all people are born with rights that no one can take away. He wrote that people have the right to live, the right to be free, and the right to seek happiness.

“ We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness …??

Jefferson argued that a government should protect these rights. If it does not, then the people have the right to start a new government.

The ideas in the Declaration were not new. Jefferson used ideas that John Locke and other English thinkers had written about. Locke had said that governments should serve their people.

Jefferson listed many ways that Britain did not serve the colonists. For instance, King George had tried to take away rights. He had forced taxes on the colonists and sent soldiers to control them. Jefferson showed that the colonists had many reasons to separate from the king. They had the right to create their own government.

Mary Katherine Goddard Congress hired Mary Katherine Goddard, a printer, to print an official copy of the Declaration.


Parts of the Declaration

You can read the full text of the Declaration on pages R8 to R10 of this book. The Declaration begins by promising to explain why the colonies must break away from Britain (see 1). The next section explains that people have rights that cannot be taken away. It says that “all men are created equal??(see 2). The longest section is a list of complaints against the king (see 3).

The last section argues that the colonies have to be free to protect the colonists' rights. It declares that the colonies are independent (see 4).

At the bottom of the document, delegates to Congress signed their names (see 5). John Hancock, president of Congress, signed his name in large letters.

REVIEW According to the Declaration, why did the colonies have the right to their own government?

Connect to Today Notice the date of the Declaration.What do you do every year to celebrate that day?


Importance of the Declaration

Main Idea The Declaration sets forth basic ideas of freedom and equality.

Signers of the Declaration Thomas Jefferson (1) presents the document to John Hancock (2) and the Continental Congress. Find John Adams (3) and Benjamin Franklin (4).

On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to accept the Declaration. The delegates knew that signing the Declaration was dangerous. Britain would call it treason. Treason is the crime of fighting against one's own government. Anyone who signed the Declaration could be charged with treason and hanged. Yet delegates signed.

The Declaration was read aloud to excited crowds across the new nation. People tore down pictures and statues of King George. They celebrated by ringing bells and firing cannons. The Declaration of Independence marked the moment when Americans chose to rule themselves.

Equality Then and Now

The Declaration is important today because it states that the people of the United States believe in equal rights for all. Today we know that Jefferson's words, “all men are created equal,?? include everyone: women as well as men, every race, every group, every ability. Is that what the words meant when the Declaration was written? Probably not.

In 1776, all Americans could not exercise the same rights. Only white men who owned property could vote. Many believed this was unfair. Abigail Adams wanted Congress to recognize the equal rights of women. She wrote to her husband, John Adams,

“… in the new Code of Laws … Remember the Ladies …??


It took many years, but women, African Americans, American Indians, and other groups have gained equal rights. In later lessons, you'll read about important laws that guarantee these rights. The Declaration has inspired people, past and present, to work for liberty and equal rights.

REVIEW Why is the Declaration so important to Americans?

Martin Luther King Jr. In the 1960s, Martin Luther King Jr. was a great leader in the struggle for African Americans' equal rights. He and his wife, Coretta Scott King, led many marches to protest unjust treatment.
Lesson Summary

  • The colonies decided to declare their independence from Britain.

  • Congress asked Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence.

  • The Declaration states that everyone has certain rights that no government can take away.
Why It Matters …

The ideas in the Declaration of Independence have meaning today. The rights of freedom and equality that Jefferson wrote about are important American values and principles.

Lesson Review

  1. VOCABULARY Write a paragraph explaining why Americans needed independence to protect their rights. Use these words in your paragraph.

  2. READING SKILL Look at your prediction. Does it agree with what actually happened?

  3. MAIN IDEA: History How did Common Sense help lead to independence?

  4. MAIN IDEA: Citizenship Why did delegates need courage to sign the Declaration?

  5. PEOPLE TO KNOW Who was Patrick Henry, and what did he believe about independence?

  6. TIMELINE SKILL How many months before the signing of the Declaration was Common Sense printed?

  7. CRITICAL THINKING: Compare and Contrast How are Common Sense and the Declaration of Independence alike? How are they different?

SPEAKING ACTIVITY Would you have taken the risk of signing the Declaration? Prepare a short speech to explain your answer.


Extend Lesson 1 Biography Thomas Jefferson 1743–1826

Thomas Jefferson is deep in thought. He must find the right words. Congress has chosen Jefferson to tell the king why the American colonies no longer belong to Britain. These are dangerous words, and they could cost Jefferson his life. Yet he loves his country and is writing the words that will create a new nation.

He dips his quill pen into the inkwell and rewrites a sentence in his draft. At this amazing moment in his life, he applies to his writing what he has learned and what he cares so much about.

All his life, Jefferson wanted to know the why and how of everything. He played the violin, studied the stars, invented things, and designed buildings.

He had read about government, history, and science as a young man. In his draft of the Declaration, he used ideas he had learned. The result was one of the most important documents in history.

Major Achievements

1768 Designs Monticello, a U.S. landmark

1776 Writes the Declaration

1800 Elected U.S. President



1803 Doubles size of United States with the Louisiana Purchase

1804 Sends Lewis and Clark to explore the West


Core Lesson 2 Life During the War





Vocabulary Strategy


A Loyalist is a person who is loyal to someone. Think of other words ending in the suffix -ist that describe a person, such as artist.


Compare and Contrast Take notes on the different views Americans had about war with Britain.

Build on What You Know Have you had to make a difficult decision? During the American Revolution, people had to make the hard decision whether to fight against Britain. How would a war affect their day-to-day lives?

Taking Sides

Main Idea Americans made difficult choices about whether to support Britain or the United States, or not to take sides at all.

On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress declared independence. Not all Americans agreed that this was the right thing to do. Many felt that Britain should rule the colonies. Others believed that America should be independent. As the Revolutionary War began, people had to decide whether to support Britain, America, or neither side.

Almost half of all Americans were Patriots. Remember that a Patriot was someone who wanted independence for the colonies. About one-fifth of Americans were Loyalists. A Loyalist was someone who was still loyal to the king. Many Loyalists disagreed with how King George III governed the colonies, but they still wanted America to be part of Britain. The rest of Americans were neutral. To be neutral means not to take sides.


Loyalists in America

Loyalists had different reasons for supporting Britain. Most Americans who worked for the British government were Loyalists because they would lose their jobs if the Patriots won the war. Many wealthy merchants feared that war would hurt their businesses, so they supported Britain. Other Loyalists simply believed that the British cause was right.

Some enslaved African Americans became Loyalists. They were offered freedom if they helped the British. A few fought in the British army. Others built forts or drove carts.

More American Indians agreed to help the British than to help the Patriots. The Cherokee hoped that the British would win the war and stop settlers from taking land. Mohawk leader Joseph Brant also urged his people to side with the British. Most American Indians stayed neutral during the war. Two Iroquois nations, the Oneida (oh NYE duh) and the Tuscarora (tus kuh ROAR uh), fought for the Patriots.

Joseph Brant In 1775, Brant went to Britain and met King George III. Later, Brant and the Mohawk nation sided with the British.


James Armistead A Patriot hero, Armistead spied on the British army. He provided information that helped Patriots win an important battle.

Patriots found many ways to support the cause of independence. Some joined the Continental Army and fought the British. Patriots who did not fight gave support in other ways. Haym Salomon (HI em SAHL uh mun), a banker from Philadelphia, helped the United States get loans. He also lent his own money.

Many African Americans were Patriots. Some enslaved African Americans were offered freedom if they became Patriot soldiers. Peter Salem, a Patriot hero of the Battle of Bunker Hill, was one of them. Free African Americans also became soldiers. About 5,000 African Americans fought in the Continental Army, and another 2,500 served in the navy.

REVIEW Why did enslaved African Americans fight on both sides in the war?


Women and the War

Women Patriots Mary Ludwig Hays (above) took over her husbandd's cannon after he was hurt. Deborah Sampson (right) disguised herself as a man and fought as a soldier in the Continental Army. She was wounded twice.

Some women Patriots worked as spies and messengers. A few women, such as Deborah Sampson, dressed in men's clothes and joined the Continental Army. Others spread the message of freedom in letters, plays, and poems. African American poet Phillis Wheatley wrote a poem for George Washington, praising him and the cause of freedom.

Phillis Wheatley Her poems praised Washington and were popular in the colonies.

Many women, including General Washington's wife, followed their husbands who were in the army. Each winter during the eight years of the war, Martha Washington stayed at the general's camp. She did all she could to help the soldiers.

Some women cooked at camp or brought water to soldiers on the battlefield. They were nicknamed Molly Pitcher because of the pitchers of water they carried. A few of these women fought when their husbands were hurt or killed. One Molly Pitcher, Mary Ludwig Hays, was honored by General Washington for fighting in her husband's place after he was injured.

Another famous Patriot was Nancy Morgan Hart of Georgia. She once had to defend her home against a group of Loyalist fighters.


The Challenges of War

Main Idea Life was hard for many Americans during the war.

The War for Independence created many problems for Americans. When the British and American armies met in battle, people who lived nearby had to leave their homes. Both armies destroyed houses and robbed farms. Everyone was affected, whether a Patriot, a Loyalist, or neutral.

During the war, the prices of food, clothing, and supplies increased. Inflation caused hardship in the colonies. A rise in the prices of goods is called inflation. Higher prices made it difficult for people to buy the goods they needed.

Money Congress printed money called Continentals.

Some merchants and farmers would not sell their goods. They waited for prices to go even higher so that they could sell their goods for more money. Holding back goods lowered supplies of necessary items, which hurt people and made it difficult to feed and supply the army. Congress made it illegal to hold on to goods.

Life was hard because of the problems caused by war, but many Americans still wanted independence.

REVIEW Why was inflation a problem for Americans?

Lesson Summary

Americans were divided about which side to support during the American Revolution. Patriots found many ways to support the cause of independence. Whatever their choice, for most Americans, the war brought many hardships.

Why It Matters …

Patriots believed strongly in their cause. They were determined not to give up the fight against British rule.

Lesson Review

  1. VOCABULARY Use the words Loyalist and neutral in a paragraph about taking sides during the war.

  2. READING SKILL Compare and contrast the different views of African Americans toward the war.

  3. MAIN IDEA: History What is one reason some American Indians helped the British?

  4. MAIN IDEA: Economics In what way did prices change during the Revolutionary War?

  5. PEOPLE TO KNOW What did Phillis Wheatley become known for during the war?

  6. CRITICAL THINKING: Decision Making For colonists in 1776, what were the costs and benefits of deciding to support the Patriots' fight for independence?

ART ACTIVITY Create a poster to persuade people to side with the Patriots or the Loyalists, or to remain neutral. Think about the persuasive words and pictures you can use.


Extend Lesson 2 Reader's Theater Patriot or or Loyalist

Why were there so many different points of view? People from Georgia to New Hampshire talked and argued about the Revolution. The question of war was important to their lives. Listen to what these characters say.

Meet Samantha Jones She was a printer. How could she help the Patriot cause?


Narrator: Samantha Jones, you are a printer. Max Stark, you are a farmer who has come here from Germany. I'm told that the two of you don't agree about the war.

Samantha Jones (Patriot): I like what Tom Paine wrote in Common Sense. He understands that people who work very hard are tired of being pushed around by King George. We want our own government so we can make our own laws.

Max Stark (neutral): I don't feel that way, Samantha. I moved to this country to make a better life for my family, not to make war. You may want more freedom, but I just want peace.

Matthew Lynn (Loyalist): Let me say something! There's another side to this.

Narrator: Matthew Lynn. You collect taxes in the community. What is your view?

Matthew Lynn: I don't understand why the Patriots are complaining. Britain protects the colonies, doesn't it? That protection costs a lot of money. I think it's only fair that the colonists pay taxes for it. Besides, I'd lose my job if the Patriots won.

James Morton (Patriot): The taxes aren't fair, Matthew!

Narrator: James Morton? You are a tea merchant, correct?

James Morton: I'm sorry I interrupted. I get very upset.

Narrator: We can all talk politely. Tell us. What isn't fair?

James Morton: When the British taxed the tea I bought from them, many of my customers refused to buy it. The British hurt my business. That's why I turned against them.

Farmer Max Stark This character wants to stay neutral.What reason does he give?


Narrator: Each of you has a good reason for your opinion. There are many others here who have something to say. Joseph Tall Deer, you are of the Mohawk people. And Mary Smith, you are Oneida. Both of you are Iroquois. The Iroquois Nations have tried to stay neutral and united, but the war divides them. Do the Oneida

Mary Smith (Patriot): We didn't take sides at first. Then a missionary came to live with us. He talked about reasons to fight the British. We had many discussions. I believe he is right.

Joseph Tall Deer (Loyalist): The British have been good to us, so we're on their side. The king told our leader, Joseph Brant, that no one will take away the land we live on. The colonists just want the land for themselves. We don't trust them.

Narrator: Ann Bates, what do you think?

Ann Bates (Patriot): We Quakers are against the whole idea of war. Some of us are determined to stay neutral, but I believe in the Patriot cause. Although I can't fight, I can do other things to support the Patriots. For example, I can refuse to buy British goods.

Opposing Views All over the colonies, Americans shared their views. These people are dressed as characters. Who is a Patriot, a Loyalist, or neutral?


Reverend David Whittle (Loyalist): I do not have Ann Bates's problem. I belong to Britain's official church. The king is the head of it. I believe I have a duty to be loyal to my church and my king.

Sarah Whittle (Patriot): Excuse me, please. I am Reverend Whittle's wife. I respectfully disagree with my husband. I feel the king does not take good care of us. Britain's laws and taxes are too harsh. Also, I like the idea of freedom. Maybe women will have more freedom in a country that says it believes in liberty and equal rights.

Narrator: The wish for personal freedom is very important to many. Lucy Thatcher, you are a free African American. Paul Salem, you are an enslaved African American. Both of you want freedom for all, yet you support different sides in the war. Please explain.

Lucy Thatcher (Patriot): We have to support the Patriots. Their Declaration of Independence says we are all born equal and have the right to be free. Maybe they will end slavery if they win.

Paul Salem (Loyalist): You are free already, but I am not. The Declaration doesn't say anything about ending slavery. I support the British. They have promised freedom if we fight for them.

Narrator: Did everyone have a chance to speak?

Everyone: Yes.

Narrator: Good! Thank you for sharing your views. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must say good-bye.

Lucy Thatcher (Patriot): Wait a minute, please! We all must live together, but we disagree. What do we do now?

Ann Bates (Patriot): Maybe we can agree to disagree. I respect that you have opinions and beliefs, just as I do.

Reverend David Whittle (Loyalist): Shall we respect each other's right to have an opinion?

Everyone: Yes! Thank you! Good-bye!


Core Lesson 3 The War in the North





Vocabulary Strategy


The word retreat comes from a word that means to draw back. In battle, retreat means to move back when an enemy attacks.


Cause and Effect As you read, take notes to show what caused the outcome of each battle of the war.

Build on What You Know Think about what it is like to play a game or a sport against a stronger team. How can you win? In the War for Independence, George Washington and his soldiers had to fight Britain's powerful army. To win, they needed careful planning, courage, and help from other countries.

Washington's First Battles

Main Idea Washington's leadership helped the Continental Army continue to fight.

While many Americans were deciding which side to support in the war, battles had already begun. The two armies fighting each other were very different.

At the start of the war, the Continental Army was not as large or as strong as the British army. British soldiers had better training and better weapons. The Continental Army, however, did have some strengths. American soldiers were fighting on home ground, and they could use their knowledge of the land to plan attacks. They had a cause that they believed in and the support of other Patriots. They also had a great leader in George Washington.

In the spring of 1776, the soldiers of Washington's army forced the British out of Boston. The British did not give up, though. In August, they defeated the Continental Army in the Battle of Long Island, near New York City.

Signals Drum beats were used as signals for soldiers marching into battle.


George Washington In this famous painting, George Washington and his army cross the Delaware River to attack Trenton. SKILL Reading Visuals How does the artist show Washington as a leader?

Washington's army had to retreat. Retreat means to move away from the enemy. As his army retreated, Washington needed spies to keep track of the British. Captain Nathan Hale of Connecticut volunteered. Hale was sent to spy behind enemy lines, but he was captured and hanged. His last words are now famous:

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.??

Washington's army marched through New Jersey and into Pennsylvania. General Washington was worried. He only had about 3,000 soldiers left. Yet the British could not destroy the Continental Army. As long as Washington could keep his army together, he could prevent the British from winning the war.

Victory at Trenton

Washington wanted to win a battle so that his soldiers would not give up. He planned a surprise attack on an enemy camp in Trenton, New Jersey. The soldiers in Trenton were German mercenaries. A mercenary is a soldier who is paid to fight for a foreign country.

On the night of December 25, 1776, Washington and his soldiers rowed across the icy Delaware River to New Jersey. Just after dawn they attacked Trenton. The mercenaries were still sleepy after celebrating Christmas the night before. Washington's army caught them by surprise and took almost 1,000 prisoners. Patriots were overjoyed at the victory. A victory is the defeat of an enemy.

REVIEW Why did Washington decide to attack Trenton?


A Turning Point

Main Idea After the Battle of Saratoga, France joined the war against Britain.

In June 1777, the British began a new attack from Canada. General John Burgoyne (bur GOIN) led an army south toward Albany, New York. An army of Americans prepared to stop the British near Saratoga, New York. A Polish engineer named Thaddeus Kosciuszko (kahs ee US koh) helped them. He set up a long wall of earth and logs on a hill so that the Americans could fight from behind it.

Early Battles The ten battles shown were the major battles during the first years of the war. SKILL Reading Maps Which battles took place in Pennsylvania?
Victory Brings Help from France

When the two armies met, they fought two fierce battles. A brave officer named Benedict Arnold led many attacks against the British. The Americans won and forced Burgoyne and more than 5,000 of this soldiers to surrender.

Before the Battle of Saratoga, Benjamin Franklin had been trying to get help from France. After the American victory, the French were convinced that the Americans could win. They sent money, soldiers, and a powerful navy to help the Americans. As the war went on, Spain, the Netherlands, and Russia also joined the fight against Britain.

One important French soldier came to America even before the Battle of Saratoga. In August 1777, the wealthy Marquis de Lafayette (mahr KEE duh laf ee ET) joined Washington's army. Lafayette was only 19 years old, but he led American soldiers in many battles.

Winter at Valley Forge

The victory at Saratoga was good news for Americans, but there was also troubling news. Washington's army lost two battles in Pennsylvania, and the British captured Philadelphia. The British settled into warm houses there for the winter of 1777. The Continental Army stayed about 20 miles away in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.


American soldiers suffered at Valley Forge. There were no huts at first, only tents, and men slept on the frozen ground. Food was scarce. Most of the soldiers went barefoot. Many soldiers died of disease.

Washington's leadership helped keep the army going during the difficult times at Valley Forge. He worked hard to get the supplies the army needed. By spring of 1778, his soldiers had more food and were wearing better uniforms.
A Stronger Continental Army

Washington's army was ready to fight when spring came. A German soldier named Baron Friedrich von Steuben (SHTOY ben) had joined the army at Valley Forge to train the soldiers.

Von Steuben taught the Americans to march together and use their weapons properly. The men of the Continental Army became good soldiers because of their training at Valley Forge. In their next battle, the Americans fought well against the British army.

With the help of France, and men such as Steuben and Lafayette, it looked as though the United States could win the war.

REVIEW What happened at Valley Forge to make the Continental Army better soldiers?
Lesson Summary

Why It Matters …

The Continental soldiers fought hard during the difficult early years of the war. They kept alive the Patriots' hope of independence.

Lesson Review

  1. VOCABULARY What happened to the Continental Army in 1776? Write a paragraph, using retreat and victory.

  2. READING SKILL What was one cause of Washington's success at Trenton?

  3. MAIN IDEA: Citizenship Give two examples of Washington's leadership during the war.

  4. MAIN IDEA: History Why was the Battle of Saratoga a turning point in the war?

  5. PEOPLE TO KNOW Who was Lafayette, and how did he help during the war?

  6. TIMELINE SKILL Which battle came first, the one at Trenton or at Saratoga?

  7. CRITICAL THINKING: Analyze Analyze Why was the help of allies such as the French important to the Americans during the war?

WRITING ACTIVITY Write a newspaper account of Washington crossing the Delaware River. Use the questions Who?, What?, When?, Where?, and Why? as a guide.


Extend Lesson 3 Primary Source Valley Forge

Valley Forge stands for an army's courage. Why? The story of Valley Forge tells of terrible hardships. During the winter of 1777–1778,Washington's army suffered from cold and hunger. Supplies had run out. Soldiers should have had coats and warm uniforms, but some had only a shirt or a blanket, not enough against the fierce cold. They had little to eat. Instead of milk, meat, or vegetables, they ate “firecake,?? which was flour and water cooked over a campfire. Many soldiers got sick and died.

Finally in spring, food arrived. General von Steuben came to teach the army how to be better soldiers. In 1778, a welltrained army marched out of Valley Forge.

Those soldiers had not given up. They stayed loyal to Washington, and now they were ready for victory over the British.

This painting shows Washington and his troops on the way to Valley Forge. The artist painted it many years later and knew the story of their trial. The faces show courage.What else do you notice?


“...Three or four days' bad weather would prove our destruction.??

—George Washington


Skillbuilder Map and Globe Skills Read a Battle Map


battle map

At the Battle of Long Island in 1776, the British army forced the Americans to retreat. Learn more about this important battle by reading a battle map. A battle map uses symbols to show how a battle was fought.


Learn the Skill

Step 1: Read the title and legend. On a battle map, different colors stand for different sides in the battle.

Step 2: Look for the symbols on the map. They show where the soldiers and ships were.

Step 3: Find the arrows on the map. The arrows show you which direction an army or navy moved. When soldiers or ships move towards their enemy, they are attacking. When soldiers move away from their enemy, they are retreating.

Practice the Skill

Study the map of the Battle of Long Island. Use the information on the map to answer the questions about the battle.

Which symbol shows the American army at Long Island?

Which three towns did British soldiers march through during their attack?

About how far, and in what direction, did American soldiers retreat from Bedford to New York?

Apply the Skill

Use the steps above to study the map of the Battle of Antietam on page 454. Then write a brief description of the battle.


Core Lesson 4 Winning the War





Vocabulary Strategy


Notice that surrender contains the smaller word end. At the end of a war, the losing army surrenders.


Sequence As you read, list the main events in order.

Build on What You Know Think about how much bigger and stronger you have grown in the past six years. After Valley Forge, it took six more years for the Americans to win the War for Independence. During that time, the Continental Army grew stronger and finally defeated the British army.

The War in the South and West

Main Idea The British invaded the South, but they could not defeat the Patriots there.

After over three years of war in the North, the British had not been able to win. They decided to change their strategy. A strategy is a plan of action. In 1779, they made a plan to invade the South with a small army. They thought that the South had more Loyalists than the North did. With support from these Loyalists, the British hoped to win the war.

At first, the new British strategy worked. They captured Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina. They defeated the Americans in every battle they fought. By the summer of 1780, the British controlled Georgia and South Carolina, and many Loyalists had come to help them.

The British also had the help of Benedict Arnold. Arnold had been the Patriot hero of the Battle of Saratoga. Later on, he secretly changed sides and became a British general. Patriots were shocked to hear that Arnold had changed sides. Today he is remembered as a traitor. A traitor is someone who is not loyal.

Benedict Arnold He betrayed the Patriot cause and fought for the British.


Patriot Successes

Although the British won many battles in the South, southern Patriots fought back, often using surprise attacks. Groups of soldiers would sneak up on the British, attack, and retreat quickly. Colonel Francis Marion was so good at attacking and retreating through swamps that he became known as the Swamp Fox.

The commander of the American army in the South, Nathanael Greene, made a plan to wear out the British army. His small army could move faster than the British. Greene forced the British army, led by General Charles Cornwallis, to chase him. This tired the British soldiers and used up their supplies of food and gunpowder. The British beat Greene in every major battle, but they could not destroy his army.

“We fight, get beat, rise and fight again,?? Greene said. In the spring of 1781, Cornwallis had to retreat. Greene's strategy to wear out the British had worked.

The British were losing the war in the West as well. George Rogers Clark and about 200 Patriots captured British forts in the Ohio River Valley. After Spain declared war on Britain in 1779, the governor of Louisiana, Bernardo de Gálvez, attacked British forts. His army captured forts at Baton Rouge, Natchez, Mobile, and Pensacola.

REVIEW What was Greene's strategy to defeat the British?

Bernardo de Gálvez Spanish General de Gálvez captured British forts in cities near the Gulf of Mexico.

Later Battles This map shows the major battles during the last years of the American Revolution. SKILL Reading Maps Which battles took place in 1781?


The War Ends

Main Idea By winning the Battle of Yorktown, the United States gained independence.

Attack on Yorktown American soldiers make a surprise attack on a British fort near Yorktown, Virginia. The graph to the right shows the number of soldiers who fought at Yorktown. SKILL Reading Graphs About how many American and French soldiers fought together?

In the summer of 1781, the British army led by Cornwallis was camped at Yorktown, Virginia. When Washington learned of this, he marched his army south from New York to Virginia. Ships from the French navy sailed to meet him there. Cornwallis was taken by surprise. Washington's army and the French navy trapped the British army at Yorktown. The Americans and French fired their cannons at the British day and night.

At first, Cornwallis expected to be rescued. The British still had many soldiers and ships in New York City. However, the British navy could not defeat the French ships that blocked Yorktown.

After fighting for a week, Cornwallis realized he could not win the battle. He was surrounded by the Americans and the French, and no help was coming. On the morning of October 19, 1781, the British army surrendered at Yorktown. To surrender means to give up.

Over 7,000 British soldiers marched out of Yorktown, walking between long lines of French and American soldiers. The British laid down their weapons in a grassy field. The Battle of Yorktown was over.

Yorktown was the last big battle of the War for Independence. The war continued for two more years, but there was little fighting. The Americans had defeated one of the most powerful armies in the world. They had won the war and their independence.


The Treaty of Paris

On September 3, 1783, the United States and Britain signed the Treaty of Paris. The treaty gave Patriots the two things they wanted most. First, King George III agreed that the United States of America was an independent nation. Second, the Americans gained land. The United States now reached north to British Canada, west to the Mississippi River, and south to Spanish Florida.

The war was over, but Americans faced new challenges. One challenge was slavery. How could slavery exist in a country that believed in freedom and equality? African Americans began to demand their freedom in court, and some won. Several states passed laws against slavery.

Treaty of Paris 1783

Another challenge for Americans was how they would rule themselves. What kind of government would they create to replace King George III? Americans would have to decide. Mercy Otis Warren, a writer, called the new nation “a child just learning to walk.?? The new nation faced many questions as it took its place in the world.

REVIEW What did the Treaty of Paris say?

Lesson Summary

  • The last part of the Revolution was fought in the West and the South.

  • The United States won the war with the victory at Yorktown. With the Treaty of Paris in 1783, the United States gained its independence.
Why It Matters …

By winning the Revolutionary War, Patriots achieved their dream of independence. Americans were free to set up their own government and rule themselves.

Lesson Review

  1. VOCABULARY Write a sentence for each of the words below.

traitor surrender strategy

  1. READING SKILL What sequence of events led to the American victory at Yorktown?

  2. MAIN IDEA: Geography Where was most of the fighting done in the last years of the War for Independence?

  3. MAIN IDEA: History Why was Yorktown an important victory for the Americans?

  4. PEOPLE TO KNOW Who was General Cornwallis, and what happened to him at Yorktown?

  5. TIMELINE SKILL When was the Treaty of Paris signed?

  6. CRITICAL THINKING: Infer Writer Mercy Otis Warren called the newly independent United States “a child just learning to walk.?? What do you think she meant?

Write questions you would like to have asked the soldiers at Yorktown.


Extend Lesson 4 Geography A Global View, 1783

The American Revolution is over. What is happening in other lands? The American Revolution brought about a new nation in the late 1700s. Changes were taking place in other parts of the world as well.

Empires were expanding in the late 1700s. Trading around the world increased. Rulers sent explorers to search for new lands and resources. Trade and travel brought an exchange of goods and ideas.

These changes also meant that people were conquered and sometimes enslaved. In some places, people wanted liberty from their rulers. They wanted to govern themselves.Where were these places? Look on the map to find where revolutions were happening.

Canada Britain has control of Canada, and traders explore the land. They are looking for furs and a route to the Pacific Ocean. Haiti In 1791, Haiti's people demand independence from France. Toussaint L'Ouverture leads the fight. Cape Horn Captain James Cook, from Britain, almost discovers Antarctica. Thick ice forces him to turn back his ship. He decides that there's no continent at the South Pole!


FranceThe French are unhappy with King Louis XVI. In 1789, they overthrow him in the French Revolution. Russia Russia takes more and more land from Europe and Asia. Russia's empress, Catherine the Great, defeats a dangerous rebellion. China China's emperor Qianlong and his powerful armies control more land than ever. The population of the Chinese empire doubles in the 1700s. Australia James Cook, British sea captain, lands in Australia on one of his voyages and is one of the first Europeans to see a kangaroo. The British settle in Australia in 1788. Africa The Asante Empire trades gold with other African nations and Europe. The empire rules a large area of Africa's west coast.


Chapter 8 Review and Test Prep

Visual Summary

1–4. Write a description for each main event named below.

Facts and Main Ideas

TEST PREP Answer each question below.

  1. History Why was Common Sense an important document?

  2. Citizenship Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?

  3. Citizenship Who could vote and be elected to Virginia's House of Burgesses?

  4. Economics Why would some farmers and merchants not sell their goods during the war?

  5. History Why was Yorktown an important victory for the Americans?

  6. Geography What land did the United States gain in the Treaty of Paris?


TEST PREP Choose the correct word from the list below to complete each sentence.

independence, p. 262

rights, p. 264

neutral, p. 270

strategy, p. 286

  1. In 1776, the colonies declared their from Britain.

  2. Some colonists chose to stay instead of joining the Patriots or Loyalists.

  3. are freedoms that are protected by law.

  4. The of the British army was to invade the South.



Apply Skills

TEST PREP Map Skill Study the battle map below. Then use your map skills to answer each question.

  1. Where did the American and French armies attack the British?

  2. Gloucester

  3. York River

  4. Yorktown

  5. Richmond

  6. Where were most of the French soldiers?

  7. South of Yorktown

  8. West of Yorktown

  9. East of Yorktown

  10. In Yorktown

Critical Thinking

TEST PREP Write a short paragraph to answer each question.

  1. Fact and Opinion Were the ideas stated in the Declaration of Independence facts or opinions? Explain your answer.

  2. Cause and Effect The British army had to fight many battles against Nathanael Greene's soldiers in the South. What effect did this have on the British army?


Use the Chapter Summary Timeline above to answer the question.

  1. In what year did the British and the Americans fight the last major battle of the War for Independence?


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