With the Declaration of Independence as its fuel, America entered a war for independence with Great Britain: the Revolutionary War. Throughout the war, America developed its first real feelings of nationalism and ended up being victorious in its fight for freedom.
Advantages/Disadvantages for Britain:The British were well equipped, well trained, and well disciplined. They had a strong navy to land troops, transport troops, guard communication and supply lines. Also, they had a large sum of money which could be used to hire foreign mercenaries. However, they were outnumbered by the U.S.
Advantages/Disadvantages for U.S.:Many colonists knew how to use firearms. They had a superior rifle range and accuracy over the smoothbore British muskets. Washington was a highly respected, experienced commander-in-chief, and they were fighting in their own territory. However, their naval power was less than that of Britain.
Loyalists, Tories: They were Anglican clergymen, ethnic and religious minorities, government officials, and some wealthy merchants comprised the Loyalists. About one-fifth to one-third of the population remained loyal to Britain. They felt that war was unnecessary to preserve the rights of the colonists, and maintained a respect for the monarchy. The majority of ethnic and religious minorities, however, were supporters of the revolution. Eighty thousand Loyalists left, leaving their positions for others.
John Adams: He was one of the first men to propose American independence when the Revolution began. Moreover, he served on the Committee on Independence, and also helped persuade the Second Continental Congress to adopt the Declaration of Independence. In Congress and in diplomatic missions abroad, he served the patriot cause.
Abigail Adams: Even though she had a scarce formal education, she was among the most influential women of her day, particularly as a leader of fashion and social mediator. She was the wife of John Adams, and mother of John Quincy Adams. Also, she challenged the lack of equality for women and was a strong advocate of the Revolutionary War.
Mercy Otis Warren: Before the imperial crisis, she was known for her nonpolitical poetry, but soon began writing political satires in the early 1770s. In doing so, she challenged the assumption that women were naturally dependent on men. The subordination of women, which was taken for granted, later became the subject of debate.
George Washington: George Washington created the Continental Army that had fought against the British. He was a strong influence in persuading the states to partake in the Constitutional Convention, and he used his prestige to help gain ratification of the Constitution. He earned a good reputation from the French and Indian War in 1763. His early military experience taught him the dangers of overconfidence and the necessity of determination when faced with defeat.
Edmund Burke: In 1766 he was elected to Parliament. Almost immediately Burke sought repeal of the Stamp Act. He urged justice and conciliation towards the American colonies in a pamphlet, Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents, and in two speeches, "On American Taxation" and "Conciliation with America".
Benjamin Franklin: From, Pennsylvania, he served on the Committee for Independence in 1776. Moreover, as a prime minister to Britain, he along with John Adams and John Jay, signed a peace treaty between the U.S. and England, which concerned new American borders, on November 30, 1782.
Lafayette: The Marquis de Lafayette’s close connections with the French court in 1778 indicated that Louis XVI might recognize U.S. independence and declare war on Britain. After France and the United States entered into an alliance against Great Britain, Lafayette returned to France to further the granting of financial and military aid to the Americans.
George Rogers Clark: George Rogers Clark led 175 militia and French volunteers down the Ohio River and took several British forts along the northwestern Ohio Valley in the spring of 1778. He was a surveyor and a frontiersmen who also led successful military operations against Indians allied to the British on the western frontier.
Benedict Arnold: He led one of the Continental Armies into Canada but was defeated. A fervent patriot, he later turned into a traitor. With 400 men, he attacked Fort Ticonderoga in April of 1775, along with Ethan Allen, who raised an army for the same purpose, but without command.
John Paul Jones: United States Captain John Paul Jones attacked the British territory, which raised American morale and prestige. He also led the famous ship, Bonhomme Richard, against Britain’s ship, the Serapis, in which the war was brought to England’s shores, boosting American morale and credibility.
Continental Army: Composed of colonial men, the Continental Army consisted of less than 10,000 men prepared for duty at one time. Out of the potential 250,000 men living in the colonies, the Continental Army was quite diminutive at the dawn of the war. Led by George Washington, this army fought in various battles such as Valley Forge.
Native Americans in the Revolutionary War: The colonists’ expansion into the Ohio Valley drove the western Indians into allying with the British. In the East, the Iroquois in New York were neutral until 1777, when the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy split, leaving all but the Tuscaroras and most Oneidas on the side of the British.
Black Americans in the Revolutionary War: About 5,000 blacks served in the army and navy, mostly New England freemen, and fought in every major battle of the war. However, the South feared possible slave revolts, which inhibited use of blacks in the South. Governor Dunmore offered freedom to slaves who joined the British army.
Invasion of Canada: U.S. General Richard Montgomery forced the British to evacuate Montreal in 1775 and invade Canada. A second force led by Benedict Arnold invaded the land by combining an attack on Quebec; however, it was a failure in that Montgomery was killed, Benedict was shot, and one-third of the colonial troops were killed or captured.
Battle of Bunker Hill (Breed’s Hill): Three British generals arrived in Boston in May, 1775 to assist General Gage. After two failed British attacks on Breed’s Hill, the colonists ran out of ammunition, and the British succeeded. The colonists now had two choices: to commit to a full-scale revolution, or to accept the rule of the British.
"Bonhomme Richard" and the "Serapis": John Paul Jones took command of a rebuilt French merchant ship and renamed it the U.S.S. Bonhomme Richard. On September 23, 1779, he engaged the British frigate, the Serapis, in the North Sea. This was the most famous naval battle in the American Revolution.
French Alliance of 1778, Reasons for It: France entered into two treaties with America, in February, 1778. The first was a treaty of goodwill and commerce, and granted most favored nation status to one another. The second treaty was the French Alliance of 1778, to be effective if war broke out between Britain and France.
Saratoga: British General John Burgoyne felt overwhelmed by a force three times larger than his own, and surrendered on October 17, 1777. This forced the British to consider whether or not to continue the war. The U.S. victory at the Battle of Saratoga convinced the French that the U.S. deserved diplomatic recognition.
Valley Forge: American survivors from the Battle at Brandywine Creek marched through Valley Forge in early December, 1777. The Continental Army marched through Valley Forge while the British army rested miles away in Philadelphia. After the arrival of Baron Friedrich von Steuben, the Continental army emerged from Valley Forge.
Hessians: They were German mercenaries who were comprised of approximately 30,000 soldiers in the British army during the Revolutionary War. They fought among 162,000 other Britons and loyalists but were outnumbered by the 220,000 troops of the Continental Army..
General Thomas Gage: He was the commander in chief of Britain’s military forces in America from 1763 to 1775. In April 1775, he issued the order for British troops to march on to concord and seize American weapons stored up there. During his career as commander in chief, he was appointed as the new governor of Massachusetts.
British Generals: Henry Clinton, William Howe, John Burgoyne:General Howe planned to set up headquarters in New York in 1776 but was delayed by Washington’s escape to Long Island. General Burgoyne was trapped at Saratoga in 1777 and was forced to surrender. General Clinton succeeded Howe as commander in chief in 1778.
Yorktown, Lord Cornwallis: Washington, along with Admiral de Grasse’s French fleet, trapped British General Cornwallis on the Yorktown peninsula. The Siege of Yorktown began in September of 1781, and ended when Cornwallis realized that he lost three key points around Yorktown and surrendered.
Treaty of Paris, 1783: Great Britain and the United States signed the Treaty of Paris, which brought an end to the American Revolution, on September 3. Great Britain recognized the former 13 colonies as the free and self-governing United States of America..
New State Constitutions: It was necessary for the former colonies to assemble new state governments after the fall of British authority in 1775. Massachusetts voters insisted that a constitution were made by a convention rather than the legislature, in hopes of implicitly making it superior to the legislatures. Most state constitutions included a bill of rights, although the constitutions ranged from extremely democratic models to unicameral legislatures.