US-VA SOL Review Materials – The American Revolution

US-VA SOL Review Materials –
The American Revolution
American Political Philosophy
John Locke was the most
influential political
philosopher of the period
of the American Revolution.
He believed in the idea that
people had created a “social
contract” with their
governments. The
governments duty was to
protect the natural rights of
it’s people. In return, the
people gave their consent to
be governed.
John Locke’s Philosophy Influenced
Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence
Locke argued that the government could not
infringe upon inalienable rights to life, liberty,
and their own property. *
2. He said that the people who are governed have
consented to a “social contract” with the
government – each party has responsibilities. *
3. He argues that the consent of the governed
must be given by the people.*
4. And he stated that when the government
violates the rights of the people, the people
have the right to alter or abolish the
* Jefferson included all of these point in the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Thomas Paine’s Common Sense Encouraged
Americans to Declare Independence.
In his pamphlet Common
Sense, Thomas Paine used
enlightenment thought in
order to argue that
Americans must declare
independence from the
English. He argued that it
was absurd for an island to
rule over a continent. He
also advised that just as
every son leaves his
mother’s home eventually,
the time had come for
Americans to leave the
orbit of Mother England.
In 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote
The Declaration of Independence.
“We hold these truths to be selfevident: 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.”
The Declaration of Independence,
by Thomas Jefferson
“That to secure these
rights, governments are
instituted among men,
deriving their just
powers from the
consent of the
The Declaration of Independence,
by Thomas Jefferson
“That whenever any
Form of Government
becomes destructive of
these ends it is the Right
of the People to alter or
abolish it, and to
institute new
The Declaration of Independence
Over the course of time,
the Declaration of
Independence’s words
gained greater meaning.
 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King
challenged Americans to
“live out the true meaning
of our creed: that all men
are created equal.”
 In this speech, he
challenged Americans to
end voting barriers, allow
due process of law, and
grant access to free public
education to all students –
black or white.
In his “I Have a Dream” Speech, MLK
challenged Americans to live out the
true meaning of the Declaration of
Independence, that “all men are
created equal.”
The Declaration of Independence
In 1848, the women of the
Seneca Falls Convention
adopted the Declaration of
Sentiments, which included
the line “We hold these
truths to be self-evident:
that all men and women are
created equal.”
Just as members of the
Woman’s Movement used
the words of the
Declaration of
Independence to petition
for greater rights,
abolitionist societies
demanded an end to slavery
based on Jefferson’s words.
As both an abolitionist
and a member of the
woman’s movement,
Frederick Douglas
demanded freedom
based on the
Declaration of
Independence. He
once bitterly asked,
“What does the Fourth
of July mean to the
The Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of
Independence has also
been frequently invoked
by people who sought to
regulate the American
system of free enterprise
in order to promote
equal economic
opportunity and to
protect private property
rights. Racial
discrimination in hiring
practices was ended
with the passage of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The American Revolution, according to the Virginia
Standards of Learning…
REVOLUTION, 1763 - 1783
The French and Indian War, 1754 - 1763
France and England competed
for land in North America,
usually in the Ohio River Valley,
west of the Appalachian
 In the French and Indian War
the French and their Indian
allies fought against the English
and their American colonists.
 The French lost! And, the
English took all of their land;
however, in order to do this it
took seven years of fighting and
left the English bankrupt.
 Tax policies started by the
British in order to raise
revenue led to the
Revolutionary War.
The English spent a lot of money
in order to defeat the French and
their Indian allies – and to
protect American colonists.
After the war, they wanted to
collect tax revenue from
American colonists in order to
re-coop their loses. American
colonists did not find this
The Proclamation of 1763
King George III forbid
American colonists to
move anywhere west
of the Appalachian
Mountains with his
Proclamation of 1763.
All of the land
Americans had helped
to wrest away from
the French was now
completely off limits to
them! Americans
were outraged, and
many ignored the
The Stamp Act of 1765
Starting in 1765 with the
Stamp Act, the Parliament
began to pass a series of
taxes intended to raise
revenue from their
American colonists.
Americans resisted
ferociously, rejecting the
principle of “Taxation
Without Representation!”
Tax collectors were
threatened, boycotts were
organized, and nonimportation treaties were
enforced by groups like the
Sons of Liberty!
The tax collector’s was a difficult job,
particularly around the Sons of Liberty!
Taxation Without Representation
The Sugar Act of 1764
The Stamp Act of 1765
The Townshend Acts
The Tea Act of 1773
The Intolerable Acts
Parliament didn’t give up easily, but
Americans steadfastly refused to
pay any taxes to a Parliament in
which they had no representation.
Events in Colonial Boston
The Boston Massacre:
In 1770, a group of English
soldiers who had been pelted
by rocks and oyster shells on
a snowy day in early March
shot into an angry mob of
Americans in downtown
Boston. Paul Revere’s
depiction of the events on
that day were a bit biased, as
were newspaper accounts of
what would go on to be
known as the “Boston
Massacre.” Five Americans
died that day, including
Crispus Attucks.
The Boston Tea Party
Americans protested the Tea Act of 1773 by refusing to allow the ship’s cargo
to be unloaded at Boston Harbor. Angered that a small tax on tea had been
included by the act – which had actually lowered the cost of tea – American
patriots like the Sons of Liberty dressed themselves up as Mohawk Indians
and threw over 340 chests of tea into Boston Harbor. Outraged, the British
responded with the oppressive Intolerable Acts.
The First Continental Congress
Including representatives of all
the colonies save Georgia, this
body passed a number of
resolutions condemning the right
of the Parliament to tax American
colonists. The Congress was
borderline treasonous to begin
with, and when it passed both
the Declaration of Rights and
Grievances – protesting
“taxation without
representation” and the Suffolk
Resolves – which encouraged
Americans to take up arms to
defend themselves, it began to
encourage the Revolutionary
The Shot Heard ‘Round the World was fired at the Battle
of Lexington and Concord immediately followed. The
American Revolution thus began in April of 1775.
Patriots, Loyalists, and Neutrals
During the American Revolution, not everyone supported
the Patriot cause.
1. About one-third of Americans were pro-Independence
Patriots and supported the Continental Army. John
Locke’s ideas had inspired men like Thomas Paine,
Patrick Henry, and George Washington.
2. About one-third of Americans were Loyalists, or Tories,
who supported England and felt that taxes were pretty
much reasonable to protect the colonies.
3. About one-third of Americans were neutral, and just
hoped to survive the war without losing their lives or
their property!
The Redcoats soon discovered, however, that they had very
little popular support in the American colonies. Even the
Tories were sort of lukewarm supporters at best.
George Washington led the
Continental Army to Victory…
Americans greatest advantage over the British may have been George Washington, who
realized from the outset that he need not defeat the English to win the war. He must
instead maintain his Continental Army, and prevent its destruction. On more than one
occasion, his leadership saved the Continental Army. The Battle of Trenton, for example,
or the manner in which he led his men to survive the brutal winter at Valley Forge.
The Treaty of Alliance 1778
In 1777, General Horatio Gates
won a great victory over
General John Burgoyne’s men
at Saratoga, in New York. The
battle in itself, however, was
less important than the treaty
which it made possible. After
the victory at Saratoga, the
French were convinced (by
diplomat Benjamin Franklin)
that they should support
Americans in the War for
Independence. In 1778, the
Treaty of Alliance was signed
and Americans had a military
ally with whom we could fight
the British. Spain and Holland
also loaned us money!
The Battle of Saratoga was a
turning point in the Revolutionary
War. After the battle, Benjamin
Franklin was able to convince the
French to support Americans in the
Revolutionary War. With French
aid, Americans would win the war.
The Battle of Yorktown, 1781
At the Battle of Yorktown, the
Continental Army sieged
General Charles Cornwallis and
forced him to surrender. Our
French allies helped us very
much in this regard. Marquis de
Lafayette acted as an aide-decamp for Washington;
Rochambeau helped to organize
an orderly siege of the enemy
lines; and Admiral de Grasse
commanded the French fleet at
the mouth of the Chesapeake
Bay, preventing the escape of
Cornwallis’ soldiers. Victory
was ours!
George Washington accepted the
surrender of Cornwallis after the
Battle of Yorktown. Although
skirmishing would continue in
many areas for years, this
effectively ended the war with
England. In 1783, the Treaty of
Paris would officially end the war.