Uploaded by Sandra Young


American History Chapter 4
The War for Independence
Colonies vs. Great Britain
• Stamp Act
• GB required that the colonist purchase a stamp to put on
numerous different popular items
• Attempt to indirectly tax the colonists, would help GB pay
for F/I War
• Stamp Act Opposition
• Sons of Liberty: Group most opposed to the Stamp Act
• Sam Adams: Leader of the Sons of Liberty
• 3 Important Responses by Sons of Liberty
Threaten all Stamp Collectors (very effective)
Organize a meeting of reps from the colonies
Boycott of British Goods
GB Responds with the Townshend Acts (direct taxes)
Boston Massacre
• Conflict
• 2000 British Troops in Boston, competing over jobs, etc
• Why are they there?
• Watch the colonists
• Save money, GB would not have to pay for them
• What happened?
• Mob became violent, threw things at the British Troops
• British troops shot into the crowd, killing 5
• Sam Adam’s Role
• Introduced the term “Boston Massacre”
• Attempt to get people to become angry at Great Britain
• All the colonies, Europe, etc
Boston Tea Party
• Boston Tea Party
• Merchants dressed up as Indians, dumped 18,000 pounds of
British tea into the Boston Harbor.
• Merchants were angry at taxes and GB attempts to sell tea
directly to the people in Massachusetts.
• GB Response
• Intolerable Acts: Took away the rights of the people of
Massachusetts (govern themselves, trade, etc)
• Martial Law: GB military is in charge of the area
• Colonists Response
• First Continental Congress: Meeting of Reps from each
colony….told each colony to fight back if necessary
First Shots
• Early American Troops
• Minutemen: Civilian soldiers in Massachusetts, ready
at a minute’s notice
• Had assembled a bunch of weapons in a variety of
spots around Boston
• British Troops
• Thomas Gage: Leader of GB troops in Boston
• Attempt to get the weapons from the Colonists
First Shots
• Concord/Lexington
• Concord: No real battle, GB did not find much
• Lexington: GB and Minutemen had a small battle,
Minutemen where told to go home
• Return Trip
• Paul Revere: Warned the remaining minutemen that
the British were on the move (Dawes, Prescott)
• British troops were ambushed by thousands of angry
colonists, forced GB to retreat to Boston Harbor.
• Result: War was imminent
Early Colonial Government
• Second Continental Congress
• Meeting of Representatives from ALL colonies
• Decided to do the following things:
Create a national army (Continental Army)
George Washington is the leader of the (Continental Army)
Would deal with other countries (France)
Print their own money
First Real Battle
• Battle of Bunker Hill
• Actually occurred on Breed’s Hill
• Gage wanted to get his troops out of Boston
• GB charged up the hill 3 separate times before breaking
through the Continental Lines. Only successful because
lack of supplies for the Continental Army
• Common Themes
• Colonial Army: Hard time with supplies, needed help
• GB Army: Strategy did not match the area
• Both of these themes would reoccur throughout the war
Differing Views on War
• Olive Branch Petition
• Last ditch attempt by some in America to avoid war
• Rejected by King George, the damage was already done
• Common Sense
• Pamphlet written by Thomas Paine
• Urged the colonist to support independence from GB
• Reasons:
– It was our God given destiny to be free
– We would rule ourselves better than GB
Declaration of Independence
• Declaration of Independence
• Written by Thomas Jefferson (Philadelphia)
• Declared our independence to the rest of the world
• What did it say?
• 1st Section: American beliefs
• 2nd Section: Why we are mad at Great Britain
• 3rd Section: Actual Declaration
• Response
• Shocked the world
• Officially passed by all the colonies on July 4, 1776
Differing Views on Independence
• Patriots
• People that favored independence and war with GB
• A little over ½ the population were Patriots
• Loyalists
• People that favored remaining with GB
• Reasons why:
– Financial benefit from being with GB
– Didn’t think that we would be able to rule ourselves any better
– Didn’t really care because not free (slaves, women, etc)
Continental Army
• Strengths
• Knew the land
• Washington was an effective, smart leader
• Fighting for a cause (freedom)
• Weaknesses
Ineffective government
Lack of supplies
Small, inexperienced Army
No Navy
• American Analysis
• America needs help from foreign countries to supply themselves in
the war
• As an underdog, the longer the war plays out, the better shot the
American’s have of winning
British Army
• Strengths
World’s strongest Army
Strong, wealthy government
Unlimited supplies and money
Loyalist support in America (did not use this effectively)
• Weakness
• Generals lacked urgency and understanding
• War Fatigue (too far away from home, too long)
• Did not understand land and guerilla fighting
• GB Analysis
• Great Britain is the overwhelming favorite to win the War
Early Battles (1776)
• British
• Army (William Howe) and Navy (Richard Howe) stormed into
New York by July 1776
• Total of 32,000 men, including German Mercenaries (paid
soldiers), also called Hessians.
• Americans
• Led by George Washington
• Total of 23,000 men, most were untrained and unreliable
• Results
• By October, Washington had lost every battle and he only had
8,000 troops left (most left and went home).
• Washington needed something positive to happen because
most of his troops enlistment would expire on Dec 31, 1776.
Positives for America
• Battle of Trenton
• George Washington organized a surprise Christmas
morning attack on some of the Hessians.
• Risky due to the time of the year.
• Successful in capturing almost 1000 Hessians who were
mostly hung over from the Christmas.
• Battle of Princeton
• Washington able to get another victory over 1200
British soldiers
Negatives for America
• Valley Forge
• Washington’s troops were forced to camp here during
the winter of 1776-77.
• The conditions were horrible!! 2,000 died
• Philadelphia
• British decided to focus on capturing this city, which
was the American capital at the time.
• Washington was not able to successful defend the city.
• General Howe decided not to pursue Washington,
instead focusing on having a huge party in Philadelphia
• British Plan
• General John Burgoyne (stationed in Canada) wanted to join
Howe and then dominate Washington’s Army.
• Problems: The direct route was full of timber , the British
took way to much useless supplies (booze, clothes, etc).
Plus, Howe did not leave Philadelphia.
• American Plan
• General Horatio Gates used surprise hit and run attacks on
Burgoyne’s troops. Each small attack took its toll on the
• Saratoga: Burgoyne was forced to surrender all of his troops
when he was severely outnumbered by the Americans
Results of Saratoga
• Turning Point in the War
• Confidence: The American troops became confident
that they could defeat the British
• Changed of Strategy: The British decided that they
were not going to fight in the woods anymore. They
wanted to stay close to land where the Navy could help.
• French: This victory gave the French confidence that
the American’s might be able to win, so they began to
openly support America with supplies, men, and Navy.
Life in America during the War
• Economic Problems
• Government ran out of gold and silver currency so they
printed a bunch of paper money.
• Inflation: Too much money was printed and prices for daily
goods skyrocketed.
• Government had a difficult time supplying the Army
• Other groups of people
• African Americans: Some escaped to cities in the North, while
others joined the Continental Army.
• Women were forced to carry the load for men while they
were away at war.
• Molly Pitcher: Helped bring water to soldiers, injured during
the fighting. Extreme Bravery
European Help
• Friedrich von Steuben
• Prussian General
• Helped train George Washington’s Army in how to
successful fight an European style of war
• Marquis de Lafayette
• French military leader offered to help George
• Was critical to getting the French to offer their support
to the Continental Army and US government
British Change of Plans
• British focus on the South
• GB decided to focus on the South after the defeat at
• George Cornwallis: British General who was supposed
to win battles in the South and then move North to
help capture George Washington
• British Success
• Cornwallis was able to win a few early battles in the
South at Charles Town and Camden.
• By 1780, GB controlled all of Georgia and South
American Response
• American Victories
• GB had all sorts of problems winning North Carolina
• Nathaniel Greene: Washington’s top general was assigned
to constantly harass Cornwallis by using guerilla warfare.
• GB retreated to South Carolina
• Daniel Morgan (Mel Gibson)and Banastre Tarelton
(Tavington) fight a series of small battles.
• Cowpens: Outnumber US troops defeat Cornwallis for the
first real victory
• Guilford Courthouse: Costly British victory in which over ¼
of Cornwallis’ men were killed or captured.
• Result: Cornwallis decides to flee to the North
End of the War
• Yorktown
• Cornwallis decided to camp on a peninsula while
waiting for reinforcements to come.
• Reinforcements never came because the French Navy
had defeated the British Navy.
• Washington, Lafayette, and von Steuben were able to
sneak down from the North and trap Cornwallis.
• October 17, 1781: Cornwallis surrendered.
Results of the War
• Treaty of Paris
• Officially ended the Revolutionary War
• America was now officially independent and had all of
the lands east of the Mississippi River.
• Symbolic Victory for the World
• Democratic Revolutions would begin to spread all
throughout Europe (down with Monarchies)
• Equalitarianism: Equality of all people (wealth, not
• Questions: Slavery still existed, how would we govern
ourselves, what would we do with the Natives?