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The Revolutionary War

The Revolutionary War
Causes for the Revolutionary War
French and Indian War
The French and Indian War took place between the American colonies
and New France. Both sides allied with various Native American tribes.
This war lasted from 1754 to 1763. British troops not only helped the
colonists to fight the war, but were stationed in the colonies for
protection after the war. These troops weren't free and Britain needed
money to pay for the troops. The British Parliament decided to tax the
American colonies to help pay for the troops.
Taxes, Laws, and More Taxes
• Prior to 1764, the British government had pretty much left the
colonists alone to govern themselves. In 1764, they began to impose
new laws and taxes. They implemented a number of laws including
the Sugar Act, Currency Act, Quartering Act, and the Stamp Act.
• The colonists were not happy with the new taxes. They said they
should not have to pay British taxes because they had no
representatives in the British Parliament. Their motto became "No
Taxation Without Representation."
Protests in Boston
• Many colonists began to protest against these new British taxes and
laws. A group called the Sons of Liberty formed in 1765 in Boston and
soon spread throughout the colonies. During one protest in Boston, a
fight broke out and several colonists were shot and killed. This
incident became known as the Boston Massacre.
In 1773, the British imposed a new tax on tea. Several patriots in
Boston protested this act by boarding ships in Boston harbor and
dumping their tea into the water. This protest became known as the
Boston Tea Party.
Intolerable Acts
• The British decided that the colonies needed to be punished for the
Boston Tea Party. They issued a number of new laws that the colonists
called the Intolerable Acts.
Boston Blockade
• One of the Intolerable Acts was the Boston Port Act which shut down
the port of Boston for trade. British ships blockaded Boston Harbor,
punishing everyone who lived in Boston, both patriots and loyalists.
This angered not only people in Boston, but also people in other
colonies who were afraid the British would do the same thing to
Growing Unity Among the Colonies
• The increased laws punishing the colonies did little to control the
colonies as the British had hoped, but actually had the opposite
effect. The laws caused the colonies to become more united against
the British. Many colonies sent supplies to help Boston during the
blockade. Also, more and more colonists throughout the Americas
joined up with the Sons of Liberty.
First Continental Congress
• In 1774, twelve of the thirteen colonies sent representatives to the
First Continental Congress as a direct response to the Intolerable Acts.
They sent a petition to King George III to repeal the Intolerable Acts.
They never got a response. They also established a boycott of British
The War Begins
• In 1775, British soldiers in Massachusetts were ordered to disarm the
American rebels and to arrest their leaders. The Revolutionary War
began on April 19,1775 when fighting broke out between the two
sides at the Battles of Lexington and Concord.
Major Battles!!!!!!
Battles of Lexington and Concord April 1775
• On the night of April 18, 1775, hundreds of British troops marched
from Boston to nearby Concord in order to seize an arms cache. Paul
Revere and other riders sounded the alarm, and colonial militiamen
began mobilizing to intercept the Redcoat column. A confrontation on
the Lexington town green started off the fighting, and soon the British
were hastily retreating under intense fire.
Battle of Fort Ticonderoga May 1775
• Located on Lake Champlain in northeastern New York, Fort
Ticonderoga served as a key point of access to both Canada and the
Hudson River Valley during the French and Indian War. On May 10,
1775, Benedict Arnold of Massachusetts joined Ethan Allen and the
Green Mountain Boys of Vermont in a dawn attack on the fort,
surprising and capturing the sleeping British garrison. Although it was
a small-scale conflict, the Battle of Fort Ticonderoga was the first
American victory of the Revolutionary War, and would give the
Continental Army much-needed artillery to be used in future battles.
Battle of Bunker Hill June 1775
• On June 17, 1775, early in the Revolutionary War (1775-83), the
British defeated the Americans at the Battle of Bunker Hill in
Massachusetts. Despite their loss, the inexperienced colonial forces
inflicted significant casualties against the enemy, and the battle
provided them with an important confidence boost. Although
commonly referred to as the Battle of Bunker Hill, most of the fighting
occurred on nearby Breed’s Hill.
Battle of Fort Washington November 1776
• On November 16th 1776, Hessian Lieutenant General Wilhelm von
Knyphausen and a force of 3,000 Hessian mercenaries and 5,000
Redcoats lay siege to Fort Washington at the northern end and
highest point of Manhattan Island.
• Throughout the morning, Knyphausen met stiff resistance from the
Patriot riflemen inside the fort, but by afternoon, the Patriots were
overwhelmed, and the garrison commander, Colonel Robert Magaw,
surrendered. Nearly 3,000 Patriots were taken prisoner, and valuable
ammunition and supplies were lost to the Hessians. The prisoners
faced a particularly grim fate: Many later died from deprivation and
disease aboard British prison ships anchored in New York Harbor.
. Battles of Trenton and Princeton 1776-1777
• General George Washington’s army crossed the icy Delaware on
Christmas Day 1776 and, over the course of the next 10 days, won
two crucial battles of the American Revolution. In the Battle of
Trenton (December 26), Washington defeated a formidable garrison
of Hessian mercenaries before withdrawing. A week later he returned
to Trenton to lure British forces south, then executed a daring night
march to capture Princeton on January 3. The victories reasserted
American control of much of New Jersey and greatly improved the
morale and unity of the colonial army and militias.
Battle of Saratoga October 1777
• Fought eighteen days apart in the fall of 1777, the two Battles of
Saratoga were a turning point in the American Revolution. On
September 19th, British General John Burgoyne achieved a small, but
costly victory over American forces led by Horatio Gates and Benedict
Arnold. Though his troop strength had been weakened, Burgoyne
again attacked the Americans at Bemis Heights on October 7th, but
this time was defeated and forced to retreat. He surrendered ten days
later, and the American victory convinced the French government to
formally recognize the colonist’s cause and enter the war as their ally.
Battle of Monmouth June 1778
• The Battle of Monmouth was fought on June 28th, 1778 in Monmouth,
New Jersey. General George Washington had ordered Charles Lee, who was
second in command, to take a small force of the Continental Army ahead of
him and engage the redcoats until Washington could assemble the rest of
the army from Valley Forge. After several hours of engaging with the
British, Charles Lee ordered the forces to retreat from the battlefield.
Washington met up with Lee on the road near Monmouth Courthouse,
New Jersey, to his great surprise. What ensued was a bitter fury between
Washington and Lee. Finally, Washington decided to march his troops as
Lee reluctantly agreed to lead the advance party. Americans attacked the
retreating British army and the war resulted in many being killed, and
wounded. Americans emerged victorious in the war, Washington was
lauded for his courage and bravery throughout the war.
Battle of King's Mountain October 1780
• Patriot irregulars under Colonel William Campbell defeat Tories under Major
Patrick Ferguson at the Battle of King’s Mountain in South Carolina. Major
Ferguson’s Tory force, made up mostly of American Loyalists from South Carolina
and elsewhere, was the western wing of General Lord Cornwallis’ North Carolina
invasion force. One thousand American frontiersmen under Colonel Campbell of
Virginia gathered in the backcountry to resist Ferguson’s advance. Pursued by the
Patriots, Ferguson positioned his Tory force in defense of a rocky, treeless ridge
named King’s Mountain. The Patriots charged the hillside multiple times,
demonstrating lethal marksmanship against the surrounded Loyalists. Unwilling
to surrender to a “band of banditti,” Ferguson led a suicidal charge down the
mountain and was cut down in a hail of bullets. After his death, some of his men
tried to surrender, but they were slaughtered in cold blood by the frontiersmen,
who were bitter over British excesses in the Carolinas. The Tories suffered 157
killed, 163 wounded, and 698 captured. Colonel Campbell’s force suffered just 28
killed and 60 wounded.
Battle of Cowpens January 1781
• On January 17, 1781, in South Carolina, American troops caused
heavy losses to the British in what was an important engagement in
the Southern Campaign of the war. The Americans were led by
Brigadier General Daniel Morgan against the British forces led by
Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton. General Morgan instructed the
militia to leave the front line after firing two rounds. This
repositioning strategy proved to be a success when the British
mistook it for a rout and ran into a concentrated rifle fire followed by
the return of the militia. As Tarleton escaped, the American troops
decimated the British forces and inflicted heavy losses on them
resulting in over 800 casualties with the Americans incurring only
about 100 casualties.
Battle of Yorktown September 1781
On September 28th, 1781, General George Washington, commanding a force of 17,000 French and
Continental troops, begins the siege known as the Battle of Yorktown against British General Lord
Charles Cornwallis and a contingent of 9,000 British troops at Yorktown, Virginia, in the most
important battle of the Revolutionary War. Earlier, in a stroke of luck for the Patriots, the French
fleet commanded by Francois, Count de Grasse, departed St. Domingue (the then-French colony
that is now Haiti) for the Chesapeake Bay, just as Cornwallis chose Yorktown, at the mouth of the
Chesapeake, as his base. Washington realized that it was time to act. He ordered Marquis de
Lafayette and an American army of 5,000 troops to block Cornwallis’ escape from Yorktown by land
while the French naval fleet blocked the British escape by sea. By September 28, Washington had
completely encircled Cornwallis and Yorktown with the combined forces of Continental and French
troops. After three weeks of non-stop bombardment, both day and night, from cannon and artillery,
Cornwallis surrendered to Washington in the field at Yorktown on October 17, 1781, effectively
ending the War for Independence. Pleading illness, Cornwallis did not attend the formal surrender
ceremony, held on October 19. Instead, his second in command, General Charles O’Hara, carried
Cornwallis’ sword to the American and French commanders. Although the war persisted on the high
seas and in other theaters, the Patriot victory at Yorktown ended fighting in the American colonies.
Peace negotiations began in 1782, and on September 3, 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed,
formally recognizing the United States as a free and independent nation after eight years of war.
The War Ends !!!-The Treaty of Paris
• After the British suffered a major defeat at Yorktown, many politicians
in Britain started to highly disagree with continuing the war and the
Prime Minister, Lord North handed in his resignation in March of
1782. Shortly after, in April, the British Commons voted that the war
in America should be ended. In late November, 1782 preliminary
peace articles were signed and drafted, but the war only formally
came to an end when the Treaty of Paris was signed on September 4,
1783. The last British troops were withdrawn from New York in
November, 1783 and the Paris treaty was ratified by the U.S. Congress
on January 14, 1784.