FROM EMPIRE TO INDEPENDENCE 1750-1776 BIG PICTURE Seven Years’ War Britain as dominant power Outcome of war leads to American rebellion Growth of nationalism in America = American Identity Wealthy leaders motivated ordinary people through principles of equality FRENCH & INDIAN WAR (7 YEARS’ WAR) 1756-1763 Great global war for empire Britain & Prussia vs. Spain, France & Austria Virginians fighting French Canadians along Ohio R. Albany Conference 1754: British officials, colonists, Iroquois Confederacy Unachieved Goal- collective colonial response to New France Lack of cooperation many battlefronts (N. Atlantic, border of New France & New York, Ohio country*) Control over Ohio R. fort building Indians played British & French against each other OUTCOME OF WAR George Washington becomes war hero (despite initial failure) Demonstration of colonial/British differences New Prime Minister William Pitt buys colonial cooperation (leads to British success & debt) Promise Indians territory & boundary of colonies (Proclamation of 1763) Destruction of French empire in America Britain gains control of French lands (Canada to Caribbean, Atlantic to Mississippi R.) Spain gains Louisiana, loses Florida INDIAN COUNTRY Indian/Colony conflict continues Indian Confederacy simultaneously attacks all British forts in West, year of fighting, stalemate Proclamation Line set by British limits purchase, settlement in Indian lands Colonists thought war would mean westward expansion British unable/unwilling to control illegal colonist expansion Vermont, West Virginia, Tennessee Weakened Indians forced to sign lands away AMERICAN NATIONALISM Contrast of American & British soldiers American colonists feared enslavement by British War brought colonists together, to other colonies Nationalism- 19th century term Benedict Anderson, “Every successful revolution has defined itself in nationalist terms….nation: it is an imagined political community – and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign.” Based on ideas of common history, culture, language and experiences BRITISH DEBT, AMERICAN RESISTANCE Most important things to colonists: Liberty & property 18th century English radicals (Whigs) discuss republicanism- unchecked power threatens liberty and institutes tyranny Acts imposed by Britain to increase revenue from colonies “no taxation without representation” Male landowners in colonies couldn’t vote in British elections Parliament argues “virtual representation” Upper-class leads resistance to Acts Motivated lower-class - hit hard during & after war Sons of Liberty: Upper-class group attempting to control resistance movement (economic & political pressure) ORGANIZED RESISTANCE Role of reading & publications: Newspapers, pamphlets, books, postal service, prints, letters some used as propaganda Colonial assemblies dissolved due to insubordination Customs agents & tax collectors targeted BOSTON Massacre: British Army occupation of Boston 10/1/1768 3/5/1770 Boston crowed harassing guard at Customs House attacked by British soldiers 7 dead, 4 wounded Mob of hundreds demands vengeance Governor orders British troops out Paul Revere’s print circulated throughout colonies (propaganda, untruthful representation) Tea Party Response to Tea Act 1773 – reduction in price of tea, aimed at saving East India Co. British tea ship arrives in Boston Harbor, prevented from unloading, captain reports to Sam Adams at church Group of 50-60 dressed as Indians board ship & throw 45 tons of tea into harbor Ships in other harbors attacked as well INTOLERABLE ACTS Punishment to Massachusetts & strengthen British authority Termination of self-rule Quebec Act- state religion of Catholicism fears of same thing in colonies Virginia and others openly express sympathy FIRST CONTINENTAL CONGRESS Who: 56 elected delegates from 12 colonies What: Illegal meeting which developed trust and common identity among colonies When: September-October 1774 Where: Philadelphia Why: Organize common response to Intolerable Acts Results: creation of important committees which played important roles in communication and organization during revolution British/colonial violence SECOND CONTINENTAL CONGRESS Who: Eventually elected delegates from all 13 colonies, more radical, Thomas Jefferson new face What: Meeting to organize defense of colonies When: May-June 1775 Where: Philadelphia Why: Needed organized military to fight British Results: George Washington made commander-in-chief of Continental Army Army made up of existing militias REBELLION AND FIGHTING Spain jumps at opportunity to get revenge 1775-1776 battles in various locations: Canada, Boston, Virginia, North Carolina British promise freedom to slaves who join them Patriots vs. Loyalists Second Continental Congress reconvenes Sept. 1775- formal rebellion declared by King George Spring 1776 France joins Spanish at sea Thomas Paine’s Common Sence DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE June 1776 committee of 5 assigns writing to Jefferson Month of editing & voting Justified renunciation of allegiance to Britain Asserted principles of equality and the right of revolution Most important document in American history? Signed July 4, 1776 King George’s diary entry: Nothing special 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. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.