Chapter 6 A People in Revolution

Chapter 6
A People in
The American People, 6th ed.
Bursting the Colonial
The Final Rupture/Common
Sense/Declaring Independence
 The revolutionary fire was lit with the
occupation of Boston in 1775 by 4,000
British troops. Redcoats were tasked with
rounding up revolutionary leaders and
seizing the arms depot in nearby Concord.
 Military skirmishes ensued prompting the
second Continental Congress to create a
standing army in defiance of England.
 In 1775, the king sent 20,000 additional
troops to the colonies to suppress the
 Revolutionary leaders understood there
was no going back.
 Thomas Paine’s pamphlet Common
Sense described the outrages of the
English government in plain language that
inflamed the masses.
 A congressional committee chaired by
Thomas Jefferson produced the
Declaration of Independence and
distributed it to the world on July 4, 1776.
The War for American
The War in the North
and South
 The British established their military
headquarters in New York City.
 Washington’s troops repeatedly tried to assault
the British to no avail; few American victories in
the war’s first years.
 The South proved no match for superior British
forces as Savannah and Charleston fell quickly.
 Eventual entry of France as an ally of America
turned the tide against the British.
The Articles of
 A congressional attempt to create a more stable
and lasting central government.
 Bitter disputes in Congress left the Articles with
little power. States remained in charge of their
own destinies and Congress could only rely on
the generosity of the states for finances.
 Compromises regarding western claims of
territory finally led to approval of the Articles in
Native Americans in
the Revolution
 Intertwined with the fate of the colonists since
first contact, the Indians could not help but be
drawn into the war.
 Continued encroachment by white settlers into
the western lands of the Indians caused
resentment and violence.
 The neutrality of the powerful Iroquois nation
quickly dissolved as the war began. Allied with
the British, the tribe terrorized much of New
England throughout the conflict.
Negotiating Peace
 The Treaty of Paris, signed at Versailles in 1783,
acknowledged the independence of America
and recognized the country’s western border at
the Mississippi River.
 Crucial to victory in the war was the indomitable
will of the American people, the effectiveness of
the state militias, the French fleet, Washington’s
military expertise, and a series of inept blunders
on the part of a larger and better equipped
British army.
III. The Experience
of War
Recruiting an Army
 As many as 250,000 men may have
borne arms in the Revolutionary War.
 Early enthusiasm for the war transformed
into a “poor man’s fight” with paid
substitutes and criminals shouldering
much of the burden.
 Pay was slow and some troops openly
revolted as supplies dwindled.
Civilians and the War
 Devastation in the lives of city dwellers was
profound. Fire and vandalism destroyed much
of the existing structures in the larger cities.
 Refugee traffic increased throughout the war as
civilians struggled to escape the ravages of the
 Smallpox killed some 130,000 people while only
25,000 American soldiers died as a result of
The Loyalists
 Many colonists who had remained loyal
to the Crown emigrated to Canada,
England or the Caribbean.
 Tens of thousands of colonists evacuated
with the British troops from New York
after the surrender.
 Public punishing of Loyalists—when
found—came to be politically popular.
African Americans
and the War
 Thousands of African Americans
participated in the Revolutionary War,
both free and slave.
 Many slaves began to question their own
oppression after hearing the colonial
rhetoric regarding freedom.
 Many blacks sought freedom behind the
English lines, and many Southern blacks
fled North.
IV. The Ferment of
Revolutionary Politics
Mobilizing the People
 During the Revolution, politics caught
peoples fascination and became a
standard sermon topic for the clergy.
 Most believed revolution was a mandate
from God.
 The average Americans were determined
to incorporate the ideals of independence
into their own lives.
A Republican Ideology
 Basic to Republican belief is a rejection
of the concept of monarchy.
 Oversight of government by the people is
the only true method of achieving liberty.
 Historically, trouble arises from too much
 Responsibility for political order should
rest with the people.
Forming New Governments
 A few states retained their original
charters with only minor changes.
 Most states adapted new constitutions in
order to provide a written documentation
of rights and responsibilities.
 Massachusetts set the pattern for
constitution-building in 1779.
Women and the Limits of
Republican Citizenship
 Men of the Revolutionary period were
agreed that women should be excluded
from public affairs.
 Republican virtue was thought to embody
primarily masculine traits such as
rationality, self-discipline, and public