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American Revolutionary War Timeline
Transcript of American Revolutionary War Timeline
Proclamation of 1763
Stamp Act passed 1765
Boston Massacre 1770
Townshend Acts passed 1767
Boston Tea Party 1773
Intolerable Acts passed 1774
Battle of Lexington and Concord 1775
1st Continental Congress 1774
Declaration of Independence signed 1776
Battle of Saratoga 1777
France sends aids to Americans 1778
British take over Charleston 1780
Timeline of the American Revolution
Battles in New Jersey 1776
Winter at Valley Forge 1777
Battle of Yorktown 1781
Treaty of Paris 1783
By the 1750s, France and Britain claimed control over much of North America. Britain claimed the lands east of the Appalachians Mountains and were looking to expand their territories. France claimed lands north (Canada) and the waterways of the Mississippi River. This included the Ohio River valley.
As Britain began entering the Ohio valley, France fought back resisting British control. Fighting broke out in 1754 at Fort Duquesne. Over the next 6 six years, France and England battled over control of North America. Finally in 1760 Britain conquered Quebec and Montreal defeating the French. In 1763 the Treaty of Paris ended the French and Indian War.
The French and Indian War was fought between England and France. It is called the the French and Indian War because England fought against French troops and Indian tribes. In Europe this war is called the Seven Years War because in total the war lasted 7 years and was fought all over the world to gain control over colonies.
Results of the War: France gave up all claims to land in North America. Giving northern lands to England and New Orleans to Spoin. England gains large amounts of debt which over the next ten years causes hostilities between Britain and its colonists.
The French and Indian War
In response to Indian attacks on settlers, King George III declares no one is to move and settle beyond the Appalachian Mountains. Colonists became angry over the king's involvement insisting that he has invaded their rights.
Proclamation of 1763
What are the positive and negative impacts of such a declaration?
A law that ordered every newspaper, pamphlet, and other public or legal document had to be printed or written on paper with an official stamp. British government had to be paid for the stamp.
Sugar Act passed 1764
The Sugar Act was a tax of three pence per gallon on sugar and the duty was to be strictly enforced. The act also listed more foreign goods to be taxed including sugar, certain wines, coffee, pimiento, cambric and printed calico, and further, regulated the export of lumber and iron. The enforced tax on molasses caused the almost immediate decline in the rum industry in the colonies. The combined effect of the new duties was to sharply reduce the trade with the French West Indies an important destination ports for lumber, flour, cheese, and assorted farm products. The situation disrupted the colonial economy by reducing the markets to which the colonies could sell, and the amount of currency available to them for the purchase of British manufactured goods.
Think of three possible actions of the British government that would lead to conflicts with the colonists.
Support one side of the Sugar Act with three examples.
Describe the colonists reactions to the first three laws by the British government. Were the colonists justified in their actions?
Series of 1767 laws which placed new taxes on glass, lead, paints, paper, and tea. It, also, increase the power of the British navy's vice-admiralty courts over American colonists and initiating an American Board of Customs Commissioners charged with enforcing his new import taxes. These taxes were used at least in part to fund the salaries of colonial governors and judges to ensure their financial, and thus political, independence from the colonial assemblies.
The Massachusetts General Court once again led opposition Royal officials became enraged and ordered the Court dissolved. The Governor of Massachusetts sent secret messages to Parliament to send troops to Boston. 600 soldiers began patrolling the streets of Boston. Colonists continued to boycott British goods and groups began to form such as the Sons of Liberty to help create rallies and influence pub;ic opinion.
Thinking as a colonist, explain how you would protest against the tyranny of Britain. (ex. peaceful or violent; type of protest)
By 1770, 4,000 British troops are stationed in Boston. Many of them have to take part time jobs to support themselves, leaving many colonists without jobs. Tension grew to a boiling point on March 5, 1770. An angry crowd grew in front of the Customs House taunting soldiers on duty. Civilians began shouting and throwing snowballs, ice, and clubs at the soldiers. The soldiers fired on the crowd partial out of fear and killed 5 people including Crispus Attucks.
John Adams defended the soldiers who were found to be innocent. Within a month of the Boston Massacre, the Townshend Acts were repealed and soon after the trails the soldiers were moved out of town.
Explain how the Boston Massacre helped the Sons of Liberty.
In 1770, all but one law under the Townshend Acts were repealed; the Tea Act. This was simply a tax on tea so that the East India Tea Company would be the only suppler of tea to the colonies. In 1773, the Tea Act was reduced but enforced more strictly.
To protest the Tea Act, the Sons of Liberty organized a group of individuals to board three ships; the Dartmouth, the Eleanor, and the Beaver and dump all its contents into the harbor. On December 16, 1773; 116 "Mohawks" entered the three ships and emptied its 45 tons of tea. According to the sailors on board of the ships, nothing was destroyed but the tea. The decks were even sweeped clean.
Boston Tea Party
Why would only the tea be destroyed during the Boston Tea Party?
In response to the Boston Tea Party, Parliament creates five new laws:
The Boston Port Act
The first of these closed the port of Boston until the East India Company was paid for the lost tea.
Massachusetts Government Act
The second modified the Massachusetts Charter of 1691, taking away many of its rights of self-government. It was aimed at punishing Boston and forcing it out of resistance. Almost all positions in the colonial government were to be appointment by the governor or directly by the King.
Administration of Justice Act
The third measure provided that British officials accused of committing crimes in a colony might be taken to England for trial.
The Quartering Act
The fourth measure allowed the British to quarter British soldiers in colonial buildings at the expense of the colonists, including colonists' homes.
The Quebec Act
The fifth act extended the boundaries of the province of Quebec. Because Quebec did not have representative assemblies, many colonists thought this transfer of land from the colonies to unrepresented Quebec was another attempt to punish the colonies and solidify British control.
Intolerable Acts (or Coercive Acts)
Civil disobedience is a refusal to obey a law we think is unjust. Which law imposed by Britain was the harshest? Did the colonists have a right to refuse any or all of the laws created? Why?
Twelve of the 13 colonies met on September 5, 1774, in Philadelphia to discuss the events of the last ten years and what the colonies wanted to do about in response to the actions. This was the first time the colonies were looking to provide an organized front to King George III. After much discussion, the Congress decided on 3 major actions:
1. Adoption of the Continental Association which established a total boycott by means of non-importation, non-exportation and non-consumption accords.
These agreements were to be enforced by a group of committees in each community, which would publish the names of merchants defying the boycott, confiscate contraband, and encourage public frugality.
2. The Congress composed a statement of American complaints called the Declaration of Rights and Grievances. It was addressed to King George III, to whom the delegates remained loyal. In it, the delegates asserted that the colonists had certain rights which included, "life, liberty, and property, and they have never ceded to any sovereign power whatever a right to dispose of either without their consent."
3. Finally, the Congress agreed to convene the following spring if colonial complaints had not been properly addressed.
First Continental Congress
Orders from General Thomas Gage send British troops out from Boston to Concord to capture weapons being stored. Also, they were looking for Samuel Adams and John Hancock. The Battle at Lexington was very short lived as the militia quickly dispersed after shots were fired. At Concord, British troops found little weapons. However, militia did effectively turn back the British. An early warning system established by the colonists help prepare the militia for the upcoming British attack.
The colonists were successful in defeating the British, as the British had 300 causalities against 88 causalities for the colonists.
The actions of Paul Revere, William Dawes, and Dr. Joesph Warren help warn the militia of the upcoming British invasion.
Battle of Lexington and Concord
In May 1775, the Second Continental Congress began meeting. With the Battles of Lexington and Concord fresh on everyone's mind, the Congress voted to establish a Continental Army and elected George Washington. By June, a national currency and a postal service were created for the "United Colonies." As the year was coming to a close, many Americans were beginning to see the only way they could success was by removing themselves from British rule. Thomas Paine wrote a pamphlet, Common Sense, which convinced many more Americans that independence was their best option.
In June 1776, Congress debated the passing of the Lee Resolution which would call for a complete break from Britain. Congress chose to break in order for all delegates to get instructions. Before they left, the Committee of Five were elected to write a Declaration of Independence (just in case).
Declaration of Independence
The Committee included John Adams, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin,Robert Livingston, and Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson wrote the main body of the document with few revisions from the group.
On July 1, the Congress reconvened and passed the Lee Resolution. By July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted. The Declaration has 5 parts: the introduction; the preamble; the body, which can be divided into two sections; and a conclusion. The introduction and preamble state the purpose of the document. The body tells the problems with the British government (Jefferson lists 27 grievances) and how the colonies tried to fix the problems. The conclusion states that the colonies will now become their own free and independent nation.
Battle of Trenton Dec 26, 1776
Battles in New Jersey
After a demoralizing defeat at Long Island, Washington is forced to retreat all the way across New Jersey into Pennsylvania. Cold, hungry, and low in morale, the Continental Army is on the verge of disbanding and the rebellion is almost over. Washington must find something to build spirits in his troops. He decides to cross back over the Delaware River and attack the Hessians (German hired troops) at Trenton, New Jersey. A severe snowstorm begins as the Americans start to cross the river. Washington is determined to attack Trenton and continues. Early in the morning of December 26, the Americans surprise the Hessians who are still sleeping off Christmas dinner. The battle last 90 minutes. The Americans have 7 causalities compared to the Hessians 106 causalities and 868 captured. After the battle the Americans moved back across the river into Pennsylvania.
Battle of Princeton January 3, 1777
Spurred on by the win at Trenton, Washington moves his men toward Princeton, New Jersey. Lord Cornwallis has marched his troops toward Trenton in hopes of attacking the rebels and leaves Princeton vulnerable. Again in a short battle Washington defeats the British showing that the American cause is not in vain. The British have 86 killed or wounded and 200 captured. While the Americans have 40 killed or wounded. These two victories force the British out of New Jersey in what is called the Ten Crucial Days.
Knowing the difficulties that await you, explain why you would or would not reenlist in the Continental Army.
Britain's new strategy for war was to split the Rebels in half by controlling New York and the Hudson River. Therefore, in June 1777 Major General John Burgoyne marched from Quebec with 7000 men. Hoping General Clinton would send men up from New York City to met in Albany. Clinton and General Howe never got orders to do so and chose to follow Washington into Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, Burgoyne quickly captured Fort Ticonderoga (July 1, 1777), but had problems from there. Slowed by a thick forest and constant attacks by small militia, the British did never reached Albany but ended up at Saratoga meeting the Americans in September. Lead by Major General Horatio Gates and Brigadier Benedict Arnold, the Americans defeated the exhausted British forcing them to surrender on October 17, 1777.
The victory at Saratoga was a turning point in the war for a couple of reasons.
1. It spurred Americans to become revived in the revolution.
2. It convinced the French and Spanish to send aid to the Americans.
Battle of Saratoga
What would be the most beneficial type of support for the Americans?
With winter approaching, Washington marched his men to safety at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. The British army had chosen to camp in Philadelphia and rest during the winter. Washington used this valuable time to train his army into a better group of men. Major problems continued to attack Washington and his troops.
First, supplies were extremely low. This included food, clothing, and medical supplies. 2,000 of the 12,000 men that started at Valley Forge died of disease, lack of heat, or starvation.
Second, morale of the men became low because of the conditions.
Third, Washington faced problems from his officers on leadership and tactics for the army.
Positively, Washington had time to train his men and get them ready for battle. Foreigners should as Baron von Steuben and Marquis de Lafayette helped Washington train the troops. von Steuben taught the men how to march and attack as European soldiers. Lafayette gave many supplies and would become an important commander throughout the rest of the war.
Winter at Valley Forge
How did enduring the hardships at Valley Forge make the Americans better?
The war in the North turned into a stalemate and the British felt their best options in winning the war would be to attack the south and move upward into New York. The British felt that many Southern landowners were still sympathetic to the British which would allow for a quick conquest.
In 1780, British forces take Charleston, South Carolina. Fighting from this point is not so easy as American forces use small raids and attacks to stall the British out in South Carolina. The most successful American at leading these raids was Francis Marion. He was called the "Swamp Fox" because his attacks were paralleled to a fox (very sneaky) and his headquarters were based in a swamp. The movie The Patriot was based on Francis.
In a year and a half of fighting, the British could barely manage to make it out of South Carolina into North Carolina.
The War Turns to the South
Explain the why smaller attacks were more successful against the British than a large full scale attack.
As the war began, it was no contest at sea. The British navy was the most powerful navy in the world. The Americans had no navy force to speak of and had to rely on privateers (although it was not authorized) to attack the British. In 1775, the Continental Congress debated the use of a navy. Finally, in October with
news that Washington had captured three
British ships, Congress commissioned 2 vessels
to sail and intercept British transport. The birth of the US Navy was born.
The first naval hero for America was John Paul Jones. Jones was a career ship man who willingly looked to
help the Congress establish a Navy.Jones became very successful and soon began attacking the British off of
the English coast. Jones' most famous actions came in the battle between the Bohomme Richard over HMS
Serapis. The Serapis was one of the mightiest British ships and Jones found himself losing badly. The
British commander asked Jones if he was ready to surrender. Jones famously replied "I have not yet
begun to fight." Jones goes on to win the battle and captured the British ship. Unfortunately, the
Bohomme Richard sank shortly after the battle ended. Because of Jones' pride and honor in
fighting many of the naval traditions held are credited to him.
War on the Seas
How do you think Jones' victory affected the Americans?
Since Cornwallis did not have much success in the Carolinas, he marched his troops to Yorktown, Virginia. Washington moved his troops down from New York. On September 28, 1781, the American army surrounded Cornwallis and the British troops at Yorktown. There were a few skirmishes but Washington laid siege to Yorktown with the help of the French in the Chesapeake Bay. By October, supplies were low and General Clinton had not shown up with reinforcements for the British. Cornwallis had no other chose. He surrender on October 19, 1781.
Battle of Yorktown
Two years later, The Treaty of Paris of 1783 officially ended the American Revolution. Under the terms, England recognized the independence of American; removed all their troops from the country; and gave all the land between the Mississippi River and the Atlantic, and from the Great Lakes to the border with Florida.
Treaty of Paris of 1783
Bernardo de Galvez
Marquis de Lafayette
Mary Otis Warren
King George III
John Paul Jones
Charles de Montesquieu
People to Know