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The American Revolution

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Scott Eppler

on 11 April 2017

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Transcript of The American Revolution

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The United Kingdom of Great Britain came into existence in 1707, when England and Scotland were
unified
into one country. The term
British
refers to both English and Scots.

In 1714, the last Stewart ruler,
Queen Anne
, died without an heir. Her nearest relatives were the
Hanover
family from Germany. The next King of England, named
George
, was German; and spoke no English! This led to the
chief minister
actually setting more and more British policy.

Britain and British North America
Head of the Cabinet
This was the title of the highest ranking member of
Parliament
, who directly advised the King, and helped to set British government policy. Eventually, this position becomes known as the
Prime Minister
.
From 1721-1742, the Head of the Cabinet was
Robert Walpole
, who encouraged peaceful foreign relations. But growing trade and industry pressured the government to
expand
the British Empire.

William Pitt became Head of Cabinet in 1757, and he immediately began to
expand
the Empire by taking
Canada
and
India
from
France
in the
Seven Years’ War
. (The part you guys are familiar with took place in America, and here it was called the
French and Indian War
.)
This gave Britain control of an American colonial system with more than 1 million residents.

William Pitt

The American Revolution
American Problems
In
theory
, the colonies in America were controlled by the
Parliament
and the
British Board of Trade
. In reality, however, the colonies had set up
independent governments
in each state and were pretty much
self governing
.
At the end of the French and Indian War, the British expected the Americans to help
pay
for the expense of the war, as well as the
expense
of maintaining an army in America.

The Stamp Act
While the majority of Americans didn’t necessarily
disagree
with paying some money, their issue was with being taxed even though they had
no seat
in
Parliament
. They called this “Taxation Without Representation.”
The British insisted that: A. America was
too far away
for a representative to be useful, and B.
No other colony
was represented in Parliament
Parliament passed the
Stamp Act
in 1765, but violent response from the Americans caused it to be
repealed
in 1766.

The War for American Independence
The British had not given up on
recouping
some money from the Americans. They passed a series of tax acts that culminated in the one that began the war: the
Tea Tax
.
The Americans had set up a
Continental Congress
in 1774 to discuss the disagreements with Britain. In 1775, a group of Americans fired on
British soldiers
in Massachusetts, basically
starting
the American War for Independence.

The War Continues
In 1776, the
Second Continental Congress
met to determine America’s future.
First, they formed an
army
to be led by
General George Washington
. Next, they debated on whether or not to
pursue
the war or try to
negotiate
. They eventually settled on
war
, and Thomas Jefferson wrote the
Declaration of Independence
, signed by the members on July 4, 1776. America was now at
war
for Independence from Britain.

Foreign Support
America was much
smaller
than Britain, and had
no trained army
. They also had
no organized government
,
no money
to pay troops or buy equipment, and
no military manufacturing at all
. In short, they should have gotten
crushed
.
France
, however,
HATED
Britain, and was more than willing to
support
the new American government. By 1778, after a few American victories, the
Dutch Republic
and
Spain
joined the Americans also.

VICTORY!!
In 1781, the Americans
defeated
the British serving under General Cornwallis at
Yorktown
, Virginia. Cornwallis had been
specially sent
to defeat the Americans. When he was unsuccessful, they decided to
throw in the towel
.
In 1783, the British and Americans signed a peace agreement at
Paris
, giving the Americans the territory all the way to the
Mississippi River
.

The American Experiment
The colonies had gained their
freedom
, but were hardly in agreement about what to do
next
.
They were afraid of
strong central government
, and
each state
had different ideas about what was best for them. So, in 1781, they agreed to a system called the
Articles of Confederation
. The Articles were
too weak
for a central government, however, and the states meet again in
1787
to try and fix them.

The Constitution
The
Constitution
is the heart of the American idea. It created a
federal system
, where power is shared between states and the central government.
The federal government was divided into 3 branches:
Executive
(an elected President),
Judicial
(the Supreme Court and other federal courts) and the
Legislative
(two houses of elected officials).

The Bill of Rights
After the Constitution was
ratified
, (agreed to by 9 of the 13 states), the first thing the first Congress did was add the
first 10 amendments
, known as the
Bill of Rights.
These amendments grant everyone in the country the right to
free speech
,
free worship
,
free press
,
free assembly
, the right to
bear arms
, the right to
protection from the government
, and the right to
trial by jury
. Many of these ideas came directly from the ideas of the Enlightenment in France.
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