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The Revolutionary War
Transcript of The Revolutionary War
By Aurora Valerio
On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere rode through a town of Massachusetts, alerting people that the British troops stationed in Boston had orders to march to Concord, to steal the weapons the colonists had stored there. After hearing the news, Patriots around Concord grabbed their guns and got prepared for the British. The Loyalists were also "filled with dread" when they heard the news. They were terrified by the idea of "taking up arms against the British troops".
Early British Actions
In 1760, King George III had been crowned. The British government had many problems after the French and Indian War. One was how to keep colonists and Native Americans form killing each other when settlers went westward. King George III said to draw a line down the Appalachian Mountains, and tell settlers to stay east of the line and Native Americans to stay west. The King ordered this in his Proclamation of 1763. Americans thought that the king's order suggested tyranny. To "keep peace on the frontier" the British government decided to expand the British army in America to 7,500 men. Another problem was figuring out how to pay off the debt left from the war. People in Britain were already paying taxes on everything, and Americans were probably the most lightly taxed people in the British Empire. In 1765, Prime Minister George Grenville proposed a new law/act called the Stamp Act. The Stamp Act had colonists buy a stamp for every piece of paper they used. Some colonists protested against the act by sending messages to Parliament. Loyalists refused to buy stamps. Patriots formed mobs. They attacked tax collectors' homes. After months of protest, Parliament repealed the Stamp Act. In 1765, another law passed called the Quartering Act. This law ordered colonial assemblies to provide British troops with quarters. In 1767 the New York assembly decided not to vote any funds for salt, vinegar, or liquor.
In just 100 years, the population of the American colonies had grown from 50,000 people, to more than 1,000,000 (1 million) people. The reason for this was cheap land, religious tolerance, and economic opportunity, but mostly the fact that the government had left the colonies alone to solve their own problems, which means the colonies had learned to govern themselves. And as the colonies grew, settlers began to think about moving into the Ohio Valley. The French and British had both claimed this area, and in 1754, the French built a fort called Fort Duquesne. The governor of Virginia sent a militia to drive the French out of the Ohio Valley. The head of the militia was 22-year-old George Washington. On the way to the fort, Washington ran into a French scouting party, and ordered his men to open fire. Washington's shots were the first shots in the war known as The French and Indian War, which was a war between France and Britain for territory and power. The French and India War went on for 7 years and ended in 1759. In 1763, Britain and France signed a treaty ending the war.
The French and Indian War
The Townshend Acts
Charles Townshend, or Champagne Charlie, was the next man to attempt taxing the colonies. Charles believed that the colonists' bad behavior made it even more important to keep an army in America. I 1757, Charles persuaded Parliament to pass the Townshend Acts. The new laws placed tax on certain goods the colonies imported from Britain, such as glass, paint, paper, and tea. Samuel Adams led the opposition to the Townshend Acts. Adams wrote a letter protesting the Townshend Acts that was set to every colony. The letter said the new duties violated the colonists' rights as British citizens. The colonists decided to boycott British goods to protect their rights. Women played a big part in the boycott because they could make clothes.
The Boston Massacre
The day Parliament repealed most of the Townshend Acts, a brawl broke out between soldiers and colonists in Boston. 5 colonists were killed, and 10 were injured. Patriots called it the Boston Massacre. In 1768, the government sent 4 regiments of troops to "keep order in Boston". On March 5, 1770, a loud mob began throwing rocks and ice balls at troops. As the mob "pressed forward", someone knocked a soldier to the ground. The troops panicked and opened fire, and 2 bullets hit Crispus Attucks, who was the first to die. The crowd went home only after being promised the troops would be tried for murder. Sam Adams had Paul Revere engrave a picture of what Adams called a "horrid massacre". John Adams (Sam Addams cousin) agreed to defend the soldiers, even though he knew his action would cost him friends and clients. At the trial, John said the troops acted in selfdefense.
The Boston Tea Party
In 1773, a new law called the Tea Act prompted more protests. The Tea Act was Lord North's attempt to rescue the British East India Company. The company was in danger of going broke unless it sold the 17,000,000 (17 million) pounds of tea sitting in its London warehouses. The Tea Act lowered the cost of tea that was sold by the BEIC (British East India Company) i the colonies. Lord North thought he could trick the Americans into buying taxed tea, but the colonists weren't fooled. when the BEIC ships came into the America ports, protesters kept them from unloading their cargoes. ships turned back to England still filled with tea. But in Boston, the governor ordered the British navy to block the exit from the Boston harbor. On December 16, 1773, 50 men dressed as Mohawk Indians boarded the ships and threw anout 90,000 pounds of tea into the sea.
The Boston Tea Party
The Intolerable Acts
In 1774, new laws were made called the Intolerable Acts. They were designed to punish Massachusetts for the Boston Tea Party. The first law closed Boston Harbor to all shipping until the tea was paid for. The second law placed the government of Massachusetts firmly under British control. The third law said that British soldiers who were accused of murder would be tried in England, not in colonies. Merchants sent food ad money to Boston so that its citizens wouldn't starve. In September of 1774, about 50 leaders from 12 colonies met in Philadelphia. The delegates agreed to send a respectful message to King George. It urged the King to consider their complaints and recognize their rights. The delegates also called for a new boycott of British goods until Parliament repealed the Intolerable Acts.
Lexington and Concord
In April of 1775, a spy told General Gage that the colonists were hiding a large supply of gunpowder and weapons in the nearby village of Concord. The General ordered 700 of his best troops to march to Concord and "seize the weapons". Gage had his troops march 20 miles to Concord at night. The colonists had spies as well. When Gage's troops slipped out of Boston on April 18, 1775, Patriots were watching them. Soon, Paul Revere and William Dawes were galloping through the countryside warning colonists that the British were coming. By breakfast time, the British were in Concord, looking for gunpowder and weapons, but the colonists moved it. The soldiers piled up wooden tools, tents, and gun carriages and set them on fire.
The War Begins
John Adams proposed that that Congress create a "continental army" made up of troops from all the colonies. On June 16, Israel Putnam led a few hundred men up Breed's Hill. After 4 hours of digging, they built a fort on top of the hill. General Howe ordered an immediate attack. About 2,000 redcoats formed 2 long lines at the bottom of the hill. At Howe's order, they marched up the hill. And as they got closer, Putnam ordered his men not to shoot until they could see the whites of their eyes. Then they started shooting, and the redcoats fell back in confusion. On their third attack, the redcoats finally took the hill, because the Americans used up all of their gunpowder. More than 1,000 British troops were killed or wounded, and nearly 500 Americans.
The Siege of Boston
A month after the Battle of Binnker Hill, Washington learns he only has 36 barrels of gunpowder, but started a rumor that he had 1,800 barrels of gunpowder. So Washington sent letters to the colonies asking for gunpowder, and eventually got it. As winter set in, Henry Knox loaded 59 cannons onto huge sleds, and dragged them 300 miles. The 42 sleds Knox had also carried 2,300 pounds of lead for future bullets. On MArch 4, 1776, the British soldiers in boston awoke to the ridges of nerby Dorchester Heights, now covered with cannons. So General Howe abandoned the city, and within days, more than 100 ships left Boston for Canada.
2 years have passed since Lexington and Concord and there was little talk of Independence. The colonies were in war, not with Britain itself, but the ;laws that were forced among them. Many Americans pinned their hopes for peace on King George. In July, 1775, Congress sent a petition to George III, saying they want him to stop fighting, and less taxes. King George got the letter and said the traitors need to be put to justice. Many colonists didn't want independence. In 1776, Thomas Paine published a pamphlet called "common sense" that changed everyone's mind. It made the majority of the colonists want to be an independent country.
Thomas Jefferson Drafts a Deceleration
The Continental Congress sent a committee to write a Declaration of Independence/ They chose the committees youngest member to be in charge of writing the draft. Thomas Jefferson had to explain why the should be their own country.
The Final Break
July 1, 1776, the second Continental Congress was held to decide if they were going to declare independence or not. At the end of the day, it was still undecided. The next day they declared independence for America. John Adams wrote to his wife, "the second of July will be remembered and celebrated all over America, but Congress decided to revise Jefferson's draft, and so they signed it on July 4.
The American Revolution
The Revolutionary War began in 1775, and a young man named Joseph Martin wanted to join the Continental army, but he was only 15 years old, and too young to join. A year later, when the recruiters returned to Joseph's village in Connecticut, he was old enough and ready to join. The British were rumored to have 15,000 troops in New York, so the recruiters were looking for volunteers to go. A week after the Declaration of Independence was signed, Joseph arrived in New York City. The army in New York was "ill trained, ill equipped, and just plain ill". The British army was more prepared for battle, they were well trained, well equipped, and Supported by the Royal Navy. 400 British ships were docked in New York Harbor.
American Strengths and Weaknesses
the colonies were always short o men
the army was short on supplies such as, food, clothes, gunpowder etc
few Americans were trained for battle
French helped the Americans
George Washington was a great leader
British Strengths and Weaknesses
they outnumbered the colonists
they were well trained and experienced
Britain was far from America, which meant more traveling
Lord George Germain had never bee to America, so he didn't know the quickest routes
Britain Almost Wins the War
Germain came up with to take New York, then move up to Massachusetts. To block the attack Washington moved his army to New York. When Washington got to New York, he heard that Congress had finally declared the colonies to be free and independent. Washington was so thrilled he read the whole thing to his men. The Declaration of Independence raised new hopes for the African Americans. This meant that there was no more slavery to the African Americans. So the British promised to free all of the slaves who took up arms for the king.
A Pep Talk to Victory
By the end of 1776, the British also thought the war was going to be won. Late on December 25, 1776, Washington's army crossed the Delaware river in small boats. When the Americans reached Trenton, they found the Hessians sleeping. Caught by surprise, the Hessians surrendered. Washington took 868 prisoners. A week later, the Americans captured another 300 British troops in Princeton.
The Tide begins to Turn
They decide that to win the war, they would do it in 1 big battle. The new British strategy was to cut off New England, and cutting off supplies. To carry out the plan, General John Burgoyne left Canada with about 8,000 British soldiers and Indian warriors. The route from Canada to Albany took his army more than 20 miles of wilderness. Burgoyne didn't travel light either. His army had more than 600 wagons, 30 of them filled with his personal baggage. Instead of marchinf to Albany though, Howe went Philadelphia.
The War Goes South
Britain had a new plan. They would go to the Southern states because they thought there were Loyalists waiting to join the British cause. Britain also had a new General, General Cornwallis. With Cornwallis traped he still hung on to the hope ad thought that the British would come to his rescue. After no one came, he agreed to give up. The French and Americans formed 2 large lines as they watched the British army leave Yorktown. The war was over and the Americans won.