America Secedes from the Empire
Congress Drafts George Washington
The Second Continental Congress selected George Washington to head the army besieging Boston.
Bunker Hill and Hessian Hirelings
From April 1775 to July 1776, the colonists were both affirming their loyalty to the king by sincerely voicing their desire to patch up difficulties while at the same time raising armies and killing redcoats.
In May 1775, a tiny American force under Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold captured the British garrisons at Ticonderoga and Crown Point. There, a store of gunpowder and artillery was secured.
In June 1775, the colonists captured Bunker Hill. The British took it back with a large number of soldiers.
In July 1775, the Second Continental Congress adopted the "Olive Branch Petition", which professed American loyalty to the king and begged to the king to stop further hostilities. The petition was rejected by the king. With the rejection, the Americans were forced to choose to fight to become independent or to submit to British rule and power.
In August 1775, King George III proclaimed that the colonies were in rebellion. He then hired German Hessians to bring order to the colonies.
The Abortive Conquest of Canada
In October 1775, the British burned Falmouth (Portland), Maine. In the same month, colonists made an attack on Canada in hopes that it would close it off as a possible source for a British striking point. The attack failed when General Richard Montgomery was killed.
In January 1776, the British set fire to Norfolk.
Thomas Paine Preaches Common Sense
The Americans continued to deny any intention of independence because loyalty to the empire was deeply ingrained; many Americans continued to consider themselves apart of a transatlantic community in which the mother country of Britain played a leading role; colonial unity was poor; and open rebellion was dangerous.
Thomas Paine released a pamphlet called Common Sense in 1776. It argued that the colonies had outgrown any need for English domination and that they should be given independence.
Paine and the Idea of "Republicanism"
Thomas Paine called for the creation of a new kind of political society, specifically a republic, where power flowed from the people themselves.
Jefferson's Explanation of Independence
On July 2, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia's resolution of declaring independence was passed. It was the formal declaration of independence by the American colonies.
Thomas Jefferson was appointed to draft up the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence was formally approved by Congress on July 4, 1776. It was an explanation of everything the king had done to the Americans.
Patriots and Loyalists
During the War of Independence, the Loyalists were called "Tories" and the Patriots were called "Whigs."
Tory: "a thing whose head is in England, and its body in America, and its neck ought to be stretched."
The Loyalists made up 16% of the American population. Many people of education and wealth remained loyal to England. Loyalists were most numerous where the Anglican church was strongest. The Loyalists were well entrenched in New York City, Charleston, Quaker Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. They were least numerous in New England.
The Patriots were numerous where Presbyterianism and Congregationalism flourished-mostly in New England.
The Loyalist Exodus
Before the Declaration of Independence, the Loyalists were treated relatively mild. After, though, they were hanged, imprisoned, and roughly handled.
They Loyalists were forced to leave because the Patriots had to eliminate their weaknesses.
General Washington at Bay
The British concentrated New York City as a base of operation due to the fact that Boston was evacuated in March 1776.
In 1776, General Washington and his men were overpowered by the British at the Battle of Long Island. Washington and his men escaped to Manhattan Island.
General William Howe was General Washington's adversary.
On December 26, 1776, Washington surprised and captured 1,000 Hessians who were sleeping.
Burgoyne's Blundering Invasion
London officials had an intricate scheme for capturing the vital Hudson River valley in 1777. It would sever New England from the rest of the states and paralyze the American cause. The main invading force, lead by General Burgoyne, would push down the Lake Champlain route from Canada. General Howe's troops in New York, if needed, could advance up the Hudson River to meet Burgoyne near Albany. The 3rd force was commanded by colonel Barry St. Leger, who would come in from the west by way of Lake Ontario and the Mohawk Valley.
General Burgoyne was forced to surrender his entire command at Saratoga on October 17, 1777 to American general Horatio Gates (Burgoyne's Blunder). This win made it possible for the urgently needed foreign aid from France. (Turning point in war.)
Strange French Bedfellows
After the shooting at Lexington in April 1775, French secretly provided arms to the Americans.
The British offered the Americans home rule after the Battle of Saratoga. The French didn't want Britain to regain its colonies for fear that Britain would seize the sugar rich French West Indies. In order to stop this, the French made an open alliance with the Americans in 1778, offering all the British did with the exception of independence.
The Colonial War Becomes a World War
Spain and Holland became allies against Britain in 1779.
The British decided to evacuate Philadelphia and concentrate their strength in New York City.
Blow and Counterblow
General Benedict Arnold turned traitor against the Americans in 1780.
General Nathaniel Greene succeeded in clearing most British troops out of Georgia and South Carolina.
The Land Frontier and the Sea Frontier
The Treaty of Fort Stanwix- (1784) the first treaty between the United States and an Indian nation; signed with the Iroquois.
George Rogers Clark- conceived the idea of capturing the British of the wild Illinois country in 1778-1779.
John Paul Jones is known as the father of the navy. He employed the tactic of privateering.
Privateering- when privately owned and crewed vessels were authorized by a government during a wartime to attack and capture enemy vessels, men, cargo, etc; it diverted manpower from the main war effort; it brought in needed gold, harassed the enemy, and raised American morale by providing victories in a time when victories were few.
Yorktown and the Final Curtain
From 1780-1781, the U.S. government fell nearly bankrupt.
British General Cornwallis fell back to Chesapeake Bay at Yorktown to await seaborne supplies and reinforcements. This time in war was one of the few times when British naval superiority had been lacking. Admiral de Grasse offered to join the Americans in an assault of Cornwallis via the sea. George Washington, along with Rochambeau's army, and Admiral de Grasse cornered Cornwallis. He was forced to surrender on October 19, 1781.
Peace at Paris
In 1782, a Whig ministry replaced the Tory regime of Lord North.
Conditions of the Treaty of Paris of 1783:
British formally recognized the independence of the United States.
Florida is given to Spain.
Britain granted generous boundaries, stretching to the Mississippi on the west, to the Great Lakes on the north, and to Spanish Florida on the south.
Yankees were to retain a share in the priceless fisheries of Newfoundland.
The Loyalists were to no longer be prosecuted.
Congress was to recommend to the state legislatures that confiscated Loyalist property be restored. The states vowed to put no lawful obstacles in the way of Loyalist property collection.
Ben Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay negotiated the peace terms with Britain.