The American Revolution

U.S. History to 1877

Reorganizing Empire

  Tightening mercantilism

          Molasses Act, 1733

                  6p tax on French molasses, for trade regulation

          Lord Grenville’s Sugar Act, 1764

                  3p tax on French molasses, for revenue

                  Tried in Admiralty Courts in Nova Scotia

  Stamp Act, 1765

          Admiralty Courts to try offenders

          Outrage & riots

          Sons of Liberty groups

Conflict in the Empire

  Stamp Act Congress

          Declaration of Rights and Grievances

  Constitutional arguments

          Taxation without representation

          “Virtual” representation

  Parliament: Repeal & Declaratory Act

          Power to “bind the colonies in all cases whatsoever”

          Troops quietly moved from frontier to cities

Rising tension

  Townshend Acts, 1767, & the Quartering Act

           “External tax” on paper, paint, lead, glass, and tea

           Revenue used to pay salaries of governors, judges

           Enforcement: admiralty courts;  customs commissioners

  Boston Massacre, 1770

  Lord North’s tea tax

           Tea Act, 1773

           Boston Tea Party

Intolerable Acts

  Coercive Acts, 1774

          Close Boston port until the tea is paid for

          All Massachusetts officials appointed; town meetings limited

          British officials could be tried only in Britain

          Governors could quarter soldiers without assembly’s approval

  Quebec Act, 1774

  General Gage made governor of Massachusetts

  First Continental Congress

          Committees of correspondence


          Declaration of Rights, 1774

Years of Crisis: 1775

  New England Restraining Act

  General Gage

          Lexington & Concord

Years of Crisis: 1775

  “Declaration of the Causes of Taking Up Arms”

  Bunker Hill

Years of Crisis: 1776

  Olive Branch Petition

  George III declares colonies in rebellion

  Tom Paine’s Common Sense


  July 4: Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence

  IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

  When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

  We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

The Revolution begins

  Dilemma: Continental Army

          “Virtuous” militias better in theory than in battle

          Standing army of hired troops

The Revolution, 1776-1779

  Long Island defeat, 1776

          Tom Paine, The Crisis

                  “These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

          Trenton and Princeton

  Howe & Burgoyne attack 1777

          Turning point: Saratoga, 1777

  Valley Forge, 1777-78

The Revolution, 1780-1781

  Southern strategy

          Lord Cornwallis


Treaty of Paris