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American Revolutionary War

  • The Sugar Act

    The Sugar Act
    The Sugar Act was the first of many new laws passed by the British Parliament in an attempt to increase revenues from the colonies. It expanded the goods to be taxed to include not just sugar and molasses, but also coffee and wine. It also regulated what the colonies could export and to whom they could export. This was all an attempt by England to keep the money and goods from the colonies going to England, instead of the French.
  • The Stamp Act

    The Stamp Act
    The Stamp Act was another attempt by England to raise money. After the Seven Years War, they were saddled with a tremendous debt, and the Stamp Act, a tax on paper, was a way to repay some of that debt. The colonists, though, felt that although they may have benefitted from England's victory in the war, they were being taxed without their consent, thus the phrase "no taxation without representation." Colonists protested so much, that most of the tax collectors were scared into quitting.
  • The Quartering Act

    The Quartering Act
    During and after the Seven Years War, British soldiers were housed in American barracks, but there were more soldiers than room in the barracks, so Parliament passed the Quartering Act, which required colonists to house British troops for free. Needless to say, it was quite unpopular in the colonies.
  • Stamp Act Congress

    Stamp Act Congress
    Delegates from 9 of the 13 colonies met in New York to discuss their problems with the Stamp Act, and produced the Declaration of Rights and Grievances in which they told England that it had no right to tax the colonies without giving the colonists voting rights, and it had no right to punish those who defied the Stamp Act without a trial by jury.
  • The Declaratory Act

    The Declaratory Act
    In response to the "no taxation without representation" protests of the colonists over the Stamp Act and the Stamp Act Congress, Parliament passed this law, which said that Parliament could pass any law regarding the colonies "in all cases whatsoever".
  • Townshend Acts

    Townshend Acts
    The Townshend Acts were a series of laws meant to raise revenue from the colonies, and meant to re-assert the right of Parliament to tax and pass laws concerning the colonies, contrary to the Declaration of Rights and Grievances passed by the colonies at the Stamp Act Congress. This may seem like a slow response from Parliament, since the Congress was held 9 months previous, but news traveled pretty slowly back then.
  • Boston Massacre

    Boston Massacre
    British troops were sent to Boston to help enforce the Townshend Acts, but were met by protestors. The protest turned violent when snowballs and stones were thrown at the soldiers. The soldiers fired on the crowd and civilians were killed. The actions of the soldiers may have been justified, but Paul Revere published an engraving of the event that showed British soldiers massacring innocent civilians, and it turned many colonists against the British.
  • Tea Act

    Tea Act
    This law let the British East India company sell tea directly to the colonists, instead of to merchants. It actually lowered the price of tea, but because The Tea Act, although not a tax, undercut local merchants, many ports in the colonies would not allow the tea ships to unload their cargo, so the ships just sat in the harbors.
  • Boston Tea Party

    Boston Tea Party
    When most ports refused to let cargo ships unload their tea, the ships would turn around and leave. But in Boston, the Governor refused to return the tea and wanted to try to force the colonists to accept it. Rather than accept his authority and the tea, protestors stormed the ships and destroyed it.
  • The "Intolerable" Acts

    The "Intolerable" Acts
    This series of laws was passed by England in response to the Boston Tea Party, and you can probably tell by the name the colonists gave them that they were pretty unpopular. The included the closure of Boston harbor, strengthening of the Quartering Act, more British control over local government, and a law that let British government agents escape trial in the colonies.
  • First Continental Congress

    First Continental Congress
    In response to the Intolerable Acts, 12 of the 13 colonies sent representatives to the First Continental Congress. There, they eventually decided that they would stand together and boycott all British imports until the Intolerable Acts were repealed. They also decided that if the Acts were not repealed, they would have to have a second congress to decide what to do.
  • Lexington and Concord, "The Shot Heard Round the World"

    Lexington and Concord, "The Shot Heard Round the World"
    With the British fearing an armed uprising in Boston, they decided to take weapons and ammunition out of the city, but thanks to a warning from Paul Revere, the local militia (the Minutemen) was ready for the British. During a standoff between the militia and the British in Lexington someone, no one knows who, fired a shot, and the Revolutionary War had begun.
  • Second Continental Congress

    Second Continental Congress
    With the need to organize the war, the colonies once again sent representatives to a Continental Congress. There they officially grouped the militias into the Continental Army and appointed George Washington as its general. It also started issuing currency based on money borrowed from European countries, and issued the Olive Branch Petition to England as an attempt to reconcile and avert an all-out war.
  • Battle of Bunker Hill

    Battle of Bunker Hill
    One of the earliest battles of the war, and one of the most famous, the Battle of Bunker Hill was actually a loss for the Americans. They were out-numbered and ill supplied, and in an effort to conserve their ammunition and make every shot count, they were ordered (it is not known by whom) "don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes."
  • Common Sense is Published

    Common Sense is Published
    Although today many people think of the Revolutionary War as simply America vs. England, it wasn't quite that simple. Many colonists were on the fence about whether they should support a rebellion against the crown. But Thomas Paine convinced a lot of them when he wrote Common Sense. It was just a pamphlet that outlined the reasons to be independence from Britain, but it was written in plain English, unlike many other works at the time, and became the best-selling publication in the colonies.
  • Declaration of Independence

    Declaration of Independence
    On this day, Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, officially breaking off from England and forming their own nation. Written by Thomas Jefferson, it elegantly outlined the case for independence. Copies were made and read throughout the colonies and sent to England. We still celebrate this day every year on July 4 as our Independence Day.
  • Washington Crosses the Delaware

    Washington Crosses the Delaware
    In a surprise attack, George Washington and his troops cross the freezing Delaware River to surprise the Hessian troops (Germans hired to fight for the British) at Trenton, New Jersey.
  • The American Flag

    The American Flag
    On this date, the congress officially adopts the stars and stripes as America's Flag: "the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation."
  • Valley Forge

    Valley Forge
    Washington and his army make camp at Valley Forge in Pennsylvania. It was to be a hard winter. Of his 12000 men, some 2000 would die of disease, and those that survived were extremely ill equipped to fight. They would stay for six months, until word came that the British were marching on New York. Washington and his troops left in June, 1778 to meet the British.
  • French Alliance

    French Alliance
    The French, no friend of the British, finally allied with the United States, agreeing to offer support to the US and to not make peace with the British until they recognized the independence of the United States. Pictured here is Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette, Washington's Aide de Camp.
  • Articles of Confederation

    Articles of Confederation
    The Articles of Confederation, America's first constitution, were adopted. Although it got the fledgling nation through the Revolutionary War, it would prove to have too many problems to survive. It was too weak, did not give the federal government the power to levy taxes, and was eventually succeeded by the Constitution of the United States of America.
  • Treaty of Paris

    Treaty of Paris
    This treaty officially ended the Revolutionary War. Under the treaty, England recognized the 13 colonies as sovereign states, and ceded control of much of their North American empire to the new nation.