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The Revolutionary Peirod

  • Period: to

    The Build-Up to Revolution

  • The French and Indian War

    The French and Indian War
    In early 1754, Virginia militia leader George Washingotn led a force to an area just outside what is now Pittsburgh in an attempt to drive the French out. The battle between the two small forces would eventually lead to a world-wide conflict between the two great colonial powers. By 1760, the English had done enough to force the French to the peace table. By 1763, the English had picked up all of the land between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. (Image courtesy of Flickr)
  • Royal Proclamation of 1763

    Royal Proclamation of 1763
    In an effort to prevent fighting between the colonists who believed they had fought and died in the French and Indian War for the right to settle on the Appalachian Mountains and the Amerindians that England wanted to have a positive relationship with, King George III issued the Proclamation of 1763, which prevented colonial settlement on the western side of the Appalachian Mountains. (Image courtesy of Flickr)
  • The Sugar Act

    Parliament placed a tax on all foreign refined sugar and prevented the importation of rum. While this impacted only a small group of merchants, they became very vocal as this was one of the first times in which Parliament taxed the colonists without their input.
  • The Stamp Act

    The Stamp Act
    To take effect in November, 1765, the direct tax impacted all colonists as it placed a tax on every newspaper, pamphlet, and all other legal and public documents. The colonists were angry that they now had to pay for something they had been doing for free up to this point. (Image courtesy of Flickr)
  • The Stamp Act Congress

    9 of the 13 colonies send delegates to New York to discuss the recent Stamp Act and other matters. They believed that only the colonial assemblies could tax the colonists and the Parliament and King George III and sent a message to England that eventually led to the repeal of the Stamp Act. In response, however, Parliament did pass the Declaratory Act, which said that Parliament had the right to pass laws for the colonies "in all cases whatsoever."
  • The Townshend Acts

    Named for the English treasurer, Charles Townshend, these acts put a tax on tea, glass, lead, paint, and paper. Colonists (often led by the Sons of Liberty) protested these taxes, sometimes violently. Parliament eventually repealed all of these taxes, except for the one tea, but decided to send more troops to the colonies to deal with the violence.
  • The Boston Massacre

    The Boston Massacre
    An angry mob protested outside the Custom House in Boston, where the taxes on imports were collected. This is where events get hazy. British soldiers claimed that they were pelted with snowballs and rocks. Regardless, British soldiers fired into the mob, killing 5, including a free black named Crispus Attacks. The event was immortalized by Paul Revere, a member of the Sons of Liberty, and called the "Boston Massacre" by Sam Adams. (Image courtesy of Flickr)
  • The Boston Tea Party

    The Boston Tea Party
    Outraged by yet another tax on tea (this one that only tea imported by the British East India Company could be sold), members of the Sons of Liberty "disguised" themselves as Mohawk Indians. They boarded three ships and dumped 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor. This was the first of many displays throughout the colonies and prompted a harsh reposnse from King George III and Parliament. (Photo courtesy of Flickr)
  • The Intolerable Acts

    Called the Coercive Acts in England, these were meant as a display of force from Parliament and King George III in the face of the Boston Tea Party. Massachusetts was used as an example to all of the other colonies, in a sense saying "This could happen to you." Of the 5 acts that eventually got lumped together into this, the Massachusetts Government Act (which essentially ended town meetings) and the Boston Port Act (which closed the port of Boston until the tea was paid for) were the worst.
  • The First Continental Congress

    This group of delegates from 12 of the 13 colonies met in Philadelphia to discuss what the colonial response should be the Intolerable Acts. Their goal was to make sure that King George III and Parliament understood that the colonies had issues with the passage of the Intolerable Acts and that they would meet again the next year if these matters were not addressed.
  • Patrick Henry tries to persuade Virginia

    Patrick Henry tries to persuade Virginia
    Colonial Williamsburg - Patrick Henry
    You may have to scroll down toward the bottom of the page to hear the speech.
  • The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere

    The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere
    The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Image courtesy of Flickr)
    Paul Revere, William Dawes, Samuel Prescott, and others spread the word the British Regulars were moving from Boston to Lexington and Concord looking for John Hancock and Samuel Adams as well as weapons and ammunition that the colonists had collected to be ready to fight the British.
  • Period: to

    The Revolution Rages

  • Battles at Lexington and Concord

    Battles at Lexington and Concord
    The long British march took them first to Lexington Green, where the local militia turned out to meet them, but fled relatively quickly after a shot from an unknown source was fired. As the British proceded to Concord, militia companies from the surrounding countryside joined the defenses. At the Old North Bridge, the British were turned back to Boston with colonists firing from behind many obstacles along the way. (Photo courtesy of Flickr)
  • Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys Capture Ft. Ticonderoga

  • The Second Continental Congress Meets

    The Second Continental Congress Meets
    The Second Continental Congress began to meet in Philadelphia. This group would eventually draw up and approve the Declaration of Independence and run the colonial war effort. (Photo courtesy of Flickr)
  • The Battle of Bunker Hill

    The colonists withstood two charges by the British up the hill, but failed to repel the third because they ran out of ammunition. The battle actually took place on Breed's Hill as the colonial militia moved on to the wrong hill at night to dig in for the battle.
  • Thomas Paine publishes Common Sense

    Thomas Paine published the pamphlet Common Sense in an effort to convince the American people, and perhaps more importantly the Second Continental Congress, to declare independence from England.
    Section 3 of Common Sense
  • British Evacuate Boston

    After moving the captured cannons from Ft. Ticonderoga to the Dorchester Heights, the British were forced to evacuate the city for Nova Scotia before Washington could use the power of the cannons on the British fleet.
  • The Declaration of Independence is approved

    The Second Continental Congress approves the Declaration of Independence
    Schoolhouse Rock - Fireworks
  • Battle of New York

    Sometime during the summer of 1776, the British sailed from Nova Scotia for New York Harbor. After a series of battles over the course of the next two weeks, the British chased the colonials out of the city and through the fields of New Jersey and controlled New York City until the end of the war.
  • Thomas Paine publishes The Crisis

    Thomas Paine published The Crisis as further inspiration for the American people to continue the fight for the cause of independence. The Crisis
  • Battle of Trenton

    Battle of Trenton
    On December 26, 1776, Washington led the colonial troops on a daring crossing of an ice-clogged Delaware River to surprise a group of Hessian troops as they slept off their Christmas partying at Trenton, NJ. This was followed a week later with a colonial victory at Princeton, NJ (1/3/1777). (Photo courtesy of Flickr)
  • Flag Adopted by 2nd Continental Congress

    Flag Adopted by 2nd Continental Congress
    On this day, the flag with 13 stripes and 13 stars was adopted by Congress. This day would be later celebrated as Flag Day. (Photo courtesy of Flickr)
  • Battle at Brandywine Creek

    The British won the Battle at Brandywine Creek and two weeks later occupied Philadelphia.
  • Battle of Saratoga

    A two-week series of battles in and around the up-state New York town of Saratoga led to British General Johnny Burgoyne surrendering to colonial forces. This battle is often referenced as a turning point in the war. An alliance between the Americans and the French was announced soon after this.
  • American Troops Winter at Valley Forge

    After a relatively successful 1777, George Washington moved 11,000 American troops into their winter quarters at Valley Forge, PA. This was one of the most difficult winters of the war, 2,500 of them died due to hunger, poor clothing, or disease. However, the work of Baron von Steuben in drilling the soldiers and creating a new manual for training the soldiers gave them a renewed confidence that they could defeat the British when they broke camp in June, 1778.
  • A New Ally

    A New Ally
    An alliance between the French and the Americans is signed. This will give the United States an important ally, as the French have a navy, weapons, and ammunition that will be of use to the American army. (Photo courtesy Flickr)
  • Battle of Monmouth Court House Ends in a Draw

    At the battle, Molly Hays McCauley eanred the nickname "Molly Pitcher" as she joined her husband on the battlefield during the shooting. As she was bringing water to her husband's fellow soldiers, she saw him shot in the arm and dropped her water and fired the cannon.
  • Spain declares war on England

  • John Paul Jones captures British ship

    Captain John Paul Jones, often called the "Father of the American Navy," defeated the British warship The Serapis in one of the more memorable naval battles of the Revolution. It was believed during the battle that Jones had been killed, but when the British is the Americans wished to surrender, he uttered the line "I have not yet begun to fight."
  • Winter as Morristown, NJ

    While the winter at Valley Forge is more often remembered, the winter of 1779 - 1780 was a far more difficult expereience for Washington and his troops. In the midst of arguably the worst winter of the 1800s, a mutiny among some of the troops had to be put down. Washington eventually breaks camp on June 23, 1780.
  • British defeat Americans at Camden, SC

  • Benedict Arnold's Traitorous Plans Discovered

    After not being promoted by the Continental Congress, Benedict Arnold made the decision to turn over the American military base at West Point, NY (later to become the site of the United States Military Academy), which at the time was an important strategic site along the Hudson River. His plans were discovered and Arnold narrowly escaped capture by American troops on a British man-o-war and made it to England where he later died.
  • Battle of King's Mountain

    American troops defeat a British force that includes 1/3 of General Cornwallis' army in a 65-minute battle.
  • Mutiny

    Pennsylvania soldiers mutiny over lack of pay
  • Battle of Cowpens

    American troops win a battle against British dragoons in South Carolina
  • Battle of Guilford Courthouse

    British win a pyrrhic victory, meaning that while they won the battle they lost a number of soldiers. This means that they lost a number of key soldiers and if they won more battles like this, they would run out.
  • Arrival of the French Fleet

    The French fleet defeated the British navy in the Chesapeake Bay and prevented them from supporting General Cornwallis at Yorktown, VA
  • Victory (or Surrender)

    Lord Cornwallis realized that he could not escape from the Virginia peninsula town of Yorktown. The French fleet had blocked his escape by sea and Lafayette and Washington blocked his land escape.

    England agrees to the Treaty of Paris (1783) in which they recognize the independence of the United States and gave the new United States all of the land between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River.