American revolution hero

American Revolution

  • French and Indian War

    As the French empire in North America expanded, it collided with the growing British empire. During the late 17th and first half of the 18th centuries, France and Great Britain had fought three inconclusive wars. Each war had begun in Europe but spread to their overseas colonies. In 1754, after six relatively peaceful years, the French–British conflict reignited.
  • Writ of Assistance

    Writ of Assistance
    In 1761, the royal governor of Massachusetts authorized the use of the writs of assistance, a general search warrant that allowed
    British customs officials to search any colonial ship or building they believed to be holding smuggled goods. Because many merchants worked out of their residences, the writs enabled British officials to enter and search colonial homes whether there was evidence of smuggling or not. The merchants of Boston were outraged.
  • Treaty of Paris 1763

    Treaty of Paris 1763
    The war officially ended in 1763 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. Great Britain claimed Canada and virtually all of North America east of the Mississippi River. Britain also took Florida from Spain, which had allied itself with France. The treaty permitted Spain to keep possession of its lands west of the Mississippi and the city of New Orleans, which it had gained from France in 1762. France retained control of only a few islands and small colonies near Newfoundland, in the West Indies.
  • Proclamation of 1763

    Proclamation of 1763
    Proclamation of 1763 established a Proclamation Line along the
    Appalachians, which the colonists were not allowed to cross. However, the colonists, eager to expand westward from the increasingly crowded Atlantic seaboard, ignored the proclamation and continued to stream onto Native American lands.
  • Sugar Act and Colonists Response

    Sugar Act and Colonists Response
    The Sugar Act did three things. It halved the duty on
    foreign-made molasses in the hopes that colonists would pay
    a lower tax rather than risk arrest by smuggling. It placed
    duties on certain imports that had not been taxed before.
    Most important, it provided that colonists accused of violating the act would be tried in a vice-admiralty court rather than a colonial court. There, each case would be decided by a single judge rather than by a jury of sympathetic colonists.
  • Colonists Response

    Colonists Response
    Colonial merchants complained that the Sugar Act would reduce their profits. Merchants and traders further claimed that Parliament had no right to tax the colonists because the colonists had not elected representatives to the body. The new regulations, however, had little effect on colonists besides merchants and traders.
  • Stamp Act

    Stamp Act
    This act imposed a tax on documents and printed items such as wills, newspapers, and playing cards. A stamp would be placed on the items to prove that the tax had been paid. It was the first tax that affected colonists directly because it was levied on goods and services. Previous taxes had been indirect, involving duties on imports.
  • Colonists Response to Stamp Act

    Colonists Response to Stamp Act
    In May of 1765, the colonists united to defy the law. Boston shopkeepers, artisans, and laborers organized a secret resistance group called the Sons of Liberty to protest the law. Meanwhile, the colonial assemblies declared that Parliament lacked the power to impose taxes on the colonies because the colonists were not represented in Parliament. In October 1765, merchants in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia agreed to a boycott of British goods until the Stamp Act was repealed.
  • Declaratory Act

    Declaratory Act
    But on the same day that it repealed the Stamp Act, Parliament passed the Declaratory Act, which asserted Parliament’s full right “to bind the colonies and people of America in all cases whatsoever.”
  • Sons of Liberty and Samuel Adams

    Sons of Liberty and Samuel Adams
    Then, in 1767, Parliament passed the Townshend Acts, named after Charles Townshend, the leading government minister. The Townshend Acts taxed goods that were imported into the colony from
    Britain, such as lead, glass, paint, and paper. The Acts also imposed a tax on tea, the most popular drink in the colonies. Led by men such as Samuel Adams, one of the founders of the Sons of Liberty, the colonists again boycotted British goods.
  • Townshend Acts

    Townshend Acts
    Then, in 1767, Parliament passed the Townshend Acts, named after Charles Townshend, the leading government minister. The Townshend Acts taxed goods that were imported into the colony from
    Britain, such as lead, glass, paint, and paper. The Acts also imposed a tax on tea, the most popular drink in the colonies. Realized that the Townshend Acts were costing more to enforce than they would ever bring in.
  • Boston Massacre

    Boston Massacre
    On March 5, 1770, a mob gathered in front
    of the Boston Customs House and taunted the British soldiers standing guard there. Shots were fired and five colonists, including Crispus Attucks, were killed or mortally wounded. Colonial leaders quickly labeled the confrontation the Boston Massacre.
  • Tea Act

    Tea Act
    In 1773, Lord North devised the Tea Act in order to save the nearly bankrupt British East India Company. The act granted the company the right to sell tea to the colonies free of the taxes that colonial tea sellers had to pay. This action would have cut colonial merchants out of the tea trade by enabling the East India Company to sell its tea directly to consumers for less. North hoped the American colonists would simply buy the cheaper tea; instead, they protested dramatically
  • Boston Tea Party

    Boston Tea Party
    On the moonlit evening of December 16, 1773, a large group of Boston rebels disguised themselves as Native Americans and proceeded to take action against three British tea ships anchored in the harbor. In this incident, later known as the Boston Tea Party, the “Indians” dumped 18,000 pounds of the East India Company’s tea into the waters of Boston harbor.
  • Minutemen

    Minutemen
    After the First Continental Congress met, colonists in many eastern New England towns stepped up military preparations. Minutemen—civilian soldiers who pledged to be ready to fight against the British on a minute’s notice—quietly stockpiled firearms and gunpowder. General Thomas Gage soon learned about these activities. In the spring of 1775, he ordered troops to march from Boston to
    nearby Concord, Massachusetts, and to seize illegal weapons.
  • First Continental Congress Meets

    First Continental Congress Meets
    In response to Britain’s actions, the committees of correspondence assembled the First Continental Congress. In September 1774, 56 delegates met in Philadelphia and drew up a declaration of colonial rights. They defended the colonies’ right to run their own affairs and stated that, if the British used force against the colonies, the colonies should fight back.
  • Intolerable Acts

    Intolerable Acts
    In 1774, Parliament responded by passing a series of measures that colonists called the Intolerable Acts. One law shut down Boston harbor. Another, the Quartering Act, authorized British commanders to house soldiers in vacant private homes and other buildings. In addition to these measures, General Thomas Gage, commander-in-chief of British forces in North America, was appointed the new governor of Massachusetts. To keep the peace, he placed Boston under martial law.
  • Second Continental Congress

    Second Continental Congress
    In May of 1775, colonial leaders
    called the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia to debate their next move. The loyalties that divided colonists sparked endless debates at the Second Continental Congress. Some delegates called for independence, while others argued for reconciliation with Great Britain. Despite such differences, the Congress agreed to recognize the colonial militia as the Continental Army and appointed
    George Washington as its commander.
  • John Locke's Social Contract

    John Locke's Social Contract
    One of the key Enlightenment thinkers was English philosopher John Locke. Locke maintained that people have natural
    rights to life, liberty, and property Furthermore, he contended, every society is based on a social contract, agreement which the people consent to choose and obey a government so long it safeguards their natural rights. If the government violates that social contract by taking away or interfering with those rights, people have the right to resist and even overthrow the government
  • Continental Army

    Continental Army
    the Congress agreed to recognize the colonial militia as the Continental Army and appointed George Washington as its commander.
  • Midnight Riders: Revere, Dawes, Prescott

    Midnight Riders: Revere, Dawes, Prescott
    Colonists in Boston were watching,
    and on the night of April 18, 1775, Paul Revere, William Dawes, and Samuel Prescott rode out to spread word that 700 British troops were headed for Concord. The darkened countryside rang with church bells and gunshots—prearranged signals, sent from town to town, that the British were coming.
  • Battle of Concord

    Battle of Concord
    The arsenal in concord was gone, the British soldiers lined up to march back to Boston, but the march quickly became a slaughter. Between 3,000 and 4,000 minutemen had assembled by now, and they fired on the marching troops from behind stone walls and trees British soldiers fell by the dozen. Bloodied and humiliated, the remaining British soldiers made their way back to Boston that night. Colonists had become enemies of Britain and now held Boston and its encampment of British troops under siege
  • Battle of Lexington

    Battle of Lexington
    As the btroops neared the town, they saw 70 minutemen up in lines on the village green. The British ordered the minutemen to lay down their arms and leave, and the colonists began to move out without laying down. Then someone fired, and the British soldiers sent a volley of shots into the departing militia. Eight minutemen were killed and ten more were wounded, but only one British soldier was injured. The Battle of Lexington, the first battle of the Revolutionary War, lasted only 15 minutes.
  • Battle of Bunker Hill

    Battle of Bunker Hill
    Cooped up in Boston, British general Thomas Gage decided to strike at militiamen on Breed’s Hill, near Bunker Hill. Gage sent 2,400 British soldiers up the hill. The colonists held their fire until the last minute and then began to mow down the advancing redcoats before finally retreating. By the time the smoke cleared, the colonists had lost 450 men, while the British had suffered over 1,000 casualties. The misnamed Battle of Bunker Hill would prove to be the deadliest battle of the war.
  • Olive Branch Petition

    Olive Branch Petition
    Second Continental Congress was readying the colonies for war though still hoping for peace. Most delegates, colonists, felt loyalty to George III and blamed bloodshed on king’s ministers. Congress sent the king the so-called Olive Branch Petition, urging return to “the former harmony” between Britain and the colonies. Rejected the petition. issued a proclamation stating that the colonies were in rebellion and urged Parliament order a naval blockade to isolate ships meant for the American coast
  • Publication of common Sense PT. 2

    Publication of common Sense PT. 2
    Paine declared that independence would allow America to trade more freely. He also stated that independence would give American colonists the chance to create a better society—one free from tyranny, with equal social and economic opportunities for all.
  • Redcoats push Washington’s army across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania

    Redcoats push Washington’s army across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania
    Although the Continental Army attempted to defend New York in late
    August, the untrained and poorly equipped colonial troops soon retreated. By late fall, the British had pushed Washington’s army across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania.
  • Publication of Common Sense

    Publication of Common Sense
    Just as important were the ideas of
    Thomas Paine. In a widely read 50-page pamphlet titled Common Sense, Paine attacked King George and the monarchy. Paine, a recent immigrant, argued that responsibility for British tyranny lay with “the royal brute of Britain.” Paine explained that his own revolt against the king had begun
    with Lexington and Concord.
  • Loyalists and Patriots

    Loyalists and Patriots
    Loyalists—those who opposed independence and remained loyal to the British king—included judges and governors, as well as people of more modest means. Many Loyalists thought that the British were going to win and wanted to avoid punishment as rebels. Patriots—the supporters of independence—drew their numbers from people who saw political and economic opportunity in an independent America. Many Americans remained neutral.
  • Declaration of Independence

    Declaration of Independence
    On June 7, Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee moved that “these
    United Colonies are, and of a right ought to be, free and independent States.”
    While talks on this fateful motion were under way, the Congress appointed a
    committee to prepare a formal Declaration of Independence. Virginia lawyer
    Thomas Jefferson was chosen to prepare the final draft.
  • DOI PT 3.

    DOI PT 3.
    Jefferson provided a long list of violations committed by the king and Parliament against the colonists’ unalienable rights. On that
    basis, the American colonies declared their independence from Britain. The Declaration states flatly that “all men are created equal.” When this phrase was written, it expressed the common belief that free citizens were political equals. It did not claim that all people had the same ability or ought to have equal wealth.
  • DOI PT 2.

    DOI PT 2.
    Drawing on Locke’s ideas of natural rights, Jefferson’s document declared the rights of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” to be “unalienable” rights—ones that can never be taken away. Jefferson then asserted that a government’s legitimate power can only come from the consent of the governed, and that when a government denies their unalienable rights, the people have the right to “alter or abolish” that government.
  • DOI Pt 4.

    DOI Pt 4.
    In order to gain the votes of those two states, Jefferson dropped the offending passage. On July 2, 1776, the delegates voted unanimously that the American colonies were free, and on July 4, 1776, they adopted the Declaration of Independence. The colonists had declared their freedom from Britain. They would now have to fight for it.
  • Washington’s Christmas night surprise attack

    Washington’s Christmas night surprise attack
    Desperate for an early victory, Washington risked everything on one bold stroke set for Christmas night, 1776. In the face of a fierce storm, he led 2,400 men in small rowboats across the ice-choked Delaware River. They then marched to their objective—Trenton, New Jersey—and defeated a garrison of Hessians in a surprise attack. The British soon regrouped, however, and in September of 1777, they captured the American capital at Philadelphia.
  • Valley Forge

    Valley Forge
    While this hopeful turn of events took place in Paris, Washington and his Continental Army—desperately low on food and supplies—fought to stay alive at winter camp in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. More than 2,000 soldiers died, yet the survivors didn’t desert. Their endurance and suffering filled Washington’s letters to the Congress and his friends.
  • Saratoga

    Saratoga
    Burgoyne planned to lead an army down a route of lakes from Canada to Albany, where he would meet British troops as they arrived from NYC. then join forces to isolate New England from the rest.As Burgoyne traveled through forested wilderness, Continental Army gathered from all over. While he was fighting off the colonial troops, Burgoyne didn’t know fellow British officers were preoccupied holding Philadelphia and weren’t coming to meet him American troops finally surrounded Burgoyne at Saratoga
  • French-American Alliance

    French-American Alliance
    Although the French had secretly aided the Patriots since early 1776, the Saratoga victory bolstered France’s belief that the Americans could win the war. As a result, the French signed an alliance with the Americans in February 1778 and openly joined them in their fight.
  • Friedrich von Steuben and Marquis de Lafayette

    Friedrich von Steuben and Marquis de Lafayette
    In February 1778, in the midst of the frozen winter at Valley Forge, American troops began an amazing transformation. Friedrich von Steuben, a Prussian captain and talented drillmaster, helped to train the Continental Army. Military leaders, such as the Marquis de Lafayette also offered help. Lafayette lobbied France for French reinforcements in 1779, and led a command in Virginia in the last years of the war. With the help of such European military leaders, became an effective fighting force.
  • British victories in the South

    British victories in the South
    After their devastating defeat at Saratoga, the British began to shift their operations to the South. At the end of 1778, a British expedition easily took Savannah, Georgia. In their greatest victory of the war, the British under Generals Henry Clinton and Charles Cornwallis captured Charles Town, South Carolina, in May 1780. Clinton then left for New York, while Cornwallis continued to conquer land throughout the South.
  • British Surrender at Yorktown

    British Surrender at Yorktown
    Shortly after learning of Corwallis’s actions, the armies of Lafayette and Washington moved south toward
    Yorktown. Meanwhile, a French naval force defeated a British fleet and then blocked the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay, thereby obstructing British sea routes to the bay. By late September, about 17,000 French and American troops surrounded the British on the Yorktown peninsula and began bombarding them day and night. Less than a month later, on October 19, 1781 Cornwallis finally
    surrendered
  • Treaty of Paris

    Treaty of Paris
    Peace talks began in Paris in 1782. The American negotiating team included John Adams, John Jay of New York, and Benjamin Franklin. In September 1783, the delegates signed the Treaty of Paris, which confirmed U.S. independence and set the boundaries of the new nation. The United States now stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River and from Canada to the Florida border.