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American Revolution

  • French and Indian War

    France expanded its territory in North America, but conflicted with the growth of the British. Consequently, Britain had a lot of debt which caused them to tax the colonies, creating tension between them.
  • Writ of Assistance

    The Governor of Massachusetts authorized a search warrant allowing British officials to search any ship, home, or building they suspected of having smuggled items. Colonists felt that their privacy was violated and that Britain had too much control.
  • Treaty of Paris 1763

    The war between Britain and France ends, and the Treaty of Paris is signed giving Canada, Florida, and land east of the Mississippi River to Britain. Spain got land west of the Mississippi, and France got a few islands in the West Indies.
  • Proclamation of 1763

    As a peace negotiation, Britain created a Proclamation Line along the Appalachians, reserving western land for Indians. However, colonists did not approve of this policy and continued to expand westward.
  • Sugar Act

    To cover debt from the war, King George III chose prime minister George Greenville to cover finances. Greenville and Parliament created the Sugar Act which halved taxes on foreign molasses, placed taxes on certain imports, and tried violators in a vice-admiralty court (single judge). Colonists were angry about their reduced profits.
  • Stamp Act

    Parliament passed the Stamp Act which put a tax on all printed items and required stamps on things such as documents, wills, newspapers, and cards. Colonists united to go against the law because it directly affected their lives.
  • Sons of Liberty Formed

    In response to the Stamp Act, colonists united to fight back against the law in a group called the "Sons of Liberty". Merchants began a boycott, which got the Act repealed in 1766. Samuel Adams became one of the leaders of this group. The boycotting created tension between colonists and the Parliament.
  • Declaratory Act

    On the day they repealed the Stamp Act, Parliament passed the Declaratory Act allowing them to "bind the colonies and
    people of America in all cases whatsoever". The colonists became controlled and lost their independence.
  • Townshend Acts

    Named after Charles Townshend, the new Act taxed imports from Britain such as glass, lead, and most importantly tea. Led by Samuel Adams, colonists boycotted British goods. The Acts were repealed because they costed too much to enforce.
  • Boston Massacre

    Colonists taunted British soldiers in front of the Boston Customs House. The soldiers opened fire and killed 5 colonists including Crispus Attucks. Tensions grew very high as the news spread across the colonies.
  • Interesting Fact 3: Henry Knox

    Henry Knox, who was America's first Secretary of War, started his own book store before he joined the war effort. After the Boston Massacre, he studied constantly about military strategies and taught himself the skills that helped him gain victory in the local militia.
  • Tea Act

    To save the British East India Company, Lord North created the Tea Act which allowed the company to sell tea untaxed unlike the colonial tea companies. Colonists became angry that they taxed colonial tea sellers, but left British tea untaxed.
  • Boston Tea Party

    A group of Boston rebels, disguised as Indians, dumped 18,000 pounds of East India Company tea into the Boston Harbor to protest the Tea Act. This caused the British to become angered and pass more acts against them.
  • First Continental Congress Meets

    56 delegates in the committees of correspondence met as the First Continental Congress to discuss colonial rights. They stated that they would fight back against the British if they used force. Their plans brought them closer to the reality of war.
  • Intolerable Acts

    In response to the "Tea Party", King George III passed the 3 Intolerable Acts. The 1st shut down Boston Harbor. The 2nd, the Quartering Act, allowed British soldiers to occupy private buildings. The 3rd act made British General Thomas Gage governor of Massachusetts and enforced law with military use. The colonists felt that Britain was taking too much control over them.
  • Minutemen

    Civilians named the minutemen began to stockpile weapons, and trained to fight. As this activity became known, General Thomas Gage ordered troops to seize their weapons. The colonists fought back (Battle of Lexington). Physical conflict grew and built up war conditions.
  • Second Continental Congress

    Colonial leaders met in Philadelphia to debate whether they should fight for independence, or create peace. They all agreed that their militia should be called the Continental Army with commander George Washington. This decision was a big step in the Revolutionary War.
  • Olive Branch Petition

    In hopes of creating peace, Congress sent King George III a petition asking for harmony. The King rejected the petition and instead, ordered a naval blockade on the American coast. In result, the public opinion began to shift towards fighting back against Britain.
  • John Locke's Social Contract

    John Locke said that people have natural rights- life, liberty, and property. He also stated that societies should obey a government if it protects their rights. Colonists realized that Britain violated their rights, and highly considered revolution
  • Battle of Lexington

    British troops marched to Lexington, Massachusetts to seize weapons, and had a battle with the colonial militia. 8 minutemen were killed in this first battle of the revolution, making the British the victors.
  • Midnight Riders

    Paul Revere, William Dawes, and Samuel Prescott rode from town to town during the night to warn colonists of the British. This allowed the militia to prepare for the incoming soldiers, leading to the first battle in Lexington.
  • Battle of Concord

    After their success at Lexington, the British marched to Concord only to find that the colonists had hid the weapons. However, on their march back, around 3500 minutemen fired at the marching troops the whole way back.
  • Continental Army

    In a debate for future plans, the 2nd Continental Congress agreed to create a Continental Army of the citizen militia led by George Washington. They would lead the fight for independence.
  • Interesting Fact 1: John Stark

    John Stark was a 46 year old farmer who recruited 400 men and prevented the British from attacking the Continental Army from the back at Bunker Hill. He is not a well remembered hero, but he made a big impact on the American victory.
  • Battle of Bunker Hill

    British General Thomas Gage sent 2400 troops up bunker hill, but the colonists successfully repelled the attack. The colonists lost 450 but the British lost 1000. This was the deadliest battle of the war.
  • Publication of Common Sense

    Thomas Paine released a pamphlet arguing that Britain was a brute and violated the colonies. He stated that independence would provide equality and free trade. This changed many minds to want complete freedom from Britain.
  • Loyalists and Patriots

    The American public was divided by Loyalists, who remained loyal to the British King and opposed independence, and Patriots, who desired a free America. There were also many people who remained neutral. This caused tension between colonists in America.
  • Redcoats Push Washington's Army Across Delaware River

    The British pushed forward to New York causing Washington's Army to be sent back across the Delaware River. The poorly equipped troops couldn't repel the attack, and had to retreat.
  • Declaration of Independence

    The Declaration stated that there are unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that the governed should give consent or else abolish the government. Delegates unanimously voted that the colonies should be free, and adopted the Declaration on July 4, 1776.
  • Washington's Christmas Night Attack

    On Christmas night of 1776, the Continental Army of 2400 men crossed the icy Delaware River in rowboats and marched to Trenton, New Jersey in a surprise attack. They were successful, but the British soon regrouped and captured Philadelphia.
  • Interesting Fact 2: Plan to remove Washington

    After defeats at Brandywine and Germantown, people in the Continental Congress began to doubt George Washington's skill. They actually considered replacing him with a more distinguished General.
  • Saratoga

    British General John Burgoyne planned to lead an army to Albany, New York where he expected to meet other British troops and fight against New England together. However, they didn't appear, and General Burgoyne had to surrender to the colonists who surrounded him.
  • French-American Alliance

    After the success at Saratoga, the French believed that the colonists could win the war, and made an alliance to help them. They both hoped to defeat a common enemy.
  • Valley Forge

    Washington and the Continental Army went through a harsh winter at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania with very limited supplies. Over 2000 soldiers died, but the army continued their perseverance to succeed.
  • Friedrich von Steuben & Marquis de Lafayette

    During the winter at Valley Forge, Prussian captain Friedrich von Steuben helped train the Continental Army. French military leader Marquis de Lafayette also provided French reinforcements and helped bolster their army.
  • British Victories in the South

    After their defeat at Saratoga, the British moved south, and Generals Henry Clinton and Charles Cornwallis captured Charles Town, South Carolina in 1780. In 1781, Cornwallis went towards Virginia with 7500 troops and camped at Yorktown with a plan to fortify it.
  • British Surrender at Yorktown

    The armies of Lafayette and Washington immediately moved towards Yorktown after hearing about Cornwallis's plan. Around 17,000 troops surrounded the British and forced them to eventually surrender. This success marked the end of the war.
  • Treaty of Paris

    John Adams, John Jay, and Benjamin Franklin began peace talks in Paris which led to the signing of the Treaty of Paris, confirming American independence and forming the new boundaries. The United States had land from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, and from Canada to Florida.