The French and Indian WarDuring the late 17th and first half of the 18th centuries, as the French empire in North America expanded, it collided with the growing British empire, and France and Great Britain had fought three inconclusive wars.
The French built Fort Duquesne in the region despite the fact that the Virginia government had already granted 200,000 acres of land in the Ohio country to a group of wealthy planters. In response, the Virginia governor sent militia to evict the French
Writ of AssistanceThe 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.
The writs enabled British officials to enter and search colonial homes whether there was evidence of smuggling or not.
Treaty of Paris 1763Great 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, and elsewhere.
Proclamation of 1763To avoid further costly conflicts with Native Americans, the British government prohibited colonists from settling west of the Appalachian Mountains. A Proclamation Line along the
Appalachians, which the colonists were not allowed to cross.
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 & colonists responseGreat Britain had borrowed money during the war. To lower that debt, King George III chose a financial expert, George Grenville, to serve as prime minister.
1. It halved the duty on foreign-made molasses in the hopes that colonists would pay a lower tax rather than risk arrest by smuggling.
2. It placed duties on certain imports that had not been taxed before.
3. It provided that colonists accused of violating the act would be tried in a vice-admiralty court rather than a colonial court.
Stamp Act & colonists responseA tax law requiring colonists to purchase special stamps to prove payment of tax. Tax on documents and printed items (wills, newspapers, playing cards). It was the first tax that affected colonists directly because it was levied on goods and services.
The colonists united to defy the law. The colonial assemblies declared that Parliament lacked the power to impose taxes on the colonies. The colonists were not represented in Parliament.
Sons of Liberty is formed & Samuel AdamsA secret resistance group that Boston shopkeepers, artisans, and laborers organized to protest the law.
The colonial assemblies declared that Parliament lacked
the power to impose taxes on the colonies.
Merchants in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia agreed to a boycott of British goods until the Stamp Act was repealed.
Led by men such as Samuel Adams, one of
the founders of the Sons of Liberty, the colonists again boycotted British goods.
Declaratory ActIt asserted Parliament’s full right “to bind the colonies and
people of America in all cases whatsoever.”
John Locke's Social ContractAn agreement in which the people consent to choose and obey a government so long as 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.
Townshend Acts & colonists response (Why they were repealed)The Townshend Acts taxed goods that were imported into the colony from Britain, such as lead, glass, paint, and paper. Also imposed a tax on tea.
Colonists protest “taxation without representation” and organize a
new boycott of imported goods.
Were costing more to enforce than they would ever bring in.
Boston MassacreA 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 agitators label the conflict a massacre and publish a dramatic engraving depicting the violence.
Tea ActTo save the nearly bankrupt British East India Company. 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 buy the cheaper tea. Colonists in Boston rebel, dumping 18,000 pounds of
East India Company tea into Boston harbor (Boston Tea Party).
Boston Tea Party“Indians” dumped 18,000 pounds of the East India
Company’s tea into the waters of Boston harbor. 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. Britain gives the East India Company special concessions in the
colonial tea business and shuts out colonial tea merchants.
Intolerable Acts - all three partsParliament responded by passing a series of measures.
Shut down Boston harbor
The Quartering Act, authorized British commanders to house soldiers in vacant private homes and other buildings.
General Thomas Gage, commander-in-chief of British forces in North America, was appointed the new governor of Massachusetts.
First Continental Congress meetsIn response to Britain’s actions (intolerance acts), the committees of correspondence assembled. 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.
MinutemenCivilian soldiers who pledged to be ready to fight against the British on a minute’s notice. Minutemen intercept the British and engage in battle—first at Lexington, and then at Concord.
Second Continental CongressColonial leaders in Philadelphia to debate their next
move. The loyalties that divided colonists sparked endless debates. 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.
Olive Branch PetitionCongress sent the king the so-called Olive Branch Petition, urging a return to “the former harmony” between Britain and the colonies. Many colonists were uncertain about the idea of independence, but shifted after Olive Branch Petition.
Battle of LexingtonThe first battle of the Revolutionary War, lasted only 15 minutes. “Redcoats” reached Lexington, Massachusetts. They saw 70 minutemen drawn up in lines on the village green. Minutemen intercept the British and engage in battle—first at Lexington, and then at Concord The British soldiers sent a volley of shots into the departing militia.
Interesting Fact: American colonies' original aimWhen the war began in April 1775, the colonies sought more autonomy within the British Empire, not complete separation.
Battle of ConcordPaul Revere, William Dawes, and Samuel Prescot ordered 700 British troops to march to Concord (Massachusetts) to seize colonial(illegal) weapons. British soldiers marched back to Boston, but the march became a slaughter. Between 3,000 and 4,000 minutemen had assembled by now, and they fired on the marching troops. 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.
Continental ArmyDespite the difference between calling for independence and argument for reconciliation with Great Britain, Congress agreed to recognize the colonial militia as the Continental Army and appointed George Washington as its commander.
Battle of Bunker HillIn Boston, British general Thomas Gage decided to strike at militiamen on Breed’s Hill, north of the city and near Bunker Hill. Gage sent 2,400 British soldiers up the hill. The
colonists held their fire and then began to cut down the
advancing redcoats before finally retreating. Colonists had lost 450 men, while the British had suffered over 1,000 casualties. This was the deadliest battle of the war.
Publication of Common SensePaine's widely read 50-page pamphlet. Argued that responsibility for British tyranny lay with “the royal brute of Britain.” Independence would help American colonies to trade more freely & create better society.
Loyalists and PatriotsAmericans had different sides of the conflict. Loyalists: people who opposed independence and remained loyal to the British king, judges, and governors. They thought that the British were going to win and wanted to avoid punishment as rebels. They expected the Crown to protect their rights more effectively than the new colonial governments would. Patriots: the supporters of independence; drew their numbers from people who saw political and economic opportunity. Many remained neutral.
Interesting Fact: Washington crossed the Delaware River twice in December 1776Encouraged by reports of the enemies’ general confusion in New Jersey and a successful campaign to extend the enlistments of many soldiers ready in his ranks, Washington decided to seize the initiative once more. Determined to expand upon his initial success Washington shuttled his army and artillery back across the frozen Delaware on December 30, 1776, and into a strong position along the Assunpink Creek outside of Trenton.
Interesting Fact: The British nearly won the war in 1776In late summer 1776, the British army inflicted a major defeat on Washington’s forces at the battle of Long Island (also known as the battle of Brooklyn). The British then went on to occupy New York City and chased the disintegrating remainders of the American army across New Jersey to the Delaware River.
Redcoats push Washington's army across the Delaware River into PennsylvaniaWhen: December 1776-1777
New York; Britain seized with 32,000 soldiers (German mercenaries, or hired soldiers). Although the Continental Army attempted to defend New York in late August, the untrained and poorly equipped colonial troops soon retreated.
Delaware River; Washington led 2,400 men in rowboats across Delaware River.
Trenton&New Jersey; Defeated a garrison of Hessians in a surprise attack.
Philadelphia; The British soon regrouped and captured the American capital at Philadelphia.
Declaration of IndependenceAuthor: Thomas Jefferson
Summary: 1. rights of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” to be “unalienable” rights—ones that can never be taken away.
2. 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.
3. List of violations committed by the king and Parliament against the colonists’ unalienable rights.
4. all men are created equal.
Washington's Christmas night surprise attackWhen: Christmas night, 1776
Where: Delaware River
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.
SaratogaJohn Burgoyne's plan: To lead an army down a route of lakes from Canada to Albany to British troops as they arrived from New York City.
How the plan failed: As Burgoyne traveled through forested wilderness, militiamen and soldiers from the Continental Army gathered from all over New York and New England.
American troops succeed at Saratoga. So, France thought that the Americans could win the war.
Result: the French signed an alliance with the Americans in February
1778 and joined the fight.
Friedrich von Steuben and Marquis de LafayetteAt Valley Forge, Friedrich von Steuben, a Prussian captain and talented drillmaster, helped to train the Continental Army. Other foreign military leaders, such as the Marquis de Lafayette, also arrived to offer their 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, the raw
Continental Army became an effective fighting force.
British victories in the South (2 parts)
- In 1778, a British expedition took Savannah, Georgia.
- In their victory of the war, the British under Generals Henry Clinton and Charles Cornwallis captured Charles Town, South Carolina, in May 1780. Cornwallis continued to conquer land throughout the South.
French-American AllianceAlthough 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.
Valley ForgeWashington 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.
British surrender at YorktownArmies of Lafayette and Washington moved south toward
Yorktown. Meanwhile, a French naval force defeated a British and 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
Treaty of ParisThe American negotiating team included John Adams, John Jay of New York, and Benjamin Franklin. The delegates signed the Treaty of Paris, which confirmed U.S. independence and set the boundaries of the new nation.