American Revolution Timeline

  • Navigation Acts

    Navigation Acts
    Restricted trade from the colonies to Britain. Many plantation owners and merchants resorted to smuggling.
  • French and Indian War Ends

    French and Indian War Ends
    The war ended with the Treaty of Paris. The British received Canada and Florida. This war doubled Great Britain's national debt leading to the passing of the Stamp, Townshend, Tea, and Intolerable Acts which led to the First Continental Congress, and eventually, war.
  • Stamp Act

    Stamp Act
    The first tax made directly on American colonists. Britain was trying to make back money after the French and Indian war. It imposed taxes on all paper documents in the colonies. This caused a backlash that eventually culminated in a fight for independence.
  • Boston Massacre

    Boston Massacre
    A riot caused the death of 5 colonists when British troops opened fire. This event is really important because it is a physical signifier of oppression from Great Britain. It paved the way for anti-British sentiment.
  • Tea Act

    Tea Act
    A tax that lowered the price of importing tea to the colonies. This caused the Boston Tea Party which made Britain tax the colonists more. Tensions rose and eventually, the First Continental Congress met to discuss the taxation.
  • Boston Tea Party

    Boston Tea Party
    Colonists dumped 342 chests of tea into the Boston Harbor in protest of taxes imposed by Britain. Britain was in need of money so they taxed the colonies with the Stamp Act of 1765 and Townshend Act of 1767. The Tea Act of 1773, which taxed tea at colonial ports, was the main cause of this event. The outrage over the Boston Massacre was also a factor in increasing dissatisfaction with Britain. The Coercive Acts were made in response to this which, in turn, lead to the First Continental Congress.
  • Coercive/Intolerable Acts

    Coercive/Intolerable Acts
    These acts were four laws passed by British Parliament to punish Massachusetts for the Boston Tea Party. They were the Boston Port Act, Massachusetts Government Act, Administration of Justice Act, and the Quartering Act. Boston Harbor was closed until tea was paid for, it ended free elections in Massachusetts, and allowed British troops to quarter in people's homes. Growing distaste towards Great Britain only grew and it eventually lead to the First Continental Congress.
  • First Continental Congress

    First Continental Congress
    Representatives from the colonies met to organize against Britain and taxation, during which they issued a Declaration of Rights, affirming loyalty to the crown but not to the British Parliament's taxes. They planned to meet again on May 10, 1775. This was the beginning of tangible organization which could challenge British rule.
  • Second Continental Congress

    Second Continental Congress
    By the time they reconvened the American Revolution had already started. They establish a continental army and elect George Washington as general. This was just after Lexington and Concord. They also send King George III the Olive Branch Petition, which he refuses, and approve the Declaration of Independence. At this point, there is no going back and it is an all-out war. They began in 1775 and disbanded in 1781.
  • Lexington and Concord

    Lexington and Concord
    This battle kicked off the war. This is where Paul Revere and other riders sounded the alarm that the British troops were coming. This was caused by the growing tension between the colonies and Great Britain; for instance, the Stamp and Townshend Acts, the Boston Massacre, and the Boston Tea Party contributed to tensions and the rising resistance to British rule. The low casualties of the battle showed the strength that the colonists had.
  • Declaration of Independence Adopted

    Declaration of Independence Adopted
    The Declaration of Independence summarized the colonist's motivations for independence. The culmination of frustration with taxes and events like the Boston Massacre. Because of this, France was able to recognize the colonies as its own independent nation.
  • Battle of Saratoga

    Battle of Saratoga
    A decisive battle for America that led to France recognizing America's independence. Because of this, with the help of France, the continental army won the Battle of Yorktown, the final battle of the war.
  • Winter at Valley Forge

    Winter at Valley Forge
    Washington moved the Continental Army to winter quarters at Valley Forge. Philadelphia had just fallen to the British so the army was cold hungry, fatigued, and had low morale. It was six months of rampant disease and short supply. This produced the image of a weak army to the British. Lafayette, a French officer, came to Valley forge and helped train the soldiers. When the alliance with France came in 1778 the army was prepared.
  • Battle of Yorktown

    Battle of Yorktown
    This was the battle that won the war for America. It also cemented Washington's fame. Charles Cornwallis surrendered to the continental and French armies after he was trapped by French and American troops. It solidified America's place as a country.
  • U.S. Constitution Written

    U.S. Constitution Written
    The constitution was written at the Philadelphia convention and signified the colonies building a government. It was the first fully written constitution.
  • U.S. Constitution Adopted

    U.S. Constitution Adopted
    After a lot of disagreement New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the constitution. This signifies the birth of a nation.