American Revolution Timeline

  • Navigation Acts

    Navigation Acts
    The Navigation Acts were a series of laws which restricted trade from the colonies to any nation other than Britain. These laws became more strictly enforced after the French and Indian War because of the debt that Britain incurred while fighting the war. These laws were the basis for the Tea and Sugar Acts.
  • French and Indian War ends

    French and Indian War ends
    The British defeated the French and their Native American allies. The British treasury took a major hit, leading them to attempt to tax the colonists to decrease their debt.
  • Stamp Act

    Stamp Act
    Taxed legal papers by requiring that a stamp was paid for by colonists. This caused the calling of the Stamp Act Congress, which was a predecessor to the First and Second Continental Congresses later on, along with beginning the souring of British-colonial relations.
  • Boston Massacre

    Boston Massacre
    British soldiers fired into a mob of colonists, killing several people. The Boston Massacre was used by many Patriot writers to convince people that revolution was the best solution.
  • Tea Act

    Tea Act
    Gave the British East India Company a monopoly on tea imports to the colonies. The Tea Act led to much resistance from the colonists, including the Boston Tea Party.
  • Boston Tea Party

    Boston Tea Party
    The Sons of Liberty boarded a British East India Company ship and threw its tea into the Boston Harbor. This protest caused Britain to shut down Boston Harbor, along with the rest of the Intolerable Acts.
  • Coercive/Intolerable Acts

    Coercive/Intolerable Acts
    The British government passed the Intolerable Acts to make an example out of Massachusetts. The Intolerable Acts were a major cause for revolution, as the number of exports from the colonies dropped significantly, and Massachusetts lost its right to self-government.
  • First Continental Congress

    First Continental Congress
    Delegates from 12 colonies met to discuss how to make a coordinated effort to respond to the Intolerable Acts. They decided to send the Olive Branch Petition to the King and boycott British goods.
  • Battles of Lexington and Concord

    Battles of Lexington and Concord
    The first battles of the American Revolutionary War. This led to the calling of the Second Continental Congress to decide on further action.
  • Second Continental Congress

    Second Continental Congress
    The meeting of delegates from all 13 colonies led to the signing and adoption of the Declaration of Independence. The signing of the Declaration meant that there was no turning back from war with Britain.
  • Declaration of Independence adopted

    Declaration of Independence adopted
    The Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. The 13 colonies were officially in open rebellion, and the Continental Army was going to have to figure out a way to defeat the greatest superpower on the planet.
  • Battle of Saratoga

    Battle of Saratoga
    The Americans won a major victory over British General John Burgoyne’s forces at Saratoga. This victory was enough to convince the French to join on the side of the Americans.
  • Winter at Valley Forge

    Winter at Valley Forge
    The Continental Army stayed the winter at Valley Forge, dealing with malnutrition and disease. They were trained by the Prussian Baron Friedrich von Steuben, which was crucial in their victory over the British Army.
  • Battle of Yorktown

    Battle of Yorktown
    The Continental Army on land along with French ships at sea surrounded and forced the surrender of British General Cornwallis. The British defeat at Yorktown led to the beginning of peace negotiations.
  • US Constitution written

    US Constitution written
    The Founding Fathers drafted and signed the US Constitution. This document was sent to Congress to be ratified, and Congress sent it to each of the states.
  • US Constitution adopted

    US Constitution adopted
    The 13 states ratified the Constitution of the United States of America. The ratification helped stabilize the new nation after years of turmoil under the Articles of Confederation.