From Empire to Independence

Timeline created by Gushu
In History
  • Zenger Trial

    The trial of a German immigrant printer named John Peter Zenger which led to free press. The journal he writes for highlights Governor Cosby’s misdeeds and abuse of power. In return Cosby used the courts to arrest him.
  • Albany Congress

    In June of 1754, representatives from seven colonies met with 150 Iroquois Chiefs in Albany, New York. The purposes of the Albany Congress were twofold; to try to secure the support and cooperation of the Iroquois in fighting the French, and to form a colonial alliance based on a design by Benjamin Franklin.
  • Treaty of Paris

    The war ended in 1763 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. The treaty gave Britain almost all French land in Canada and, to the south, all of France's holdings east of the Mississippi River except New Orleans. Britain also received the territory of Florida from Spain, which had become France's ally in 1762. France kept two tiny islands south of Newfoundland.
  • Sugar Act

    The Sugar Act reduced the rate of tax on molasses from six pence to three pence per gallon, while Grenville took measures that the duty be strictly enforced. The act also listed more foreign goods to be taxed including sugar, certain wines, coffee, pimiento, cambric and printed calico, and further, regulated the export of lumber and iron. The situation disrupted the colonial economy by reducing the markets to which the colonies could sell and purchase of currency. This and others led to revolt.
  • Stamp Act

    The Stamp Act was Parliament's first serious attempt to assert governmental authority over the colonies. Great Britain was faced with a massive national debt following the Seven Years War. That debt had grown from £72,289,673 in 1755 to £129,586,789 in 1764*. English citizens in Britain were taxed at a rate that created a serious threat of revolt.
  • Declatory Act

    An act for the better securing the dependency of his Majesty's dominions in America upon the crown and parliament of Great Britain. It said colonies and plantations in America have been, are, and of right ought to be. subordinate unto, and dependent upon the imperial crown and parliament of Great Britain. That all resolutions, votes, orders, and proceedings, in any of the said colonies or plantations, whereby the power and authority of the parliament of Great Britain, to make laws is denied.
  • Repeal of Stamp Act

    After months of protest, and an appeal by Benjamin Franklin before the British House of Commons, Parliament voted to repeal the Stamp Act in March 1766. However, the same day, Parliament passed the Declaratory Acts, asserting that the British government had free and total legislative power over the colonies.
  • Boston Massacre

    The Boston Massacre was a street fight that occurred on March 5, 1770, between a "patriot" mob, throwing snowballs, stones, and sticks, and a squad of British soldiers. Several colonists were killed and this led to a campaign by speech-writers to rouse the ire of the citizenry. The Boston Massacre was a signal event leading to the Revolutionary War. It led directly to the Royal Governor evacuating the occupying army from the town of Boston. It would soon bring the revolution to armed rebellion
  • Tea Act

    The Tea Act, passed by Parliament on May 10, 1773, would launch the final spark to the revolutionary movement in Boston. It was designed to prop up the East India Company which was floundering financially and burdened with eighteen million pounds of unsold tea. This tea was to be shipped directly to the colonies, and sold at a bargain price. Colonists in Philadelphia and New York turned the tea ships back to Britain for example. Led to Boston Tea Party.
  • Boston Tea Party

    In Boston Harbor, a group of Massachusetts colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians board three British tea ships and dump 342 chests of tea into the harbor. Parliament then enforced the Coercive Acts which closed Boston to merchant shipping, established formal British military rule in Massachusetts, made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in America, and required colonists to to quarter British troops. The colonists eventually called the first continental congress.
  • Intolerable Acts

    The first of these closed the port of Boston until the East India Company was paid for the lost tea. The second modified the Massachusetts Charter of 1691, taking away many of its rights of self-government. It was aimed at punishing Boston and forcing it out of resistance. The third measure was basically that the British officials would escape justice. The fourth measure allowed the British to quarter British soldiers. The fifth act extended the boundaries of the province of Quebec.
  • Lexington and Concord

    On April 19, 1775, Gage sent out regiments of British soldiers quartered in Boston. Their destinations were Lexington, where they would capture Colonial leaders Sam Adams and John Hancock, then Concord, where they would seize gunpowder. Paul Revere, William Dawes and Dr. Samuel Prescott alerted the colonists that the British were coming.
  • Second Continental Congress

    The Second Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that started meeting on May 10, 1775, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The second Congress managed the colonial war effort, and moved incrementally towards independence, adopting the United States Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. By raising armies, directing strategy, appointing diplomats, and making formal treaties, the Congress acted as the de facto national government of what became the USA.
  • Fort Ticonderoga

    Located on Lake Champlain in northeastern New York, Fort Ticonderoga served as a key point of access to both Canada and the Hudson River Valley during the French and Indian War. On May 10, 1775, Benedict Arnold of Massachusetts joined Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys of Vermont in a dawn attack on the fort, surprising and capturing the sleeping British garrison. Although it was a small-scale conflict, the Battle of Fort Ticonderoga was the first American victory of the Revolutionary War,
  • Olive Branch Petition

    The Olive Branch Petition was adopted by the Continental Congress in July 1775 in an attempt to avoid a full-blown war with Great Britain. The petition affirmed American loyalty to Great Britain and entreated the king to prevent further conflict. In August 1775 the colonies were formally declared in rebellion by the Proclamation of Rebellion, and the petition was rejected.
  • Battle of Bunker Hill

    During the American Revolution, British General William Howe lands his troops on the Charlestown peninsula overlooking Boston and leads them against Breed's Hill, a fortified American position just below Bunker Hill. The British had won the so-called Battle of Bunker Hill, and Breed's Hill and the Charlestown peninsula fell firmly under British control. The battle was a morale-builder for the Americans.
  • Common Sense

    Thomas Paine publishes his pamphlet "Common Sense," setting forth his arguments in favor of American independence. Originally published anonymously, "Common Sense" advocated independence for the American colonies from Britain and is considered one of the most influential pamphlets in American history.
  • Virginia Declaration of Rights

    The Virginia Declaration of Rights is a document drafted in 1776 to proclaim the inherent rights of men, including the right to rebel against "inadequate" government. It influenced a number of later documents, including the United States Declaration of Independence (1776), the United States Bill of Rights (1789), and the French Revolution's Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.
  • Declaration of Independence

    In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Continental Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims the independence of the United States of America from Great Britain and its king. The declaration came 442 days after the first volleys of the American Revolution were fired at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts and marked an ideological expansion of the conflict that would eventually encourage France's intervention on behalf of the Patriots.
  • Battle of Long Island

    On August 27, 1776 the British Army successfully moved against the American Continental Army led by George Washington. The battle was part of a British campaign to seize control of New York and thereby isolate New England from the rest of the colonies. Washington's defeat could have led to the surrender of his entire force, but he was able to escape.
  • Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom

    It promoted religious freedom for the state of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison promoted the bill for years before it was finally passed by the Virginia legislature. At the time, the Anglican Church was officially recognized as the state religion. The law disestablished that denomination. An alternative proposal that many other denominations be recognized was rejected. This bill is often called "the precursor to the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment" of the U.S. Constitution.
  • Articles of Confederation are ratified

    It gave a rather weak federal structure for the government. Led to the making of the constitution and a more centeralized federal government. Congress felt the need for a stronger union and a government powerful enough to defeat Great Britain.
  • Battle of Yorktown

    On this day in 1781, General George Washington, commanding a force of 17,000 French and Continental troops, begins the siege known as the Battle of Yorktown against British General Lord Charles Cornwallis and a contingent of 9,000 British troops at Yorktown, Virginia, in the most important battle of the Revolutionary War. The Patriot victory at Yorktown ended fighting in the American colonies.
  • Treaty of Paris (1783)

    The Treaty of Paris of 1783, negotiated between the United States and Great Britain, ended the revolutionary war and recognized American independence.
  • Land Ordinance of 1785

    Called for taking of land west of the Appalachian Mountains, north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi River was to be divided into ten separate states. However, the 1784 resolution did not define the mechanism by which the land would become states, or how the territories would be governed or settled before they became states
  • Northwest Ordinance of 1787

    The primary effect of the ordinance was the creation of the Northwest Territory as the first organized territory of the United States out of the region south of the Great Lakes, north and west of the Ohio River, and east of the Mississippi River. On August 7, 1789, President George Washington signed the Northwest Ordinance of 1789 into law after the newly created U.S. Congress reaffirmed the Ordinance with slight modifications under the Constitution.
  • George Washington Inauguration

    On this day in 1789, President George Washington attends a ball in his honor. The event provided a model for the first official inaugural ball, held to celebrate James Madison's rise to the office ten years later, which then became an annual tradition. Washington was sworn in as the first president of the United States on April 30, 1789.
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    7 Years War

    In 1754, in America's Ohio Valley when a Virginian major of militia, George Washington, ambushed a small French detachment. This was the catalyst for the great war to come.
    In the end, France was defeated on all fronts (West Indies, the subcontinent of India, Europe and America). In a bid to save the colonies which brought in the most money, France ceded New France in a Treaty signed in 1763 in exchange for keeping the West Indies.
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    Pontiac's Rebellion

    Pontiac's Rebellion begins when a confederacy of Native American warriors under Ottawa chief Pontiac attacks the British force at Detroit. It initiated a siege that would stretch into months. On July 31, a British relief expedition attacked Pontiac's camp but suffered heavy losses and were repelled in the Battle of Bloody Run. Failing to persuade tribes in the West to join his rebellion, and lacking the hoped-for support from the French, Pontiac finally signed a treaty with the British in 1766.
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    First Continental Congress

    The colonies presented there were united in a determination to show a combined authority to Great Britain, but their aims were not uniform at all. Pennsylvania and New York sent delegates with firm instructions to seek a resolution with England.On October 14, the Declaration and Resolves established the course of the congress, as a statement of principles common to all of the colonies. Congress voted to meet again the following year if these grievances were not attended to by England.
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    Battle of Saratoga

    Fought eighteen days apart in the fall of 1777, the two Battles of Saratoga were a turning point in the American Revolution. On September 19th, British General John Burgoyne achieved a small, but costly victory over American forces led by Horatio Gates and Benedict Arnold. Though his troop strength had been weakened, Burgoyne again attacked the Americans at Bemis Heights on October 7th, but this time was defeated and forced to retreat. He surrendered which told French and Americans were allies.
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    Valley Forge

    On this day in 1777, General George Washington begins marching 12,000 soldiers of his Continental Army from Whitemarsh to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, for the winter.They were surprised by a regiment of several thousand British troops led by General Charles Cornwallis. Washington and the Continental Army retreated back to Whitemarsh, delaying their march to Valley Forge for several days. The Continental Army finally arrived safely at Valley Forge on December 19, where they would face a winter.