July 4, 1776 - The American Revolution

By Will Dickinson

The American Revolution, also called American Revolutionary War, began when 13 of Great Britain’s colonies in North America desired political independence. The growing tension between the colonies and Great Britain caused an outbreak of a war. The war lasted from 1775 to 1783 and began as a civil war with the British Empire, but ended up becoming an international affair as more and more countries began to be involved.

The causes of the American Revolution began when the French and Indian War had ended and the British Empire imposed new taxes on the American Colonies. They did this because Britain was in debt due to the expenses of the war. These taxes were very unpopular among the colonists and led to heated protests and revolts. The colonists were also upset that they had little representation in Parliament and also because they had less rights than other British subjects. The colonists began to become violent around 1770 when the Boston Massacre happened where British soldiers shot into a crowd of colonists and killed five men. Another example of revolt from the colonists is when some citizens in Boston dressed up as Indians and dumped 342 chests of tea into the Boston Harbor. That event was called the Boston Tea Party and it led the British Parliament to punishing the colony of Massachusetts with a series of acts. The colonists were in outrage, and in 1774 a group of colonial delegates met in Philadelphia to vocalize their opinions and ideas. Some of these delegates included George Washington, Samuel Adams, John Adams, and Patrick Henry. These delegates, also known as the Continental Congress, came up with the idea that the colonists should not be taxed without the correct representation in Parliament. Violence soon broke out after this meeting.

The first battle of the Revolutionary War took place on April 19, 1775. The night before, around seven hundred British soldiers marched from Boston to Concord, Massachusetts, to seize the colonial armory there. Paul Revere and other riders warned the people of Concord and Lexington that the British were coming. The local soldiers there, known as minutemen, fought the British soldiers in the Battles of Lexington and Concord. In May of 1775, the Continental Congress met again, and with the help of more delegates, like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, they voted to form the Continental Army. They appointed George Washington as commander in chief of this army. The first major battle of the Revolutionary War took place on June 17, 1775, in Boston. This battle was known as the Battle of Bunker Hill, and it ended in a British victory, but not without tremendous casualties. During the cold months, General Washington attempted to keep the British in Boston, and once he obtained artillery that was captured at another fortress from the British, the British evacuated the city of Boston in March of 1776 and retreated to Canada. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress made the vote to declare independence from Great Britain with the Declaration of Independence. This declaration was mainly written by Thomas Jefferson, but John Adams and Benjamin Franklin helped as well. The British soon sent a large fleet with soldiers, around 34,000, to New York and pushed Washington and his men out of the city in September. This attack led Washington to be pushed across the Delaware River, but he fought back with a surprise attack on Trenton, New Jersey, which helped lift the soldiers hopes. An important turning point in the war was during the Battle of Saratoga, in 1777, when a British General, John Burgoyne, was left to face the American forces at Saratoga, New York. This win for the Americans was extremely important for the war because it prompted France to enter the war against Great Britain with the Americans. Soon the war was caught in a stalemate, and in June 1778 when General Washington and his men from the encampment at Valley Forge, who had been training with Baron Friedrich von Steuben and  Marquis de Lafayette, attacked the British as they tried to withdraw their forces from Philadelphia and move them to New York. This battle resulted in a draw as the Americans made no gain, but the British were able to move supplies and men to New York. Throughout the next two years, the Americans had multiple setbacks and the British began an offensive attack, and they began to take the south. By fall of 1781, the commander of the Colonial Army in the south began to take back the territory lost and pushed the British to Yorktown, Virginia. General Washington also joined the attack there along with the support of French army general, Jean Baptiste de Rochambeau. A fleet of 36 French warships prevented the British from escaping by water in the Chesapeake Bay, along with 14,000 American and French soldiers on shore. The British were soon forced to surrender. This battle was extremely important and led to the end of the Revolutionary War. The next two years, not much action was taken and soon the British removed their troops from Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia.

The war finally had come to an end on September 3, 1783. The Americans and British negotiated a peace treaty in Paris, France. This treaty, which was called the Treaty of Paris, and it ended the War for Independence and recognized the independence of the United States of America. This revolution and war was very significant events in world history. If not for this revolution, the United States would not exist and would not have ideals of liberty, equality, and rights to all Americans.

Citations:

Wallace, Willard M. “American Revolution.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Last

modified February 4, 2020. Accessed May 25, 2020.

https://www.britannica.com/event/American-Revolution.

History.com Editors, ed. “Revolutionary War.” HISTORY. Last modified October 29,

2009. Accessed May 25, 2020. https://www.history.com/topics/

american-revolution/american-revolution-history.