You are on page 1of 11

American Revolution From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Have questions?

? Find out how to ask questions and get answers !ump to" navigation, search #his article is a$out political and social developments, including the origins and aftermath of the war For military actions, see American Revolutionary War For other uses, see American Revolution %disam$iguation& !ohn #rum$ull's (eclaration of )ndependence, showing the five*man committee in charge of drafting the (eclaration in +,,- as it presents its work to the .econd /ontinental /ongress in 0hiladelphia#he American Revolution refers to the period during the last half of the +1th century in which the #hirteen /olonies gained independence from the 2ritish 3mpire to $ecome the 4nited .tates of America )n this period, the /olonies united against the 2ritish 3mpire and entered a period of armed conflict known as the Revolutionary War %also, mostly in 2ritish usage, 5American War of )ndependence5&, $etween +,,6 and +,17 #his resulted in an American (eclaration of )ndependence in +,,-, and victory on the $attlefield in 8cto$er +,1+ #he revolutionary era $egan in +,-7, when the French military threat to 2ritish 9orth American colonies ended Adopting the view that the colonies should pay a su$stantial portion of the costs associated with keeping them in the 3mpire, 2ritain imposed a series of ta:es followed $y other laws that proved e:tremely unpopular 2ecause the colonies lacked elected representation in the governing 2ritish 0arliament many colonists considered the laws to $e illegitimate and a violation of their rights as 3nglishmen 2eginning in +,,;, 0atriot groups $egan to create /ommittees of /orrespondence which would lead to their own 0rovincial /ongress in each of most of the colonies )n the course of a few years, the 0rovincial /ongresses or their equivalents effectively replaced the 2ritish ruling apparatus in the former colonies, and culminated in the /ontinental /ongress After protests in 2oston, the 2ritish sent com$at troops, the Americans mo$ili<ed their militia, and fighting $roke out in +,,6 Although =oyalists were a$out 7>? of the population,@+A throughout the war the 0atriots generally controlled 1>*B>? of the territoryC the 2ritish could hold only a few coastal cities )n +,,-, representatives of the #hirteen /olonies voted unanimously to adopt a (eclaration of )ndependence, $y which they esta$lished the 4nited .tates of America #he Americans formed an alliance with France in +,,1 that evened the military and naval strengths, later $ringing .pain and the (utch Repu$lic into the conflict $y their own alliance with France #wo main 2ritish armies were captured $y the /ontinental Army, at .aratoga in +,,, and Dorktown in +,1+, leading to peace with the #reaty of 0aris in +,17 #he American Revolution included a series of $road intellectual and social shifts that occurred in the early American society, such as the new repu$lican ideals that took hold in the American population )n some colonies, sharp political de$ates $roke out over the role of democracy in government, with some of even the most li$eral Founding Fathers fearing 5mo$ rule5 #he American shift to repu$licanism, as well as the gradually e:panding democracy, caused an upheaval of the traditional social hierarchy, and created the ethic that formed the core of American political values @;A /ontents @hideA + 8rigins + + =i$eralism and repu$licanism + ; 9avigation Acts + 7 Western Frontier + E #a:ation without representation + 6 9ew ta:es +,-E + - .tamp Act +,-6 + , #ownshend Act +,-, and 2oston Fassacre +,,> + 1 #ea Act +,,7 + B )ntolera$le Acts +,,E + +> American political opposition ; Fighting $egins at =e:ington" +,,6 7 Factions" 0atriots, =oyalists and 9eutrals 7 + 0atriots * #he Revolutionaries 7 ; =oyalists and neutrals 7 7 /lass differences among the 0atriots

7 E Women E /reating new state constitutions 6 Filitary history" e:pulsion of the 2ritish +,,- )ndependence, +,,, War , + 2ritish return" +,,-*+,,, , ; 2ritish attack on the .outh, +,,1*+,17 , 7 #reason issue 1 0eace treaty B Aftermath of war B + Worldwide influence B ; )nterpretations +> 9ational de$t ++ .ee also +; 2i$liography +; + 9otes +; ; Reference works +; 7 .urveys +; E .peciali<ed studies +; 6 0rimary sources +7 3:ternal links

8rigins 2efore the Revolution" #he #hirteen /olonies are in pink =i$eralism and repu$licanism !ohn =ocke's ideas on li$eralism greatly influenced the political minds $ehind the revolutionC for instance, his theory of the 5social contract5 implied the natural right of the people to overthrow their leaders, should those leaders $etray the historic rights of 3nglishmen Historians find little trace of !ean*!acques Rousseau's influence in America @7A )n terms of writing state and national constitutions, the Americans used Fontesquieu's analysis of the ideally 5$alanced5 2ritish /onstitution A motivating force $ehind the revolution %or first /ivil War& was the American em$race of a political ideology called 5repu$licanism5, which was dominant in many of the colonies $y +,,6 #he 5country party5 in 2ritain, whose critique of 2ritish government emphasi<ed that corruption was to $e feared, influenced American politicians #he colonists associated the 5court5 with lu:ury and inherited aristocracy, which many 2ritish Americans increasingly condemned /orruption was the greatest possi$le evil, and civic virtue required men to put civic duty ahead of their personal desires Fen had a civic duty to fight for their country For women, 5repu$lican motherhood5 $ecame the ideal, e:emplified $y A$igail Adams and Fercy 8tis WarrenC the first duty of the repu$lican woman was to instill repu$lican values in her children and to avoid lu:ury and ostentation #he 5Founding Fathers5 were strong advocates of repu$licanism, especially .amuel Adams, 0atrick Henry, #homas 0aine, 2enGamin Franklin, Heorge Washington, #homas !efferson, and !ohn Adams @EA 9avigation Acts Fain articles" 9avigation Acts, Fercantilism, and Writs of Assistance Hreat 2ritain regulated the economies of the colonies through the 9avigation Acts according to the doctrines of mercantilism, which stated that anything that $enefited the 3mpire %and hurt other empires& was good policy Widespread evasion of these laws had long $een tolerated 9ow, through the use of open*ended search warrants %Writs of Assistance&, strict enforcement of these Acts $ecame the practice )n +,-+, Fassachusetts lawyer !ames 8tis argued that the writs violated the constitutional rights of the colonists He lost the case, $ut !ohn Adams later wrote, 5American independence was then and there $orn 5 )n +,-;, 0atrick Henry argued the 0arson's /ause in Iirginia, where the legislature had passed a law and it was vetoed $y the Jing Henry argued, 5that a Jing, $y disallowing Acts of this salutary nature,

from $eing the father of his people, degenerated into a #yrant and forfeits all right to his su$Gects' o$edience 5@6A Western Frontier Fain articles" 2ritish Royal 0roclamation of +,-7 and Kue$ec Act #he 0roclamation of +,-7 restricted coloni<ation across the Appalachian Fountains as this was to $e )ndian #erritory Regardless, groups of settlers continued to move west and lay claim to )ndian =and #he proclamation was soon modified and was no longer a hindrance to settlement, $ut its promulgation and the fact that it had $een written without consulting Americans angered the colonists #he Kue$ec Act of +,,E e:tended Kue$ec's $oundaries to the 8hio River, shutting out the claims of the thirteen colonies 2y then, however, the Americans had little regard for new laws from =ondonC they were drilling militia and organi<ing for war @-A #a:ation without representation Fain article" 9o ta:ation without representation 2y +,-7, Hreat 2ritain possessed vast holdings in 9orth America )n addition to the thirteen colonies, twenty*two smaller colonies were ruled directly $y royal governors Iictory in the .even Dears' War had given Hreat 2ritain 9ew France %/anada&, .panish Florida, and the 9ative American lands east of the Fississippi River )n 9orth America there were si: /olonies that remained loyal to 2ritain #he colonies included" 0rovince of Kue$ec, 0rovince of 9ova .cotia, /olony of 2ermuda, 0rovince of West Florida and the 0rovince of 3ast Florida )n +,-6 however, the colonists still considered themselves loyal su$Gects of the 2ritish /rown, with the same historic rights and o$ligations as su$Gects in 2ritain @,A #he 2ritish did not e:pect the colonies to contri$ute to the interest or the retirement of de$t incurred during the French and )ndian War, $ut they did e:pect a portion of the e:penses for colonial defense to $e paid $y the Americans 3stimating the e:penses of defending the continental colonies and the West )ndies to $e appro:imately L;>>,>>> annually, the 2ritish goal after the end of this war was that the colonies would $e ta:ed for L,1,>>> of this needed amount @1A #he issues with the colonists were $oth that the ta:es were high and that the colonies had no representation in the 0arliament which passed the ta:es =ord 9orth in +,,6 argued for the 2ritish position that 3nglishmen paid on average twenty*five shillings annually in ta:es whereas Americans paid only si:pence %the average 3nglishman, however, also earned quite a $it more& @BA /olonists, however, as early as +,-E, with respect to the .ugar Act, indicated that Mthe margin of profit in rum was so small that molasses could $ear no duty whatever N@+>A #he phrase 59o ta:ation without representation5 $ecame popular in many American circles =ondon argued that the Americans were represented 5virtually5C $ut most Americans reGected the theory that men in =ondon, who knew nothing a$out their needs and conditions, could represent them @++A 9ew ta:es +,-E Fain articles" .ugar Act, /urrency Act, 2attle of Holden Hill, and Kuartering Act )n +,-E, 0arliament enacted the .ugar Act and the /urrency Act, further ve:ing the colonists 0rotests led to a powerful new weapon, the systemic $oycott of 2ritish goods #he 2ritish pushed the colonists even further that same year $y also enacting the Kuartering Act, which stated that 2ritish soldiers were to $e cared for $y residents in certain areas .tamp Act +,-6 Fain article" .tamp Act +,-6 2urning of the HaspOe)n +,-6 the .tamp Act was the first direct ta: ever levied $y 0arliament on the colonies All newspapers, almanacs, pamphlets, and official documentsPeven decks of playing cards Pwere required to have the stamps All +7 colonies protested vehemently, as popular leaders such as 0atrick Henry in Iirginia and !ames 8tis in Fassachusetts, rallied the people in opposition A secret group, the 5.ons of =i$erty5 formed in many towns and threatened violence if anyone sold the stamps, and no one did )n 2oston, the .ons of =i$erty $urned the records of the vice*admiralty court and

looted the elegant home of the chief Gustice, #homas Hutchinson .everal legislatures called for united action, and nine colonies sent delegates to the .tamp Act /ongress in 9ew Dork /ity in 8cto$er +,-6 Foderates led $y !ohn (ickinson drew up a 5(eclaration of Rights and Hrievances5 stating that ta:es passed without representation violated their Rights of 3nglishmen =ending weight to the argument was an economic $oycott of 2ritish merchandise, as imports into the colonies fell from L;,;6>,>>> in +,-E to L+,BEE,>>> in +,-6 )n =ondon, the Rockingham government came to power and 0arliament de$ated whether to repeal the stamp ta: or send an army to enforce it 2enGamin Franklin eloquently made the American case, e:plaining the colonies had spent heavily in manpower, money, and $lood in defense of the empire in a series of wars against the French and )ndians, and that further ta:es to pay for those wars were unGust and might $ring a$out a re$ellion 0arliament agreed and repealed the ta:, $ut in a 5(eclaratory Act5 of Farch +,-- insisted that parliament retained full power to make laws for the colonies 5in all cases whatsoever 5@6A #ownshend Act +,-, and 2oston Fassacre +,,> Fain articles" #ownshend Act and 2oston Fassacre )n +,-,, the 0arliament passed the #ownshend Acts, which placed a ta: on a num$er of essential goods including paper, glass, and tea Angered at the ta: increases, colonists organi<ed a $oycott of 2ritish goods )n 2oston on Farch 6, +,,>, a large mo$ gathered around a group of 2ritish soldiers #he mo$ grew more and more threatening, throwing snow$alls,rocks and de$ris at the soldiers 8ne soldier was clu$$ed and fell All $ut one of the soldiers fired into the crowd 3leven people were hitC #hree civilians were killed at the scene of the shooting, and two died after the incident #he event quickly came to $e called the 2oston Fassacre Although the soldiers were tried and acquitted %defended $y !ohn Adams&, the e:aggerated and widespread descriptions soon $ecame propaganda to turn colonial sentiment against the 2ritish #his in turn $egan a downward spiral in the relationship $etween 2ritain and the 0rovince of Fassachusetts #ea Act +,,7 #his +1E- lithograph has $ecome a classic image of the 2oston #ea 0arty Fain articles" #ea Act and 2oston #ea 0arty )n !une +,,;, in what $ecame known as the HaspOe Affair, a 2ritish warship that had $een vigorously enforcing unpopular trade regulations was $urned $y American patriots .oon afterwards, Hovernor #homas Hutchinson of Fassachusetts reported that he and the royal Gudges would $e paid directly from =ondon, thus $ypassing the colonial legislature 8n (ecem$er +-, +,,7, a group of men, led $y .amuel Adams and dressed to evoke American )ndians, $oarded the ships of 2ritish tea merchants and dumped an estimated L+>,>>> worth of tea on $oard into the har$or #his event $ecame known as the 2oston #ea 0arty and remains a significant part of American patriotic lore )ntolera$le Acts +,,E Fain article" )ntolera$le Acts An American version of =ondon cartoon that denounces the 5rape5 of 2oston in +,,E $y the )ntolera$le Acts #he 2ritish government responded $y passing several Acts which came to $e known as the )ntolera$le Acts, which further darkened colonial opinion towards the 2ritish #hey consisted of four laws enacted $y the 2ritish parliament @+;A #he first was the Fassachusetts Hovernment Act, which altered the Fassachusetts charter and restricted town meetings #he second Act, the Administration of !ustice Act, ordered that all 2ritish soldiers to $e tried were to $e arraigned in 2ritain, not in the colonies #he third Act was the 2oston 0ort Act, which closed the port of 2oston until the 2ritish had $een compensated for the tea lost in the 2oston #ea 0arty %the 2ritish never received such a payment& #he fourth Act was the Kuartering Act of +,,E, which allowed governors to house 2ritish troops in unoccupied $uildings #he First /ontinental /ongress endorsed the .uffolk Resolves, which declared the )ntolera$le Acts to $e unconstitutional, called for the people to form militias, and called for Fassachusetts to form a 0atriot government

American political opposition American political opposition was initially through the colonial assem$lies such as the .tamp Act /ongress )n +,-6, the .ons of =i$erty were formed which used violence and threats of violence to ensure that the 2ritish ta: laws were unenforcea$le )n late +,,; after the HaspOe Affair, .amuel Adams set a$out creating new /ommittees of /orrespondence which linked 0atriots in all thirteen colonies and eventually provided the framework for a re$el government )n early +,,7, Iirginia, the largest colony, set up its /ommittee of /orrespondence, on which 0atrick Henry and #homas !efferson served @+7A )n +,,E, the /ontinental /ongress was formed to serve as a provisional national government )n response to the Fassachusetts Hovernment Act Fassachusetts 2ay and then other colonies formed provisional governments called 0rovincial /ongress /ommittee of .afety were created for the enforcement of the resolutions of the /ommittees of /orrespondence and the /ontinental /ongress #he people of Worcester set up an armed picket line in front of the local courthouse and refused to allow 2ritish magistrates to enter .imilar events soon occurred all across the colony 2ritish troops were sent from 3ngland, $ut $y the time they arrived, the entire colony of Fassachusetts, with the e:ception of the heavily garrisoned city of 2oston, had thrown off 2ritish control of local affairs Fighting $egins at =e:ington" +,,6 !oin, or (ie $y 2enGamin Franklin was recycled to encourage the former colonies to unite against 2ritish rule #he 2attle of =e:ington and /oncord took place April +B, +,,6, when the 2ritish sent a regiment to confiscate arms and arrest revolutionaries in /oncord )t was the first fighting of the American Revolutionary War, and immediately the news aroused the +7 colonies to call out their militias and send troops to $esiege 2oston #he 2attle of 2unker Hill followed on !une +,, +,,6 2y late spring +,,-@when?A, with Heorge Washington as commander, the Americans forced the 2ritish to evacuate 2oston #he patriots were in control everywhere in the +7 colonies and were ready to declare independence While there still were many =oyalists, they were no longer in control anywhere $y !uly +,,-, and all of the 2ritish Royal officials had fled @+EA #he .econd /ontinental /ongress convened in +,,6, after the war had started #he /ongress created the /ontinental Army and e:tended the 8live 2ranch 0etition to the crown as an attempt at reconciliation Jing Heorge ))) refused to receive it, issuing instead the 0roclamation of Re$ellion, requiring action against the 5traitors 5 #here would $e no negotiations whatsoever until +,17 Factions" 0atriots, =oyalists and 9eutrals 0atriots * #he Revolutionaries Fain article" 0atriot %American Revolution& At the time, revolutionaries were called '0atriots', 'Whigs', '/ongress*men', or 'Americans' #hey included a full range of social and economic classes, $ut a unanimity regarding the need to defend the rights of Americans After the war, 0atriots such as Heorge Washington, !ames Fadison, !ohn Adams, Ale:ander Hamilton, and !ohn !ay were deeply devoted to repu$licanism while also eager to $uild a rich and powerful nation, while 0atriots such as 0atrick Henry, 2enGamin Franklin, and #homas !efferson represented democratic impulses and the agrarian plantation element that wanted a locali<ed society with greater political equality #he word 5patriot5 is used in this conte:t simply to mean a person in the colonies who sided with the American revolution /alling the revolutionaries 5patriots5 is a long standing historical convention, and was done at the time )t is not meant to e:press $ias in favor of either side @citation neededA =oyalists and neutrals Fain article" =oyalist %American Revolution& While there is no way of knowing the actual num$ers, historians estimate ;6? to 77? of the colonists remained loyal to the 2ritish /rownC these were known at the time as '=oyalists', '#ories', or 'Jing's men' A third remained neutral and another third were known as Re$els or 0atriots depending on whose

side one was on =oyalists were typically older, less willing to $reak with old loyalties, often connected to the Anglican church, and included many esta$lished merchants with $usiness connections across the 3mpire, for e:ample, #homas Hutchinson of 2oston HoweverC this was America's first civil war and like most civil wars it divided families, such as the Franklins William Franklin, son of 2enGamin Franklin and Hovernor of 9ew !ersey remained =oyal to the /rown throughout the war and never spoke to his father again Recent immigrants who had not $een fully Americani<ed were also inclined to support the Jing, such as recent .cottish settlers in the $ack countryC among the more striking e:amples of this, see Flora Fac(onald @+6A #here are nota$le e:amples of =oyalists who were not high*$orn, however, and it seems unlikely that their num$ers are included in estimates of the num$er of =oyalists 9ota$le among these were 9ative Americans, who mostly reGected American pleas that they remain neutral Fost groups aligned themselves with the loyalists #here were also incentives provided $y $oth sides that helped to secure the affiliations of regional peoples and leaders, and the tri$es that depended most heavily upon colonial trade tended to side with the revolutionaries, though political factors were important as well #he most prominent 9ative American leader siding with the =oyalists was !oseph 2rant of the Fohawk nation, who led frontier raids on isolated settlements in 0ennsylvania and 9ew Dork until an American army under !ohn .ullivan secured 9ew Dork in +,,B, forcing all the =oyalist )ndians permanently into /anada @+-A Another poorly*documented group that Goined the =oyalist cause were African*American slaves, who were actively recruited into the 2ritish forces in return for manumission, protection for their families, and the %often $roken& promise of land grants Following the war, many of these 52lack =oyalists5 settled in 9ova .cotia, 4pper and =ower /anada, and other parts of the 2ritish 3mpire, where the descendants of some remain today @+,A A minority of uncertain si<e tried to stay neutral in the war Fost kept a low profile However, the Kuakers, especially in 0ennsylvania, were the most important group that was outspoken for neutrality As patriots declared independence, the Kuakers, who continued to do $usiness with the 2ritish, were attacked as supporters of 2ritish rule, 5contrivers and authors of seditious pu$lications5 critical of the revolutionary cause @+1A After the war, the great maGority of =oyalists remained in America and resumed normal lives .ome, such as .amuel .ea$ury, $ecame prominent American leaders -;,>>> =oyalists %of the total estimated num$er of E6>*6>>,>>>& relocated to /anada %E;,>>> according to the /anadian $ook on =oyalists, #rue 2lue&, 2ritain %,,>>>& or to Florida %@num$er missingA& or the West )ndies %+7,>>>&, making it one of the largest mass migrations in history #his made up appro:imately ;? of the total population of the colonies When the =oyalists left the .outh in +,17, they took thousands of their slaves with them to the 2ritish West )ndies,@+BA where their descendants would $ecome free men ;- years earlier than their 4nited .tates counterparts /lass differences among the 0atriots Historians, such as ! Franklin !ameson in the early ;>th century, e:amined the class composition of the 0atriot cause, looking for evidence that there was a class war inside the revolution )n the last 6> years, historians have largely a$andoned that interpretation, emphasi<ing instead the high level of ideological unity !ust as there were rich and poor =oyalists, the 0atriots were a 'mi:ed lot', with the richer and $etter educated more likely to $ecome officers in the Army )deological demands always came first" the 0atriots viewed independence as a means of freeing themselves from 2ritish oppression and ta:ation and, a$ove all, reasserting what they considered to $e their rights Fost yeomen farmers, craftsmen, and small merchants Goined the patriot cause as well, demanding more political equality #hey were especially successful in 0ennsylvania and less so in 9ew 3ngland, where !ohn Adams attacked #homas 0aine's /ommon .ense for the 5a$surd democratical notions5 it proposed @;>A Women A$igail Adams Fain article" Women in the American Revolution

All types of women contri$uted to the American Revolution in multiple ways =ike men, women participated on $oth sides of the war Among women, Anglo*Americans, African Americans, and 9ative Americans also divided $etween the patriot and loyalist causes While formal Revolutionary politics did not include women, ordinary domestic $ehaviors $ecame charged with political significance as Whig women confronted a war that permeated all aspects of political, civil, and domestic life 0atriot women participated $y $oycotting 2ritish goods, spying on the 2ritish, following armies as they marched, washing, cooking, and tending for soldiers, delivering secret messages, and fighting disguised as men A$ove all, they continued the agricultural work at home to feed the armies and their families #he $oycott of 2ritish goods involved the willing participation of American womenC@citation neededA the $oycotted items were largely household items such as tea and cloth Women had to return to spinning and weavingPskills that had fallen into disuse )n +,-B, the women of 2oston produced E>,>>> skeins of yarn, and +1> women in Fiddletown, Fassachusetts, wove ;>,6;; yards %+1,,-6 m& of cloth @;+A A crisis of political loyalties could also disrupt the fa$ric of colonial America womenQs social worlds" whether a man did or did not renounce his allegiance to the king could dissolve ties of class, family, and friendship, isolating women from former connections A womanQs loyalty to her hus$and, once a private commitment, could $ecome a political act, especially for women in America committed to men who remained loyal to Hreat 2ritain African Americans, $oth men and women, understood Revolutionary rhetoric as promising freedom and equality #hese hopes were not reali<ed Although $oth 2ritish and American governments made promises of freedom for service throughout the war and many slaves attempted to $etter their lives $y fighting in or assisting the armies, the war ultimately $rought few changes for African American women $oth slave and free After the Revolution, gradual a$olition occurred in the 9orth, $ut slavery e:panded in the .outh and racial preGudice was near universal in the new nation For 9ative Americans, the American Revolution was not a war of patriotism or independence Fany 9ative Americans wished to remain neutral, seeing little value in participating yet again in a 3uropean conflict, $ut most were forced to take sides (uring the war, 9ative American towns were often among the first to $e attacked $y patriot militias, sometimes without regard to which side the inha$itants espoused 8ne of the most fundamental effects of the war on 9ative American women was the disruption of home, family, and agricultural life /reating new state constitutions Following the 2attle of 2unker Hill in !une +,,-, the 0atriots had control of all the territory and populationC the =oyalists were powerless All thirteen states had overthrown their e:isting governments, closing courts and driving 2ritish agents and governors from their homes #hey had elected conventions and 5legislatures5 that e:isted outside of any legal frameworkC new constitutions were needed in each state to replace the superseded royal charters #hey were states now, not colonies @;;A 8n !anuary 6, +,,-, 9ew Hampshire ratified the first state constitution, si: months $efore the signing of the (eclaration of )ndependence #hen, in Fay +,,-, /ongress voted to suppress all forms of crown authority, to $e replaced $y locally created authority Iirginia, .outh /arolina, and 9ew !ersey created their constitutions $efore !uly E Rhode )sland and /onnecticut simply took their e:isting royal charters and deleted all references to the crown @;7A #he new states had to decide not only what form of government to create, they first had to decide how to select those who would craft the constitutions and how the resulting document would $e ratified )n states where the wealthy e:erted firm control over the process, such as Faryland, Iirginia, (elaware, 9ew Dork and Fassachusetts, the results were constitutions that featured" .u$stantial property qualifications for voting and even more su$stantial requirements for elected positions %though 9ew Dork and Faryland lowered property qualifications&C@;;A 2icameral legislatures, with the upper house as a check on the lowerC

.trong governors, with veto power over the legislature and su$stantial appointment authorityC Few or no restraints on individuals holding multiple positions in governmentC #he continuation of state*esta$lished religion )n states where the less affluent had organi<ed sufficiently to have significant powerPespecially 0ennsylvania, 9ew !ersey, and 9ew HampshirePthe resulting constitutions em$odied universal white manhood suffrage, or minimal property requirements for voting or holding office %9ew !ersey enfranchised some property owning widows, a step that it retracted ;6 years later&C (r 2enGamin Rush, +,17strong, unicameral legislaturesC relatively weak governors, without veto powers, and little appointing authorityC prohi$ition against individuals holding multiple government postsC Whether conservatives or radicals held sway in a state did not mean that the side with less power accepted the result quietly #he radical provisions of 0ennsylvania's constitution lasted only fourteen years )n +,B>, conservatives gained power in the state legislature, called a new constitutional convention, and rewrote the constitution #he new constitution su$stantially reduced universal white* male suffrage, gave the governor veto power and patronage appointment authority, and added an upper house with su$stantial wealth qualifications to the unicameral legislature #homas 0aine called it a constitution unworthy of America @;EA Filitary history" e:pulsion of the 2ritish +,,#he military history of the war in +,,6 focused on 2oston, held $y the 2ritish $ut surrounded $y militia from near$y colonies #he /ongress selected Heorge Washington as commander in chief, and he forced the 2ritish to evacuate the city in Farch +,,- At that point the 0atriots controlled virtually all of the +7 colonies and were ready to consider independence @;6A )ndependence, +,,/ommon .ense $y #homas 0aineFain article" American Revolutionary War 8n !anuary +>, +,,-, #homas 0aine pu$lished a political pamphlet entitled /ommon .ense arguing that the only solution to the pro$lems with 2ritain was repu$licanism and independence from Hreat 2ritain @;-A )n the ensuing months, $efore the 4nited .tates as a political unit declared its independence, several states individually declared their independence Iirginia, for instance, declared its independence from Hreat 2ritain on Fay +6 8n !uly ;, +,,-, /ongress declared the independence of the 4nited .tatesC two days later, on !uly E, it adopted the (eclaration of )ndependence, which date is now cele$rated as the 4. independence day Although the $ulk of delegates signed the (eclaration on that date, signing continued over the ne:t several months $ecause many mem$ers weren't immediately availa$le #he war $egan in April +,,6, while the declaration was issued in !uly +,,- 4ntil this point, the colonies had sought favora$le peace termsC now all the states called for independence @;,A #he Articles of /onfederation and 0erpetual 4nion, commonly known as the Articles of /onfederation, formed the first governing document of the 4nited .tates of America, com$ining the colonies into a loose confederation of sovereign states #he .econd /ontinental /ongress adopted the Articles in 9ovem$er +,,,, though they were not formally ratified until Farch +, +,1+ 8n that date the /ontinental /ongress was dissolved and the new government of the 4nited .tates in /ongress Assem$led was formed @;1A@;BA War Fain article" American Revolutionary War 2ritish return" +,,-*+,,, #he 2ritish returned in force in August +,,-, engaging the fledgling /ontinental Army for the first time in the largest action of the Revolution in the 2attle of =ong )sland #hey eventually sei<ed 9ew Dork /ity and nearly captured Heneral Washington #hey made the city their main political and military $ase, holding it until +,17 #hey also held 9ew !ersey, $ut in a surprise attack, Washington crossed the (elaware into 9ew !ersey and defeated 2ritish armies at #renton and 0rinceton, there$y

reviving the 0atriot cause and regaining 9ew !ersey )n +,,,, the 2ritish launched two uncoordinated attacks #he army $ased in 9ew Dork /ity defeated Washington and captured the national capital at 0hiladelphia .imultaneously a second army invaded from /anada with the goal of cutting off 9ew 3ngland )t was trapped and captured at the 2attle of .aratoga, 9ew Dork, in 8cto$er +,,, #he victory encouraged the French to officially enter the war, as 2enGamin Franklin negotiated a permanent military alliance in early +,,1 =ater .pain %in +,,B& and the (utch $ecame allies of the French, leaving 2ritain to fight a maGor war alone without maGor allies and trying to slip through a com$ined $lockade of the Atlantic #he American theatre thus $ecame only one front in 2ritain's war @7>A 2ecause of the alliance and the deteriorating military situation, .ir Henry /linton, the 2ritish commander, evacuated 0hiladelphia to reinforce 9ew Dork /ity Heneral Washington attempted to intercept the retreating column, resulting in the 2attle of Fonmouth /ourt House, the last maGor $attle fought in the northern states After an inconclusive engagement, the 2ritish successfully retreated to 9ew Dork /ity #he northern war su$sequently $ecame a stalemate, as the focus of attention shifted to the southern theatre @7>A 2ritish attack on the .outh, +,,1*+,17 #he siege of Dorktown ended with the surrender of a 2ritish army, paving the way for the end of the American Revolutionary War )n late (ecem$er +,,1, the 2ritish captured .avannah and started moving north into .outh /arolina 9orthern Heorgia was spared occupation during this time period, due to the 0atriots victory at the 2attle of Jettle /reek in Wilkes /ounty, Heorgia #he 2ritish moved on to capture /harleston and set up a network of forts inland, $elieving the =oyalists would rally to the flag 9ot enough =oyalists turned out, however, and the 2ritish had to fight their way north into 9orth /arolina and Iirginia, where they e:pected to $e rescued $y the 2ritish fleet #hat fleet was defeated $y a French fleet, however #rapped at Dorktown, Iirginia, and under a com$ined 4. and French assault, the 2ritish army, under the command of Heneral /ornwallis, surrendered their main com$at army to Washington in 8cto$er +,1+ Although Jing Heorge ))) wanted to fight on, his supporters lost control of 0arliament, and the war effectively ended for America @7>A A final naval $attle was fought $y /aptain !ohn 2arry and his crew of the Alliance as three 2ritish warships led $y the HF. .y$il tried to take the payroll of the /ontinental Army on Farch +>, +,17 off the coast of /ape /anaveral #reason issue )n August +,,6, the Jing declared Americans in arms to $e traitors to the /rown #he 2ritish government at first started treating American prisoners as common criminals #hey were thrown into Gail and preparations were made to $ring them to trial for treason =ord Hermain and =ord .andwich were especially eager to do so Fany of the prisoners taken $y the 2ritish at 2unker Hill apparently e:pected to $e hanged 2ut the government declined to take the ne:t step" treason trials and e:ecutions #here were tens of thousands of =oyalists under American control who would have $een at risk for treason trials of their own %$y the Americans&, and the 2ritish $uilt much of their strategy around using these =oyalists After the surrender at .aratoga in +,,,, there were thousands of 2ritish prisoners in American hands who were effectively hostages #herefore no American prisoners were put on trial for treason, and although most were $adly treated and many died nonetheless,@7+A@7;A eventually they were technically accorded the rights of $elligerents )n +,1;, $y act of 0arliament, they were officially recogni<ed as prisoners of war rather than traitors At the end of the war, $oth sides released their surviving prisoners @77A 0eace treaty Fain article" #reaty of 0aris %+,17& #he peace treaty with 2ritain, known as the #reaty of 0aris, gave the 4 . all land east of the Fississippi River and south of the Hreat =akes, though not including Florida %8n .eptem$er 7, +,17, 2ritain entered into a separate agreement with .pain under which 2ritain ceded Florida $ack to .pain & #he 9ative American nations actually living in this region were not a party to this treaty and did not recogni<e it until they were defeated militarily $y the 4nited .tates )ssues regarding $oundaries and de$ts were not resolved until the !ay #reaty of +,B6 @7EA

Aftermath of war For roughly five percent of the inha$itants of the 4nited .tates, defeat was followed $y e:ile Appro:imately +>>,>>> 4nited 3mpire =oyalists left the newly founded repu$lic, most settling in the remaining 2ritish colonies in 9orth America, such as the 0rovince of Kue$ec %concentrating in the 3astern #ownships&, 0rince 3dward )sland, and 9ova .cotia #he new colonies of 4pper /anada %now 8ntario& and 9ew 2runswick were created $y 2ritain for their $enefit @76A Worldwide influence #he Revolution $egan in states without inherited rank or position, despite the unsuccessful efforts of the .ociety of the /incinnati to create such a division After the Revolution, genuinely democratic politics, such as those of Fatthew =yon, $ecame possi$le, despite the opposition and dismay of the Federalist 0arty @7-A #he rights of the people were incorporated into state constitutions #hus came the widespread assertion of li$erty, individual rights, equality and hostility toward corruption which would prove core values of repu$licanism to Americans #he greatest challenge to the old order in 3urope was the challenge to inherited political power and the democratic idea that government rests on the consent of the governed #he e:ample of the first successful revolution against a 3uropean empire provided a model for many other colonial peoples who reali<ed that they too could $reak away and $ecome self* governing nations @7,A Forocco was the first country to recogni<e the independence of the 4nited .tates of America from the Jingdom of Hreat 2ritain in +,,, #he two countries signed the Foroccan*American #reaty of Friendship ten years later Friesland, one of the seven 4nited 0rovinces of the (utch Repu$lic, was the ne:t to recogni<e American independence %on Fe$ruary ;-, +,1;, followed $y the .taten*Heneraal of the (utch Repu$lic on April +B, +,1;& !ohn Adams $ecame the first 4. Am$assador in #he Hague @71A #he American Revolution was the first wave of the Atlantic Revolutions that took hold in the French Revolution, the Haitian Revolution, and the =atin American wars of li$eration Aftershocks reached )reland in the +,B1 rising, in the 0olish*=ithuanian /ommonwealth, and in the 9etherlands @7BA #he Revolution had a strong, immediate impact in Hreat 2ritain, )reland, the 9etherlands, and France Fany 2ritish and )rish Whigs spoke in favor of the American cause #he Revolution, along with the (utch Revolt %end of the +-th century& and the 3nglish /ivil War %in the +,th century&, was one of the first lessons in overthrowing an old regime for many 3uropeans who later were active during the era of the French Revolution, such as Farquis de =afayette #he American (eclaration of )ndependence had some impact on the French (eclaration of the Rights of Fan and the /iti<en of +,1B @E>A@E+A #he 9orth American states' new*found independence from the 2ritish 3mpire allowed slavery to continue in the 4nited .tates until +1-6, 7; years after it was $anned in all 2ritish colonies )t also cost the 9ative Americans dearlyC they had $een protected under 2ritish rule, $ut in the newly formed 4nited .tates, their treaties were torn up, their rights were withdrawn and finally, their lands were taken )nterpretations )nterpretations a$out the effect of the Revolution vary At one end of the spectrum is the older view that the American Revolution was not 5revolutionary5 at all, that it did not radically transform colonial society $ut simply replaced a distant government with a local one @E;A A more recent view pioneered $y historians such as 2ernard 2ailyn, Hordon Wood, and 3dmund Forgan is that the American Revolution was a unique and radical event that produced deep changes and had a profound impact on world affairs, $ased on an increasing $elief in the principles of repu$licanism, such as peoples' natural rights, and a system of laws chosen $y the people @E7A 9ational de$t .ee also" 4nited .tates pu$lic de$t #he national de$t after the American Revolution fell into three categories #he first was the R++ million owed to foreignersPmostly de$ts to France during the American Revolution #he second and thirdP roughly R;E million eachPwere de$ts owed $y the national and state governments to Americans who had sold food, horses, and supplies to the revolutionary forces /ongress agreed that the power and the

authority of the new government would pay for the foreign de$ts #here were also other de$ts that consisted of promissory notes issued during the Revolutionary War to soldiers, merchants, and farmers who accepted these payments on the premise that the new /onstitution would create a government that would pay these de$ts eventually #he war e:penses of the individual states added up to R++E,>>>,>>>, compared to R7, million $y the central government @EEA )n +,B>, /ongress com$ined the state de$ts with the foreign and domestic de$ts into one national de$t totaling R1> million 3veryone received face value for wartime certificates, so that the national honor would $e sustained and the national credit esta$lished .ee also Founding Fathers of the 4nited .tates Filitary leadership in the American Revolutionary War #imeline of 4nited .tates revolutionary history %+,->*+,1B& =ist of /ontinental Forces in the American Revolutionary War 2attles of the Revolutionary War =ist of plays and films a$out the American Revolution