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American Revolution

This article is about political and social developments,

and the origins and aftermath of the war. For military
actions, see American Revolutionary War. For other
uses, see American Revolution (disambiguation).
In this article, inhabitants of the Thirteen Colonies
who supported the American Revolution are primarily
referred to as Americans or "Patriots, and sometimes
as Whigs, Rebels or Revolutionaries. Colonists
who supported the British side are called "Loyalists" or
"Tories". In accordance with the policy of this encyclopedia, this article uses American English terminology; in
British English these events are known as the American
War of Independence.

ots in the other colonies rallied behind Massachusetts.

In late 1774 the Patriots set up their own alternative
government to better coordinate their resistance eorts
against Britain, while other colonists, known as loyalists,
preferred to remain subjects of the British Crown. For
some who identied themselves with the Patriot cause,
particularly colonial merchants in Virginia, a break with
Britain oered a chance to repudiate long-standing debts
to British creditors.[3]
Tensions escalated to the outbreak of ghting between
Patriot militia and British regulars at Lexington and Concord in April 1775, after which the Patriot Suolk Resolves eectively replaced the Royal government of Massachusetts and conned the British to control of the city of
Boston. The conict then evolved into a civil war, during
which the Patriots (and later their French, Spanish and
Dutch allies) fought the British and Loyalists in what became known as the American Revolutionary War (1775
1783). Patriots in each of the thirteen colonies formed
a Provincial Congress that usurped power from the old
colonial governments and suppressed Loyalism. Claiming King George IIIs rule to be tyrannical and infringing the colonists "rights as Englishmen", the Continental Congress declared the colonies free and independent
states in July 1776. The Patriot leadership professed the
political philosophies of liberalism and republicanism to
reject monarchy and aristocracy, and proclaimed that all
men are created equal. Congress rejected British proposals for compromise that would keep them under the king.

John Trumbull's Declaration of Independence, showing the

Committee of Five presenting its work to Congress

The British were forced out of Boston in 1776, but then

captured and held New York City for the duration of
the war, nearly capturing General Washington and his
army. The British blockaded the ports and captured other
cities for brief periods, but failed to defeat Washingtons
forces. In early 1778, following a failed patriot invasion
of Canada, a British army was captured by a patriot army
at the Battle of Saratoga, following which the French entered the war as allies of the United States. The war later
turned to the American South, where the British captured
an army at South Carolina, but failed to enlist enough
volunteers from Loyalist civilians to take eective control. A combined AmericanFrench force captured a second British army at Yorktown in 1781, eectively ending the war in the United States. A peace treaty in 1783
conrmed the new nations complete separation from the
British Empire. The United States took possession of
nearly all the territory east of the Mississippi River and
south of the Great Lakes, with the British retaining control of Canada and Spain taking Florida.

The American Revolution was a political upheaval that

took place between 1765 and 1783 during which rebel
colonists in the Thirteen American Colonies rejected the
British monarchy and aristocracy, overthrew the authority
of Great Britain, and founded the United States of America.
Starting in 1765, members of American colonial society rejected the authority of the British Parliament to
tax them and resisted renewed British attempts to collect duties on goods such as sugar and molasses that
for many years had gone uncollected through widespread
smuggling by colonists.[1] During the following decade,
protests by rebellious colonistsknown as patriots
continued to escalate, as in the Boston Tea Party in 1773
during which patriots destroyed a consignment of taxed
English tea whose price had been reduced to combat
smuggling.[2] The British responded by imposing punitive lawsthe Coercive Actson Massachusetts in 1774
until the tea had been paid for, following which Patri1


In the period after the peace treaty in 1783, Loyalists

were subjected to extreme suppression and acts of arbitrary violence, including murder by lynching, despite
a promise by patriot leaders to British negotiators that
Loyalist rights would be respected. A large proportion
were driven o their land and forced to ee as refugees
to Canada.[4][5]
Among the signicant results of the revolution was the
creation of a democratically-elected representative government theoretically responsible to the will of the people, but which as a result of the 'Three-Fifths Compromise' allowed the southern slaveholders to consolidate
power and maintain slavery in America for another eighty
years.[6] The new Constitution established a relatively
strong federal national government that included a strong
elected president, national courts, a bicameral Congress
that represented both states in the Senate and population
in the House of Representatives. Congress had powers
of taxation that were lacking under the old Articles. The
United States Bill of Rights of 1791 comprised the rst
ten amendments to the Constitution, guaranteeing many
"natural rights" that were inuential in justifying the revolution, and attempted to balance a strong national government with strong state governments and broad personal
liberties. The American shift to liberal republicanism,
and the gradually increasing democracy, caused an upheaval of traditional social hierarchy and gave birth to
the ethic that has formed a core of political values in the
United States.[7][8]


Background to 1763

The British began colonizing North America in the 17th

century. The colonies established along the Atlantic coast
were governed by charters granted by the King, each permitting a substantial amount of self-governance. Crown
colonies (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York,
New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina
and Georgia) imitated the mixed monarchy constitutional structure of Great Britain. Each had an elected
assembly which constituted the lower house of the legislature, a council appointed (except in Massachusetts)
by the crown constituting the upper house, and an appointed governor with executive powers representing the
King. All laws had to be submitted to the home government for approval, but otherwise there was little interference. Proprietary colonies (Pennsylvania, Delaware,
and Maryland) also had elected assemblies but the proprietors, not the crown, appointed the governors. Charter colonies (Connecticut and Rhode island) elected both
houses of the legislature and the governor and did not
have to submit their laws for approval.[9]
Parliament legislated regarding matters of an imperial
concern. As early as 1621 London introduced legisla-

Eastern North America in 1775. The British Province of

Quebec, the Thirteen Colonies on the Atlantic coast and the
Indian Reserve as dened by the Royal Proclamation of 1763.
The 1763 Proclamation line comprises the border between the
red and the pink areas, while the orange area represents the
Spanish claim.

tion to levy duties on shipments of Virginian tobacco that

passed into English ports, though in return the planters
enjoyed protection and a guaranteed market. English
growers were prohibited by law to raise tobacco crops,
and producers of rice and indigo (a blue plant dye) in
South Carolina received similar privileges. In common
with all European nations which had colonies, the English Navigation Acts of the late 17th century restricted
colonial trade for the benet of the mother country in accordance with mercantilist theory. To ensure adequate
auxiliary vessels were available in wartime, the Acts also
encouraged the colonists to invest in shipping, but particularly in New England, an unintentional outcome was a
ourishing and very hard to control, smuggling industry.
The sheer scale of the problem of patrolling 3000 miles
of American coastline with a tiny number of English customs and revenue cutters meant that colonial shippers
could evade duties with comparative ease.[10] Because the
Acts did not apply to inter-colonial trade, colonial shippers were aorded plenty of opportunities for bypassing the meagre British customs controls, using a mixture
of convoluted routes, bribery and false paperwork which
misrepresented or under-declared their cargoes so that
very little duty was paid at all.[11] The close proximity
of the European island plantations in the Caribbean provided easy transit points for colonial shippers, who made


17641766: Taxes imposed and withdrawn

regular round trips south to with livestock, timber, grain

and tobacco which they bartered for slaves, ne cloth,
linens, soap, sugar and molasses, used in the production
of rum.
The French and Indian War ended in 1763 with the conquest of French Canada and the expulsion of France from
mainland North America by British and provincial forces.
The war left Britain in considerable debt, and it therefore
made plans to ensure a more productive collection of existing duties from the colonists. In addition, following the
Pontiac Rebellion, which led to considerable loss of life
and territory by Native Americans, the British Crown issued the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which set a boundary running along the foot of the Appalachian Mountains
from Florida and Georgia to the Gulf of the St. Lawrence
beyond which colonists were not to settle. The purpose
was to save money from having to administer any new
lands and prevent additional war with the inhabitants.


17641766: Taxes imposed and withdrawn

Main articles: Sugar Act, Currency Act, Quartering Acts,

Stamp Act 1765 and Declaratory Act
Further information: No taxation without representation
and Virtual representation
In 1764 Parliament passed the Currency Act to restrain
the use of paper money that British merchants saw as a
means to evade debt payments. Parliament also passed
the Sugar Act imposing customs duties on a number of
articles. That same year Prime Minister George Grenville
proposed to impose direct taxes on the colonies to raise
revenue, but delayed action to see if the colonies would
propose some way to raise the revenue themselves. None
did, and in March 1765 Parliament passed the Stamp Act
which imposed direct taxes on the colonies for the rst
time. All ocial documents, newspapers, almanacs and
pamphletseven decks of playing cardswere required
to have the stamps.
The colonists objected chiey on the grounds not that the
taxes were high (they were low),[12] but because they had
no representation in the Parliament. Benjamin Franklin
testied in Parliament in 1766 that Americans already
contributed heavily to the defense of the Empire. He said
local governments had raised, outtted and paid 25,000
soldiers to ght Franceas many as Britain itself sent
and spent many millions from American treasuries doing
so in the French and Indian War alone.[13][14] Stationing a
standing army in Great Britain during peacetime was politically unacceptable. London had to deal with 1,500 politically well-connected British ocers who became redundant; it would have to discharge them or station them
in North America.[15]

Notice of Stamp Act of 1765 in newspaper

able. While openly hostile to what they considered an

oppressive Parliament acting illegally, colonists persisted
in sending numerous petitions and pleas for intervention
from a monarch to whom they still claimed loyalty. In
Boston, the Sons of Liberty burned the records of the
vice-admiralty court and looted the home of the chief
justice, Thomas Hutchinson. Several legislatures called
for united action, and nine colonies sent delegates to the
Stamp Act Congress in New York City in October 1765.
Moderates led by John Dickinson drew up a "Declaration
of Rights and Grievances" stating that taxes passed without representation violated their rights as Englishmen. At
the same time, however, they rejected the idea of being provided with representation in Parliament, declaring it impossible due to the distance involved. Colonists
emphasized their determination by boycotting imports of
British merchandise.[16]

In 1765 the Sons of Liberty formed. They used pub- The Parliament at Westminster saw itself as the supreme
lic demonstrations, boycott, violence and threats of vi- lawmaking authority throughout all British possessions
olence to ensure that the British tax laws were unenforce- and thus entitled to levy any tax without colonial


approval.[17] They argued that the colonies were legally

British corporations that were completely subordinate
to the British parliament and pointed to numerous instances where Parliament had made laws binding on the
colonies in the past.[18] They did not see anything in the
unwritten British constitution that made taxes special[19]
and noted that Parliament had taxed American trade for
decades. Parliament insisted that the colonies eectively
enjoyed a "virtual representation" like most British people did, as only a small minority of the British population
elected representatives to Parliament.[20] Americans such
as James Otis maintained the Americans were not in fact
virtually represented.[21]
In London, the Rockingham government came to power
(July 1765) and Parliament debated whether to repeal the
stamp tax or to send an army to enforce it. Benjamin
Franklin made the case for repeal, explaining the colonies
had spent heavily in manpower, money, and blood in defense of the empire in a series of wars against the French
and Indians, and that further taxes to pay for those wars
were unjust and might bring about a rebellion. Parliament
agreed and repealed the tax (February 21, 1766), but in
the Declaratory Act of March 1766 insisted that parliament retained full power to make laws for the colonies in
all cases whatsoever.[22] The repeal nonetheless caused
widespread celebrations in the colonies.


17671773: Townshend Acts and the

Tea Act

Main articles: Townshend Acts and Tea Act

Further information: Massachusetts Circular Letter,
Boston Massacre and Boston Tea Party
In 1767 the Parliament passed the Townshend Acts,
which placed duties on a number of essential goods including paper, glass, and tea and established a Board of
Customs in Boston to more rigorously execute trade regulations. The new taxes were enacted on the belief that
Americans only objected to internal taxes and not external taxes like custom duties. The Americans, however, argued against the constitutionality of the act because its purpose was to raise revenue and not regulate
trade. Colonists responded by organizing new boycotts
of British goods. These boycotts were less eective, however, as the Townshend goods were widely used.
In February 1768 the Assembly of Massachusetts Bay
issued a circular letter to the other colonies urging them
to coordinate resistance. The governor dissolved the assembly when it refused to rescind the letter. Meanwhile,
in June 1768 a riot broke out in Boston over the seizure
of the sloop Liberty, owned by John Hancock, for alleged
smuggling. Custom ocials were forced to ee, prompting the British to deploy troops to Boston. A Boston town
meeting declared no obedience was due to parliamentary
laws and called for the convening of a convention. A convention assembled but only issued a mild protest before

Burning of the Gaspee

dissolving itself. In January 1769 Parliament responded

to the unrest by reactivating the Treason Act 1543 which
permitted subjects outside the realm to face trials for treason in England. The governor of Massachusetts was instructed to collect evidence of said treason, and although
the threat was not carried out it caused widespread outrage.
On March 5, 1770 a large mob gathered around a group
of British soldiers. The mob grew more and more threatening, throwing snowballs, rocks and debris at the soldiers. One soldier was clubbed and fell.[23] There was no
order to re but the soldiers red into the crowd anyway.
They hit 11 people; three civilians died at the scene of
the shooting, and two died after the incident. The event
quickly came to be called the Boston Massacre. Although
the soldiers were tried and acquitted (defended by John
Adams), the widespread descriptions soon became propaganda to turn colonial sentiment against the British. This
in turn began a downward spiral in the relationship between Britain and the Province of Massachusetts.[23]
A new ministry under Lord North came to power in 1770
and Parliament withdrew all taxes except the tax on tea,
giving up its eorts to raise revenue while maintaining
the right to tax. This temporarily resolved the crisis and
the boycott of British goods largely ceased, with only the


17741775: Intolerable Acts and the Quebec Act

more radical patriots such as Samuel Adams continuing price of taxed tea exported to the colonies in order to
to agitate.
help the East India Company undersell smuggled Dutch
tea. Special consignees were appointed to sell the tea
in order to bypass colonial merchants. The act was opposed not only by those who resisted the taxes but also
by smugglers who stood to lose business. In most instances the consignees were forced to resign and the tea
was turned back, but Massachusetts governor Hutchinson
refused to allow Boston merchants to give into pressure.
A town meeting in Boston determined that the tea would
not be landed, and ignored a demand from the governor
to disperse. On December 16, 1773 a group of men, led
by Samuel Adams and dressed to evoke American Indians, boarded the ships of the British East India Company and dumped 10,000 worth of tea from their holds
(approximately 636,000 in 2008) into Boston Harbor.
Decades later this event became known as the Boston Tea
This 1846 lithograph by Nathaniel Currier was entitled The
Party and remains a signicant part of American patriotic
Destruction of Tea at Boston Harbor"; the phrase "Boston Tea
Party" had not yet become standard.[24]
In June 1772, in what became known as the Gaspee Af- 1.4
fair, American patriots including John Brown burned a
British warship that had been vigorously enforcing unpopular trade regulations. The aair was investigated for
possible treason, but no action was taken.

17741775: Intolerable Acts and the

Quebec Act

In 1772 it became known that the Crown intended to

pay xed salaries to the governors and judges in Massachusetts. Samuel Adams in Boston set about creating
new Committees of Correspondence, which linked Patriots in all 13 colonies and eventually provided the framework for a rebel government. In early 1773 Virginia, the
largest colony, set up its Committee of Correspondence,
on which Patrick Henry and Thomas Jeerson served.[25]
A total of about 7000 to 8000 Patriots served on Committees of Correspondence at the colonial and local levels, comprising most of the leadership in their communities Loyalists were excluded. The committees became
the leaders of the American resistance to British actions,
and largely determined the war eort at the state and local level. When the First Continental Congress decided to
boycott British products, the colonial and local Committees took charge, examining merchant records and publishing the names of merchants who attempted to defy the
boycott by importing British goods.[26]
In 1773 private letters were published where Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson claimed the
colonists could not enjoy all English liberties, and Lieutenant Governor Andrew Oliver called for the direct payment of colonial ocials. The letters, whose contents
were used as evidence of a systematic plot against American rights, discredited Hutchinson in the eyes of the
people the Assembly petitioned for his recall. Benjamin
Franklin, post-master general for the colonies, acknowledged that he leaked the letters which led to him being
berated by British ocials and red from his job.

A 1774 etching from The London Magazine, copied by Paul

Revere of Boston. Prime Minister Lord North, author of the
Boston Port Act, forces the Intolerable Acts down the throat of
America, whose arms are restrained by Lord Chief Justice
Manseld while Lord Sandwich pins down her feet and peers
up her robes. Behind them, Mother Britannia weeps helplessly.

Main articles: Quebec Act and Intolerable Acts

The British government responded by passing several

Acts which came to be known as the Intolerable Acts,
which further darkened colonial opinion towards the
British. They consisted of four laws enacted by the British
parliament.[28] The rst, the Massachusetts Government
Act, altered the Massachusetts charter and restricted town
meetings. The second Act, the Administration of Justice
Act, ordered that all British soldiers to be tried were to
be arraigned in Britain, not in the colonies. The third
Meanwhile, Parliament passed the Tea Act to lower the Act was the Boston Port Act, which closed the port of


Boston until the British had been compensated for the

tea lost in the Boston Tea Party. The fourth Act was the
Quartering Act of 1774, which allowed royal governors
to house British troops in the homes of citizens without
requiring permission of the owner.[29]

government to create, and also how to select those who

would craft the constitutions and how the resulting document would be ratied. But there would be no universal surage and real power, including the right to elect
the future President would still lay in the hands of a few
In response, Massachusetts patriots issued the Suolk selected elites for many years. On 26 May 1776 John
Resolves and formed an alternative shadow government Adams wrote James Sullivan from Philadelphia;
known as the Provincial Congress which began training Depend upon it, sir, it is dangerous to open so fruitful a
militia outside British-occupied Boston.[30] In September source of controversy and altercation, as would be opened
1774, the First Continental Congress convened, consist- by attempting to alter the qualications of voters. There
ing of representatives from each of the colonies, to serve will be no end of it. New claims will arise. Women will
as a vehicle for deliberation and collective action. During demand a vote. Lads from twelve to twenty one will think
secret debates conservative Joseph Galloway proposed their rights not enough attended to, and every man, who
the creation of a colonial Parliament that would be able has not a farthing, will demand an equal voice with any
to approve or disapprove of acts of the British Parliament other in all acts of state. It tends to confound and destroy
but his idea was not accepted. The Congress instead en- all distinctions, and prostrate all ranks, to one common
dorsed the proposal of John Adams that Americans would level.[35][36]
obey Parliament voluntarily but would resist all taxes in In states where the wealthy exerted rm control over
disguise. Congress called for a boycott beginning on 1 the process, such as Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, New
December 1774 of all British goods; it was enforced by York and Massachusetts the last-mentioned of these
new committees authorized by the Congress.[31]
states constitutions still being in force in the 21st cenThe Quebec Act of 1774 extended Quebec's boundaries tury, continuously since its ratication on June 15, 1780
to the Ohio River, shutting out the claims of the 13 the results were constitutions that featured:
colonies. By then, however, the Americans had little regard for new laws from London; they were drilling militia
Substantial property qualications for voting and
and organizing for war.[32]
even more substantial requirements for elected poThe British retaliated by conning all trade of the New
sitions (though New York and Maryland lowered
England colonies to Britain and excluding them from the
property qualications);[33]
Newfoundland sheries. Lord North advanced a compro Bicameral legislatures, with the upper house as a
mise proposal in which Parliament would not tax so long
check on the lower;
as the colonies made xed contributions for defense and
to support civil government. This would also be rejected.
Strong governors, with veto power over the legislature and substantial appointment authority;

Creating new state constitutions

Following the Battle of Bunker Hill in June 1775, the Patriots had control of Massachusetts outside the Boston
city limits; the Loyalists suddenly found themselves on
the defensive with no protection from the British army.
In all 13 colonies, Patriots had overthrown their existing governments, closing courts and driving British ofcials away. They had elected conventions and legislatures that existed outside any legal framework; new constitutions were drawn up in each state to supersede royal
charters. They declared that they were states now, not
On January 5, 1776, New Hampshire ratied the rst
state constitution. In May 1776, Congress voted to suppress all forms of crown authority, to be replaced by locally created authority. Virginia, South Carolina, and
New Jersey created their constitutions before July 4.
Rhode Island and Connecticut simply took their existing
royal charters and deleted all references to the crown.[34]
The new states were all committed to republicanism, with
no inherited oces. They decided not only what form of

Few or no restraints on individuals holding multiple

positions in government;
The continuation of state-established religion.
In states where the less auent had organized suciently
to have signicant powerespecially Pennsylvania, New
Jersey, and New Hampshirethe resulting constitutions
universal white manhood surage, or minimal property requirements for voting or holding oce (New
Jersey enfranchised some property owning widows,
a step that it retracted 25 years later);
strong, unicameral legislatures;
relatively weak governors, without veto powers, and
little appointing authority;
prohibition against individuals holding multiple government posts;



Further information: Shot heard 'round the world, Boston
campaign, Invasion of Canada (1775) and American
Revolutionary War
Massachusetts was declared in a state of rebellion in
February 1775 and the British garrison received orders
to disarm the rebels and arrest their leaders, leading to
the Battles of Lexington and Concord on 19 April 1775.
The Patriots set siege to Boston, expelled royal ocials
from all the colonies, and took control through the establishment of Provincial Congresses. The Battle of Bunker
Hill followed on June 17, 1775. While a British victory,
it was at a great cost; about 1,000 British casualties from
a garrison of about 6,000, as compared to 500 American
casualties from a much larger force.[37][38] First ostensibly loyal to the king and desiring to govern themselves
while remaining in the empire, the repeated pleas by the
First Continental Congress for royal intervention on their
behalf with Parliament resulted in the declaration by the
King that the states were in rebellion, and the members
of Congress were traitors.
Benjamin Rush, 1783

The radical provisions of Pennsylvanias constitution

lasted only 14 years. In 1790, conservatives gained power
in the state legislature, called a new constitutional convention, and rewrote the constitution. The new constitution substantially reduced universal white-male suffrage, gave the governor veto power and patronage appointment authority, and added an upper house with substantial wealth qualications to the unicameral legislature. Thomas Paine called it a constitution unworthy of

In the winter of 1775, the Americans invaded Canada.

General Richard Montgomery captured Montreal but a
joint attack on Quebec was a total failure; many Americans were captured or died of smallpox.
In March 1776, with George Washington as the commander of the new army, the Continental Army forced
the British to evacuate Boston. The revolutionaries were
now in full control of all 13 colonies and were ready to
declare independence. While there still were many Loyalists, they were no longer in control anywhere by July
1776, and all of the Royal ocials had ed.[39]

3.1 Prisoners

Military hostilities begin

Join, or Die by Benjamin Franklin was recycled to encourage

the former colonies to unite against British rule.

Main article: Prisoners of war in the American Revolutionary War

In August 1775, George III declared Americans in arms
against royal authority to be traitors to the Crown. Following their surrender at the Battles of Saratoga in October 1777, there were thousands of British and Hessian soldiers in American hands. Although Lord Germain took a hard line, the British generals on the scene
never held treason trials; they treated captured enemy soldiers as prisoners of war.[40] The dilemma was that tens
of thousands of Loyalists were under American control
and American retaliation would have been easy. The
British built much of their strategy around using these
Loyalists.[41] Therefore, no Americans were put on trial
for treason. The British maltreated the prisoners they
held, resulting in more deaths to American sailors and
soldiers than from combat operations.[41] At the end of
the war, both sides released their surviving prisoners.[42]


Independence and Union

5 Defending the Revolution

Main article: American Revolutionary War

5.1 British return: 17761777

Further information: New York and New Jersey
campaign, Staten Island Peace Conference, Saratoga
campaign and Philadelphia campaign
According to British historian Jeremy Black, the British
had signicant advantages including a highly trained
army, the worlds largest navy and a highly ecient system of public nance that could easily fund the war. However, the British were seriously handicapped by their misunderstanding of the depth of support for the Patriot posiJohannes Adam Simon Oertel. Pulling Down the Statue of King tion. Ignoring the advice of General Gage, they misinterGeorge III, N.Y.C., ca. 1859. The painting is a romanticised ver- preted the situation as merely a large-scale riot. London
sion of the Sons of Liberty destroying the symbol of monarchy
decided that by sending a large military and naval force
following the reading of the United States Declaration of Indethey could overawe the Americans and force them to be
pendence to the Continental Army and residents on the New York
loyal again:
City commons by George Washington, July 9th, 1776.
Further information: Lee Resolution, Articles of
Confederation, Committee of Five and United States
Declaration of Independence

Convinced that the Revolution was the

work of a full few miscreants who had rallied an armed rabble to their cause, they expected that the revolutionaries would be intimidated. Then the vast majority of Americans,
who were loyal but cowed by the terroristic tactics would rise up, kick out the rebels, and
restore loyal government in each colony.[47]

In April 1776 the North Carolina Provincial Congress issued the Halifax Resolves, explicitly authorizing its delegates to vote for independence.[43] In May Congress
called on all the states to write constitutions, and eliminate the last remnants of royal rule.
After Washington forced the British out of Boston in
By June nine colonies were ready for independence; one the spring of 1776, neither the British nor the Loyalby one the last fourPennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland ists controlled any signicant areas. The British, however, were massing forces at their naval base at Halifax,
and New Yorkfell into line. Richard Henry Lee was
Scotia. They returned in force in July 1776, landinstructed by the Virginia legislature to propose indepening in New York and defeating Washingtons Continental
dence, and he did so on June 7, 1776. On the 11th a
committee was created to draft a document explaining Army at the Battle of Brooklyn in August. After winning
the Battle of Brooklyn, the British requested a meeting
the justications for separation from Britain. After sefrom Congress to negotiate an end
curing enough votes for passage, independence was voted with representatives
to hostilities.[48][49]
for on July 2. The Declaration of Independence, drafted
largely by Thomas Jeerson and presented by the com- A delegation including John Adams and Benjamin
mittee, was slightly revised and unanimously adopted by Franklin met Howe on Staten Island in New York Harbor
the entire Congress on July 4, marking the formation of a on September 11, in what became known as the Staten Isnew sovereign nation, which called itself the United States land Peace Conference. Howe demanded a retraction of
of America.[44]
the Declaration of Independence, which was refused, and
The Second Continental Congress approved a new con- negotiations ended. The British then quickly seized New
stitution, the Articles of Confederation, for ratication York City and nearly captured Washingtons army. They
by the states on November 15, 1777, and immediately be- made New York their main political and military base
gan operating under their terms. The Articles were for- of operations in North America, holding it until Novemmally ratied on March 1, 1781. At that point, the Conti- ber 1783. The city became the destination for Loyalist
and a focal point of Washingtons intelligence
nental Congress was dissolved and on the following day a refugees,[48][49]
new government of the United States in Congress Assembled took its place, with Samuel Huntington as presiding The British also took New Jersey, pushing the Continenocer.[45][46]
tal Army into Pennsylvania. In a surprise attack in late


The British move South, 17781783

December 1776 Washington crossed the Delaware River fully retreated to New York City. The northern war subback into New Jersey and defeated Hessian and British sequently became a stalemate, as the focus of attention
armies at Trenton and Princeton, thereby regaining con- shifted to the smaller southern theater.[53]
trol of most of New Jersey. The victories gave an important boost to Patriots at a time when morale was agging,
and have become iconic events of the war.
In 1777, as part of a grand strategy to end the war, the
British sent an invasion force from Canada to seal o
New England, which the British perceived as the primary
source of agitators. In a major case of mis-coordination,
the British army in New York City went to Philadelphia
which it captured from Washington. The invasion army
under Burgoyne waited in vain for reinforcements from
New York, and became trapped in northern New York
state. It surrendered after the Battle of Saratoga in October 1777. From early October 1777 until November
15 a pivotal siege at Fort Miin, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania distracted British troops and allowed Washington
time to preserve the Continental Army by safely leading
his troops to harsh winter quarters at Valley Forge.


Hessian troops hired out to the British by their German


American alliances after 1778

5.3 The British move South, 17781783

Further information: France in the American Revolutionary War and Spain in the American Revolutionary Further information: Southern theater of the American
Revolutionary War and Naval operations in the American Revolutionary War
The capture of a British army at Saratoga encouraged the
French to formally enter the war in support of Congress, The British strategy in America now concentrated on
as Benjamin Franklin negotiated a permanent military a campaign in the southern states. With fewer regular
alliance in early 1778, signicantly becoming the rst troops at their disposal, the British commanders saw the
country to ocially recognize the Declaration of Inde- southern strategy as a more viable plan, as the south was
pendence. On February 6, 1778, a Treaty of Amity and perceived as being more strongly Loyalist, with a large
Commerce and a Treaty of Alliance were signed between population of recent immigrants as well as large numbers
the United States and France.[50] William Pitt spoke out in of slaves who might be captured or run away to join the
parliament urging Britain to make peace in America, and British.[54]
unite with America against France, while other British
politicians who had previously sympathised with colonial Beginning in late December 1778, the British captured
grievances now turned against the American rebels for al- Savannah and controlled the Georgia coastline. In 1780
they launched a fresh invasion and took Charleston as
lying with Britains international rival and enemy.[51]
well. A signicant victory at the Battle of Camden meant
Later Spain (in 1779) and the Dutch (1780) became al- that royal forces soon controlled most of Georgia and
lies of the French, leaving the British Empire to ght South Carolina. The British set up a network of forts ina global war alone without major allies, and requiring land, hoping the Loyalists would rally to the ag.[55]
it to slip through a combined blockade of the Atlantic.
The American theater thus became only one front in Not enough Loyalists turned out, however, and the British
Britains war.[52] The British were forced to withdraw had to ght their way north into North Carolina and Virtroops from continental America to reinforce the valuable ginia, with a severely weakened army. Behind them much
sugar-producing Caribbean colonies, which were consid- of the territory they had already captured dissolved into
a chaotic guerrilla war, fought predominantly between
ered more important.
bands of Loyalist and American militia, which negated
Because of the alliance with France and the deteriorating many of the gains the British had previously made.[55]
military situation, Sir Henry Clinton, the British commander, evacuated Philadelphia to reinforce New York
City. General Washington attempted to intercept the 5.3.1 Yorktown 1781
retreating column, resulting in the Battle of Monmouth
Court House, the last major battle fought in the north. Main article: Siege of Yorktown
After an inconclusive engagement, the British successThe British army under Cornwallis marched to



178283.[62] The treasury was empty, and the unpaid soldiers were growing restive, almost to the point of mutiny
or possible coup d'tat. The unrest among ocers of the
Newburgh Conspiracy was personally dispelled by Washington in 1783, and Congress subsequently created the
promise of a ve years bonus for all ocers.[63]

6 Peace treaty
Main article: Treaty of Paris (1783)

The siege of Yorktown ended with the surrender of a second

British army, marking eective British defeat.

Yorktown, Virginia where they expected to be rescued by

a British eet.[56] The eet showed up but so did a larger
French eet, so the British eet after the Battle of the
Chesapeake returned to New York for reinforcements,
leaving Cornwallis trapped. In October 1781 under a
combined siege by the French and Continental armies under Washington, the British surrendered their second invading army of the war.[57]


The peace treaty with Britain, known as the Treaty of

Paris, gave the U.S. all land east of the Mississippi
River and south of the Great Lakes, though not including Florida (On September 3, 1783, Britain entered into a
separate agreement with Spain under which Britain ceded
Florida back to Spain.) The British abandoned the Indian
allies living in this region; they were not a party to this
treaty and did not recognize it until they were defeated
militarily by the United States. Issues regarding boundaries and debts were not resolved until the Jay Treaty of
1795.[64] Since the blockade was lifted and the old imperial restrictions were gone, American merchants were
free to trade with any nation anywhere in the world, and
their businesses ourished.

The end of the war

Historians continue to debate whether the odds for American victory were long or short. John E. Ferling says the
odds were so long that the American victory was Almost
A Miracle.[58] On the other hand, Joseph Ellis says the
odds favored the Americans, and asks whether there ever
was any realistic chance for the British to win. He argues that this opportunity came only once, in the summer
of 1776 and the British failed that test. Admiral Howe
and his brother General Howe, missed several opportunities to destroy the Continental Army....Chance, luck,
and even the vagaries of the weather played crucial roles.
Elliss point is that the strategic and tactical decisions of
the Howes were fatally awed because they underestimated the challenges posed by the Patriots. Ellis concludes that once the Howe brothers failed, the opportunity
for a British victory would never come again.[59]
Support for the conict had never been strong in Britain,
where many sympathized with the rebels, but now it
reached a new low.[60] Although King George III personally wanted to ght on, his supporters lost control of
Parliament, and no further major land oensives were
launched in the American Theater.[53][61]
Washington could not know that after Yorktown the
British would not reopen hostilities. They still had 26,000
troops occupying New York City, Charleston and Savannah, together with a powerful eet. The French army and
navy departed, so the Americans were on their own in

6.1 Impact on Britain

Losing the war and the 13 colonies was a shock to
Britain. The war revealed the limitations of Britains
scal-military state when it discovered it suddenly faced
powerful enemies, with no allies, and dependent on extended and vulnerable transatlantic lines of communication. The defeat heightened dissension and escalated political antagonism to the Kings ministers. Inside parliament, the primary concern changed from fears of an
over-mighty monarch to the issues of representation, parliamentary reform, and government retrenchment. Reformers sought to destroy what they saw as widespread
institutional corruption.[65][66]
The result was a powerful crisis, 17761783. The peace
in 1783 left France nancially prostrate, while the British
economy boomed thanks to the return of American business. The crisis ended after 1784 thanks to the Kings
shrewdness in outwitting Charles James Fox (the leader
of the Fox-North Coalition), and renewed condence in
the system engendered by the leadership of the new Prime
Minister, William Pitt. Historians conclude that loss of
the American colonies enabled Britain to deal with the
French Revolution with more unity and better organization than would otherwise have been the case.[65][66]
Britain turned towards Asia, the Pacic and later Africa
with subsequent exploration leading to the rise of the
Second British Empire.[67]



Britains war against the Americans, French and Spanish cost about 100 million. The Treasury borrowed
40% of the money it needed.[68] Heavy spending brought
France to the verge of bankruptcy and revolution, while
the British had relatively little diculty nancing their
war, keeping their suppliers and soldiers paid, and hiring
tens of thousands of German soldiers.[69]
Britain had a sophisticated nancial system based on the
wealth of thousands of landowners, who supported the
government, together with banks and nanciers in London. The ecient British tax system collected about 12
percent of the GDP in taxes during the 1770s.[69]
In sharp contrast, Congress and the American states had
no end of diculty nancing the war.[70] In 1775 there
was at most 12 million dollars in gold in the colonies, not
nearly enough to cover current transactions, let alone nance a major war. The British made the situation much
worse by imposing a tight blockade on every American
port, which cut o almost all imports and exports. One
partial solution was to rely on volunteer support from
militiamen, and donations from patriotic citizens.[71]
Another was to delay actual payments, pay soldiers and
suppliers in depreciated currency, and promise it would
be made good after the war. Indeed, in 1783 the soldiers and ocers were given land grants to cover the
wages they had earned but had not been paid during the
war. Not until 1781, when Robert Morris was named
Superintendent of Finance of the United States, did the
national government have a strong leader in nancial

their morale and adding to the hardships suered by their

Beginning in 1777, Congress repeatedly asked the states
to provide money. But the states had no system of taxation either, and were little help. By 1780 Congress was
making requisitions for specic supplies of corn, beef,
pork and other necessitiesan inecient system that
kept the army barely alive.[75][76]
Starting in 1776, the Congress sought to raise money by
loans from wealthy individuals, promising to redeem the
bonds after the war. The bonds were in fact redeemed in
1791 at face value, but the scheme raised little money
because Americans had little specie, and many of the
rich merchants were supporters of the Crown. Starting
in 1776, the French secretly supplied the Americans with
money, gunpowder, and munitions in order to weaken its
arch enemy, Great Britain. When France ocially entered the war in 1778, the subsidies continued, and the
French government, as well as bankers in Paris and Amsterdam loaned large sums to the American war eort.
These loans were repaid in full in the 1790s.[77]

8 Concluding the Revolution

Main articles: Philadelphia Convention and United
States Bill of Rights
See also: Annapolis Convention (1786) and The Federalist Papers

8.1 Creating a more perfect union and

guaranteeing rights
Morris used a French loan in 1782 to set up the private Bank of North America to nance the war. Seeking greater eciency, Morris reduced the civil list, saved
money by using competitive bidding for contracts, tightened accounting procedures, and demanded the national
governments full share of money and supplies from the
confederated states.[71]
Congress used four main methods to cover the cost of the
war, which cost about 66 million dollars in specie (gold
and silver).[72] Congress made two issues of paper money,
in 17751780, and in 178081. The rst issue amounted
to 242 million dollars. This paper money would supposedly be redeemed for state taxes, but the holders were
eventually paid o in 1791 at the rate of one cent on the
dollar. By 1780, the paper money was not worth a Continental, as people said.[73]

See also: Federalist Party, Annapolis Convention (1786)

and United States Bill of Rights
After the war nally ended in 1783, there was a period
of prosperity. The national government, still operating
under the Articles of Confederation, was able to settle
the issue of the western territories, which were ceded by
the states to Congress. American settlers moved rapidly
into those areas, with Vermont, Kentucky and Tennessee
becoming states in the 1790s.[78]
However, the national government had no money to pay
either the war debts owed to European nations and the
private banks, or to pay Americans who had been given
millions of dollars of promissory notes for supplies during the war. Nationalists, led by Washington, Alexander
Hamilton and other veterans, feared that the new nation
was too fragile to withstand an international war, or even
internal revolts such as the Shays Rebellion of 1786 in

The skyrocketing ination was a hardship on the few people who had xed incomesbut 90 percent of the people
were farmers, and were not directly aected by that ination. Debtors beneted by paying o their debts with
depreciated paper.The greatest burden was borne by the
soldiers of the Continental Army, whose wagesusually Calling themselves Federalists, the nationalists conin arrearsdeclined in value every month, weakening vinced Congress to call the Philadelphia Convention in


1787.[79] It adopted a new Constitution that provided for

a much stronger federal government, including an eective executive in a check-and-balance system with the
judiciary and legislature.[80] After a erce debate in the
states over the nature of the proposed new government,
the Constitution was ratied in 1788. The new government under President George Washington took oce in
New York in March 1789.[81] As assurances to those who
were cautious about federal power, amendments to the
Constitution guaranteeing many of the inalienable rights
that formed a foundation for the revolution were spearheaded in Congress by James Madison, and later ratied
by the states in 1791.


National debt

Further information: United States public debt and

Alexander Hamilton


The ideological movement known as the American Enlightenment was a critical precursor to the American
Revolution. Chief among the ideas of the American
Enlightenment were the concepts of liberalism, republicanism and fear of corruption. Collectively, the acceptance of these concepts by a growing number of American colonists began to foster an intellectual environment
which would lead to a new sense of political and social
9.1.1 Natural rights and republicanism
Main articles: John Locke and Republicanism in the
United States
John Locke's (16321704) ideas on liberty greatly in-

The national debt after the American Revolution fell into

three categories. The rst was the $12 million owed to
foreignersmostly money borrowed from France. There
was general agreement to pay the foreign debts at full
value. The national government owed $40 million and
state governments owed $25 million to Americans who
had sold food, horses, and supplies to the revolutionary
forces. There were also other debts 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 Constitution would
create a government that would pay these debts eventually.
The war expenses of the individual states added up
to $114 million compared to $37 million by the central government.[82] In 1790, at the recommendation of
rst Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton,
Congress combined the remaining state debts with the
foreign and domestic debts into one national debt totaling
$80 million. Everyone received face value for wartime
certicates, so that the national honor would be sustained
and the national credit established.[83]

In this c. 1772 portrait by John Singleton Copley, Samuel

Adams points at the Massachusetts Charter, which he viewed as
a constitution that protected the peoples rights.[84]

Ideology and factions

uenced the political thinking behind the revolution, especially through his indirect inuence on English writers
such as John Trenchard, Thomas Gordon, and Benjamin
Hoadly, whose political ideas in turn had a strong inuence on the American revolutionaries.[85] Locke is often
referred to as the philosopher of the American Revolution, and is credited with leading Americans to the
critical concepts of social contract, natural rights, and
9.1 Ideology behind the Revolution
born free and equal.[86] Lockes Two Treatises of Government, published in 1689, were especially inuential;
Main articles: American Enlightenment, Liberalism in Locke in turn was inuenced by Protestant theology.[87]
the United States and Republicanism in the United States He argued that, as all humans were created equally free,
The population of the 13 Colonies was far from homogeneous, particularly in their political views and attitudes.
Loyalties and allegiances varied widely not only within
regions and communities, but also within families and
sometimes shifted during the course of the Revolution.


Ideology behind the Revolution

governments needed the consent of the governed.[88]

Both Lockean concepts were central to the United States
Declaration of Independence, which deduced human
equality, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness from
the biblical belief in creation: All men are created equal,
... they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. In late eighteenth-century America, belief
in equality by creation and rights by creation was still
The Declaration also referred to the Laws of Nature
and of Natures God as justication for the Americans
separation from the British monarchy. Most eighteenthcentury Americans believed that nature, the entire universe, was Gods creation.[90] Therefore, he was Natures
God. Everything, including man, was part of the universal order of things, which began with God and was
pervaded and directed by his providence.[91] Accordingly,
the signers of the Declaration professed their rm reliance on the Protection of divine Providence. And they
appealed to the Supreme Judge [God] for the rectitude
of [their] intentions.[92] Like most of his countrymen,
George Washington was rmly convinced that he was an
instrument of providence, to the benet not only of the
American people but of all of humanity.[93]

liberties of their countrymen and countrywomen. John
Adams, writing to Mercy Otis Warren in 1776, agreed
with some classical Greek and Roman thinkers in that
Public Virtue cannot exist without private, and public
Virtue is the only Foundation of Republics. He continued:
There must be a positive Passion for the
public good, the public Interest, Honour,
Power, and Glory, established in the Minds
of the People, or there can be no Republican Government, nor any real Liberty. And
this public Passion must be Superior to all private Passions. Men must be ready, they must
pride themselves, and be happy to sacrice
their private Pleasures, Passions, and Interests,
nay their private Friendships and dearest connections, when they Stand in Competition with
the Rights of society.[100]

For women, "republican motherhood" became the ideal,

exemplied by Abigail Adams and Mercy Otis Warren;
the rst duty of the republican woman was to instill republican values in her children and to avoid luxury and
The theory of the "social contract" inuenced the be- ostentation.
lief among many of the Founders that among the natural rights of man was the right of the people to overthrow their leaders, should those leaders betray the historic rights of Englishmen.[94][95] In terms of writing state
and national constitutions, the Americans heavily used
Montesquieu's analysis of the wisdom of the balanced
British Constitution (mixed government).
A motivating force behind the revolution was the American embrace of a political ideology called republicanism, which was dominant in the colonies by 1775, but of
minor importance back in Great Britain. The republicanism was inspired by the "country party" in Great Britain,
whose critique of British government emphasized that
corruption was a terrible reality in Great Britain.[96]
Americans feared the corruption was crossing the Atlantic; the commitment of most Americans to republican values and to their rights, energized the revolution,
as Britain was increasingly seen as hopelessly corrupt and
hostile to American interests. Britain seemed to threaten
the established liberties that Americans enjoyed.[97] The
greatest threat to liberty was depicted as corruptionnot
just in London but at home as well. The colonists associated it with luxury and, especially, inherited aristocracy,
which they condemned.[98]
The Founding Fathers were strong advocates of republican values, particularly Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry,
John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jeerson,
Thomas Paine, George Washington, James Madison and
Alexander Hamilton,[99] which required men to put civic
duty ahead of their personal desires. Men had a civic
duty to be prepared and willing to ght for the rights and

Thomas Paine's pamphlet Common Sense, published in 1776


Fusing republicanism and liberalism While some

republics had emerged throughout history, such as the
Roman Republic of the ancient world, one based on liberal principles had never existed. Thomas Paines bestseller pamphlet Common Sense appeared in January 1776,
after the Revolution had started. It was widely distributed
and loaned, and often read aloud in taverns, contributing
signicantly to spreading the ideas of republicanism and
liberalism together, bolstering enthusiasm for separation
from Great Britain, and encouraging recruitment for the
Continental Army.[101]
Paine provided a new and widely accepted argument for
independence, by advocating a complete break with history. Common Sense is oriented to the future in a way
that compels the reader to make an immediate choice. It
oered a solution for Americans disgusted and alarmed
at the threat of tyranny.[101]


war commenced. The Revolution was in the

minds and hearts of the people ... This radical
change in the principles, opinions, sentiments,
and aections of the people was the real American Revolution.[107]
In terms of class, Loyalists tended to have longstanding
social and economic connections to British merchants and
government; for instance, prominent merchants in major port cities such as New York, Boston and Charleston
tended to be Loyalists, as did men involved with the fur
trade along the northern frontier. In addition, ocials of
colonial government and their stas, those who had established positions and status to maintain, favored maintaining relations with Great Britain. They often were linked
to British families in England by marriage as well.

By contrast, Patriots by number tended to be yeomen

farmers, especially in the frontier areas of New York and
backcountry of Pennsylvania, Virginia and down the
9.1.2 Impact of Great Awakening
Appalachian mountains. They were craftsmen and small
merchants. Leaders of both the Patriots and the Loyalists
Main article: First Great Awakening
were men of educated, propertied classes. The Patriots
included many prominent men of the planter class from
Dissenting (i.e. Protestant, non-Church of England)
Virginia and South Carolina, for instance, who became
churches of the day were the school of democracy.[102]
leaders during the Revolution, and formed the new govPresident John Witherspoon of the College of New Jerernment at the national and state levels.
sey (now Princeton University) wrote widely circulated
sermons linking the American Revolution to the teach- To understand the opposing groups, historians have asings of the Hebrew Bible. Throughout the colonies, dis- sessed evidence of their hearts and minds. In the midsenting Protestant ministers (Congregationalist, Baptist, 20th century, historian Leonard Woods Labaree identiand Presbyterian) preached Revolutionary themes in their ed eight characteristics of the Loyalists that made them
sermons, while most Church of England clergymen essentially conservative; traits to those characteristic of
preached loyalty to the King.[103] Religious motivation the Patriots.[108] Older and better established men, Loyfor ghting tyranny reached across socioeconomic lines alists tended to resist innovation. They thought resistance
to encompass rich and poor, men and women, frontiers- to the Crownwhich they insisted was the only legitimate governmentwas morally wrong, while the Patriots
men and townsmen, farmers and merchants.[102]
thought morality was on their side.[109][110]
Historian Bernard Bailyn argues that the evangelicalism
of the era challenged traditional notions of natural hi- Loyalists were alienated when the Patriots resorted to vierarchy by preaching that the Bible taught all men are olence, such as burning houses and tarring and featherequal, so that the true value of a man lies in his moral ing. Loyalists wanted to take a centrist position and rebehavior, not his class.[104] Kidd argues that religious sisted the Patriots demand to declare their opposition to
disestablishment, belief in a God as the source of human the Crown. Many Loyalists, especially merchants in the
rights, and shared convictions about sin, virtue, and divine port cities, had maintained strong and long-standing relaprovidence worked together to unite rationalists and evan- tions with Britain (often with business and family links to
gelicals and thus encouraged American deance of the other parts of the British Empire).[109][110]
Empire, whereas Bailyn denied that religion played such Many Loyalists realized that independence was bound
a critical role.[105] Alan Heimert argued, however, that to come eventually, but they were fearful that revolution
New Light antiauthoritarianism was essential to the fur- might lead to anarchy, tyranny or mob rule. In contrast,
ther democratization of colonial American society, and the prevailing attitude among Patriots, who made systemset the stage for a confrontation with British monarchical atic eorts to use mob violence in a controlled manner,
and aristocratic rule.[106]
was a desire to seize the initiative.[109][110] Labaree also


Class and psychology of the factions

Looking back, John Adams concluded in 1818:

The Revolution was eected before the

wrote that Loyalists were pessimists who lacked the condence in the future displayed by the Patriots.[108]
Historians in the early 20th century, such as J. Franklin
Jameson, examined the class composition of the Patriot
cause, looking for evidence of a class war inside the
revolution.[111] In the last 50 years, historians have largely



abandoned that interpretation, emphasizing instead the

high level of ideological unity.[112] Just as there were rich
and poor Loyalists, the Patriots were a 'mixed lot', with
the richer and better educated more likely to become ofcers in the Army.[113][114]

sponse to the Boston Tea Party. The arrival in Boston of
the British Army heightened their sense of violated rights,
leading to rage and demands for revenge. They had faith
that God was on their side.[118]

Ideological demands always came rst: the Patriots 9.5 Loyalists

viewed independence as a means to gain freedom from
British oppression and taxation and, above all, to reassert Main article: Loyalist (American Revolution)
what they considered to be their rights as English sub- The consensus of scholars is that about 1520% of the
jects. Most yeomen farmers, craftsmen, and small merchants joined the Patriot cause to demand more political
equality. They were especially successful in Pennsylvania
but less so in New England, where John Adams attacked
Thomas Paines Common Sense for the absurd democratical notions it proposed.[113][114]


King George III

Main article: George III of Great Britain

The war became a personal issue for the king, fueled by
his growing belief that British leniency would be taken
as weakness by the Americans. The king also sincerely
believed he was defending Britains constitution against
usurpers, rather than opposing patriots ghting for their
natural rights.[115]



Main article: Patriot (American Revolution)

Further information: Sons of Liberty
At the time, revolutionaries were called Patriots,
Whigs, Congress-men, or Americans. They included a full range of social and economic classes,
but were unanimous regarding the need to defend
the rights of Americans and uphold the principles of
republicanism in terms of rejecting monarchy and aristocracy, while emphasizing civic virtue on the part of the
citizens. Newspapers were strongholds of patriotism (although there were a few Loyalist papers), and printed
many pamphlets, announcements, patriotic letters and
According to historian Robert Calhoon, the consensus of
historians is that 4045% of the white population in the
Thirteen Colonies supported the Patriots cause, 1520%
supported the Loyalists, and the remainder were neutral
or kept a low prole.[117] Mark Lender explores why ordinary folk became insurgents against the British even
though they were unfamiliar with the ideological rationales being oered. They held very strongly a sense of
rights that they felt the British were violating rights
that stressed local autonomy, fair dealing, and government by consent. They were highly sensitive to the issue
of tyranny, which they saw manifested in the British re-

Mobbing of a Loyalist by American Patriots in 177576

white population remained loyal to the British Crown.[119]

Those who actively supported the king were known at the
time as Loyalists, Tories, or Kings men. The Loyalists never controlled territory unless the British Army
occupied it. Loyalists were typically older, less willing to
break with old loyalties, often connected to the Church of
England, and included many established merchants with
strong business connections across the Empire, as well as
royal ocials such as Thomas Hutchinson of Boston.[120]
There were 500 to 1000 black loyalists who were held as
slaves by patriots, escaped to British lines and joined the
British army. Most died of disease but Britain took the
survivors to Canada as free men.
The revolution could divide families. The most dramatic
example was when William Franklin, son of Benjamin
Franklin and royal governor of the Province of New Jersey, remained loyal to the Crown throughout the war; they
never spoke again.[121] Recent immigrants who had not
been fully Americanized were also inclined to support the
King, such as recent Scottish settlers in the back country;



among the more striking examples of this, see Flora MacDonald.[122]

Women contributed to the American Revolution in many
After the war, the great majority of the 450,000500,000 ways, and were involved on both sides. While formal
Loyalists remained in America and resumed normal Revolutionary politics did not include women, ordinary
lives. Some, such as Samuel Seabury, became prominent domestic behaviors became charged with political sigAmerican leaders. Estimates vary, but about 62,000 Loy- nicance as Patriot women confronted a war that peralists relocated to Canada, and others to Britain (7,000) meated all aspects of political, civil, and domestic life.
or to Florida or the West Indies (9,000). The exiles rep- They participated by boycotting British goods, spying on
resented approximately 2% of the total population of the British, following armies as they marched, washing,
the colonies.[123] Nearly all black loyalists left for Nova cooking, and tending for soldiers, delivering secret mesScotia, Florida, or England, where they could remain sages, and in a few cases like Deborah Samson, ghting
free.[124] When Loyalists left the South in 1783, they took disguised as men. Also, Mercy Otis Warren held meetthousands of their slaves with them to be slaves in the ings in her house and cleverly attacked Loyalists with her
British West Indies.[123]
creative plays and histories.[126] Above all, they continued
the agricultural work at home to feed their families and
the armies. They maintained their families during their
9.6 Neutrals
husbands absences and sometimes after their deaths.[127]
A minority of uncertain size tried to stay neutral in the
war. Most kept a low prole, but the Quakers, especially
in Pennsylvania, were the most important group to speak
out for neutrality. As Patriots declared independence, the
Quakers, who continued to do business with the British,
were attacked as supporters of British rule, contrivers
and authors of seditious publications critical of the revolutionary cause.[125]


Role of women

American women were integral to the success of the boycott of British goods,[128] as the boycotted items were
largely household items such as tea and cloth. Women
had to return to knitting goods, and to spinning and weaving their own cloth skills that had fallen into disuse.
In 1769, the women of Boston produced 40,000 skeins
of yarn, and 180 women in Middletown, Massachusetts
wove 20,522 yards (18,765 m) of cloth.[127]
A crisis of political loyalties could disrupt the fabric of
colonial America womens 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 womans loyalty to
her husband, once a private commitment, could become a
political act, especially for women in America committed
to men who remained loyal to the King. Legal divorce,
usually rare, was granted to Patriot women whose husbands supported the King.[129][130]

10 Other participants
Further information: Diplomacy in the American Revolutionary War

10.1 France
Main article: France in the American Revolutionary War

Abigail Adams

Main article: Women in the American Revolution

In early 1776, France set up a major program of aid to the

Americans, and the Spanish secretly added funds. Each
country spent one million livres tournaises to buy munitions. A dummy corporation run by Pierre Beaumarchais concealed their activities. American rebels obtained
some munitions through the Dutch Republic as well as
French and Spanish ports in the West Indies.[131]



African Americans



most prominent Native American leader against the rebel

forces. In 1778 and 1780, he led 300 Iroquois warMain article: Spain in the American Revolutionary War riors and 100 white Loyalists in multiple attacks on
small frontier settlements in New York and Pennsylvania, killing many settlers and destroying villages, crops
Spain did not ocially recognize the U.S. but became
and stores.[136] The Seneca, Onondaga and Cayuga of the
an informal ally when it declared war on Britain on June
Iroquois Confederacy also allied with the British against
21, 1779. Bernardo de Glvez y Madrid, general of the
the Americans.[137]
Spanish forces in New Spain, also served as governor of
Louisiana. He led an expedition of colonial troops to In 1779 the Continentals retaliated with an American
force the British out of Florida and keep open a vital con- army under John Sullivan, which raided and destroyed
40 empty Iroquois villages in central and western New
duit for supplies.[132]
York.[137] Sullivans forces systematically burned the villages and destroyed about 160,000 bushels of corn that
comprised the winter food supply. Facing starvation and
10.3 Native Americans
homeless for the winter, the Iroquois ed to the Niagara
Falls area and to Canada, mostly to what became Ontario.
Main article: Native Americans in the United States
Further information: Western theater of the American The British resettled them there after the war, providing
land grants as compensation for some of their losses.[138]
Revolutionary War
Most Native Americans rejected pleas that they remain
neutral and supported the British Crown, both because
of trading relationships and Britains eort to establish
an Indian reserve and prohibit colonial settlement west
of the Appalachian Mountains. The great majority of
the 200,000 Native Americans east of the Mississippi
distrusted the colonists and supported the British cause,
hoping to forestall continued colonial encroachment on
their territories.[133] Those tribes that were more closely
involved in colonial trade tended to side with the revolutionaries, although political factors were important as
Except for warriors and bands associated with four of the
Iroquois nations in New York and Pennsylvania, which
allied with the British, most Native Americans did not
participate directly in the war. The British did have other
allies especially in the upper Midwest. They provided
Indians with funding and weapons to attack American
outposts. Some Indians tried to remain neutral, seeing
little value in joining a European conict and fearing
reprisals from whichever side they opposed. The Oneida
and Tuscarora, among the Iroquois of central and western
New York, supported the American cause.[134]

At the peace conference following the war, the British

ceded lands which they did not really control, and did not
consult their Indian allies. They transferred control to
the United States of all the land east of the Mississippi
and north of Florida. The historian Calloway concludes:
Burned villages and crops, murdered
chiefs, divided councils and civil wars, migrations, towns and forts choked with refugees,
economic disruption, breaking of ancient traditions, losses in battle and to disease and
hunger, betrayal to their enemies, all made the
American Revolution one of the darkest periods in American Indian history.[139]
The British did not give up their forts in the West (what
is now the Ohio to Wisconsin) until 1796; they kept alive
the dream of forming a satellite Indian nation there, which
they called a Neutral Indian Zone. That goal was one of
the causes of the War of 1812.[140][141]

10.4 African Americans

The British provided arms to Indians, who were led by Main article: African Americans in the Revolutionary
Loyalists in war parties to raid frontier settlements from War
the Carolinas to New York. They killed many settlers on
the frontier, especially in Pennsylvania and New Yorks
Free blacks in the North and South fought on both sides
Mohawk Valley.
of the Revolution, but most fought for the patriots. Gary
In 1776 Cherokee war parties attacked American Nash reports that recent research concludes there were
colonists all along the southern frontier of the uplands about 9000 black Patriot soldiers, counting the Contithrough Tennessee and Kentucky.[135] While the Chero- nental Army and Navy, and state militia units, as well
kee launched raids numbering a couple hundred warriors, as privateers, wagoneers in the Army, servants to oas seen in the Chickamauga Wars, they could not mobi- cers, and spies.[142] Ray Raphael notes that while thoulize enough forces to ght a major invasion of colonial sands did join the Loyalist cause, A far larger number,
areas without the help of allies, most often the Creek.
free as well as slave, tried to further their interests by sidJoseph Brant of the powerful Mohawk nation, part of ing with the patriots. [143] Crispus Attucks, who was shot
the Iroquois Confederacy based in New York, was the dead by British soldiers in the Boston Massacre in 1770,



is an iconic martyr to Patriots. Both sides oered freedom and re-settlement to slaves who were willing to ght
for them, recruiting slaves whose owners supported the
opposing cause.

slave population, to ight, migration or death. From 1770

to 1790, the black proportion of the population (mostly
slaves) in South Carolina dropped from 60.5 percent to
43.8 percent; and in Georgia from 45.2 percent to 36.1
Many African-American slaves sided with the Loyalists. percent.
Tens of thousands in the South used the turmoil of war to When the British evacuated its forces from Savannah and
escape, and the southern plantation economies of South Charleston, it also gave transportation to 10,000 slaves,
Carolina and Georgia especially were disrupted. During carrying through on its commitment to them.[152] They
the Revolution, the British tried to turn slavery against the evacuated and resettled more than 3,000 "Black LoyalAmericans.[144]
ists" from New York to Nova Scotia, Upper and Lower
Historian David Brion Davis explains the diculties with Canada. Others sailed with the British to England or were
resettled as freedmen in the West Indies of the Caribbean.
a policy of wholesale arming of the slaves:
But slaves who were carried to the Caribbean under control of Loyalist masters generally remained slaves until
But England greatly feared the eects of
British abolition in its colonies in 1834. More than 1200
any such move on its own West Indies, where
of the Black Loyalists of Nova Scotia later resettled in the
Americans had already aroused alarm over a
British colony of Sierra Leone, where they became leadpossible threat to incite slave insurrections.
ers of the Krio ethnic group of Freetown and the later
The British elites also understood that an allnational government. Many of their descendants still live
out attack on one form of property could easin Sierra Leone, as well as other African countries.[153]
ily lead to an assault on all boundaries of privilege and social order, as envisioned by radical
religious sects in Britains seventeenth-century
11 Eects of the Revolution
civil wars.[145]
Davis underscored the British dilemma: Britain, when
confronted by the rebellious American colonists, hoped
to exploit their fear of slave revolts while also reassuring
the large number of slave-holding Loyalists and wealthy
Caribbean planters and merchants that their slave property would be secure.[146] The colonists accused the
British of encouraging slave revolts.[147]
American advocates of independence were commonly
lampooned in Britain for what was termed their hypocritical calls for freedom, at the same time that many of
their leaders were planters who held hundreds of slaves.
Samuel Johnson snapped, how is it we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the [slave] drivers of the
Negroes?"[148] Benjamin Franklin countered by criticizing the British self-congratulation about the freeing of
one Negro (Somersett) while they continued to permit
the Slave Trade.[149]

11.1 Loyalist expatriation

About 60,000 to 70,000 Loyalists left the newly founded
republic; some migrated to Britain. The remainder,
known as United Empire Loyalists, received land and
subsidies for resettlement in British colonies in North
America, especially Quebec (concentrating in the Eastern
Townships), Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia.[154]
The new colonies of Upper Canada (now Ontario) and
New Brunswick were expressly created by Britain for
their benet, where the Crown awarded land to Loyalists
as compensation for losses in the United States. Britain
wanted to develop the frontier of Upper Canada on a
British colonial model. But about 80% of the Loyalists
stayed in the United States and became full, loyal citizens;
some of the exiles later returned to the U.S.[155]

Phyllis Wheatley, a black poet who popularized the im- 11.2 Interpretations
age of Columbia to represent America, came to public
attention when her Poems on Various Subjects, Religious Interpretations about the eect of the Revolution vary.
Contemporary participants referred to the events as the
and Moral appeared in 1773.[150]
Greene argues that the events were not
During the war, slaves escaped from across New Eng- revolution.
as the relationships and property rights
land and the mid-Atlantic area to British-occupied cities,
were not transformed: a distant govsuch as New York. The eects of the war were more
replaced with a local one; the Revdramatic in the South. In Virginia the royal governor
outside the United States as the
Lord Dunmore recruited black men into the British forces
with the promise of freedom, protection for their families, and land grants. Tens of thousands of slaves escaped
to British lines throughout the South, causing dramatic
losses to slaveholders and disrupting cultivation and harvesting of crops. For instance, South Carolina was estimated to lose about 25,000 slaves, or one third of its

Historians such as Bernard Bailyn, Gordon Wood, and

Edmund Morgan accept the contemporary view of the
participants that the American Revolution was a unique
and radical event that produced deep changes and had
a profound eect on world aairs, based building on


Status of American women

debates in the seventeenth-century English Civil War

and subsequently on an increasing belief in the principles of the Enlightenment, as reected in how liberalism was understood during the period, and republicanism. These were demonstrated by a leadership and
government that espoused protection of natural rights,
and a system of laws chosen by the people.[158] However, what was then considered the people was still
mostly restricted to free white males who were able to
pass a property-qualication.[159] Such a restriction made
a signicant gain of the revolution irrelevant to women,
African Americans and slaves, poor white men, youth,
and Native Americans.[160][161] Only with the development of the American system over the following centuries would a government by the people, promised by
the revolution, be won for a greater proportion of the

country to sign a treaty with the United States, on October 8, 1782.[50] On April 3, 1783, Ambassador Extraordinary Gustaf Philip Creutz, representing King Gustav
III of Sweden, and Benjamin Franklin, signed a Treaty
of Amity and Commerce with the U.S.[50]
The American Revolution was the rst wave of the
Atlantic Revolutions: the French Revolution, the Haitian
Revolution, and the Latin American wars of independence. Aftershocks reached Ireland in the Irish Rebellion
of 1798, in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and in
the Netherlands.[165][166]

The Revolution had a strong, immediate inuence in

Great Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, and France.
Many British and Irish Whigs spoke in favor of the American cause. In Ireland, there was a profound impact;
the Protestants who controlled Ireland were demanding
more and more self-rule. Under the leadership of Henry
Morgan has argued that in terms of long-term impact on Grattan, the so-called "Patriots" forced the reversal of
American society and values:
mercantilist prohibitions against trade with other British
colonies. The King and his cabinet in London could not
The Revolution did revolutionize social relarisk another rebellion on the American model, and made
tions. It did displace the deference, the patrona series of concessions to the Patriot faction in Dublin.
age, the social divisions that had determined
Armed Protestant volunteer units were set up to protect
the way people viewed one another for cenagainst an invasion from France. As in America, so too
turies and still view one another in much of the
in Ireland the King no longer had a monopoly of lethal
world. It did give to ordinary people a pride
and power, not to say an arrogance, that have
The Revolution, along with the Dutch Revolt (end of the
continued to shock visitors from less favored
16th century) and the 17th century English Civil War,
lands. It may have left standing a host of inwas among the examples of overthrowing an old regime
equalities that have troubled us ever since. But
for many Europeans who later were active during the era
it generated the egalitarian view of human soof the French Revolution, such as Marquis de Lafayette.
ciety that makes them troubling and makes our
The American Declaration of Independence inuenced
world so dierent from the own in which the
the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citrevolutionists had grown up.[162]
izen of 1789.[168][169] The spirit of the Declaration of Independence led to laws ending slavery in all the Northern states and the Northwest Territory, with New Jersey
11.3 Inspiring all colonies
the last in 1804long before the British Parliament acted
in 1833 to abolish slavery in its colonies. States such as
Further information: Atlantic Revolutions
New Jersey and New York adopted gradual emancipation, which kept some people as slaves for more than two
After the Revolution, genuinely democratic politics be- decades longer.[170]
came possible in the former colonies.[163] The rights of
the people were incorporated into state constitutions.
Concepts of liberty, individual rights, equality among 11.4 Status of American women
men and hostility toward corruption became incorporated as core values of liberal republicanism. The great- The democratic ideals of the Revolution inspired changes
est challenge to the old order in Europe was the chal- in the roles of women.[171]
lenge to inherited political power and the democratic idea The concept of republican motherhood was inspired by
that government rests on the consent of the governed. this period and reects the importance of Republicanism
The example of the rst successful revolution against a as the dominant American ideology. It assumed that a
European empire, and the rst successful establishment successful republic rested upon the virtue of its citizens.
of a republican form of democratically elected govern- Women were considered to have the essential role of inment, provided a model for many other colonial peoples stilling their children with values conducive to a healthy
who realized that they too could break away and become republic. During this period, the wifes relationship with
self-governing nations with directly elected representa- her husband also became more liberal, as love and aective government.[164]
tion instead of obedience and subservience began to charThe Dutch Republic, also at war with Britain, was the next acterize the ideal marital relationship. In addition, many



women contributed to the war eort through fundraising reward for service. Records also suggest that some slaveand running family businesses in the absence of husbands. holders were freeing their own mixed-race children, born
The traditional constraints gave way to more liberal con- into slavery to slave mothers.
ditions for women. Patriarchy faded as an ideal; young
people had more freedom to choose their spouses and 11.6 Memory
more often used birth control to regulate the size of their
families. Society emphasized the role of mothers in child See also: United States Bicentennial
rearing, especially the patriotic goal of raising republican The American Revolution has a central place in the
children rather than those locked into aristocratic value
systems. There was more permissiveness in child-rearing.
Patriot women married to Loyalists who left the state
could get a divorce and obtain control of the ex-husbands
property.[172] Whatever gains they had made, however,
women still found themselves subordinated, legally and
socially, to their husbands, disfranchised and usually with
only the role of mother open to them. But, some women
earned livelihoods as midwives and in other roles in the
community, which were not originally recognized as signicant by men.
Abigail Adams expressed to her husband, the president,
the desire of women to have a place in the new republic:
I desire you would remember the Ladies,
and be more generous and favourable to them
than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited
power into the hands of the Husbands.[173]
Zagarri in 2007 argued that the American Revolution created a continuing debate on the rights of woman and an
environment favorable to womens participation in U.S.
politics. She asserts that for a brief decade, a comprehensive transformation in womens rights, roles, and responsibilities seemed not only possible but perhaps inevitable. But, the changes also engendered a backlash
that set back the cause of womens rights and led to a
greater rigidity that marginalized women from political


Status of African Americans

Governors Palace, Colonial Williamsburg, a restored colonial

city, Williamburg, Virginia

In the rst two decades after the American Revolution,

state legislatures and individuals took actions to free
numerous slaves, in part based on revolutionary ideals.
Northern states passed new constitutions that contained
language about equal rights or specically abolished slavery; some states, such as New York and New Jersey,
where slavery was more widespread, passed laws by the
end of the 18th century to abolish slavery by a gradual
method; in New York, the last slaves were freed in 1827.

American memory.[175] As the founding story, it is covered in the schools, memorialized by a national holiday,
and commemorated in innumerable monuments. Thus
Independence Day (the Fourth of July) is a major national holiday celebrated annually. Besides local sites
such as Bunker Hill, one of the rst national pilgrimages
for memorial tourists was Mount Vernon, George Washingtons estate (near Washington City), which attracted
ten thousand visitors a year by the 1850s.[176]

While no southern state abolished slavery, for a period individual owners could free their slaves by personal decision, often providing for manumission in wills but sometimes ling deeds or court papers to free individuals. Numerous slaveholders who freed their slaves cited revolutionary ideals in their documents; others freed slaves as a

Crider points out that in the 1850s, editors and orators

both North and South claimed their region was the true
custodian of the legacy of 1776, as they used the Revolution symbolically in their rhetoric.[177] Ryan, noting that
the Bicentennial was celebrated a year after the United
States humiliating 1975 withdrawal from Vietnam, says

the Ford administration stressed the themes of renewal
and rebirth based on a restoration of traditional values,
and presented a nostalgic approach to 1776 that made it
seem eternally young and fresh.[178]

[8] Greene and Pole (1994) chapter 70

[9] Lecky, William Edward Hartpole, A History of England
in the Eighteenth Century Volume II (1890) pp. 4-5

Albanese argues that the Revolution became the main

source of the non-denominational "American civil religion" that has shaped patriotism, and the memory and
meaning of the nations birth ever since.[179] She says
that specic battles are not central (as they are for the
Civil War) but rather certain events and people have
been celebrated as icons of certain virtues (or vices).
Thus she points out the Revolution produced a Moseslike leader (George Washington),[180] prophets (Thomas
Jeerson, Tom Paine), disciples (Alexander Hamilton,
James Madison) and martyrs (Boston Massacre, Nathan
Hale), as well as devils (Benedict Arnold), sacred places
(Valley Forge, Bunker Hill), rituals (Boston Tea Party),
emblems (the new ag), sacred holidays (Independence
Day), and a holy scripture whose every sentence is carefully studied and applied in current law cases (The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of

[10] Smuggler Nation Page 4


[19] Lecky, William Edward Hartpole, A History of England

in the Eighteenth Century (1882) pp. 315-316

See also

Bibliography of the American Revolutionary War

Timeline of the American Revolution
Diplomacy in the American Revolutionary War
Founding Fathers of the United States
List of plays and lms about the American Revolution
Second American Revolution



[1] John Tyler. Smugglers & patriots; Boston Merchants &

the Advent of the American Revolution. Lawrence Karson, American smuggling as white collar crime

[11] Smuggler Nation Page 16

[12] Englishmen paid on average twenty-ve shillings annually
in taxes whereas Americans paid only sixpence. Miller,
Origins of the American Revolution (1943) p. 89
[13] James A. Henretta, ed. (2011). Documents for Americas
History, Volume 1: To 1877. Bedford/St. Martins. p.
[14] Walter Isaacson (2004). Benjamin Franklin: An American
Life. Simon and Schuster. pp. 22930.
[15] Shy, Toward Lexington 7378
[16] T.H. Breen, American Insurgents, American Patriots: The
Revolution of the People (2010) pp 81-82
[17] Middlekau p. 62
[18] Lecky, William Edward Hartpole, A History of England
in the Eighteenth Century (1882) pp. 297-298

[20] Lecky, William Edward Hartpole, A History of England

in the Eighteenth Century (1882) p. 173
[21] Bryan-Paul Frost and Jerey Sikkenga (2003). History of
American Political Thought. Lexington Books. pp. 55
[22] Miller (1943). Origins of the American Revolution. pp.
[23] Hiller B. Zobel, The Boston Massacre (1996)
[24] Alfred F. Young, The Shoemaker and the Tea Party: Memory and the American Revolution (Boston: Beacon Press,
1999; ISBN 0-8070-5405-4; ISBN 978-0-8070-5405-5),
[25] Greene and Pole (1994) chapters 2224
[26] Mary Beth Norton et al., A People and a Nation (6th ed.
2001) vol 1 pp 144145

[2] Smuggler Nation: How iliicit trade made America: Peter

Andreas Page 4

[27] Benjamin L. Carp, Deance of the Patriots: The Boston

Tea Party and the Making of America (2010)

[3] Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves, and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia Woody Holton
Page 105

[28] Miller (1943) pp. 35376

[4] Libertys Exiles: Maya Jasano.Pages 5-53

[5] Rough Crossings; Simon Schama Page 13-50
[6] We Hold These Truths to be Self-evident; An Interdisciplinary Analysis of the Roots of Racism & slavery in
America Kenneth N. Addison; Introduction P. xxii
[7] Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution (1992)

[29] Carp, Deance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party and
the Making of America (2010) ch 9
[30] John K. Alexander (2011). Samuel Adams: The Life of
an American Revolutionary. Rowman & Littleeld. pp.
[31] Mary Beth Norton et al. (2010). A People and a Nation:
A History of the United States. Cengage Learning. p. 143.
[32] Greene and Pole (1994) chapter 15


[33] Nevins (1927); Greene and Pole (1994) chapter 29

[34] Nevins (1927)
[35] Founding the Republic: A Documentary History; edited
by John J. Patrick
[36] Reason, Religion, and Democracy: Dennis C. Muelle.
Page 206
[37] Harvey. A few bloody noses (2002) pp. 208210
[38] Urban p.74
[39] Miller (1948) p. 87


[61] A nal naval battle was fought on March 10, 1783 by Captain John Barry and the crew of the USS Alliance, who defeated three British warships led by HMS Sybille. Martin
I. J. Grin, The Story of Commodore John Barry (2010)
pp 21823
[62] Jonathan R. Dull, The French Navy and American Independence (1975) p. 248
[63] Richard H. Kohn, Eagle and Sword: The Federalists and
the Creation of the Military Establishment in America,
17831802 (1975) pp 1739
[64] Miller (1948), pp. 61648
[65] William Hague, William Pitt the Younger (2004)

[40] Alan Valentine, Lord George Germain (1962) pp 30910

[66] Jeremy Black, George III: Americas Last King(2006)
[41] Larry G. Bowman, Captive Americans: Prisoners During
the American Revolution (1976)

[67] Canny, p. 92.

[42] John C. Miller, Triumph of Freedom, 17751783 (1948)

p. 166.

[68] Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers
(1987) pp. 81, 119

[43] Jensen, The Founding of a Nation (1968) pp. 6789

[69] John Brewer, The sinews of power: war, money, and the
English state, 16881783 (1990) p 91

[44] Maier, American Scripture (1997) pp. 4146

[45] Greene and Pole (1994) chapter 30

[70] Curtis P. Nettels, The Emergence of a National Economy,

17751815 (1962) pp 2344

[46] Klos, President Who? Forgotten Founders (2004)

[71] Charles Rappleye, Robert Morris: Financier of the American Revolution (2010) pp 22552

[47] Jeremy Black, Crisis of Empire: Britain and America in

the Eighteenth Century (2008) p 140

[72] Oliver Harry Chitwood, A History of Colonial America

(1961) pp 586589

[48] Schecter, Barnet. The Battle for New York: The City at the
Heart of the American Revolution. (2002)

[73] Terry M. Mays (2005). Historical Dictionary of Revolutionary America. Scarecrow Press. pp. 7375.

[49] McCullough, 1776 (2005)

[74] Ralph Volney Harlow, Aspects of Revolutionary Finance, 17751783, American Historical Review (1929)
35#1 pp. 4668 in JSTOR

[50] Hamilton, The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (1974) p.

[51] Stanley Weintraub, Iron Tears: Americas Battle for Freedom, Britains Quagmire, 17751783 (2005) p. 151

[75] Erna Risch, Supplying Washingtons Army (1982)

[52] Mackesy, The War for America (1993) p. 568

[76] E. Wayne Carp, To Starve the Army at Pleasure: Continental Army Administration and American Political Culture,
17751783 (1990)

[53] Higginbotham, The War of American Independence

(1983) p. 83

[77] E. James Ferguson, The power of the purse: A history of

American public nance, 17761790 (1961)

[54] Crow and Tise, The Southern Experience in the American

Revolution (1978) p. 1579

[78] Greene and Pole, eds. Companion to the American Revolution, pp. 557624

[55] Henry Lumpkin, From Savannah to Yorktown: The American Revolution in the South (2000)

[79] Richard B. Morris, The Forging of the Union: 17811789

(1987) pp 245266

[56] Brendan Morrissey, Yorktown 1781: The World Turned

Upside Down (1997)

[80] Morris, The Forging of the Union: 17811789 pp 30013

[57] Harvey pp 493515

[82] Jensen, The New Nation (1950) p. 379

[58] John Ferling, Almost A Miracle: The American Victory in

the War of Independence (2009)

[83] Joseph J. Ellis, His Excellency: George Washington (2004)

p 204

[59] Joseph J. Ellis (2013). Revolutionary Summer: The Birth

of American Independence. Random House. p. 11.

[84] Alexander, Revolutionary Politician, 103, 136; Maier, Old

Revolutionaries, 4142.

[60] Harvey p.528

[85] Middlekau (2005), pp. 136-138

[81] Morris, The Forging of the Union, 17811789 pp 30022


[86] Jerey D. Schultz et al. (1999). Encyclopedia of Religion [111] J. Franklin Jameson, The American Revolution Considered
in American Politics. Greenwood. p. 148.
as a Social Movement (1926); other historians pursuing
the same line of thought included Charles A. Beard, Carl
[87] Waldron (2002), p. 13
Becker and Arthur Schlesinger, Sr..
[88] Waldron (2002), p. 136

[112] Wood, Rhetoric and Reality in the American Revolution

(1966) pp. 332

[89] Thomas S. Kidd (2010): God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution, New York, N.Y., pp. 6-7 [113] Nash (2005)
[90] Middlekau (2005), pp. 3-6

[114] Resch (2006)

[91] Middlekau (2005), pp. 34


[115] Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy, "'If Others Will Not Be

Active, I must Drive': George III and the American RevoKidd (2010), p. 141
lution. Early American Studies 2004 2(1): pp 146. P. D.
G. Thomas, George III and the American Revolution.
Middlekau (2005), p. 302
History 1985 70(228): 1631, says the king played a minor role before 1775.
Charles W. Toth, Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite: The American Revolution and the European Response. (1989) p. 26.
[116] Carol Sue Humphrey, The American Revolution and the
Press: The Promise of Independence (Northwestern Unipage 101, Philosophical Tales, by Martin Cohen, (Blackversity Press; 2013)
well 2008)

[96] Stanley Weintraub, Iron Tears: Americas Battle for Free- [117] Robert M. Calhoon, Loyalism and neutrality in Jack P.
Greene; J. R. Pole (2008). A Companion to the American
dom, Britains Quagmire, 17751783 (2005) chapter 1
Revolution. John Wiley & Sons. p. 235.
[97] Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolu[118] Mark Edward Lender, review of American Insurgents,
tion (1992) pp. 12537
American Patriots: The Revolution of the People (2010)
by T. H. Breen, in The Journal of Military History (2012)
[98] Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution (1992)
76#1 p. 2334
pp. 35, 1745
[99] Shalhope, Toward a Republican Synthesis (1972) pp.49 [119] Calhoon, Loyalism and neutrality in Greene and Pole,
eds. A Companion to the American Revolution (1980) at
page 235
[100] Adams quoted in Paul A. Rahe, Republics Ancient and
Modern: Classical Republicanism and the American Rev- [120] Calhoon, Loyalism and neutrality in Greene and Pole,
eds. A Companion to the American Revolution (1980) pp
olution. Volume: 2 (1994) P. 23.
[101] Ferguson, The Commonalities of Common Sense (2000)
[121] Sheila L. Skemp, Benjamin and William Franklin: Father
pp. 465504
and Son, Patriot and Loyalist (1994)
[102] Bonomi, p. 186, Chapter 7 Religion and the American
[122] Joan Magee (1984). Loyalist Mosaic: A Multi-Ethnic HerRevolution
itage. Dundurn. p. 137.
[103] William H. Nelson, The American Tory (1961) p. 186
[123] Greene and Pole (1994) chapters 2022
[104] Bailyn,The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution
[124] Chaos in New York. Black Loyalists: Our People, Our
(1992) p. 303
History. Canadas Digital Collections. Retrieved 200710-18.
[105] Thomas S. Kidd, God of Liberty: A Religious History of
the American Revolution (2010)

[125] Gottlieb (2005)

[106] Alan Heimert, Religion and the American Mind: From the
[126] Eileen K. Cheng (2008). The Plain and Noble Garb of
Great Awakening to the Revolution. Cambridge: Harvard
Truth: Nationalism & Impartiality in American Historical
University Press, 1967.
Writing, 17841860. University of Georgia Press. p. 210.
[107] John Ferling, Setting the World Ablaze: Washington, [127] Berkin, Revolutionary Mothers (2006) p. 5960
Adams, Jeerson, and the American Revolution (2002) p.
[128] Greene and Pole (1994) chapter 41
[108] Labaree, Conservatism in Early American History (1948) [129] Kerber, Women of the Republic (1997) chapters 4 and 6
pp. 1645
[130] Mary Beth Norton, Libertys Daughters: The Revolution[109] Hull et al., Choosing Sides (1978) pp. 34466
ary Experience of American Women (1980)
[110] Burrows and Wallace, The American Revolution (1972) [131] Jonathan Dull, A Diplomatic History of the American Revpp. 167305
olution (1985) pp. 5765



[132] Thompson, Buchanan Parker, Spain: Forgotten Ally of the [154] W. Stewart Wallace, The United Empire Loyalists: A
American Revolution North Quincy, Mass.: Christopher
Chronicle of the Great Migration (Toronto, 1914) online
Publishing House, 1976.
[133] Greene and Pole (2004) chapters 19, 46 and 51; Colin [155] Van Tine, American Loyalists (1902) p 307
G. Calloway, The American Revolution in Indian Country: Crisis and Diversity in Native American Communities [156] David McCullough, John Adams (2001)
[157] Greene, The American Revolution (2000) pp. 93102
[134] Joseph T. Glatthaar and James Kirby Martin, Forgotten
Allies: The Oneida Indians and the American Revolution [158] Wood, The American Revolution: A History (2003)
[159] U.S. Voting Rights. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
[135] Tom Hatley, The Dividing Paths: Cherokees and South
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Reference works

Barnes, Ian, and Charles Royster. The Historical

Atlas of the American Revolution (2000), maps and
commentary excerpt and text search
Blanco, Richard L.; Sanborn, Paul J. (1993). The
American Revolution, 17751783: An Encyclopedia. New York: Garland Publishing Inc. ISBN 9780-8240-5623-0.
Boatner, Mark Mayo III (1974). Encyclopedia of
the American Revolution (2 ed.). New York: Charles
Scribners and Sons. ISBN 978-0-684-31513-3.
Cappon, Lester J. Atlas of Early American History:
The Revolutionary Era, 17601790 (1976)
Fremont-Barnes, Gregory, and Richard A. Ryerson,
eds. The Encyclopedia of the American Revolutionary War: A Political, Social, and Military History (5
vol. 2006) 1000 entries by 150 experts, covering all
Gray, Edward G., and Jane Kamensky, eds. The Oxford Handbook of the American Revolution (2013)
672 pp; 33 essays by scholars


Specialized studies


Greene, Jack P. and J. R. Pole, eds. A Companion to

the American Revolution (2004), 777pp an expanded
edition of Greene and Pole, eds. The Blackwell Encyclopedia of the American Revolution (1994); comprehensive coverage of political and social themes
and international dimension; thin on military

Knollenberg, Bernhard. Growth of the American

Revolution: 17661775 (2003)

Kennedy, Frances H. The American Revolution: A

Historical Guidebook (2014) A guide to 150 famous
historical sites.

Mackesy, Piers. The War for America: 17751783

(1992), British military study online edition

Lecky, William Edward Hartpole. The American

Revolution, 17631783 (1898), older British perspective online edition

Purcell, L. Edward. Who Was Who in the American

Revolution (1993); 1500 short biographies

Middlekau, Robert. The Glorious Cause: The

American Revolution, 17631789 (Oxford History
of the United States, 2005). online edition

Resch, John P., ed. Americans at War: Society,

Culture and the Homefront vol 1 (2005), articles by

Miller, John C. Triumph of Freedom, 17751783

(1948) online edition

Symonds, Craig L. and William J. Clipson. A Battleeld Atlas of the American Revolution (1986) new
diagrams of each battle


Surveys of the era

Miller, John C. Origins of the American Revolution

(1943) online edition, to 1775
Rakove, Jack N. Revolutionaries: A New History of
the Invention of America (2010) interpretation by
leading scholar excerpt and text search

Allison, Robert. The American Revolution: A Concise History (2011) 128pp excerpt and text search

Weintraub, Stanley. Iron Tears: Rebellion in America 177583 (2005) excerpt and text search, popular

Axelrod, Alan. The Real History of the American

Revolution: A New Look at the Past (2009), wellillustrated popular history

Wood, Gordon S. Revolutionary Characters: What

Made the Founders Dierent (2007)

Bancroft, George. History of the United States of

America, from the discovery of the American continent. (185478), vol 410 online edition, classic
19th century narrative; highly detailed

Wrong, George M. Washington and His Comrades

in Arms: A Chronicle of the War of Independence
(1921) online short survey by Canadian scholar

Black, Jeremy. War for America: The Fight for In15.3 Specialized studies
dependence 17751783 (2001) 266pp; by leading
British scholar
Bailyn, Bernard. The Ideological Origins of the
American Revolution. (Harvard University Press,
Brown, Richard D., and Thomas Paterson, eds. Ma1967). ISBN 0-674-44301-2
jor Problems in the Era of the American Revolution,
17601791: Documents and Essays (2nd ed. 1999)
Becker, Carl. The Declaration of Independence: A
Christie, Ian R. and Benjamin W. Labaree. Empire
Study on the History of Political Ideas (1922)online
or Independence: 1760-1776 (1976)
edition, famous classic
Cogliano, Francis D. Revolutionary America, 1763
1815; A Political History (2nd ed. 2008), British
Ellis, Joseph J. American Creation: Triumphs and
Tragedies in the Founding of the Republic (2008)
excerpt and text search
Higginbotham, Don. The War of American Independence: Military Attitudes, Policies, and Practice,
17631789 (1983) Online in ACLS Humanities Ebook Project; comprehensive coverage of military
and domestic aspects of the war.
Jensen, Merrill. The Founding of a Nation: A History of the American Revolution 17631776. (2004)

Becker, Frank: The American Revolution as a

European Media Event, European History Online,
Mainz: Institute of European History, 2011, retrieved: October 25, 2011.
Berkin, Carol.Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the
Struggle for Americas Independence (2006)
Bonomi, Patricia U., Under the Cope of Heaven:
Religion, Society, and Politics in Colonial America
Breen, T. H. The Marketplace of Revolution: How
Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence

Breen, T. H. American Insurgents, American Patriots: The Revolution of the People (2010) 337 pages;
examines rebellions in 177476 including loosely
organized militants took control before elected
safety committees emerged.
Brunsman, Denver, and David J Silverman, eds. The
American Revolution Reader (Routledge Readers in
History, 2013) 472pp; essays by leading scholars

Resch, John Phillips and Walter Sargent, eds. War
and Society in the American Revolution: Mobilization
and Home Fronts (2006)
Rothbard, Murray, Conceived in Liberty (2000),
Volume III: Advance to Revolution, 17601775 and
Volume IV: The Revolutionary War, 17751784.
ISBN 0-945466-26-9, libertarian perspective

Chernow, Ron. Washington: A Life (2010) detailed

biography; Pulitzer Prize

Van Tyne, Claude Halstead. American Loyalists:

The Loyalists in the American Revolution (1902)
online edition

Crow, Jerey J. and Larry E. Tise, eds. The Southern Experience in the American Revolution (1978)

Volo, James M. and Dorothy Denneen Volo. Daily

Life during the American Revolution (2003)

Fischer, David Hackett. Paul Reveres Ride (1995),

Minutemen in 1775

Wahlke, John C. ed. The Causes of the American

Revolution (1967) readings

Fischer, David Hackett. Washingtons Crossing

(2004). 1776 campaigns; Pulitzer prize. ISBN 019-517034-2

Wood, Gordon S. American Revolution (2005) [excerpt and text search] 208pp excerpt and text search

Freeman, Douglas Southall. Washington (1968)

Pulitzer Prize; abridged version of 7 vol biography
Horne, Gerald. The Counter-Revolution of 1776:
Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States
of America. (New York University Press, 2014).
ISBN 1479893404
Kerber, Linda K. Women of the Republic: Intellect
and Ideology in Revolutionary America (1979)
Kidd, Thomas S. God of Liberty: A Religious History
of the American Revolution (2010)
McCullough, David. 1776 (2005). ISBN 0-74322671-2; popular narrative of the year 1776
Maier, Pauline. American Scripture: Making the
Declaration of Independence (1998) excerpt and text
Nash, Gary B. The Unknown American Revolution:
The Unruly Birth of Democracy and the Struggle to
Create America. (2005). ISBN 0-670-03420-7
Nevins, Allan; The American States during and after
the Revolution, 17751789 1927. online edition
Norton, Mary Beth. Libertys Daughters: The Revolutionary Experience of American Women, 1750
1800 (1980)
O'Shaughnessy Andrew Jackson. The Men Who
Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire (Yale University
Press; 2013) 466 pages; on top British leaders
Palmer, Robert R. The Age of the Democratic Revolution: A Political History of Europe and America,
17601800. vol 1 (1959) online edition

Wood, Gordon S. The Radicalism of the American Revolution: How a Revolution Transformed a
Monarchical Society into a Democratic One Unlike
Any That Had Ever Existed. (1992), by a leading

15.4 Historiography
Breen, Timothy H. Ideology and nationalism on the
eve of the American Revolution: Revisions once
more in need of revising. Journal of American History (1997): 13-39. in JSTOR
Schocket, Andrew M. Fighting over the Founders:
How We Remember the American Revolution (2014),
how politicians, screenwriters, activists, biographers, museum professionals, and reenactors portray the American Revolution.
Shalhope, Robert E. Toward a republican synthesis: the emergence of an understanding of republicanism in American historiography. William and
Mary Quarterly (1972): 49-80. in JSTOR
Waldstreicher, David. The Revolutions of Revolution Historiography: Cold War Contradance,
Neo-Imperial Waltz, or Jazz Standard?. Reviews in
American History 42.1 (2014): 23-35. online
Wood, Gordon S. Rhetoric and Reality in the
American Revolution. William and Mary Quarterly
(1966): 4-32. in JSTOR

15.5 Primary sources

The American Revolution: Writings from the War of
Independence (2001), Library of America, 880pp

Commager, Henry Steele and Morris, Richard B.,
eds. The Spirit of 'Seventy-Six: The Story of the
American Revolution As Told by Participants (1975)
(ISBN 0-06-010834-7) short excerpts from hundreds of ocial and unocial primary sources
Dann, John C., ed. The Revolution Remembered:
Eyewitness Accounts of the War for Independence
(1999) excerpt and text search, recollections by ordinary soldiers
Humphrey, Carol Sue ed. The Revolutionary Era:
Primary Documents on Events from 1776 to 1800
(2003), 384pp; newspaper accounts excerpt and text
Jensen, Merill, ed. Tracts of the American Revolution, 17631776 (1967). American pamphlets
Jensen, Merill, ed. English Historical Documents:
American Colonial Documents to 1776: Volume 9
(1955), 890pp; major collection of important documents
Morison, Samuel E. ed. Sources and Documents Illustrating the American Revolution, 17641788, and
the Formation of the Federal Constitution (1923).
370 pp online version
Tansill, Charles C. ed.; Documents Illustrative of the
Formation of the Union of the American States. Government Printing Oce. (1927). 1124 pages online
Martin Kallich and Andrew MacLeish, eds. The
American Revolution through British eyes (1962) primary documents

16 External links
Library of Congress Guide to the American Revolution
Pictures of the Revolutionary War: Select Audiovisual Records, National Archives and Records Administration selection of images, including a number of non-military events and portraits
Revolution! The Atlantic World Reborn, Revolution! explores the enormous transformations in the
worlds politics that took place from 1763-1815,
with particular attention to three globally inuential
revolutions in America, France, and Haiti. Linking the attack on monarchism and aristocracy to the
struggle against slavery, Revolution!shows how freedom, equality, and the sovereignty of the people became universal goals.New-York Historical Society
PBS Television Series
Chickasaws Conicted by the American Revolution
- Chickasaw.TV
Smithsonian study unit on Revolutionary Money
The American Revolution: Lighting Freedoms
Flame, US National Park Service website
Honored Places: The National Park Service
Teachers Guide to the American Revolution
Haldimand Collection Letters regarding the war to
important generals. Fully indexed
Military History of Revolution with links to documents, maps, URLs
American Independence Museum


Contemporary sources: Annual Register

Annual Register 1773, British compendium of

speeches and reports

Black Loyalist Heritage Society

Spanish and Latin American contribution to the
American Revolution
American Archives: Documents of the American
Revolution at Northern Illinois University Libraries
American Revolution study guide and teacher resources
AmericanRevolution.Org Resource for pre collegiate historical educational institutions
The American Revolution, the History Channel (US
cable television) website
Gayle Olson-Ramer, Half a Revolution, 16-page
teaching guide for high school students, Zinn Education Project/Rethinking Schools
Counter-Revolution of 1776": Was U.S. Independence War a Conservative Revolt in Favor of Slavery? Democracy Now! June 27, 2014.





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