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The American Revolution

Unit 3 Part 3

A Quick Recap
• By 1776 several battles have already been fought.
• Lexington and Concord
• Bunker Hill

• The Continental Congress has made their last ditch effort the
avoid war – The Olive Branch Petition – and is rejected by England.
• Independence is declared in July 1776 and the newly created
United States is facing one of the most powerful militaries in
human history.

The British Army v. The Continental Army
• Led by Washington
• Army of ~30,000,
The British Army
The Continental Army
but numbers
fluctuate due to
constant desertion.
• Washington is forced
to retreat from New
York and is almost

Led by General Howe

There are about 55,000 soldiers in the colonies.

However 30,000 are mercenaries.

They quickly beat Washington and seize New York, which they will hold
the rest of the war.

American Advantages

The Leadership of General Washington is the greatest advantage.

America has an excellent spy network.

They have a cause worth fighting for.

They know the territory they are fighting on.

• The war is
unpopular at home.
(Hence all the
British Disadvantages
• Troops are scattered
across the British
• The British are
inefficient with
logistics and

The Battle of Trenton

The Christmas Campaign
• Takes place December 25th and 26th, 1776.
• Washington sends his troops across the semi-frozen
Delaware River on Christmas evening.
• Even though their gunpowder was wet and it was
pitch black, his soldiers fixed bayonets and
assaulted the Hessians in Trenton.
• The battle lasted less than 45 minutes.
• No Americans die and they took 900

The Battle of Princeton
• January 3, 1777
• Washington pulls off another surprise attack.
• His army was pursued by General Cornwallis, dispatched by General
Howe to capture Washington.
• Washington  recrossed the Delaware, gets behind Cornwallis and takes Princeton.

• Washington becomes a national hero
• Americans begin to believe they can actually defeat the British, who up to this
point had seemed invincible.

The Battle of Saratoga

• 1777
• The British force is commanded by John
Burgoyne, the Continentals by Horatio
• General Burgoyne has struck out from
New York with the intent of seizing
• This is the first time the Americans
stand up and fight the British in a
European style battle.
• They defeat the British and take over
5700 prisoners.
• The true Hero of the battle is
Benedict Arnold.
• This victory is the TURNING POINT of
the American revolution.

The Effects of Saratoga
• The primary outcome of Saratoga is recognition by the French.
• The French had been waiting for two things
• US Declaration of Independence
• US successfully defeating the British in a major battle. (They needed to know
the US had a real chance of winning.)

• The French will commit their army and navy as well as selling guns to the

Valley Forge

During the winter of 1777-1778 Washington’s
army will shelter at Valley Forge, PA.
• One fourth of the soldiers will be dead
by Spring.

Various European military experts will come
to Washington’s aid.
• Marquis de Lafayette - French officer
and liaison who will provide
• Baron von Steuben - Prussian officer
who will train the Continentals in
modern European military tactics.
• Ultimately the army will be held
together by its loyalty to Washington .

The army that emerges from Valley Forge will
be much different. It will be hardened and
well trained.
• It proves itself by defeating the British
at the battle of Monmouth.

The War Moves South
• The British believe they have the advantages fighting in the South.
• Good Ports for their navy, large numbers of loyalists and help from slaves
(British were abolishing slavery)

• For the next three years the British win victory after victory.
• The worst American defeat comes at Charleston.
• 1780, 5400 men, 7 generals 400 cannons, and 10 warships are lost. This battle is
the lowest point of the war.

• However guerilla bands are at work gnawing at the British such as Francis
Marion, “The Swamp Fox”

American Victory in the South
• American patriots begin winning a series of victories in the South.
• King’s Mountain, 1780
• The Battle of Cowpens, 1781
• The Penultimate Battle is Guilford Courthouse.
• Cornwallis retreats to Yorktown to receive reinforcements from Benedict Arnold by sea.
• Who arrives first?
• The French!!
• The British army is now trapped between a combined American/French Army and the
French Fleet.
• The siege lasts 15 days before Cornwallis surrenders.
• Even in defeat he refuses to meet with the patriots to surrender his sword.

The Treaty of Paris
• 1783
• British / US agreement.
• Recognized America’s Independence
• Granted America land from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Mississippi River in the west to the Great Lakes in the North.
• Spain receives Florida.

• Additional terms
• America
• Will provide restitution of loyalist property
• Will prevent further persecution of loyalists.

• Britain
• Give US fishing rights in Canada
• Remove all troops from American soil.

• Negotiated by Ben Franklin and John Jay.
• The British give favorable terms to prevent a permanent alliance between America and France.

The Effects of the War on Europe
• Revolutionary ideas will bring financial ruin and civil war in
• Britain's monarch will be reduced to a figurehead
• Britain expands self rule to more of their colonies.