American Revolution History Guide..
Site: History Timelines on the Web
|A short history of the American
The American Revolutionary War (also known as the
American War of Independence and American Revolution)
was a war fought between the British Crown and its
colonies in North America, allied with France, from
1775 to 1783. The eventual outcome was the recognition
of independence of the 13 southernmost of the colonies,
as well as lightly settled territories west to the
Before the revolution most people in the British North
American Colonies considered themselves loyal subjects
of the British Crown, with the same rights and obligations
as people in Britain. However, under the doctrine
of mercantilism the British considered the Colonies
more as a resource to be utilized for the benefit
of their own economy and had little respect for the
Colonialists. This difference in perception led to
a vicious circle of Colonialists acting against what
they saw as unfair policies, harsh British reaction,
followed by stronger Colonial reaction, leading to
even harsher British reaction -- all of this spiraling
into the revolution.
As the Colonialists started rejecting the Crown they
also started becoming more radicalized in other ways,
paying more attention to the idea of a broad democracy
and to people like Thomas Paine who not long previously
would have been condemned as a leveller.
It should be noted however that a large proportion,
probably a majority, of the population did stay loyal
or neutral during the war. Loyalists, known as Tories,
included members of the aristocracy who had a lot
to lose as well as recent immigrants who identified
more with their birthplace than their new home. Following
the war many Tories were forced to flee to Canada
or Britain. Many Native Americans also opposed the
revolution realizing that they were likely to suffer
more at the hands of independent Americans than the
The revolution started in April 1775 when British
troops quartered in Boston attempted to seize munitions
stored by colonial militias at Concord, Massachusetts.
Conflict spread and the outnumbered British garrisons
in the 13 Southernmost colonies were quickly defeated.
Fort Ticonderoga fell in May, Montreal in August.
Boston was evacuated by British troops in October.
By the end of 1775 Britain's holdings in North America
had been reduced to the Canadian Maritimes and a besieged
garrison at Quebec City in Canada.
In 1776, the British sent 75,000 troops to North America
to quell the rebellion. The colonists met in Philadelphia
in June of 1776 and declared independence from England
on July 4, 1776. See United States Declaration of
Independence. The colonial army proved no match for
the well-armed British and suffered an embarrassing
series of defeats in the Battle of Brooklyn Heights.
By the end of 1776, Quebec, New York City and much
of New Jersey were in British hands. However, during
Christmas week, General George Washington, who had
retreated into Pennsylvania, crossed the Delaware
River back into New Jersey and rolled up outlying
British garrisons at Trenton and Princeton. This established
a pattern that held for the rest of the war. The British
controlled the territory they occupied with major
forces -- primarily New York City and Philadelphia.
The colonists controlled everything else.
In 1777, a force of 10,000 troops started down from
Quebec to cut the colonies in half. Simultaneously
the much larger army in New Jersey moved across the
Delaware River and took Philadelphia -- the colonial
capitol and the largest city in North America. However,
after retaking Ticonderoga with little trouble, the
Northern army suffered a series of serious defeats
at Bennington, Fort Stanwix and in two battles near
Saratoga. By October the 5,700 survivors found themselves
surrounded, outnumbered and short of supplies in the
wilderness 130 miles (210 km) south of Montreal with
On October 17th General Burgoyne surrendered an entire
British Army to the colonials. News of the surrender
arrived in Paris hard on the heels of news that colonial
troops had caused supposedly invincible British regulars
to flee in disarray in the early stages of the Battle
of Germantown. Convinced by Benjamin Franklin and
the news from North America that the Colonials had
a reasonable chance of victory, the French agreed
to support the colonists.
With the French in the war, the conflict settled into
a war of attrition. The Colonials were too weak to
dislodge the British from Philadelphia and New York.
The British tried various strategies, but were unable
to establish permanent control over the countryside
and the vast majority of the population. The economy
of the colonies slowly disintegrated and the British
economy -- drained by the costs of a War with France
and supporting the large occupation forces in America
-- also suffered substantially.
In 1781, the British strategy changed to focus on
the Southern colonies. General Cornwallis led a force
of 7,000 troops whose mission was to support loyalists
in the South. He was opposed by Nathaniel Greene who
despite losing every battle, was able to demoralize
Cornwallis' troops. Running low on supplies, Cornwallis
moved his forces to Yorktown, Virginia to await supplies
Accounts of what happened next are remarkably diverse
-- possibly due to a desire by some American authors
to minimize the French role in the events. All sources
agree that French naval forces defeated the British
Royal Navy on September 5th at the Battle of the Chesapeake,
cutting off Cornwallis' supplies and transport. Washington
moved his troops from New York and a combined Colonial-French
force of 16,000 or 17,000 troops was assembled and
commenced the Battle of Yorktown on October 6, 1781.
Cornwallis' position quickly became untenable. On
October 19th a substantial British Army once again
surrendered to the Colonials; as they marched out
and turned their weapons over, the British regimental
band was instructed to play a popular song of the
day entitled "The World Turned Upside Down".
In April 1782, the British House of Commons voted
to end the war with the American colonies and the
government of war proponent Lord North was ousted.
The British removed their troops from Charleston,
South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia in the Summer
of 1782. In November 1782 a peace agreement was reached
although the formal end of the War did not occur until
the Treaty of Paris was signed in November of 1783.
|Important American Revolutionary
- Battle of Lexington and Concord
- Battle of Saratoga
- Battle of Yorktown
|Important American Revolution
- Abigal Adams
- John Adams
- Samuel Adams
- Ethan Allen
- Benedict Arnold
- John Burgoyne
- Benjamin Franklin
- King George III of England
- John Hancock
- Thomas Jefferson
- John Paul Jones
- Thomas Paine
- Paul Revere
- John Stark
- George Washington
|To learn more about the American
Revolutionary War -
Use these online Internet resources
Majors Chapter Sons of the American Revolution
- History, preservation, and genealogy of the American
Revolution. Also includes info on Alexander Majors
Chapter of Kansas City, Missouri; George Washington
and other founding fathers
Women in War and Peace - Tells the stories of
Deborah Samson, Anne Bailey, and other women who
took part in the war.
Longrifles - Dedicated to the study and building
of historically correct American longrifles, otherwise
known as Kentucky rifles.
Revolution - Intended for children; includes
a comprehensive collection of links and unique content
relating to The American Revolution and early American
American Revolution - Designed to complement
PBS' "Liberty!" series, the site features 16 lucid
essays on some of the complex political and social
issues of the period.
American Revolution - Brief information about
the battles, people and political events of the
Revolution: A Revolution? - Essay examines whether
the American conflict was a true revolution.
American Revolution: First Phase - Excerpt from
American Military History of the Army Historical
Revolution Forum Frigate - Forum devoted to
discussing all aspects of the American Revolution.
Revolutionary Facts - Interesting and little
known facts about the American Revolutionary War
from the Delaware Facts Page.
- Educational information, history and genealogy
referring to the American War of Independence from
1775 to 1783. From the Riverside, California Chapter
of the Sons of the American Revolution.
Beginnings: The Real Story - The story of the
war of independence and the founding fathers from
a biblical perspective.
of the American Revolution - There were many
causes that led to the American Revolution. Learn
what some of them were.
and Revolution 1775-1776 - A timeline of significant
events during the early years of the American Revolution.
From The History Place.
Contemplator's Short History of Women in the Revolutionary
Era - A brief essay on women's lives during
the American Revolutionary War period, with bibliography
and related links.
David Library of the American Revolution - General
information, facts, and links to resources concerning
the American Revolution.
Founders - "Benjamin Franklin, the Iroquois
and the Rationale for the American Revolution."
On-line reproduction of the book by Bruce Johansen
(1982), that examines Native American impacts on
the creation of the United States government.
- Women Soldiers in the American Revolutionary War - History raves about the heroics of men in war...
but few instances are mentioned in which female courage was displayed.
Yet during every conflict, and the peaceful years between,
they too were there.
Valley Forge - References the area known historically
as Valley Forge, and chronicles its place in the
American Revolutionary War.
Central: Revolutionary War - Examines the causes
of the conflict, as well as major battles and events.
Also includes teacher's guide.
in the War of Independence - The Central Intelligence
Agency's review of intelligence gathering during
the American Revolution.
Journey Towards Freedom - Includes illustrated
tour of Valley Forge, an in-depth look at Washington's
Crossing, an extensive document collection, biographical
section with a comprehensive list of key historical
figures, and related games.
The American Revolution - Official online companion
to the PBS series features a potpourri of interactive
information on the war, timelines, a revolutionary
game, and video clips from the series.
Mariners in the Revolutionary War - From the
United States Merchant Marines, a brief history
of merchant seamen who contributed to America's
effort for independence. With select biographies.
Institute for Advanced Loyalist Studies - A
collection of primary source transcriptions, original
content and other resources for those researching
Loyalist military history, genealogy or living history
Patriot Movie & History Resource - Describes
the events of the Southern Campaign (1780-1781)
and the prominant figures involved, comparing the
actual events with those depicted in the movie The
- Pennsylvania Society
of Sons of the Revolution - Provides information
about this society and its work. Includes illustrations
of each of the society's large collection of reproduction
Places and Terms - Alphabetical listing of people,
places, events and terms referring to the American
Privateers and the American Revolution - Encyclopedia
article discussing the use of privateers to attack
British merchant shippping.
Our Country Vol. 2 - Large collection of articles
covering the period 1760 to 1800 but dealing mainly
with the Revolutionary War.
- A Revolutionary
Day Along Historical US Route 7 - An suggested
tour from Pittsfield MA to Burlingtom VT taking
in many Revolutionary War sites, with modern-day
directions and pictures.
War and War of 1812 Preservation Study - American
Battlefield Protection Program of the National Park
War Discussion Port - Forum for discussing all
aspects of the American Revolution.
War Virtual Battlefield Tours - Photographs
of Revolutionary War battlefields and explanations
of the fighting.
of Loyalist Units in the Americas - Listing
and brief description of the uniforms worn by American
units fighting for the British.
- US History
- Exploring American history with a special focus
on Colonial and Revolutionary Philadelphia.
Revolutionary War Hall - Large collection of
profiles of people, places and events compiled by
Winning of Independence: 1777-1783 - Extracted
from American Military History from the Army Historical
- Usenet soc.history.war.us-revolution - news:
for "American Revolution" on