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Events of the Revolution. Having been forced out of Boston (Breeds Hill and Bunker Hill), the British concentrated on the strategic center of the American resistance: New York and Philadelphia. 

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Events of the Revolution

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Events of the revolution

Events of the Revolution

Events of the revolution

  • Having been forced out of Boston (Breeds Hill and Bunker Hill), the British concentrated on the strategic center of the American resistance: New York and Philadelphia. 

  • First in the North, General Howe tried to control the mouth of the Hudson River (Hudson Bay), illustrated by the battles at Brooklyn Heights near Manhattan, Harlem Heights, and White Plains. 

  • Howe chased Washington out of New York and across New Jersey, reducing the American army to just 5,000 men and 18 cannons

  • His plan was to meet up with two additional British forces (from Quebec and Lake Ontario), and then combined they would defeat the Patriot forces.

  • The Continental Army, of course, had different plans.

Crossing the delaware

Crossing the Delaware

  • In the winter of 1776, Washington's men were tired, hungry, sick, cold, and "naked" (in 18th century terms, meaning without coats and shoes).

  • Most were anxious to go home, and their brief enlistments were about to expire.

  • Morale was low everywhere – even Congress fled from Philadelphia and scattered for safety to Baltimore, fearing that the British army was about to capture the city. 

Events of the revolution

  • Using the element of surprise, Washington's army quickly crossed the Delaware River during a fierce winter storm on Christmas night, 1776,

  • He caught the German Hessians at Trenton off guard and beat them badly, then slipped back across the river before Cornwallis arrived. 

Events of the revolution

  • Four days later Washington crossed the river again, eluded Cornwallis in the dead of night, and struck at Princeton. 

    • This caused General Howe to rethink his plan of attack, but even more so, became a symbol of the Patriot’s renewed faith in the revolutionary cause.

  • After winning a second surprise victory, he quickly withdrew his army to safety before Cornwallis could catch him. 

  • This "hit and run" strategy with a small, mobile army was effective against the big, slow-moving British forces, and Washington used it time and time again. 

  • Why were these successes important?

    • Encouraged by the news of Washington's success in New Jersey, France began to ship military aid to the Americans.

The battle of saratoga and the french alliance

The Battle of Saratoga... and the French Alliance

  • Meanwhile, Gen. "Gentleman Johnny" Burgoyne led a separate invasion force of 9,000 British regulars down the St. Lawrence River from Canada, through Lake Champlain in upstate New York, South to Fort Ticonderoga, intending to reach the Hudson River and intersect with Howe. 

  • He was stopped and defeated by a force of American solders commanded by generals Horatio Gates and Benedict Arnold at Saratoga in October 1777, an important American victory and a key turning point in the war. 

  • At that point the French, who had been sitting on the sidelines cheering for the Americans but reluctant to get involved, decided to form a Treaty of Alliance with the Americans. 

Significance of saratoga

Significance of Saratoga...

  • Not only did Saratoga mark the failure of an important part of the British strategy; it also marked the entry of France as an American ally, bringing badly needed finances, weapons, troops, and warships. 

    • since the beginning of the war the French had been secretly providing the Americans with arms, munitions, loans and volunteers. 

    • Now the French recognized American independence, granted commercial privileges, and offered them a favourable alliance

  • Within a year after France officially entered the conflict in 1778, Spain added its support to the Americans, and the British found themselves in another major European war. 

  • General Howe (who had replaced General Gage) was replaced by General George Clinton. 

Spies and traitors

Spies and Traitors

  • Benedict Arnold – his name is synonymous with "traitor." 

  • was court-martialed in 1779 for misappropriating Pennsylvania state funds and Washington did not "go to bat" for him. 

  • he thought Washington did not do enough to stand up for him and that it ruined his chances for promotion. – making him very bitter

  • His second wife, Peggy Shippen, was a Loyalist who had a close relationship (possibly an affair) with a British officer, Major John Andre. 

  • General Clinton had encouraged Andre and others to try to recruit spies and traitors from the Patriots. 

  • Working with Andre, Peggy persuaded her husband to "turn coat" and sell out the fort at West Point on the Hudson River to the British for $1 million and a position as a general in the British army. 

  • In September 1780, just as Washington arrived at West Point to discover that the fort was strangely unguarded, Andre was caught with incriminating documents hidden in his boot, spoiling the plot in the nick of time. 

  • Andre was hanged, Arnold escaped capture.  

  • Arnold served in the British Army under General Lord Cornwallis, spent time in Canada, and eventually went to England with his wife and their four sons in 1792, where he died in 1801

Valley forge winter 1777 1778


  • Not a battle, but a holding location for Washington's troops

  • Located 40km (25miles) west of Philadelphia;

  • Campground for 11000 of Washington’s Continental Army from Dec. 1777 to June 1778;

  • The troops were hungry, poorly clothed, and badly housed;

  • 2500 died in the winter; many others deserted;

  • Washington crossed the Delaware with this army, and proceeded to Trenton, where the Continentals were able to defeat the Hessian mercenaries and then on to Princeton, where the Continentals launched another successful attack.

    • This caused General Howe to rethink his plan of attack, but even more so, became a symbol of the Patriot’s renewed faith in the revolutionary cause.

  • Symbolized the heroism of the American revolutionaries;

  • Were eventually joined by the French, who brought the remaining troops much needed provisions, allowing them to regain morale;

  • Prior to leading them to battle, Washington read his troops The Crisis, by Thomas Paine – the first line of which he used to boost their morale "These are the times that try men's souls."

  • The army at Valley Forge was the one that continued to victory at Yorktown.

The beginning of the end


The war in the south

The War in the South

  • In the final stage of the war, the British pursued a Southern strategy. 

  • Gen. Cornwallis, the British commander in the South, knew that to win the war the British would have to defeat the Patriot strongholds in Virginia.

  • Landing at Savannah GA in late 1778, then Charleston SC in 1780, British troops marched up through the Carolinas, fighting battles at Augusta, Camden, Charlotte, Cowpens [an important American victory and apparent setting for the big battle in Mel Gibson's movie, The Patriot] in January 1781, and Greensboro/ Hillsboro. 

  • The main force of American troops in the South was led by General Gates.  Gates was badly beaten in the Carolinas and replaced by Greene ("the Fighting Quaker"). 

Events of the revolution

  • Pursued by Greene, Cornwallis withdrew to Wilmington for supplies and reinforcements, then marched up to Virginia. 

  • Hoping to hook up with Clinton (who was in New York) for more reinforcements and supplies, he withdrew to Yorktown. 

  • There he was trapped by land (Washington's combined force of nearly 17,000 Frenchmen, Continentals, and militia) and by sea (the French fleet led by the Marquis de Grasse in the Chesapeake). 

  • Cornwallis surrendered on October 19, 1781. 

Events of the revolution

  • As the British soldiers marched out after their surrender, their band played the song "The World Turned Upside Down".

  • The British Prime Minister, Lord North, tendered his resignation and a new government was installed that favoured granting the American colonies their independence.

  • Benjamin Franklin was sent to London to negotiate peace with the British in July 1782.

  • The Treaty of Paris made it official on September 3, 1783, and the Americans had finally won their independence. 



  • Read pages 126 – 139.

  • Complete the Visualizing History question on p. 127.

  • Complete Section 2 Review questions 1 & 3 on pl 129.

  • Complete Section 3 Review questions 1, 3 & 4 on p. 134

  • Complete Section 4 Review questions 1, 3, 4 & 5 on p. 139.

  • Complete Reviewing Facts questions 1 – 3 on page 140.

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