The War for American Independence Begins!. Conservative War for English rights 1775-1783. Conserving English Rights. The war between the colonies and English government is more of a struggle for the conservation of rights as Englishmen and for the right of self-government.
Conservative War for English rights
April 19, 1775
Lexington and then Concord (Massachusetts)
General Gage and British ordered to seize Boston Militia’s supplies in Concord. Goes through Lexington first and meets resistance from Minute-men. The British continue on to Concord and are forced to retreat to Boston when they meet 400 Minute-men.
This signaled the beginning of the Revolution.
“Shot heard ‘round the world”
The Second Continental Congress meets as a result of this battle.
Continental Army established and organized
George Washington voted to lead as General
Many delegates still did not want to declare independence yet.
Drafted the Olive Branch Petition pledging their allegiance to the King looking for one last effort at a peaceful compromise.
King George III refused to acknowledge the colonies’ efforts at peace and declares them officially in rebellion.
He declares all members of the Continental Congress have committed treason and will be hanged.
“We will all hang together or we shall all hang separately”. –Ben Franklin
Continental Army (America!)
British Army (BOOOO!)
Well-trained, supplied professional army.
Strong government organization already established
June 16, 1775
British reinforcements attack a militia fort at the top of Breed’s Hill. The colonists fought off to attacks but ran out of ammo. The Boston militia was forced to retreat but not before taking 1,000 British casualties.
“Don’t fire till you see the whites of their eyes!”
In the wake of the Battles at Lexington and Bunker Hill; and the ignoring of the Congress’ Olive Branch Petition reconciliation between the colonies and Great Britain was impossible.
The Congress met again and voted on whether to declare independence.
Drafted by Thomas Jefferson in June of 1776.
The motion in the Congress passed to declare independence on July 2 and the official document was first read to Americans and the world on July 4, 1776.
This has come to be known as our Independence Day.
December 25, 1776
Trenton, New Jersey
General Washington and the Continental Army cross the Delaware River in the middle of the night and surprise the Hessians (hired German soldiers) in their sleep after their Christmas celebration.
Desperate for a victory this gave the Americans the boost in confidence that they needed to keep fighting.
This also boosted their allegiance to General Washington.
Freezing, starving, no supplies, enlistments ending, desertions, no hope, disease.
The Revolution was almost lost here in January-March 1777.
Enter: Baron Friedrich von Steuben
George Washington and von Steuben kept the men together and began to drill the men with discipline and military training.
Rumors of the French coming to the aid of the Americans also lifted their spirits.
They can win this war!
October 17, 1777
Saratoga, New York
The British leave Quebec to take New York by sea.
They are met and surrounded by the Americans when they arrive.
The Americans take over 5,000 British soldiers as prisoners.
This victory convinced the French to fully aid the Americans to knock out the British.
Ben Franklin is sent to France to negotiate the treaty of alliance with the French.
Now the Americans have a Navy, money, and more soldiers!
The British move to the Chesapeake Bay to wait for supplies to arrive.
Washington and French General Rochambeau corner them on land and the French Navy led by General DeGrasse by sea.
The British are completely surrounded on all sides.
They are forced to officially surrender.
John Adams, Ben Franklin, and John Jay negotiate the treaty with the British
Great Britain recognizes American Independence
The Mississippi River is established as our western border.
Florida goes back to Spain.
The last British troops leave New York on November 24, 1783.
Agreed to treat Loyalists still in America with respect.
Boston Tea Party!
Shot Heard Round the World!
Declaration of Independence!