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The American Revolution. DO NOW!. “Causes of the American Revolution: An Overview” Rank the 8 causes in order of importance ON A SEPARATE SHEET ON PAPER(1 being most important, 8 being the least). You must explain WHY you picked your most important cause. Turn this in once you are done!.

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The American Revolution

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do now

“Causes of the American Revolution: An Overview”

Rank the 8 causes in order of importance ON A SEPARATE SHEET ON PAPER(1 being most important, 8 being the least). You must explain WHY you picked your most important cause.

Turn this in once you are done!


Read the list of factors that limited how well Great Britain could fight a war in the colonies.

Answer the 5 questions at the end.


Individually complete the handout “Comparing Strengths and Weaknesses.” You are ranking whether or not the Americans and British are strong or weak in each area. You must also answer the two questions at the end!


military strategies
The Americans

Guerilla tactics - don’t have to win the battles, just wear the British down

Make alliances with other countries

The British

Divide the colonies - get between the North and South

Blockade ports

Use the Loyalists to undermine patriots

Military Strategies
patriots disadvantages
Patriots’ Disadvantages
  • Lacked a regular army and strong navy
  • Soldiers lacked military experience
  • Ammunition and weapons were in short supply
  • Not everyone supported independence
  • Great Britain had 9 million people; U.S. had only 2.5 million
patriots advantages
Patriots’ Advantages
  • Fighting at home – had more at stake
  • Willing to “fight dirty” – guerilla warfare
  • British had to travel 3,000 miles to fight and resupply
  • The British hired Hessians (German mercenaries) who weren’t personally invested
recruiting an army
Recruiting an Army
  • Patriots needed troops and quickly
  • Washington - enlist for the whole war
  • Colonists – enlist for one year
  • Congress hesitant to create/enforce a draft
the war moves south
The War Moves South
  • Summer 1776: General Howe sailed into New York Harbor with 32,000 troops
  • British control NYC by end of summer
  • Many of Washington’s recruits killed, captured, or deserted
    • Remaining 8000 troops retreat to Pennsylvania
a low point
A Low Point
  • Winter of 1776-1777: size of Continental Army dwindled
  • Soldiers completed their terms of service and went home
  • Others deserted or ran away
the crisis
“The Crisis”
  • Written by Thomas Paine
  • Reminded colonists the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph
  • Washington used Paine’s words to inspire the troops.
  • Washington knew he needed a victory to inspire his troops
  • Christmas night (1776) during a storm, Washington and 2,400 men made their way across the Delaware River
  • Most of the Hessians were still sleeping when Washington’s troops attacked
    • The Americans captured 6 cannons, 918 Hessians, and killed 30

History Channel Video Clip!

  • In response to Trenton, General Howe develops a plan to seize the capital at Philadelphia
  • Continental Congress fled the city
  • Washington’s troops tried to block the Redcoats
  • Washington lost the battle and Howe settled into Philadelphia
the british plan 1777
The British Plan (1777)

Separate New England from the middle states

  • General Burgoyne - lead 8,000 troops south from Canada
  • Barry St. Leger- move east from Lake Ontario
  • General Howe - move north from New York City up to Albany.
  • Burgoyne did not know Howe was in Philadelphia
  • Burgoyne slowed down by 30 wagons containing his personal items
  • The further south Burgoyne went, the more men he lost – lots of ambushes and sneak attacks
the battle of saratoga
The Battle of Saratoga
  • Considered the turning point of the war
  • General Burgoyne attempts numerous times to overtake colonists at Saratoga
  • However, Burgoyne faces large loses while militia forces continued to arrive
  • By the end, British trapped and outnumbered 3-1 – Burgoyne surrenders

History Channel Video Clip!


Surrender of General Burgoyne by John Trumbull, 1822; This painting hangs in the United States Capitol Rotunda.

foreign aid
Foreign Aid
  • By late 1777, Ben Franklin had been in Paris, France for a year
  • France had secretly been giving money to the Americans
  • After victory at Saratoga, France committed to sending money, equipment, and troops.
    • Officially recognize American independence
  • Spain and Netherlands help by sending supplies and ammunition
the cold winter
The Cold Winter
  • Washington’s troops surrounded Philadelphia
  • Spent winter camped outside at Valley Forge, 20 miles west of Philadelphia
    • British had warm homes to sleep in
  • Once France entered the war, Congress was so sure of a quick victory they paid little attention to Washington’s pleas for supplies

History Channel Video Clip

the cold winter1
The Cold Winter
  • 10,000 soldiers lacked shoes, shirts, and blankets. They had little food and few blankets.
  • The soldiers built 14ft x 16ft huts that housed 12 men each
  • More than 2,000 soldiers died that winter

Cabins at Valley Forge

foreign aid1
Foreign Aid
  • Friedrich von Steuben, Prussian captain and drillmaster, taught army basic military skills
  • General Marquis de Lafayette, French General, lobbied for French reinforcements; led a command in Virginia in the final years of the war
money problems
Money Problems
  • Continental Congress now facing a huge problem - how to pay the troops
  • As Congress ran out of gold and silver coins, began raising money by selling bonds to foreign countries and printing paper money known as “Continentals”
  • As Congress began printing more and more money, it’s value fell, causing inflation
    • Inflation is when it takes more and more money to buy the same amount of goods

Why didn’t Congress raise taxes to pay for the war?

women during the war
Women During the War
  • Managed farms, shops, businesses, and households
  • Made ammunition from household silver
  • Some followed husbands to the battlefields - washed, mended, and cooked for the soldiers

Even though the Revolution didn’t win new freedoms for women, it made them question their role in society.

civilians and the war
Civilians and the War
  • Thousands of African-American slaves escape to Northern citiesand frontier
  • About 5,000 African Americans serve in Continental Army
  • Most Native Americans stayed out of the conflict – didn’t trust either side
war in the south
War in the South
  • 1778: British changed their strategy
    • Concentrate almost all their fighting in the South
    • Hoped to take advantage of Loyalists in the South.
british victories
British Victories
  • 1778: British take Savannah and the royal governor is reinstates in GA
  • 1780: British capture Charles Town – greatest victory of the war (took 5,500 American prisoners)
  • British commander Charles Cornwallistakes South Carolina and continues through the South
cornwallis in the south
Cornwallis in the South
  • 1780: Cornwallis very successful in advancing through the South
    • Troops were aided by thousands of African Americans who had escaped slavery
  • As Cornwallis advanced into North Carolina his troops were constantly harassed by the Patriots, and were forced to retreat back into South Carolina
  • French naval fleet defeated the British and blocked the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay, blocking an escape route and any reinforcements
  • Washington - 17,000 American and French troops
  • Cornwallis- 8,000 British and Hessian troops
    • Rest of the British Army stationed in New York
  • Siege of Yorktown lasted a month
  • October 19, 1781: Washington accepts surrender

History Channel Video Clip!

end of the war
End of the War
  • The British still held New York, Charleston, and Savannah
  • However, King now felt the war would be to costly for Britain to continue
  • King George III appointed ministers who were prepared to give Americans their independence
treaty of paris
Treaty of Paris
  • 1782: representatives from US, Great Britain, France, and Spain meet
    • G.B. wanted to avoid giving America full independence
    • F. supported American independence but feared that they would become a world power
    • S. wanted to acquire the land between the Mississippi River and the Appalachian Mountains
  • Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay represented the United States
  • Demanded that Britain recognize American independence before they would begin any negotiations
terms of the treaty
Terms of the Treaty
  • Sept 1783: Treaty of Paris signed
    • confirms U.S. independence
    • sets U.S. boundaries
      • All land from Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River, north of Spanish Florida
    • ignores Native American rights
    • promises repayment of debts
      • Most states will ignore this
    • no date set for British evacuation of forts in U.S.
how did the americans win
How did the Americans Win?
  • Methods of fighting
  • A few American successes (Trenton, Saratoga, Swamp Fox)
  • Long supply lines from Great Britain
  • French support (military and political)
  • Support of some in Great Britain
  • Large area of engagement (New England to Georgia)
  • Surrender of best general (Cornwallis at Yorktown)
  • Diplomacy of Franklin and Adams