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Chapter 6. The American revolution. Section 1. Fighting begins in the north . May 10, 1775 Second Continental Congress met to plan a way to avoid war. Delegates sent a petition to King George III

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peace or war

May 10, 1775 Second Continental Congress met to plan a way to avoid war.

  • Delegates sent a petition to King George III
  • In the Olive Branch Petition the colonists declared their loyalty to the king and asked that the Intolerable Acts to be repealed.
    • King George was furious
    • Ordered 20,000 more troops to the colonies to crush revolt.
Peace or war?
rebels take ticonderoga

Ethan Allen, Vermont blacksmith, lead the Green Mountain Boys in a surprise attack on Fort Ticonderoga.

    • Fort held cannons that colonists could use.
  • Green Mountain Boys quickly over took the guard and entered the fort.
  • Allen stormed the room where the British commander slept.
    • The British commander surrendered Ticonderoga
Rebels take Ticonderoga
setting up an army

The Second Continental Congress wanted to organize the makeshift army.

  • In June 1775 the delegates set up the Continental Army with George Washington as commander.
    • Washington knew he would be fighting the world’s strongest armies but was willing to do his best
Setting up an army
advantages of opposing sides
Patriots disadvantages

Patriots Advantages

  • Patriots- colonists who were against British rule
  • 1/3 of colonists were patriots.
  • Patriots were unorganized and untrained
  • Had little weapons and gunpowder and no Navy.
  • Colonists were not willing to enlist in Continental Army and did not like fighting away from home.
  • Patriots owned their own guns and were good shots.
  • Washington was a brilliant commander.
  • Patriots were very determined to defend their homes, property, and liberty
Advantages of opposing sides
advantages of the opposing sides
The British advantages

British disadvantages

  • Powerful foes
  • Highly trained and experienced troops.
  • Experienced navy
  • Its armies were 3,000 miles from home.
  • Took months for news and supplies to travel from Britain to America.
  • British soldiers risked attack by colonists once they left the cities.
Advantages of the opposing sides

Loyalists- American colonists who remained loyal to Britain.

  • 1/3 of the population
    • Wealthy merchants
    • Formal officials of the royal government.
  • Most loyalists were from the Middle and Southern colonies
fight for boston

During the first year of fighting 6,000 British troops were surrounded in Boston by the Colonial militia.

  • June 16,1775 Colonel William Prescott led 1,200 minutemen up Bunker Hill
    • Perched on the hill Prescott and his men could fire on British ships.
  • At sunrise British general, William Howe, saw the Americans and ferried 2,400 redcoats to attack the rebels’ position
Fight for Boston
battle of bunker hill

As British approached the Patriots held their fire.

When the Americans fired the British retreated.

The British tried the second time with same result.

The last time the British took the hill but lost 1,000 redcoats Americans only lost 400.

Battle of bunker hill
british leave boston

Washington turned raw recruits into a trained army

    • Difficult because soldiers from different colonies did not trust each other.
    • Washington won loyalty for his troops.
  • January 1776 the cannons that Green Mountain Boys captured arrived in Boston.
  • General Howe saw cannons and knew he could not hold Boston.
British leave Boston

March 1776 he and his troops left Boston for Halifax, Canada

1,000 loyalists went with them.

King George III ordered a blockade of all colonial ports

Blockade- the shutting of a port to keep people or supplies from moving in or out.

The king also used mercenaries from Germany to help in fight.

Mercenaries- troops for hire.

thomas paine

Urged to write an essay urging the colonists to declare independence.

  • Winter of 1775 patriots had been fighting Britain for months.
    • Colonists still were reluctant to cut ties with Great Britain.
  • Thomas Paine wrote the pamphlet Common Sense.
Thomas Paine
common sense

Appeared in print January 1776.

  • Paine stated that colonists did not owe loyalty to George III or any other monarch.
    • the idea of king and queens were wrong.
  • Colonists did not owe anything to Britain
    • Argued that if England helped the Colonies it was to their own profit.
  • Common Sense sold the colonists on the idea of independence.
Common Sense
resolution for independence

June 1776 Richard Henry Lee of Virginia announced to Congress a resolution in favor of independence:

“ Resolved, That these United Colonies are and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between the and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”

- Richard Henry Lee, Resolution at the Second Continental Congress June 7, 1776

Resolution for Independence
making the break

Delegates faced a difficult decision if they declared independence.

If they fell into British hands they would be hanged as traitors.

After a long debate, Congress took the step and appointed a committee to draw up the declaration.

Making the Break
declaration committee

John Adams Ben Franklin Thomas Jefferson

Boston, MA Philidelphia, PA Charlottesville, VA

Robert Livingston Roger Sherman

Clermont, NY New Haven, CT

Declaration committee
thomas jefferson

Thomas Jefferson was asked to write the Declaration of Independence.

Youngest of the Continental Congress delegates.( 33 years old)

Quiet man

Wrote clearly and gracefully won him respect

Thomas Jefferson
signing the document

Late June of 1776 Jefferson completed the declaration.

July 2, 1776 the Continental Congress voted that all 13 colonies were “free and independent States.”

Document was adopted the night of July 4, 1776.

John Hancock the first to sign

Signing the Document

Copies of the Declaration of Independence were printed and distributed throughout the colonies.

  • Patriots were joyous over the Document.
    • New York colonists torn down the Statue of King George III
    • Boston cannons were fired for hours
declaration of independence1

The DOI consists of 4 parts

    • Preamble(Introduction)
    • Natural Rights- Rights that belong to ALL people from birth
    • British Wrongs
    • Independence
Declaration of Independence
natural rights

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain Unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

According to the DOI people form governments in order to protect their natural rights and liberties.

Governments can only exist if they have the Consent of the governed.

If the government does not uphold this then the people can remove said government.

Natural Rights
british wrongs

This section of the DOI lists the wrongs that Britain has done that led the colonies to break away.

    • Disbanding colonial legislatures
    • Sending troops to colonies during peacetimes
    • Limits on trade
    • And imposed taxes without consent

“In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

British Wrongs

Last part announces that the colonies are the United States of America.

    • All ties with Great Britain are cut.
    • As a free independent nation the USA could levy war, conclude peace,….

“And, for the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of Devine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our freedoms, and our sacred honor.”

british take new york

June 1776 General Howe arrived in New York Harbor with 34,000 troops and 10,000 saliors

Washington expecting Howe’s attack led his 20,000 poorly trained troops to New York

August 1776 the Battle of Long Island more than 1,400 Americans were killed, wounded or captured.

British Take New york
war in autum n

November 1776 Washington crossed the Hudson River into NJ, Being chased they then crossed the Delaware River into Pennsylvania

  • Needing information for the New York battle, Washington sent Nathan Hale behind British Line.Hale was captured.
    • In Hale’s boot they found information about British movement. Hale was hanged.
War in Autumn
retreat to victory

Months of constant fighting had worn down the Continental Army.

    • Washington’s troops were sick and dirty
    • Soldiers deserted from his ranks
  • Christmas night of 1776 Washington planned a surprise attack on Trenton
  • December 26 in the Battle of Trenton Washington and his men captured the Hessians who were guarding Trenton
Retreat to Victory
the turning point

British officials were disappointed how the war was going.

    • Planned to cut off New England from the rest of the colonies.
    • By doing this General John Burgoyne thought it would end the war
  • Howe captured Philadelphia in the battles of Brandywine and Germantown
The Turning Point
turning point

British captured Fort Ticonderoga

    • Burgoyne sent his men to Vermont to find food and horses.
    • In the Battle of Bennington Patriots captured or wounded nearly 1,000 British troops
  • To help in New York the Green Mountain Boys arrived.
    • October 17,1777 Burgoyne surrendered his army at the Battle of Saratoga
    • Battle of Saratoga convinced the French to help the Americans
Turning Point
french aid

Ben Franklin persuaded Louis XVI to give guns and needed supplies to America

  • February 1778 France was the first country to sign a treaty with America which stated they would provide military aid.
  • Spain and Netherlands also joined in the war.
    • France, Spain, and Netherlands gave loans to the US
  • Marquis de Lafayette, French noble brought trained soldiers to help the cause.
French Aid
ben franklin and women

Ladies man.


French women loved him.

“ A French woman once tapped on his ample pot belly and joked, Dr. Franklin if this was on a woman, wed know what to think. To which Franklin replied, half an hour ago, mademoiselle, it was on a woman and now what do you think?”

Ben Franklin and Women
valley forge

The Continental Army spent the winter in a makeshift camp called Valley Forge

  • Soldiers suffered due to little warm clothes, blankets, or food.
  • Patriots from all over sent food, clothing, blankets.
  • Some came to help the sick and wounded.
    • Washington’s wife Martha was one of these.
    • 2,500 troops died before winter was over
Valley Forge

Head Quarters, Valley Forge, February 16, 1778

Dear Sir: It is with great reluctance, I trouble you on a subject, which does not fall within your province; but it is a subject that occasions me more distress, than I have felt, since the commencement of the war; and which loudly demands the most zealous exertions of every person of weight and authority, who is interested in the success of our affairs. I mean the present dreadful situation of the army for want of provisions, and the miserable prospects before us, with respect to futurity. It is more alarming than you will probably conceive, for, to form a just idea, it were necessary to be on the spot. For some days past, there has been little less, than a famine in camp. A part of the army has been a week, without any kind of flesh, and the rest for three or four days.

fighting in the south

Battle of Cowpens was an important victory for Patriot General Morgan on January 1780.

  • Organized his men into two lines.
    • First line would fire twice then retreat
    • British thinking that the Patriots were running away would run right into the second line of fire
  • Morgan and General Green Combined their armies to fight General Cornwallis at Guilford Courthouse.
    • Americans retreated but British lost more men.
Fighting in the south
controlling virginia

Cornwallis abandoned his plan to take the Carolinas.

  • Spring 1781 he moved his troops into Virginia.
    • Plan was to conquer Virginia so that supply routes to the South would be cut off.
  • British had some success in Virginia before Cornwallis arrived
Controlling Virginia
american traitor

Benedict Arnold, formerly one of Americas best generals, now led the British troops in Virginia.

    • Captured and Burned the capital city of Richmond
    • Also raided and burned other Virginian cities
  • Arnold has turned traitor in September 1780 while commanding West Point.
    • Key fort in New York
American Traitor
american traitor1

Arnold was angry because he felt Washington had not given him the credit he was owed for his victories.

    • Arnold also was in need of money.
  • Secretly agreed to turn over West Point to the British.
    • Would give British the control in New York
    • Plot was uncovered by a Patriot patrol
    • Arnold escaped and joined the British
American traitor

Cornwallis wanted the success in Virginia that Arnold had.

  • Loyalist troops attacked Charlottesville
    • Governor Thomas Jefferson and the Virginia legislature had to flee from the city
  • American troops under the command of Lafayette fought back by staging raids
    • Did not have enough troops fro a full battle
    • Raids kept Cornwallis at bay
cornwallis makes a deadly mistake

Cornwallis did not agree with orders to send part of his troops to New York.

    • Retreated to Yorktown peninsula
    • Confident that he could be supplied from the sea.
  • Washington planned to trap Cornwallis in Yorktown
    • American and French troops marched from New York to join Lafayette in Virginia
    • French Navy cut off Cornwallis from supplies
Cornwallis makes a deadly mistake
victory in yorktown

By the end of September 1781 16,00 American and French troops laid siege on Cornwallis’ 8,000 men.

    • Siege- an army surrounds and blockades an enemy position in an attempt to capture it.
  • Cornwallis held out for a few weeks.
    • Ran low on food and supplies
    • Casualties grew
  • Cornwallis surrendered on October 19, 1781
Victory in Yorktown
peace treaty

Talks for peace started in 1782

  • Treaty of Paris made British recognize the United States as an independent nation.
    • Borders were from the “13 colonies to the Mississippi River and north to Great Lakes and south to Florida.
    • Florida was given back to Spain
    • State legislatures paid Loyalists for lost property
  • April 15, 1783 the treaty was approved.
Peace treaty
why america won

Geography played an important role

    • British had to ship all supplies over sea
    • Patriots were spread out in a wide area
    • Americans were familiar with area
  • Foreign Help
  • Growing American Patriotism
Why America Won
women s role in war
Women's role in War
  • Women to over all work in and around the house.
    • Planted and harvested crops
    • Mended fences
    • Made shoes
    • Wove cloth for blankets and uniforms
    • Made cannon balls and guns
  • Many women joined their husbands at the front
    • Cared for wounded
    • Washed clothes
    • cooked
  • Betsy Ross and others sewed flags for battles
  • A few women even fought when husband was wounded or dead.
    • Mary Ludwig Hays
women of revolution
Women of Revolution

Sybil Ludington

  • “female Paul Revere”
  • 16 YO who mounted her horse on an April Night in 1777 to ride through countryside and got the local militia to grab arms and go fight

Deborah Sampson

  • “Robert Shurtleff”
  • When wounded she hid the wounded leg.
  • She caught yellow fever and was taken to hospital where she was discovered.
  • She was given an honorable discharge
women of revolution1

Ann Bates



Assumed a false name and acted as a peddler and counted Patriot troops as they came through Philadelphia

Women of Revolution
women s rights

After all that women went through they felt that they should have more rights under the law.

  • Colonial leaders did not agree.
    • Thankful for their work
    • Still thought women had no place in a “public role”
    • Women should “be seen not heard”
Women’s rights
  • 1776 50,000 slaves lived in colonies.
  • British offered enslaved black men freedom if they fought for them.
  • Washington wanted only free black men.
  • 5,000 black men from all colonies served.
    • Exception was SC
  • 2,000 served in navy
    • Allowed black men to serve from start
  • 9 black men saw action at Lexington and Concord
    • Prince Estabrook was wounded
    • Peter Salem and Salem Poor served at Bunker Hill
  • Saul Matthews and James Armistead were spies.
hoping for freedom

Several thousand black men joined the British side by the end of the war so that they could be free men.

  • Black Patriots hoped the end of war would bring an end to slavery.
    • Cited the Declaration of Independence for saying “ all men are created equal”
  • Some white leaders wanted the same.
    • James Otis said “colonists are by the law of nature free born, as indeed all men are, white or black.”
  • By 1770s slavery was declining. During the war many colonies wanted to make slavery illegal.
    • Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania
Hoping for Freedom
indians aid britain

In the South the British gained support of several Indian groups.

    • Cherokees
    • Creeks
    • Choctaws
    • Chickasaws
    • Iroquois
    • Miami
Indians aid Britain