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American Independence. Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal ” = all humans should have same rights & opportunities

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Declaration of independence by thomas jefferson
Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson

  • “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” = all humans should have same rights& opportunities

  • “they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” = God gave all people permanent rights

  • “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” = John Locke’s natural rights: to live, be free & to seek a fulfilling life

Key points of dec of independence
Key points of Dec of Independence

  • “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted” = governments were created to protect people’s rights

  • “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” = people give govt. permission to have powersto govern

Key points of dec of independence1
Key points of Dec of Independence

  • “Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it” = people have right to overthrow a government that abuses power

  • “and to institute new Government.” = people are to replace it w. a government that DOES protect their rights.

Colonial government
Colonial Government

  • Parliament governed American colonies,

    • but in practice colonists had their own colonial legislatures

  • Caucasian, land-owning males elected their representatives to the legislatures.

France vs britain cause of independence
FRANCE VS BRITAIN :Cause of Independence

  • French North America = Canada & Louisiana Territory, vast trading area, sparsely populated

  • England’s 13 colonies = densely populated. British colonists wanted to settle west, but French forts prevented.

Seven years war french and indian war
Seven Years War/French and Indian War)

  • Britain & France fought control N. American continent.

  • Britain’s P M William Pitt used British navy to defeat weaker French fleet.

  • British forces defeated French near Quebec, Canada.

  • 1763 Treaty of Paris granted Canada & French land east of the Mississippi to Britain.

  • British Empire was largest in world but in Debt

  • (Tax the Colonist)

British taxes
British Taxes

  • Parliament imposed 1765 Stamp Act on colonies (repealed a year later due to protest.)

  • Parliament placed tariffs on non-British made goods,

    • American smuggling & British searches of American homes w/o warrants.

  • Declaratory Act = Parliament stated that Parliament alone had right to tax and make decisions for colonies.

    • undermined colonial govt’s authority, colonists outraged, “No taxation without representation!”

Colonist react to taxes
Colonist React to Taxes

  • Boston Massacre resulted in 5 deaths, but huge anti-British propaganda campaign (Paul Revere.)

  • 1773 Tea Act gave British East India Co. a monopoly on tea market and decreased colonist profits.

  • Thomas Jefferson encouraged communication amongst colonies

  • Boston Tea Party = Samuel Adams & other patriots dressed as Indians, boarded ship & dumped British tea.

Kings reaction
Kings reaction

  • King George III ordered Parliament to pass Coercive Acts (Intolerable Acts) to punish MA. & end colonial rebellion

    • No trial by jury, forcing people to “quarter” British troops, etc.)

1774 first continental congress in philadelphia
1774 First Continental Congress in Philadelphia

  • “I am not a Virginian, but an American” Patrick Henry

    Congress called :

  • repeal Intolerable Acts

  • boycott of British goods

  • form colonial militias,

  • sent a Declaration of Rights & Grievances to king,

  • but still claimed loyalty to the “Crown.”

Colonist fight british
Colonist Fight British

  • April, 1775 British troops sent to seize arms & supplies of militias.

  • Lexington & Concord, first time fighting broke out between British & American forces, “the shot heard round the world!”

May 1775 second continental congress
May, 1775 Second Continental Congress

  • Gen. George Washington organize Continental Army

    • Olive Branch Petition. Of peace King refused. Sent 30,000 German troops instead!

  • Jan, 1776 Thomas Paine’s pamphlet “Common Sense” widely circulated = demanded American independence


  • July 4, 1776 Declaration of Independence proclaimed & colonies celebrated. American Revolution had begun.

  • Big gamble: signers signed their own death warrant! Patriots vs. world’s best military force & richest nation.

Patriot advantages
Patriot advantages

  • fighting on home turf, fighting for freedom

  • Early success of guerilla tactics

  • support from France (Lafayette) & Spain

    • Help Colonist because enemy was Britain

  • Both sides thought war would be short, but itlasted 7 years!

Saratoga october 1777
Saratoga October 1777

  • British made two attempts to break through American defenses, but failed.

  • British withdrew to Saratoga, where they were surrounded by American troops.

  • The British had to surrender on October 13, 1777.

  • One quarter of the British forces in North America thus surrendered,

  • Major turning point and victory for Colonist

Valley forge winter 1777 1778
Valley Forge-winter 1777-1778

  • British Army secure in Philadelphia

  • The American army settled into winter quarters at Valley Forge.

  • winter of hardship and suffering for the troops.

  • It was also a winter of training, in which the American troops were taught how to be professional soldiers.

York town may 1781
York Town May 1781

  • General Cornwallis and British forces began preparing a naval base in York Town

  • General Washington moved south and, together with French ground and naval forces, surrounded the British army

  • Assault forced British to surrender

  • This victory ended the war and guaranteed independence

Americans gain independence
Americans gain independence

  • Gen. Cornwallis surrendered to Americans & French at Yorktown in 1781.

  • 1783 Treaty of Paris recognized U.S. independence & expansion west to the Mississippi (doubled in size!)