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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.

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The war for american independence begins

The War for American Independence Begins!

Conservative War for English rights


Conserving english rights
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.

  • The Stamp Act being enforced without the consent of the colonists is an act considered by colonists as a breach of their rights as Englishmen. (no representation in Parliament)

  • The Stamp Act Congress

    • 1765 in New York

    • Protest against taxation on grounds that it violated their ancient chartered rights (magna carta) as Englishmen

    • They contended that the colonies could only be taxed by their own colonial legislatures

    • Patrick Henry, of Virginia, creates the “Virginia Resolves” basically saying that Virginians can only be taxed by the General Assembly (House of Burgesses) of Virginia.

  • The American War for Independence was fought not only against taxation but mainly to preserve self-government and their rights as Englishmen.

Challenging the minute men
Challenging the Minute-Men

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.

Second continental congress
Second Continental Congress

May, 1775

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

Sizing up the competition
Sizing Up the Competition

Continental Army (America!)

British Army (BOOOO!)

  • Home field advantage

  • Great leadership

  • Passionate cause

    • FREEDOM!

  • French alliance

    • Navy, money, troops

  • Time

    • Just ride it out long enough.

  • Great Britain fighting on many fronts….not just Americans.

Well-trained, supplied professional army.



Strong government organization already established

Battle of bunker hill
Battle of Bunker Hill

June 16, 1775

Boston, Massachusetts

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!”

Declaring independence
Declaring Independence

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.

Crossing the delaware the battle of trenton
Crossing the Delaware: The Battle of Trenton

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.

Camping at valley forge pennsylvania
Camping at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania

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!

The turning point battle of saratoga
The Turning Point: Battle of Saratoga

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 final battle battle of yorktown
The Final Battle: Battle of Yorktown

September, 1781

Yorktown, Virginia

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.

Treaty of paris
Treaty of Paris

September, 1783

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.

School house rocks
School House Rocks!

Boston Tea Party!

Shot Heard Round the World!

Declaration of Independence!