The issue of independence
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THE ISSUE OF INDEPENDENCE. Chapter 8 Section 2. The Olive Branch Petition 1775. In the summer of 1775, Congress sent a petition to King George III, swearing loyalty to the crown and begging him to end the quarrel. The petition was called The Olive Branch Petition.

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The issue of independence


Chapter 8 Section 2

The olive branch petition 1775
The Olive Branch Petition 1775

  • In the summer of 1775, Congress sent a petition to King George III, swearing loyalty to the crown and begging him to end the quarrel. The petition was called The Olive Branch Petition.

  • John Adams called this petition an “olive branch” because the olive tree branches are an old symbol of peace.

  • King George III refused to read the Olive Branch Petition and told Parliament to prepare for war.

  • With the rejection of the Olive Branch petition the colonies had to decide whether to surrender or fight for independence.

Common sense
“Common Sense”

  • In 1776, Thomas Paine wrote “Common Sense” which convinced many colonists that independence was a good idea, sensible rather than unthinkable. Within a few months it sold over 100,000 copies

  • In it Paine declared , “A government of our own is our natural right.” It is better to live in America where “law is king” than in Britain where “king is law.”

Thomas paine
Thomas Paine

“Common Sense”

Declaration of independence
Declaration of Independence

  • On July 4, 1776, Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson and edited by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin.

  • The Declaration of Independence stated that all citizens have the right to separate from an unjust government and listed the unjust actions of the king, including taxation “without our consent” and “waging war on us.”

  • It also stated the unalienable rights of men which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

  • It was signed by 56 delegates of the colonies. John Hancock signed first with historic flourish. The other delegates followed, beginning at the right with signatures arranged by states from northernmost New Hampshire to southernmost Georgia.( Matthew Thornton of New Hampshire was unable to sign with the delegates from his state due to lack of space.)

Editors of the declaration
Editors of The Declaration

John Adams (MA)

Benjamin Franklin (PA)

The most famous signature
The Most Famous Signature

John Hancock (MA)


Patriots and loyalists
Patriots and Loyalists

  • Americans who strongly supported independence called themselves Patriots. Others, called Loyalists, did not want independence and were loyal to Britain. Still others did not take sides.

  • Patriots- strong supporters of independence

  • Loyalists- colonists who did not want independence

Strengths and weaknesses
Strengths and Weaknesses

  • Britain had well-trained troops and 30,000 mercenaries but had difficulty supplying an army so far from home. These mercenaries were called Hessians because most of them came from Hesse-Cassel, a part of Germany.

  • The Americans lacked money, supplies, and a trained army. They had a great military leader in Washington, though, and dedicated ordinary people. These people included women who farmed, served as nurses and cooks, and even fought.

  • Mercenaries-soldiers who fought for money

Role of african americans and indians in the revolutionary war
Role of African Americans and Indians in the Revolutionary War

  • At first, Washington did not accept African Americans to join the army. He feared that it would encourage slaves to leave their owners. Later, 5,000 volunteers joined the fighting.

  • Most Indians sided with Britain, but few joined the Patriot side.

  • After the war, however, slaves who had fought for American Freedom were sent back to their masters, and settlers continued to take Indian lands.

Women in the revolution
Women in the Revolution War

  • Mary Ludwig Hays often carried water to thirsty troops during battle. This act of courage and kindness earned her the name “Molly Pitcher.” At the battle of Monmouth 1778, when her husband John fell from heat exhaustion, she cared for him and then took his place. Wearing a dress she helped the crew load and fire cannons.

  • A few women like Deborah Sampson, even dressed as a man to join the army. She gave her name as Robert Shurtleff and served in the 4th Massachusetts regiment. Her true identity was revealed after she removed a bullet from her leg with a penknife and needle. The wound got infected and she became unconscious with a high fever. The doctor then discovered she was a women. Sampson was soon discharged from the army with honor. When she died both names were put on her tombstone followed by the epitaph “The Female Soldier.”