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Colonial America: The Revolutionary Era U.S. History
The Boston Massacre • March 5, 1770 • Argument between soldiers and civilians became bloody • Five colonists killed, six wounded • Soldiers put on trial, but 6 of 8 were acquitted
Site and Mass Grave Today State Street in Boston, at the rear of the Customs House; Gravestone in Old Granary Burial Ground in Boston
The Boston Tea Party • December 16, 1773 • Resulted from Tea Act protests • “Sons of Liberty” members, some dressed as Indians, destroyed tea belonging to East India Company • Patriot leader Samuel Adams defended action as a rightful protest, not a crime
Old South Meeting House Today Where the “Tea Party” was started… nearly 5,000 people attended meeting
British Response to the “Tea Party” • British Parliament passed “Coercive Acts” in 1774 - called the “Intolerable Acts” by colonists • Closed port of Boston, took direct control of Massachusetts government, allowed British officials to be tried in Great Britain, allowed for quartering of soldiers in colonies • Increased hatred of British rule throughout colonies • Led to formation of First Continental Congress that met in Philadelphia in September 1774 – first organization of colonies
The Revolution Begins… • April 19, 1775 – 800 British troops left Boston, searching for weapons and rebel leaders in nearby Lexington and Concord • Patriotic riders warned towns of British approach so supplies could be moved (Paul Revere) • Local militia units gathered to put up a stand against “redcoats” – known as the “Minutemen”
“The Shot Heard ‘Round the World” • Battles of Lexington and Concord were the first fight of the Revolution • 247 dead Redcoats and 93 Patriot casualties. The British retreated back to Boston • Second Continental Congress called in May – decided to raise a colonial army and chose George Washington to lead it
Divided Loyalties • Colonists were divided over Revolution – many colonists still loyal to Britain – Why? • More support in New England and Middle Colonies than in South – Virginia was the exception – Why? • Americans Indians and free & enslaved African-Americans fought for both sides – Why?
Independence or Compromise? • Olive Branch Petition (July 1775) – letter from Continental Congress to King George III, hoping to avoid war and begin negotiations on taxes – rejected by King • Thomas Paine – wrote Common Sense (1776), a short, but influential book urging American independence
The Colonies and Britain Compared Advantages of the Colonies Advantages of the British We had a cause! We were on the defensive! We were rugged outdoorsmen! Guerilla Warfare! George Washington’s leadership! France: The deciding factor! • Arguably the best-trained & equipped Army in the world! • The most powerful Navy in the world! • Greater population! • More $$$ and resources! • Experience: Britain had been busting heads around Europe for a long , long time!
The Colonies and Britain Compared Disadvantages of the Colonies Disadvantages of the British • No real government! (i.e. Continental Congress) • No real money! (i.e. Continental Currency was unstable and mistrusted) • Militias were poorly fed, trained, & equipped! • No Navy! • Desertions were common! • Only 1/3 of Colonists actually favored the cause! • Poor Leadership: Prime Minister Lord North was weak and indecisive. • Many in Parliament (the Whigs) didn’t support the war! • Distance! • The colonies had no real center. France has Paris; Britain has London. • The soldiers really didn’t want to be here!
Declaring Independence • Summer 1776 – Patriot leaders met in Philadelphia • July 4, 1776 – Declaration of Independence announced
Fighting the War • Fall 1776 – British took NYC & Washington retreated to NJ • In spite of victories at Trenton & Princeton, in late 1776, the army was tired and camped at Valley Forge, PA for winter • The British occupied Philadelphia in the fall of 1777 • Success of Revolution looked bleak
Turning Point – Battle of Saratoga • October 1777 – American Army defeated a large British force in New York – captured 6,000 Redcoats and 5 British generals • This victory convinced France to join the colonists • The French Navy, Army, money, and equipmentproved to be the difference and helped us win the war
Victory at Last - 1781 • October 1781 – Washington and French General Lafayette trapped General Cornwallis & 8000 British and Hessian soldiers at Yorktown, VA • The British surrendered – the last major fight of the Revolution
Treaty of Paris (1783) • New United States gained all land from Appalachian Mountains to Mississippi River • British kept control of Canada, but had to give Florida back to Spain • United States became a new independent nation