The American Revolution (1775-1783) is a period of political controversies inside 13 British colonies between local inhabitants also known as colonists and government that represented the British crown. The Revolutionary actions mostly consist of War of Independence. It is an armed conflict between aforecited sides that started with an armed collision between the sides in Lexington and Concord in 1775. After these fights, the War is considered to have started at full scale.
Until some time, it has been only a civil war, but after France officially started to support colonists and came in the War in 1778, it became a sort of world war. Some other European countries also joined France. French interference gave colonists certain advantage that successfully ended in the victory in the War and in gaining the independence from Great Britain.
American Revolution has an impact on further worlds` geopolitical situation. French Revolution at the end of XVIII century is explained as a result of the influence of the American experience. It also includes the proclamation of Independence, a document of which contains first rights and freedoms for Americans as a new state and nation.
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Background of the Revolution
The relations between British representation and colonists were intensively strained a ten year before the War started. Stamp Act (1765) that obliged all the Americans to pay taxes to Great Britain for each purpose or documents execution was the first very indecent action of the British government that triggered an appreciable response from the colonists. Certain anti-British organizations, whose activity was directed to the fights for civil rights, started to occur.
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Later, in 1773 there was famous Tea Act that gave British East India Company the right to sell the tea on American territories with no taxes and with the monopoly of this corporation. The answer to this act was radical: in Boston colonists that set themselves up the Indians, drowned more than 300 chests of tea from the British ships. It was called Boston Tea Party.
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Such a disobedient behavior made British to give almost limitless authority to their representatives including the right to dissolve the jury at the court and to judge the defendants in England. These laws were named as Coercive acts. It aimed to strengthen the power and to suppress the growing rebellion.
Colonists were decisive though. Responding to the reaction of Great Britain, 12 delegates including George Washington and Samuel Adams from north colonies excluding Georgia met in Philadelphia on 5th of September 1774 to create the First Continental Congress. It did not mention to pronounce independence but decided to refuse importation of British goods.
Although Congress was ready to change this decision if the King stood up for the interests of colonists, British government never loved Congress` resolution and toughened their attitude towards colonies.
Declaration of Independence
The Second Continental Congress gathered on 10th of May 1775. Its cadence lasted until 1781. Benjamin Franklin and Tomas Jefferson joined the squad of delegates. This organ determined the current state of affairs as being at war with England. It resulted in making the Colonial army with George Washington as a warlord.
First significant battles started in June 1775. The British army, led by General William Howe, started this campaign successfully in Boston with a victory in the Battle of Bunker Hill. Although British won this battle, they incurred losses and understood the strength of rebels.
For about a half year Colonial army used to hold Howe`s army in Boston. Only in late winter American forces succeeded in pushing British army to Canada. Washington decided to use informal French support in Quebec, but British army coped with all the offenses in Canada.
One year after the beginning of the War, on 4th of July 1776, the Second Colonial Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. This document was written by a member of a Congress Tomas Jefferson. Mainly it described rights and freedoms of Americans as a nation. It also stated that all the people are equal and pointed out the principles of democracy including the right of citizens to rule themselves.
The document proclaimed the birth of brand new independent state – United States of America. It also explained the reasons for violent resistance to the power of the King. Declaration gave Americans chance to change state system if needed. Even in 1775, it contained words about the abolition of slavery that unfortunately did not find enough support of planters.
The Declaration was spread through the newspapers and caused delight of American citizens. The fact of gaining the independence gave army and the whole nation a strong inspirational push, and the War bit by bit started to play by American rules.
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Battles of Saratoga
Up to 1777 British army retrieved both New York and Philadelphia that gave them certain advantage. The British plan was to direct army of General Howe to meet army of General Burgoyne, which earlier defeated Colonial army in Fort Ticonderoga. This movement would have caused cutting off New England’s` part of rebellion from the other colonies.
But misunderstanding in British commanding led to the wrong direction of the army of General Howe. His army triumphantly recaptured Philadelphia in September. But the army of Burgoyne left without any support near Saratoga. The first battle of Saratoga happened on 19th of September 1777 when Horatio Gates` Colonial army defeated British at Freeman`s Farm. After the second defeat on 7th of October Burgoyne decided to capitulate.
After Burgoyne`s army – a significant part of whole British forces in this war – capitulated, colonists gained an appreciable advantage in the issue of troop strength. Moreover, after Saratoga colonists obtained an official and full support of France and later of Spain and Netherlands. Whole Europe was friendly set to the colonists.
Interfering of sea giants as Spain and Netherlands on the American side deprived British their advantage on water. New alias of the US also provided palpable financial and armed support. As all this happened after the results of the Battles of Saratoga, this point is usually called to be a turning one.
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Late alignment of forces
Saratoga events made British government make obvious replacements in commanding. General Howe came back to England and was replaced by General Clinton. New warlord concentrated forces in war actions in Georgia and South Carolina. His steps were successful, but until the moment French fleet commander Marquis Rochambeau landed with 6000 troops in Rhode Island in 1780.
General Clinton reacted on it and reorganized forces to defend New York. The significant battle took place near New Jersey. It resulted in certain pause in war actions on the north. British left and gained a foothold in New York, and Colonial army did not manage to move on with its offense.
A little earlier in 1778 colonists started to get a tangible support of such military leaders as French Marquis de Lafayette, Prussian Baron Friedrich von Steuben, and aforementioned Marquis Rochambeau. In June 1778 British commander Henry Clinton made an attempt of withdrawal to New York but faced Washington`s army near New Jersey.
The most interesting and valuable events took place in the South. New British commander Lord Charles Cornwallis established control over Georgia and South Carolina in 1780. At the same time, Horatio Gates army was going through the tough times after Cornwallis triumphant attack on Camden.
After this battle Gates was replaced by Nathaniel Green. Being under control of a new commander on the South, colonists recaptured South Carolina. The War slowly came to its logical conclusion. Whole late period can be defined as hard because of several betrayals of important colonist leaders like Benedict Arnold who conducted the act of defection. The situation inside the Colonial army was quite unstable.
Ending of the Revolutionary War
The crucial event happened in 1781. Nathaniel Green`s army of 20000 troops forced to withdraw British to the Virginia peninsula and got Cornwallis` army into a tight corner in the Chesapeake Bay and cut the ways of evacuating by the sea. It became possible with the marine support of 36 ships fleet of Marquis de Rochambeau.
After this 9000 troops army of Cornwallis capitulated. This defeat is considered to be the most significant and decisive in the late periods of the War. This battle has a name of Yorktown battle. After this defeat Lord Cornwallis decided not to capitulate personally and sent his representative to the Colonial government.
After Cornwallis` capitulation was accepted by George Washington, the outcome of the War was a foregone conclusion, but this War was not finished yet. New York was still occupied by 30000 troops British army. However British government in 1782 voted for the end of the war.
Until the end of 1782 British forces left New York and the last two locations (Savannah and Charlestown) that meant the victory of the United States. Great Britain started a complex process of signing treaties with the US, and separate treaties with France and Spain.
The end of the War and the Revolution is determined in signed on 3rd of September 1783 recognition of the independence of United States of America by Great Britain. This act is named as Treaty of Paris.
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