The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution which occurred in colonial North America between 1765 and 1783. The Americans in the
Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Founded in the 17th and 18th centuries, th ...
defeated the British in the
American Revolutionary War The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the Revolutionary War and the American War of Independence, was initiated by delegates from thirteen American colonies of British America British America comprised the colonia ...
(1775–1783), gaining independence from the
British Crown The Crown is the in all its aspects within the of the s and their subdivisions (such as the , , , or ). Legally ill-defined, the term has different meanings depending on context. It is used to designate the monarch in either a personal capa ...

British Crown
and establishing the
United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It consists of 50 , a , five major , 326 , and some . At , it is the world's . The United States shares significan ...

United States of America
, the first modern
constitutional A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents A precedent is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case A legal case is in a general sense a dispute between opposing parties which may be ...
liberal democracy Liberal democracy, also referred to as Western democracy, is the combination of a liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an adherent of a L ...
American colonists The colonial history of the United States covers the history of European colonization of America from the early 17th century (e.g., 1600s) until the incorporation of the colonies into the United States of America. In the late 16th century, Kin ...
objected to being taxed by the British Parliament, a body in which they had no direct representation. Before the 1760s, Britain's American colonies had enjoyed a high level of autonomy in their internal affairs, which were managed by colonial legislatures. The passage of the
Stamp Act of 1765 The Stamp Act of 1765 (short title: ''Duties in American Colonies Act 1765''; 5 George III, c. 12) was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in May 1707 following the ratification of the ...
, which imposed internal taxes on the colonies, led to colonial protest, and the meeting of representatives of several colonies in the
Stamp Act Congress The Stamp Act Congress (October 7 – 25, 1765), also known as the Continental Congress of 1765, was a meeting held in New York, New York, consisting of representatives from some of the British colonies in North America. It was the first gat ...
. Tensions relaxed with the British repeal of the Stamp Act, but flared again with the passage of the
Townshend Acts The Townshend Acts () or Townshend Duties, refers to a series of British acts of Parliament passed during 1767 and 1768 relating to the British colonies in America. They are named after Charles Townshend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer The ...
in 1767. The British government deployed troops to Boston in 1768 to quell unrest, leading to the
Boston Massacre The Boston Massacre was a confrontation on March 5, 1770, in which British soldiers shot and killed several people while being harassed by a mob in Boston Boston (, ), officially the City of Boston, is the capital city, capital and List o ...

Boston Massacre
in 1770. The British government repealed most of the Townshend duties in 1770, but retained the tax on tea in order to symbolically assert Parliament's right to tax the colonies. The
burning of the ''Gaspee''
burning of the ''Gaspee''
Rhode Island Rhode Island (, like ''road''), officially the State of Rhode Island, is a state in the New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States The Northeastern United States (also referred to as t ...
in 1772, the passage of the
Tea Act of 1773 The Tea Act 1773 (13 Geo 3 c 44) was an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of Great Britain. The principal objective was to reduce the massive amount of tea held by the financially troubled East India Company, British East India Company in ...
and the
Boston Tea Party The Boston Tea Party was an American political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relatio ...

Boston Tea Party
in December 1773 led to a new escalation in tensions. The British responded by closing
Boston Harbor Boston Harbor is a natural harbor and estuary of Massachusetts Bay, and is located adjacent to the city of Boston, Massachusetts. It is home to the Port of Boston, a major shipping facility in the northeastern United States. History Since it ...
and enacting a series of punitive laws which effectively rescinded
Massachusetts Bay Colony The Massachusetts Bay Colony (1630–1691), more formally The Colony of Massachusetts Bay, was an English settlement on the east coast of America around the Massachusetts Bay Massachusetts Bay is a bay on the Atlantic Ocean that forms part of t ...
's privileges of self-government. The other colonies rallied behind Massachusetts, and twelve of the thirteen colonies sent delegates in late 1774 to a "
Continental Congress The Continental Congress was a series of legislature, legislative bodies, with some executive function, for thirteen of British America, Britain's colonies in North America, and the newly declared United States just before, during, and after the ...
" to coordinate their resistance to Britain. Opponents of Britain were known as '' Patriots'' or ''Whigs'', while colonists who retained their allegiance to the Crown were known as ''Loyalists'' or ''Tories''. Open warfare erupted when British regulars sent to capture a cache of military supplies were confronted by local Patriot militia at
Lexington and Concord The battles of Lexington and Concord were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the Revolutionary War and the American War of Independence, was initi ...
on April 19, 1775. Patriot militia, joined by the newly formed
Continental Army The Continental Army was the army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In the broadest sense, it is the land- ...
, then put British forces in Boston under siege. Each colony formed a
Provincial Congress The Provincial Congresses were extra-legal legislative bodies established in ten of the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Br ...
, which assumed power from the former colonial governments, suppressed Loyalism, and contributed to the Continental Army led by General
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continenta ...

George Washington
. The Continental Congress declared
King George III George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 173829 January 1820) was King of Great Britain There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the ...

King George III
a tyrant who trampled the colonists' rights as Englishmen, and they declared the colonies
free and independent states
free and independent states
on July 2, 1776. The Patriot leadership professed the political philosophies of
liberalism Liberalism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, ...
republicanism Republicanism is a political ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use t ...
to reject monarchy and aristocracy, and they proclaimed that all men are created equal. The Patriots unsuccessfully attempted to invade Quebec during the winter of 1775–76. The newly created Continental Army forced the British military out of Boston in March 1776, but the British captured New York City and its strategic harbor that summer, which they held for the duration of the war. The Royal Navy blockaded ports and captured other cities for brief periods, but they failed to destroy Washington's forces. The Continental Army captured a British army at the
Battle of Saratoga The Battles of Saratoga (September 19 and October 7, 1777) marked the climax of the Saratoga campaign, giving a decisive victory to the Americans over the British in the American Revolutionary War The American Revolutionary War (1775–1 ...
in October 1777, and France then entered the war as an ally of the United States, transforming the war into a global conflict. Britain also attempted to hold the Southern states with the anticipated aid of Loyalists, and the war moved south. British general
Charles Cornwallis Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis, (31 December 1738 – 5 October 1805), styled Viscount Brome between 1753 and 1762 and known as the Earl Cornwallis between 1762 and 1792, was a British Army The British Army is the princip ...
captured an American army at
Charleston, South Carolina Charleston is the largest city in the of , the of , and the principal city in the . The city lies just south of the geographical midpoint of South Carolina's coastline on , an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean formed by the confluence of the , , ...

Charleston, South Carolina
in early 1780, but he failed to enlist enough volunteers from Loyalist civilians to take effective control of the territory. Finally, a combined American and French force captured Cornwallis' army at Yorktown in the fall of 1781, effectively ending the war. The Treaty of Paris was signed on September 3, 1783, formally ending the conflict and confirming the new nation's complete separation from the British Empire. The United States took possession of nearly all the territory east of the Mississippi River and south of the Great Lakes, with the British retaining control of northern Canada, and Spain taking Florida. Among the significant results of the Revolution were American independence and the end of British
merchantilism Mercantilism is an economic policy The economic policy of governments covers the systems for setting levels of taxation, government budgets, the money supply and interest rates as well as the labour market, nationalization, national owners ...
in America, opening up worldwide trade for the United States - including with Britain. The Americans adopted the
United States Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organization, or organ ...

United States Constitution
, establishing a strong national government which included an elected
executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administration of state bureaucracy * Executive, a senior management role in an organization ** Chief exec ...

, a
national judiciary
national judiciary
, and an elected bicameral
Congress Congresses are formal meetings of the representatives of different countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, ...
representing states in the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
and the population in the
House of Representatives House of Representatives is the name of legislative bodies A legislature is a deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is ...
.Wood, ''The Radicalism of the American Revolution'' (1992) Around 60,000 Loyalists migrated to other British territories, particularly to
British North America British North America comprised the British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or adminis ...
(Canada), but the great majority remained in the United States.


1651–1748: Early seeds

As early as 1651, the English government had sought to regulate trade in the
American colonies#REDIRECT American colonies
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American colonies
, and Parliament passed the
Navigation Acts The Navigation Acts, or more broadly the Acts of Trade and Navigation, was a long series of English laws that developed, promoted, and regulated English ships, shipping, trade, and commerce between other countries and with its own colonies. The la ...
on October 9 to provide the plantation colonies of the south with a profitable export market. The Acts prohibited British producers from growing tobacco and also encouraged shipbuilding, particularly in the
New England colonies The New England Colonies of British America British America comprised the colonial territories of the British Empire in America from 1607 to 1783. These colonies were formally known as British America and the British West Indies before the T ...
. Some argue that the economic impact was minimal on the colonists, but the political friction which the acts triggered was more serious, as the merchants most directly affected were also the most politically active.
King Philip's War King Philip's War (sometimes called the First Indian War, Metacom's War, Metacomet's War, Pometacomet's Rebellion, or Metacom's Rebellion) was an armed conflict in 1675–1678 between indigenous inhabitants of New England and New England coloni ...
ended in 1678, which the New England colonies fought without any military assistance from England, and this contributed to the development of a unique identity separate from that of the British people. But
King Charles II
King Charles II
determined to bring the New England colonies under a more centralized administration in the 1680s to regulate trade to more effectively benefit the homeland. The New England colonists fiercely opposed his efforts, and the Crown nullified their colonial charters in response. Charles' successor
James II James II and VII (14 October 1633Old Style and New Style dates, O.S.16 September 1701An assertion found in many sources that James died 6 September 1701 (17 September 1701 New Style) may result from a miscalculation done by an author of anonymou ...

James II
finalized these efforts in 1686, establishing the consolidated
Dominion of New England The Dominion of New England in America (1686–1689) was an administrative union of English colonies covering New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New ...
. Dominion rule triggered bitter resentment throughout New England; the enforcement of the unpopular Navigation Acts and the curtailing of local democracy angered the colonists. New Englanders were encouraged, however, by a change of government in England which saw James II effectively abdicate, and a populist uprising in New England overthrew Dominion rule on April 18, 1689. Colonial governments reasserted their control after the revolt, and successive governments made no more attempts to restore the Dominion. Subsequent English governments continued in their efforts to tax certain goods, passing acts regulating the trade of
wool Wool is the textile A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking bundle of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitti ...
hats A hat is a head covering which is worn for various reasons, including protection against weather conditions, ceremonial reasons such as university graduation, religious reasons, safety, or as a fashion accessory. In the past, hats were an ind ...
, and
molasses Molasses () or black treacle Treacle () is any uncrystallised syrup In cooking, a syrup or sirup (from ar, شراب; ''sharāb'', beverage, wine and la, sirupus) is a condiment that is a thick, viscous The viscosity of a fluid ...
. The Molasses Act of 1733 was particularly egregious to the colonists, as a significant part of colonial trade relied on molasses. The taxes severely damaged the New England economy and resulted in a surge of smuggling, bribery, and intimidation of customs officials. Colonial wars fought in America were also a source of considerable tension. The British captured the fortress of
Louisbourg Louisbourg is an unincorporated community and former town in Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia. History The France, French military founded the Fortress of Louisbourg in 1713 and its fortified seaport on the southwest part of the ha ...

King George's War King George's War (1744–1748) is the name given to the military operations in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as ...
but then ceded it back to France in 1748. New England colonists resented their losses of lives, as well as the effort and expenditure involved in subduing the fortress, only to have it returned to their erstwhile enemy. Some writers begin their histories of the American Revolution with the British coalition victory in the
Seven Years' War The Seven Years' War (1756–1763) is widely considered to be the first global conflict in history, and was a struggle for world supremacy between Kingdom of Great Britain, Great Britain and Kingdom of France, France. In Europe, the conflict ar ...
in 1763, viewing the
French and Indian War The French and Indian War (1754–1763) was a theater of the Seven Years' War The Seven Years' War (1756–1763) is widely considered to be the first global conflict in history, and was a struggle for world supremacy between Great Britain ...

French and Indian War
as though it were the American theater of the Seven Years' War. Lawrence Henry Gipson writes: The
Royal Proclamation of 1763 The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was issued by King George III on 7 October 1763. It followed the Treaty of Paris (1763), which formally ended the Seven Years' War and transferred French territory in North America to Great Britain Grea ...

Royal Proclamation of 1763
redrew boundaries of the lands west of Quebec and west of a line running along the crest of the
Allegheny Mountains The Allegheny Mountain Range , informally the Alleghenies and also spelled Alleghany and Allegany, is part of the vast Appalachian Mountain Range of the Eastern United States and Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North ...
, making them indigenous territory and barred to colonial settlement for two years. The colonists protested, and the boundary line was adjusted in a series of treaties with
indigenous tribes Indigenous may refer to: *Indigenous peoples *Indigenous (ecology), presence in a region as the result of only natural processes, with no human intervention *Indigenous (band), an American blues-rock band *Indigenous (horse), a Hong Kong racehorse ...
. In 1768, the
Iroquois The Iroquois ( or ) or Haudenosaunee (; "People of the Longhouse") are an indigenous Indigenous may refer to: *Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous pe ...

agreed to the
Treaty of Fort Stanwix The Treaty of Fort Stanwix was a treaty signed between representatives from the Iroquois The Iroquois ( or ) or Haudenosaunee (; "People of the Longhouse") are an indigenous confederacy in northeast North America. They were known during t ...
, and the
Cherokee The Cherokee (; chr, ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯᎢ, translit=Aniyvwiyaʔi, or chr, ᏣᎳᎩ, links=no, translit=Tsalagi) are one of the indigenous people of the Southeastern Woodlands of the United States. Prior to the 18th century, they were concentr ...

agreed to the
Treaty of Hard LabourIn an effort to resolve concerns of settlers and land speculators following the western boundary established by the Royal Proclamation of 1763 by King George III, it was desired to move the boundary farther west to encompass more settlers who were ou ...
followed in 1770 by the
Treaty of LochaberThe Treaty of Lochaber was signed in South Carolina on 18 October 1770 by British representative John Stuart and the Cherokee people, fixing the boundary for the western limit of the colonial frontier settlements of Colony of Virginia, Virginia and ...
. The treaties opened most of Kentucky and West Virginia to colonial settlement. The new map was drawn up at the Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768 which moved the line much farther to the west, from the green line to the red line on the map at right.

1764–1766: Taxes imposed and withdrawn

Prime Minister
George Grenville George Grenville (14 October 1712 – 13 November 1770) was Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1763 to 1765. Grenville was born into an influential political family and first entered Parliament in 1741 as an MP for Buckingham. He emerged as on ...

George Grenville
asserted in 1762 that the whole revenue of the custom houses in America amounted to one or two thousand pounds a year, and that the English exchequer was paying between seven and eight thousand pounds a year to collect .Loyalists of Massachusetts, James F. Stark P.34 Adam Smith wrote in ''The Wealth of Nations'' that Parliament "has never hitherto demanded of he American coloniesanything which even approached to a just proportion to what was paid by their fellow subjects at home." As early as 1651, the English government had sought to regulate trade in the American colonies. On October 9, 1651, they passed the
Navigation Acts The Navigation Acts, or more broadly the Acts of Trade and Navigation, was a long series of English laws that developed, promoted, and regulated English ships, shipping, trade, and commerce between other countries and with its own colonies. The la ...
to pursue a
mercantilist Mercantilism is an economic policy The economic policy of governments covers the systems for setting levels of taxation, government budgets, the money supply and interest rates as well as the labour market, nationalization, national owner ...

policy intended to ensure that trade enriched Great Britain but prohibited trade with any other nations. Parliament also passed the
Sugar Act The Sugar Act 1764, also known as the American Revenue Act 1764 or the American Duties Act, was a revenue-raising act passed by the Parliament of Great Britain The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in May 1707 following the ratificatio ...
, decreasing the existing customs duties on sugar and molasses but providing stricter measures of enforcement and collection. That same year, Grenville proposed direct taxes on the colonies to raise revenue, but he delayed action to see whether the colonies would propose some way to raise the revenue themselves. Parliament finally passed the Stamp Act in March 1765, which imposed direct taxes on the colonies for the first time. All official documents, newspapers, almanacs, and pamphlets were required to have the stamps—even decks of playing cards. The colonists did not object that the taxes were high; they were actually low. They objected to their lack of representation in the Parliament, which gave them no voice concerning legislation that affected them.
Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin ( April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States that was negotiated on behalf of the United States by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and John Jay The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simp ...

Benjamin Franklin
testified in Parliament in 1766 that Americans already contributed heavily to the defense of the Empire. He said that local governments had raised, outfitted, and paid 25,000 soldiers to fight France—as many as Britain itself sent—and spent many millions from American treasuries doing so in the
French and Indian War The French and Indian War (1754–1763) was a theater of the Seven Years' War The Seven Years' War (1756–1763) is widely considered to be the first global conflict in history, and was a struggle for world supremacy between Great Britain ...

French and Indian War
alone. London had to deal with 1,500 politically well-connected British Army soldiers. The decision was to keep them on active duty with full pay, but they had to be stationed somewhere. Stationing a standing army in Great Britain during peacetime was politically unacceptable, so the decision was made to station them in America and have the Americans pay them. The soldiers had no military mission; they were not there to defend the colonies because there was no existing threat to the colonies. The
Sons of Liberty The Sons of Liberty was a term broadly applied to loosely organized revolutionary bands in the Thirteen American Colonies to advance the rights of the European colonists and to fight taxation by the British government. It played a major role ...

Sons of Liberty
formed that same year in 1765, and they used public demonstrations, boycotts, and threats of violence to ensure that the British tax laws were unenforceable. In Boston, the Sons of Liberty burned the records of the vice admiralty court and looted the home of chief justice Thomas Hutchinson. Several legislatures called for united action, and nine colonies sent delegates to the
Stamp Act Congress The Stamp Act Congress (October 7 – 25, 1765), also known as the Continental Congress of 1765, was a meeting held in New York, New York, consisting of representatives from some of the British colonies in North America. It was the first gat ...
in New York City in October. Moderates led by
John Dickinson John Dickinson (November 13 Julian_calendar">/nowiki> Julian_calendar">/nowiki>Julian_calendar_November_2">Julian_calendar.html"_;"title="/nowiki>Julian_calendar">/nowiki>Julian_calendar_November_2_1732_–_February_14,_1808),_a_Founding_Fathe ...
drew up a "
Declaration of Rights and Grievances In response to the Stamp and Tea Acts, the Declaration of Rights and Grievances was a document written by the Stamp Act Congress The Stamp Act Congress (October 7 – 25, 1765), also known as the Continental Congress of 1765, was a meeting he ...
" stating that taxes passed without representation violated their rights as Englishmen, and colonists emphasized their determination by boycotting imports of British merchandise. The Parliament at Westminster saw itself as the supreme lawmaking authority throughout all British possessions and thus entitled to levy any tax without colonial approval or even consultation. They argued that the colonies were legally British corporations subordinate to the British parliament, and they pointed to numerous instances where Parliament had made laws in the past that were binding on the colonies.Lecky, William Edward Hartpole
A History of England in the Eighteenth Century
(1882) pp. 297–98
Parliament insisted that the colonies effectively enjoyed a "
virtual representation Virtual representation was the idea that the members of Parliament, including the Lords and the Crown-in-Parliament, reserved the right to speak for the interests of all British subjects, rather than for the interests of only the district that ele ...
" as most British people did, as only a small minority of the British population elected representatives to Parliament, but Americans such as James Otis maintained that they were not "virtually represented" at all. The Rockingham government came to power in July 1765, and Parliament debated whether to repeal the stamp tax or to send an army to enforce it. Benjamin Franklin made the case for repeal, explaining that the colonies had spent heavily in manpower, money, and blood defending the empire in a series of wars against the French and indigenous people, and that further taxes to pay for those wars were unjust and might bring about a rebellion. Parliament agreed and repealed the tax on February 21, 1766, but they insisted in the
Declaratory Act The American Colonies Act 1766 (6 Geo 3 c 12), commonly known as the Declaratory Act, was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain which accompanied the repeal of the Stamp Act 1765 and the changing and lessening of the Sugar Act. Parliament ...
of March 1766 that they retained full power to make laws for the colonies "in all cases whatsoever". The repeal nonetheless caused widespread celebrations in the colonies.

1767–1773: Townshend Acts and the Tea Act

In 1767, the Parliament passed the
Townshend Acts The Townshend Acts () or Townshend Duties, refers to a series of British acts of Parliament passed during 1767 and 1768 relating to the British colonies in America. They are named after Charles Townshend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer The ...
which placed duties on a number of staple goods, including paper, glass, and tea, and established a Board of Customs in Boston to more rigorously execute trade regulations. The new taxes were enacted on the belief that Americans only objected to internal taxes and not to external taxes such as custom duties. However, in his widely read pamphlet, ''
Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, Object (philosophy ...
'', John Dickinson argued against the constitutionality of the acts because their purpose was to raise revenue and not to regulate trade. Colonists responded to the taxes by organizing new boycotts of British goods. These boycotts were less effective, however, as the goods taxed by the Townshend Acts were widely used. In February 1768, the Assembly of Massachusetts Bay issued a circular letter to the other colonies urging them to coordinate resistance. The governor dissolved the assembly when it refused to rescind the letter. Meanwhile, a riot broke out in Boston in June 1768 over the seizure of the sloop ''Liberty'', owned by
John Hancock John Hancock ( – October 8, 1793) was an American Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited with establishing a state. National founders are typically those w ...

John Hancock
, for alleged smuggling. Customs officials were forced to flee, prompting the British to deploy troops to Boston. A Boston town meeting declared that no obedience was due to parliamentary laws and called for the convening of a convention. A convention assembled but only issued a mild protest before dissolving itself. In January 1769, Parliament responded to the unrest by reactivating the
Treason Act 1543 The Treason Act 1543 (35 Hen 8 c 2) was an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of England passed during the reign of King Henry VIII of England, which stated that acts of treason or misprision of treason that were committed outside the realm o ...
which called for subjects outside the realm to face trials for treason in England. The governor of Massachusetts was instructed to collect evidence of said treason, and the threat caused widespread outrage, though it was not carried out. On March 5, 1770, a large crowd gathered around a group of British soldiers. The crowd grew threatening, throwing snowballs, rocks, and debris at them. One soldier was clubbed and fell.Hiller B. Zobel, ''The Boston Massacre'' (1996) There was no order to fire, but the soldiers fired into the crowd anyway. They hit 11 people; three civilians died at the scene of the shooting, and two died after the incident. The event quickly came to be called the
Boston Massacre The Boston Massacre was a confrontation on March 5, 1770, in which British soldiers shot and killed several people while being harassed by a mob in Boston Boston (, ), officially the City of Boston, is the capital city, capital and List o ...

Boston Massacre
. The soldiers were tried and acquitted (defended by
John Adams John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific stud ...

John Adams
), but the widespread descriptions soon began to turn colonial sentiment against the British. This began a downward spiral in the relationship between Britain and the Province of Massachusetts. A new ministry under
Lord North Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford (13 April 17325 August 1792), better known by his courtesy title Courtesy (from the word ''courteis'', from the 12th century) is gentle politeness and courtly manners. In the Middle Ages I ...

Lord North
came to power in 1770, and Parliament withdrew all taxes except the tax on tea, giving up its efforts to raise revenue while maintaining the right to tax. This temporarily resolved the crisis, and the boycott of British goods largely ceased, with only the more radical patriots such as
Samuel Adams Samuel Adams ( – October 2, 1803) was an American statesman, Political philosophy, political philosopher, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was a politician in Province of Massachusetts Bay, colonial Massachusetts, a l ...

Samuel Adams
continuing to agitate. In June 1772, American patriots, including John Brown, burned a British warship that had been vigorously enforcing unpopular trade regulations in what became known as the . The affair was investigated for possible treason, but no action was taken. In 1772, it became known that the Crown intended to pay fixed salaries to the governors and judges in Massachusetts, which had been paid by local authorities. This would reduce the influence of colonial representatives over their government. Samuel Adams in Boston set about creating new Committees of Correspondence, which linked Patriots in all 13 colonies and eventually provided the framework for a rebel government. Virginia, the largest colony, set up its Committee of Correspondence in early 1773, on which Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson served. A total of about 7,000 to 8,000 Patriots served on "Committees of Correspondence" at the colonial and local levels, comprising most of the leadership in their communities. Loyalists were excluded. The committees became the
leaders Leadership, both as a research area and as a practical skill, encompasses the ability of an individual, group or organization to "lead", influence or guide other individuals, teams, or entire organizations. The word "leadership" often gets view ...

of the American resistance to British actions, and largely determined the war effort at the state and local level. When the First Continental Congress decided to boycott British products, the colonial and local Committees took charge, examining merchant records and publishing the names of merchants who attempted to defy the boycott by importing British goods.Mary Beth Norton et al., ''A People and a Nation'' (6th ed. 2001) vol 1 pp. 144–45 In 1773, private letters were published in which Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson claimed that the colonists could not enjoy all English liberties, and Lieutenant Governor
Andrew Oliver Andrew Oliver (March 28, 1706 – March 3, 1774) was a merchant and public official in the Province of Massachusetts Bay. Born into a wealthy and politically powerful merchant family, he is best known as the Massachusetts official responsible f ...

Andrew Oliver
called for the direct payment of colonial officials. The letters' contents were used as evidence of a systematic plot against American rights, and discredited Hutchinson in the eyes of the people; the Assembly petitioned for his recall.
Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin ( April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States that was negotiated on behalf of the United States by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and John Jay The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simp ...

Benjamin Franklin
, postmaster general for the colonies, acknowledged that he leaked the letters, which led to him being berated by British officials and fired from his job. Meanwhile, Parliament passed the
Tea Act The Tea Act 1773 (13 Geo 3 c 44) was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in May 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of UnionAct of Union may refer to: In Great Britain and Ireland ...
to lower the price of taxed tea exported to the colonies to help the
East India Company The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), East India Trading Company (EITC), the English East India Company or (after Acts of Union 1707, 1707) the British East India Company, and informally known a ...
undersell smuggled Dutch tea. Special consignees were appointed to sell the tea to bypass colonial merchants. The act was opposed by those who resisted the taxes and also by smugglers who stood to lose business. In most instances, the consignees were forced to resign and the tea was turned back, but Massachusetts governor Hutchinson refused to allow Boston merchants to give in to pressure. A town meeting in Boston determined that the tea would not be landed, and ignored a demand from the governor to disperse. On December 16, 1773, a group of men, led by Samuel Adams and dressed to evoke the appearance of indigenous people, boarded the ships of the
British East India Company The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), East India Trading Company (EITC), the English East India Company or (after 1707) the British East India Company, and informally known as John Company, Com ...
and dumped £10,000 worth of tea from their holds (approximately £636,000 in 2008) into Boston Harbor. Decades later, this event became known as the
Boston Tea Party The Boston Tea Party was an American political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relatio ...

Boston Tea Party
and remains a significant part of American patriotic lore.

1774–1775: Intolerable Acts and the Quebec Act

The British government responded by passing several Acts which came to be known as the
Intolerable Acts The Intolerable Acts were punitive laws passed by the British Parliament The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dep ...
, which further darkened colonial opinion towards the British. They consisted of four laws enacted by the British parliament. The first was the
Massachusetts Government Act The Massachusetts Government Act (14 Geo. 3 c. 45) was passed by the Parliament of Great Britain The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in May 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of UnionAct of Union may refer to: In Great Brita ...
which altered the Massachusetts charter and restricted town meetings. The second act was the
Administration of Justice ActAdministration of Justice Act (with its variations) is a stock short title used for legislation in the United Kingdom relating to the administration of justice. The Bill for an Act with this short title may have been known as a Administration of Jus ...
which ordered that all British soldiers to be tried were to be arraigned in Britain, not in the colonies. The third Act was the Boston Port Act, which closed the port of Boston until the British had been compensated for the tea lost in the Boston Tea Party. The fourth Act was the Quartering Acts, Quartering Act of 1774, which allowed royal governors to house British troops in the homes of citizens without requiring permission of the owner. In response, Massachusetts patriots issued the Suffolk Resolves and formed an alternative shadow government known as the "Provincial Congress" which began training militia outside British-occupied Boston. In September 1774, the First Continental Congress convened, consisting of representatives from each colony, to serve as a vehicle for deliberation and collective action. During secret debates, conservative Joseph Galloway proposed the creation of a colonial Parliament that would be able to approve or disapprove of acts of the British Parliament, but his idea was not accepted. The Congress instead endorsed the proposal of John Adams that Americans would obey Parliament voluntarily but would resist all taxes in disguise. Congress called for a boycott beginning on 1 December 1774 of all British goods; it was enforced by new committees authorized by the Congress.

Military hostilities begin

Massachusetts was declared in a state of rebellion in February 1775 and the British garrison received orders to disarm the rebels and arrest their leaders, leading to the Battles of Lexington and Concord on 19 April 1775. The Patriots laid siege to Boston, expelled royal officials from all the colonies, and took control through the establishment of
Provincial Congress The Provincial Congresses were extra-legal legislative bodies established in ten of the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Br ...
es. The Battle of Bunker Hill followed on June 17, 1775. It was a British victory—but at a great cost: about 1,000 British casualties from a garrison of about 6,000, as compared to 500 American casualties from a much larger force. The Second Continental Congress was divided on the best course of action, but eventually produced the Olive Branch Petition, in which they attempted to come to an accord with George III of the United Kingdom, King George. The king, however, issued a Proclamation of Rebellion which stated that the states were "in rebellion" and the members of Congress were traitors. The war that arose was in some ways a classic insurgency. As
Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin ( April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States that was negotiated on behalf of the United States by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and John Jay The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simp ...

Benjamin Franklin
wrote to Joseph Priestley in October 1775: "Britain, at the expense of three millions, has killed 150 Yankees this campaign, which is £20,000 a head ... During the same time, 60,000 children have been born in America. From these data his mathematical head will easily calculate the time and expense necessary to kill us all.". In the winter of 1775, the Americans Invasion of Quebec (1775), invaded northern Canada under generals Benedict Arnold and Richard Montgomery, expecting to rally sympathetic colonists there. The attack was a failure; many Americans who weren't killed were either captured or died of smallpox. In March 1776, the Continental Army forced the British to Evacuation Day (Massachusetts), evacuate Boston, with George Washington as the commander of the new army. The revolutionaries now fully controlled all thirteen colonies and were ready to declare independence. There still were many Loyalists, but they were no longer in control anywhere by July 1776, and all of the Royal officials had fled.

Creating new state constitutions

Following the Battle of Bunker Hill in June 1775, the Patriots had control of Massachusetts outside the Boston city limits, and the Loyalists suddenly found themselves on the defensive with no protection from the British army. In all 13 colonies, Patriots had overthrown their existing governments, closing courts and driving away British officials. They had elected conventions and "legislatures" that existed outside any legal framework; new constitutions were drawn up in each state to supersede royal charters. They declared that they were states, not colonies.Nevins (1927); Greene and Pole (1994) chapter 29 On January 5, 1776, Province of New Hampshire, New Hampshire ratified the first state constitution. In May 1776, Congress voted to suppress all forms of crown authority, to be replaced by locally created authority. Virginia, Province of South Carolina, South Carolina, and New Jersey created their constitutions before July 4.
Rhode Island Rhode Island (, like ''road''), officially the State of Rhode Island, is a state in the New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States The Northeastern United States (also referred to as t ...
and Connecticut Colony, Connecticut simply took their existing royal charters and deleted all references to the crown. The new states were all committed to republicanism, with no inherited offices. They decided what form of government to create, and also how to select those who would craft the constitutions and how the resulting document would be ratified. On 26 May 1776,
John Adams John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific stud ...

John Adams
wrote James Sullivan from Philadelphia: The resulting constitutions in states such as Province of Maryland, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware Colony, Delaware, New York, and Constitution of Massachusetts, Massachusetts featured: * Property qualifications for voting and even more substantial requirements for elected positions (though New York and Maryland lowered property qualifications) * Bicameral legislatures, with the upper house as a check on the lower * Strong governors with veto power over the legislature and substantial appointment authority * Few or no restraints on individuals holding multiple positions in government * The continuation of Established church, state-established religion In Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New Hampshire, the resulting constitutions embodied: * universal manhood suffrage, or minimal property requirements for voting or holding office (New Jersey enfranchised some property-owning widows, a step that it retracted 25 years later) * strong, Unicameralism, unicameral legislatures * relatively weak governors without veto powers, and with little appointing authority * prohibition against individuals holding multiple government posts The radical provisions of Pennsylvania's constitution lasted only 14 years. In 1790, conservatives gained power in the state legislature, called a new constitutional convention, and rewrote the constitution. The new constitution substantially reduced universal male suffrage, gave the governor veto power and patronage appointment authority, and added an upper house with substantial wealth qualifications to the unicameral legislature. Thomas Paine called it a constitution unworthy of America.

Independence and Union

In April 1776, the North Carolina Provincial Congress issued the Halifax Resolves explicitly authorizing its delegates to vote for independence. By June, nine Provincial Congresses were ready for independence; one by one, the last four fell into line: Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and New York. Richard Henry Lee was instructed by the Virginia legislature to propose independence, and he did so on June 7, 1776. On June 11, a committee was created to draft a document explaining the justifications for separation from Britain. After securing enough votes for passage, independence was voted for on July 2. The United States Declaration of Independence, Declaration of Independence was drafted largely by Thomas Jefferson and presented by the committee; it was unanimously adopted by the entire Congress on July 4, and each colony became independent and autonomous. The next step was to form a union to facilitate international relations and alliances. The Second Continental Congress approved the "Articles of Confederation" for ratification by the states on November 15, 1777; the Congress immediately began operating under the Articles' terms, providing a structure of shared sovereignty during prosecution of the war and facilitating international relations and alliances with France and Spain. The articles were ratified on March 1, 1781. At that point, the Continental Congress was dissolved and a new government of the Congress of the Confederation, United States in Congress Assembled took its place on the following day, with Samuel Huntington (statesman), Samuel Huntington as presiding officer.

Defending the Revolution

British return: 1776–1777

According to British historian Jeremy Black (historian), Jeremy Black, the British had significant advantages, including a highly trained army, the world's largest navy, and an efficient system of public finance that could easily fund the war. However, they seriously misunderstood the depth of support for the American Patriot position and ignored the advice of General Gage, misinterpreting the situation as merely a large-scale riot. The British government believed that they could overawe the Americans by sending a large military and naval force, forcing them to be loyal again: Washington forced the British out of Boston in the spring of 1776, and neither the British nor the Loyalists controlled any significant areas. The British, however, were massing forces at their naval base at Halifax Regional Municipality, Halifax, Nova Scotia. They returned in force in July 1776, landing in New York and defeating Washington's Continental Army in August at the Battle of Long Island, Battle of Brooklyn. Following that victory, they requested a meeting with representatives from Congress to negotiate an end to hostilities.Schecter, Barnet. ''The Battle for New York: The City at the Heart of the American Revolution''. (2002)McCullough, ''1776'' (2005) A delegation including John Adams and Benjamin Franklin met British admiral Richard Howe, 1st Earl Howe, Richard Howe on Staten Island in New York Harbor on September 11 in what became known as the Staten Island Peace Conference. Howe demanded that the Americans retract the Declaration of Independence, which they refused to do, and negotiations ended. The British then Battle of Kip's Bay, seized New York City and nearly captured Washington's army. They made New York their main political and military base of operations, holding it until Evacuation Day (New York), November 1783. The city became the destination for Loyalist refugees and a focal point of Washington's Intelligence in the American Revolutionary War, intelligence network. The British also took New Jersey, pushing the Continental Army into Pennsylvania. Washington George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River, crossed the Delaware River back into New Jersey in a surprise attack in late December 1776 and defeated the Hessian (soldier), Hessian and British armies at Battle of Trenton, Trenton and Battle of Princeton, Princeton, thereby regaining control of most of New Jersey. The victories gave an important boost to Patriots at a time when morale was flagging, and they have become iconic events of the war. In 1777, the British sent Burgoyne's invasion force from Canada south to New York to seal off New England. Their aim was to isolate New England, which the British perceived as the primary source of agitation. Rather than move north to support Burgoyne, the British army in New York City went to Philadelphia in a major case of mis-coordination, capturing it from Washington. The invasion army under John Burgoyne, Burgoyne was much too slow and became trapped in northern New York state. It surrendered after the Battles of Saratoga in October 1777. From early October 1777 until November 15, a siege distracted British troops at Fort Mifflin, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and allowed Washington time to preserve the Continental Army by safely leading his troops to harsh winter quarters at Valley Forge.


On August 23, 1775, George III declared Americans to be traitors to the Crown if they took up arms against royal authority. There were thousands of British and Hessian soldiers in American hands following their surrender at the Battles of Saratoga in October 1777. Lord Germain took a hard line, but the British generals on American soil never held treason trials and treated captured American soldiers as prisoners of war. The dilemma was that tens of thousands of Loyalists were under American control and American retaliation would have been easy. The British built much of their strategy around using these Loyalists.Larry G. Bowman, ''Captive Americans: Prisoners During the American Revolution'' (1976) The British maltreated the prisoners whom they held, resulting in more deaths to American prisoners of war than from combat operations. At the end of the war, both sides released their surviving prisoners.

American alliances after 1778

The capture of a British army at Saratoga encouraged the French to formally enter the war in support of Congress, and Benjamin Franklin negotiated a permanent military alliance in early 1778; France thus became the first foreign nation to officially recognize the Declaration of Independence. On February 6, 1778, the United States and France signed the Treaty of Amity and Commerce (USA–France), Treaty of Amity and Commerce and the Treaty of Alliance (1778), Treaty of Alliance.Hamilton, ''The Papers of Alexander Hamilton'' (1974) p. 28 William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, William Pitt spoke out in Parliament urging Britain to make peace in America and to unite with America against France, while British politicians who had sympathized with colonial grievances now turned against the Americans for allying with Britain's rival and enemy. The Spanish and the Dutch became allies of the French in 1779 and 1780 respectively, forcing the British to fight a global war without major allies and requiring it to slip through a combined blockade of the Atlantic. Britain began to view the American war for independence as merely one front in a wider war, and the British chose to withdraw troops from America to reinforce the British colonies in the Caribbean, which were under threat of Spanish or French invasion. British commander Sir Henry Clinton (American War of Independence), Henry Clinton evacuated Philadelphia and returned to New York City. General Washington intercepted him in the Battle of Monmouth, Battle of Monmouth Court House, the last major battle fought in the north. After an inconclusive engagement, the British retreated to New York City. The northern war subsequently became a stalemate, as the focus of attention shifted to the smaller southern theater.Higginbotham, ''The War of American Independence'' (1983) p. 83

The British move South, 1778–1783

The British strategy in America now concentrated on a campaign in the southern states. With fewer regular troops at their disposal, the British commanders saw the "southern strategy" as a more viable plan, as they perceived the south as strongly Loyalist with a large population of recent immigrants and large numbers of slaves who might be tempted to run away from their masters to join the British. Beginning in late December 1778, they captured Savannah, Georgia, Savannah and controlled the Province of Georgia, Georgia coastline. In 1780, they launched a fresh invasion and Siege of Charleston, took Charleston, as well. A significant victory at the Battle of Camden meant that royal forces soon controlled most of Georgia and South Carolina. The British set up a network of forts inland, hoping that the Loyalists would rally to the flag.Henry Lumpkin, ''From Savannah to Yorktown: The American Revolution in the South'' (2000) Not enough Loyalists turned out, however, and the British had to fight their way north into North Carolina and Virginia with a severely weakened army. Behind them, much of the territory that they had already captured dissolved into a chaotic guerrilla war, fought predominantly between bands of Loyalists and American militia, which negated many of the gains that the British had previously made.

Surrender at Yorktown (1781)

The British army under Cornwallis marched to Yorktown, Virginia, where they expected to be rescued by a British fleet. The fleet did arrive, but so did a larger French fleet. The French were victorious in the Battle of the Chesapeake, and the British fleet returned to New York for reinforcements, leaving Cornwallis trapped. In October 1781, the British surrendered their second invading army of the war under a siege by the combined French and Continental armies commanded by Washington.

The end of the war

Historians continue to debate whether the odds were long or short for American victory. John E. Ferling says that the odds were so long that the American victory was "almost a miracle". On the other hand, Joseph Ellis says that the odds favored the Americans, and asks whether there ever was any realistic chance for the British to win. He argues that this opportunity came only once, in the summer of 1776, and the British failed that test. Admiral Howe and his brother General Howe "missed several opportunities to destroy the Continental Army .... Chance, luck, and even the vagaries of the weather played crucial roles." Ellis's point is that the strategic and tactical decisions of the Howes were fatally flawed because they underestimated the challenges posed by the Patriots. Ellis concludes that, once the Howe brothers failed, the opportunity "would never come again" for a British victory. Support for the conflict had never been strong in Britain, where many sympathized with the Americans, but now it reached a new low. King George wanted to fight on, but his supporters lost control of Parliament and they launched no further offensives in America. War erupted between America and Britain three decades later with the War of 1812, which firmly established the permanence of the United States and its complete autonomy. Washington did not know whether the British might reopen hostilities after Yorktown. They still had 26,000 troops occupying New York City, Charleston, and Savannah, together with a powerful fleet. The French army and navy departed, so the Americans were on their own in 1782–83. The treasury was empty, and the unpaid soldiers were growing restive, almost to the point of mutiny or possible ''coup d'état''. Washington dispelled the unrest among officers of the Newburgh Conspiracy in 1783, and Congress subsequently created the promise of a five years bonus for all officers.

Paris peace treaty

During negotiations in Paris, the American delegation discovered that France supported American independence but no territorial gains, hoping to confine the new nation to the area east of the Appalachian Mountains. The Americans opened direct secret negotiations with London, cutting out the French. British Prime Minister William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne, Lord Shelburne was in charge of the British negotiations, and he saw a chance to make the United States a valuable economic partner. The US obtained all the land east of the Mississippi River, including Northwest Territory, southern Canada, but Spain took control of Florida from the British. It gained fishing rights off Canadian coasts, and agreed to allow British merchants and Loyalists to recover their property. Prime Minister Shelburne foresaw highly profitable two-way trade between Britain and the rapidly growing United States, which did come to pass. The blockade was lifted and all British interference had been driven out, and American merchants were free to trade with any nation anywhere in the world. The British largely abandoned their indigenous allies, who were not a party to this treaty and did not recognize it until they were defeated militarily by the United States. However, the British did sell them munitions and maintain forts in American territory until the Jay Treaty of 1795. Losing the war and the Thirteen Colonies was a shock to Britain. The war revealed the limitations of Britain's fiscal-military state when they discovered that they suddenly faced powerful enemies with no allies, and they were dependent on extended and vulnerable transatlantic lines of communication. The defeat heightened dissension and escalated political antagonism to the King's ministers. Inside Parliament, the primary concern changed from fears of an over-mighty monarch to the issues of representation, parliamentary reform, and government retrenchment. Reformers sought to destroy what they saw as widespread institutional corruption,William Hague, ''William Pitt the Younger'' (2004)Jeremy Black, ''George III: America's Last King''(2006) and the result was a crisis from 1776 to 1783. The peace in 1783 left France financially prostrate, while the British economy boomed thanks to the return of American business. The crisis ended after 1784 thanks to the King's shrewdness in outwitting Charles James Fox (the leader of the Fox-North Coalition), and renewed confidence in the system engendered by the leadership of Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger, William Pitt. Some historians suggest that loss of the American colonies enabled Britain to deal with the French Revolution with more unity and better organization than would otherwise have been the case. Britain turned towards Asia, the Pacific, and later Africa with subsequent exploration leading to the rise of the Second British Empire.


Britain's war against the Americans, the French, and the Spanish cost about £100 million, and the Treasury borrowed 40-percent of the money that it needed. Heavy spending brought France to the Causes of the French Revolution#Economics and finances, verge of bankruptcy and revolution, while the British had relatively little difficulty financing their war, keeping their suppliers and soldiers paid, and hiring tens of thousands of German soldiers.John Brewer, ''The sinews of power: war, money, and the English state, 1688–1783'' (1990) p. 91 Britain had a sophisticated financial system based on the wealth of thousands of landowners who supported the government, together with banks and financiers in London. The British tax system collected about 12 percent of the GDP in taxes during the 1770s. In sharp contrast, Congress and the American states had no end of difficulty financing the war. In 1775, there was at most 12 million dollars in gold in the colonies, not nearly enough to cover current transactions, let alone finance a major war. The British made the situation much worse by imposing a tight blockade on every American port, which cut off almost all imports and exports. One partial solution was to rely on volunteer support from militiamen and donations from patriotic citizens.Charles Rappleye, ''Robert Morris: Financier of the American Revolution'' (2010) pp. 225–52 Another was to delay actual payments, pay soldiers and suppliers in depreciated currency, and promise that it would be made good after the war. Indeed, the soldiers and officers were given land grants in 1783 to cover the wages that they had earned but had not been paid during the war. The national government did not have a strong leader in financial matters until 1781, when Robert Morris (financier), Robert Morris was named Superintendent of Finance of the United States. Morris used a French loan in 1782 to set up the private Bank of North America to finance the war. He reduced the civil list, saved money by using competitive bidding for contracts, tightened accounting procedures, and demanded the national government's full share of money and supplies from the individual states. Congress used four main methods to cover the cost of the war, which cost about 66 million dollars in specie (gold and silver). Congress made issues of paper money in 1775–1780 and in 1780–1781. The first issue amounted to 242 million dollars. This paper money would supposedly be redeemed for state taxes, but the holders were eventually paid off in 1791 at the rate of one cent on the dollar. By 1780, the paper money was "not worth a Continental", as people said. The skyrocketing inflation was a hardship on the few people who had fixed incomes, but 90 percent of the people were farmers and were not directly affected by it. Debtors benefited by paying off their debts with depreciated paper. The greatest burden was borne by the soldiers of the Continental Army whose wages were usually paid late and declined in value every month, weakening their morale and adding to the hardships of their families. Beginning in 1777, Congress repeatedly asked the states to provide money, but the states had no system of taxation and were of little help. By 1780, Congress was making requisitions for specific supplies of corn, beef, pork, and other necessities, an inefficient system which barely kept the army alive. Starting in 1776, the Congress sought to raise money by loans from wealthy individuals, promising to redeem the bonds after the war. The bonds were redeemed in 1791 at face value, but the scheme raised little money because Americans had little specie, and many of the rich merchants were supporters of the Crown. The French secretly supplied the Americans with money, gunpowder, and munitions to weaken Great Britain; the subsidies continued when France entered the war in 1778, and the French government and Paris bankers lent large sums to the American war effort. The Americans struggled to pay off the loans; they ceased making interest payments to France in 1785 and defaulted on installments due in 1787. In 1790, however, they resumed regular payments on their debts to the French, and settled their accounts with the French government in 1795 by selling the debt to James Swan, an American banker.

Concluding the Revolution

Creating a "more perfect union" and guaranteeing rights

The war ended in 1783 and was followed by a period of prosperity. The national government was still operating under the Articles of Confederation and settled the issue of the western territories, which the states ceded to Congress. American settlers moved rapidly into those areas, with Vermont, Kentucky, and Tennessee becoming states in the 1790s. However, the national government had no money either to pay the war debts owed to European nations and the private banks, or to pay Americans who had been given millions of dollars of promissory notes for supplies during the war. Nationalists led by Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and other veterans feared that the new nation was too fragile to withstand an international war, or even internal revolts such as the Shays' Rebellion of 1786 in Massachusetts. They convinced Congress to call the Philadelphia Convention in 1787 and named their party the Federalist party. The Convention adopted a new Constitution of the United States, Constitution which provided for a much stronger federal government, including an effective executive in a Separation of powers, check-and-balance system with the judiciary and legislature. The Constitution was ratified in 1788, after a fierce debate in the states over the proposed new government. The new government under President George Washington took office in New York in March 1789. James Madison spearheaded Congressional amendments to the Constitution as assurances to those cautious about federal power, guaranteeing many of the inalienable rights that formed a foundation for the revolution, and Rhode Island was the final state to ratify the Constitution in 1791.

National debt

The national debt fell into three categories after the American Revolution. The first was the $12 million owed to foreigners, mostly money borrowed from France. There was general agreement to pay the foreign debts at full value. The national government owed $40 million and state governments owed $25 million to Americans who had sold food, horses, and supplies to the Patriot forces. There were also other debts which consisted of promissory notes issued during the war to soldiers, merchants, and farmers who accepted these payments on the premise that the new Constitution would create a government that would pay these debts eventually. The war expenses of the individual states added up to $114 million, compared to $37 million by the central government. In 1790, Congress combined the remaining state debts with the foreign and domestic debts into one national debt totaling $80 million at the recommendation of first Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. Everyone received face value for wartime certificates, so that the national honor would be sustained and the national credit established.

Ideology and factions

The population of the Thirteen States was not homogeneous in political views and attitudes. Loyalties and allegiances varied widely within regions and communities and even within families, and sometimes shifted during the Revolution.

Ideology behind the Revolution

The American Enlightenment was a critical precursor of the American Revolution. Chief among the ideas of the American Enlightenment were the concepts of natural law, natural rights, consent of the governed, individualism, property rights, self-ownership, self-determination, liberalism, republicanism, and defense against corruption. A growing number of American colonists embraced these views and fostered an intellectual environment which led to a new sense of political and social identity.


John Locke's (1632–1704) ideas on liberty influenced the political thinking behind the revolution, especially through his indirect influence on English writers such as John Trenchard (writer), John Trenchard, Thomas Gordon (writer), Thomas Gordon, and Benjamin Hoadly, whose political ideas had a strong influence on the American Patriots. Locke is often referred to as "the philosopher of the American Revolution" due to his work in the Social Contract and Natural Rights theories that underpinned the Revolution's political ideology. Locke's Two Treatises of Government published in 1689 was especially influential. He argued that all humans were created equally free, and governments therefore needed the "consent of the governed". In late eighteenth-century America, belief was still widespread in "equality by creation" and "rights by creation". The theory of the "social contract" influenced the belief among many of the Founders that the Right of revolution, right of the people to overthrow their leaders was one of the "natural rights" of man, should those leaders betray the historic rights of Englishmen.Charles W. Toth, ''Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite: The American Revolution and the European Response.'' (1989) p. 26.Philosophical Tales, by Martin Cohen, (Blackwell 2008), p. 101 The Americans heavily used Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu, Montesquieu's analysis of the wisdom of the "balanced" British Constitution (mixed government) in writing the state and national constitutions.


The most basic features of republicanism anywhere are a representational government in which citizens elect leaders from among themselves for a predefined term, as opposed to a permanent ruling class or aristocracy, and laws are passed by these leaders for the benefit of the entire republic. In addition, unlike a Direct democracy, direct or "pure" democracy in which the Majority rule, majority vote rules, a republic codifies in a Charter, charter or constitution a certain set of basic civil rights that is guaranteed to every citizen and cannot be overridden by majority rule. The American interpretation of "republicanism" was inspired by the Whig (British political party), Whig party in Great Britain which openly criticized the corruption within the British government.Stanley Weintraub, ''Iron Tears: America's Battle for Freedom, Britain's Quagmire, 1775–1783'' (2005) chapter 1 Americans were increasingly embracing republican values, seeing Britain as corrupt and hostile to American interests. The colonists associated political corruption with luxury and inherited aristocracy, which they condemned. The Founding Fathers were strong advocates of republican values, particularly
Samuel Adams Samuel Adams ( – October 2, 1803) was an American statesman, Political philosophy, political philosopher, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was a politician in Province of Massachusetts Bay, colonial Massachusetts, a l ...

Samuel Adams
, Patrick Henry,
John Adams John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific stud ...

John Adams
Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin ( April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States that was negotiated on behalf of the United States by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and John Jay The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simp ...

Benjamin Franklin
, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine,
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continenta ...

George Washington
, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton, which required men to put civic duty ahead of their personal desires. Men had a civic duty to be prepared and willing to fight for the rights and liberties of their countrymen. John Adams wrote to Mercy Otis Warren in 1776, agreeing with some classical Greek and Roman thinkers: "Public Virtue cannot exist without private, and public Virtue is the only Foundation of Republics." He continued: "Republican motherhood" became the ideal for American women, exemplified by Abigail Adams and Mercy Otis Warren; the first duty of the republican woman was to instill republican values in her children and to avoid luxury and ostentation. Thomas Paine published his pamphlet ''Common Sense (pamphlet), Common Sense'' in January 1776, after the Revolution had started. It was widely distributed and often read aloud in taverns, contributing significantly to spreading the ideas of republicanism and liberalism together, bolstering enthusiasm for separation from Great Britain and encouraging recruitment for the Continental Army.Ferguson, ''The Commonalities of Common Sense'' (2000) pp. 465–504 Paine offered a solution for Americans alarmed by the threat of tyranny.

Protestant Dissenters and the Great Awakening

Protestant churches that had separated from the Church of England (called "dissenters") were the "school of democracy", in the words of historian Patricia Bonomi.Bonomi, p. 186, Chapter 7 "Religion and the American Revolution Before the Revolution, the Southern Colonies and three of the New England Colonies had officially established churches: Congregational in Province of Massachusetts Bay, Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut Colony, Connecticut, and Province of New Hampshire, New Hampshire, and Anglican in Province of Maryland, Maryland, Colony of Virginia, Virginia, Province of North-Carolina, North-Carolina, Province of South Carolina, South Carolina, and Province of Georgia, Georgia. Province of New York, New York, Province of New Jersey, New Jersey, Province of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, Delaware Colony, Delaware, and the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations had no officially established churches. Church membership statistics from the period are unreliable and scarce, but what little data exists indicates that Anglicans were not in the majority, not even in the colonies where the Church of England was the established church, and they probably did not comprise even 30 percent of the population (with the possible exception of Virginia). President John Witherspoon of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) wrote widely circulated sermons linking the American Revolution to the teachings of the Bible. Throughout the colonies, dissenting Protestant ministers (Congregational, Baptist, and Presbyterian) preached Revolutionary themes in their sermons, while most Church of England clergymen preached loyalty to the king, the titular head of the English state church.William H. Nelson, ''The American Tory'' (1961) p. 186 Religious motivation for fighting tyranny transcended socioeconomic lines to encompass rich and poor, men and women, frontiersmen and townsmen, farmers and merchants. The Declaration of Independence also referred to the "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" as justification for the Americans' separation from the British monarchy. Most eighteenth-century Americans believed that the entire universe ("nature") was God's creation and he was "Nature's God". Everything was part of the "universal order of things" which began with God and was directed by his providence. Accordingly, the signers of the Declaration professed their "firm reliance on the Protection of divine Providence", and they appealed to "the Supreme Judge for the rectitude of our intentions".
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continenta ...

George Washington
was firmly convinced that he was an instrument of providence, to the benefit of the American people and of all humanity. Historian Bernard Bailyn argues that the evangelicalism of the era challenged traditional notions of natural hierarchy by preaching that the Bible teaches that all men are equal, so that the true value of a man lies in his moral behavior, not in his class. Kidd argues that religious Disestablishmentarianism, disestablishment, belief in God as the source of human rights, and shared convictions about sin, virtue, and divine providence worked together to unite rationalists and evangelicals and thus encouraged a large proportion of Americans to fight for independence from the Empire. Bailyn, on the other hand, denies that religion played such a critical role.Thomas S. Kidd, ''God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution'' (2010) Alan Heimert argues that New Light anti-authoritarianism was essential to furthering democracy in colonial American society, and set the stage for a confrontation with British monarchical and aristocratic rule.

Class and psychology of the factions

John Adams concluded in 1818: In the mid-20th century, historian Leonard Woods Labaree identified eight characteristics of the Loyalists that made them essentially conservative, opposite to the characteristics of the Patriots.Labaree, ''Conservatism in Early American History'' (1948) pp. 164–65 Loyalists tended to feel that resistance to the Crown was morally wrong, while the Patriots thought that morality was on their side.Hull et al., ''Choosing Sides'' (1978) pp. 344–66Burrows and Wallace, ''The American Revolution'' (1972) pp. 167–305 Loyalists were alienated when the Patriots resorted to violence, such as burning houses and tarring and feathering. Loyalists wanted to take a centrist position and resisted the Patriots' demand to declare their opposition to the Crown. Many Loyalists had maintained strong and long-standing relations with Britain, especially merchants in port cities such as New York and Boston. Many Loyalists felt that independence was bound to come eventually, but they were fearful that revolution might lead to anarchy, tyranny, or mob rule. In contrast, the prevailing attitude among Patriots was a desire to seize the initiative. Labaree also wrote that Loyalists were pessimists who lacked the confidence in the future displayed by the Patriots. Historians in the early 20th century such as J. Franklin Jameson examined the class composition of the Patriot cause, looking for evidence of a class war inside the revolution. More recent historians have largely abandoned that interpretation, emphasizing instead the high level of ideological unity. Both Loyalists and Patriots were a "mixed lot",Nash (2005)Resch (2006) but ideological demands always came first. The Patriots viewed independence as a means to gain freedom from British oppression and taxation and to reassert their basic rights. Most yeomen farmers, craftsmen, and small merchants joined the Patriot cause to demand more political equality. They were especially successful in Pennsylvania but less so in New England, where John Adams attacked Thomas Paine's ''Common Sense'' for the "absurd democratical notions" that it proposed.

King George III

The war became a personal issue for George III of the United Kingdom, the king, fueled by his growing belief that British leniency would be taken as weakness by the Americans. He also sincerely believed that he was defending Britain's constitution against usurpers, rather than opposing patriots fighting for their natural rights.


Those who fought for independence were called "Patriots", "Whigs", "Congress-men", or "Americans" during and after the war. They included a full range of social and economic classes but were unanimous regarding the need to defend the rights of Americans and uphold the principles of republicanism in rejecting monarchy and aristocracy, while emphasizing civic virtue by citizens. Newspapers were strongholds of patriotism (although there were a few Loyalist papers) and printed many pamphlets, announcements, patriotic letters, and pronouncements. According to historian Robert Calhoon, 40– to 45-percent of the white population in the Thirteen Colonies supported the Patriots' cause, 15– to 20-percent supported the Loyalists, and the remainder were neutral or kept a low profile. Mark Lender analyzes why ordinary people became insurgents against the British, even if they were unfamiliar with the ideological reasons behind the war. He concludes that such people held a sense of rights which the British were violating, rights that stressed local autonomy, fair dealing, and government by consent. They were highly sensitive to the issue of tyranny, which they saw manifested in the British response to the Boston Tea Party. The arrival in Boston of the British Army heightened their sense of violated rights, leading to rage and demands for revenge. They had faith that God was on their side. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were mostly well-educated, of British stock, and of the Protestant faith.


The consensus of scholars is that about 15– to 20-percent of the white population remained loyal to the British Crown. Those who actively supported the king were known at the time as "Loyalists", "Tories", or "King's men". The Loyalists never controlled territory unless the British Army occupied it. They were typically older, less willing to break with old loyalties, and often connected to the Church of England; they included many established merchants with strong business connections throughout the Empire, as well as royal officials such as Thomas Hutchinson of Boston. There were 500 to 1,000 Black Loyalists, enslaved African-Americans who escaped to British lines and supported Britain's cause via several means. Many of them succumbed to various diseases, but the survivors were evacuated by the British to British North America, their remaining colonies in North America. The revolution could divide families, such as William Franklin, son of Benjamin Franklin and royal governor of the Province of New Jersey who remained loyal to the Crown throughout the war. He and his father never spoke again. Recent immigrants who had not been fully Americanized were also inclined to support the King, such as Flora MacDonald (Scottish Jacobite), Flora MacDonald, a Scottish settler in the backcountry. After the war, the most of the approximately 500,000 Loyalists remained in America and resumed normal lives. Some became prominent American leaders, such as Samuel Seabury (1729–1796), Samuel Seabury. Approximately 46,000 Loyalists relocated to Canada; others moved to Britain (7,000), Florida, or the West Indies (9,000). The exiles represented approximately two percent of the total population of the colonies.Greene and Pole (1994) chapters 20–22 Nearly all black loyalists left for Nova Scotia, Florida, or England, where they could remain free. Loyalists who left the South in 1783 took thousands of their slaves with them as they fled to the British West Indies.


A minority of uncertain size tried to stay neutral in the war. Most kept a low profile, but the Quakers were the most important group to speak out for neutrality, especially in Pennsylvania. The Quakers continued to do business with the British even after the war began, and they were accused of supporting British rule, "contrivers and authors of seditious publications" critical of the revolutionary cause. Most Quakers remained neutral, although Quakers in the American Revolution, a sizeable number nevertheless participated to some degree.

Role of women

Women contributed to the American Revolution in many ways and were involved on both sides. Formal politics did not include women, but ordinary domestic behaviors became charged with political significance as Patriot women confronted a war which permeated all aspects of political, civil, and domestic life. They participated by boycotting British goods, spying on the British, following armies as they marched, washing, cooking, and mending for soldiers, delivering secret messages, and even fighting disguised as men in a few cases, such as Deborah Samson. Mercy Otis Warren held meetings in her house and cleverly attacked Loyalists with her creative plays and histories. Many women also acted as nurses and helpers, tending to the soldiers' wounds and buying and selling goods for them. Some of these camp followers even participated in combat, such as Madam John Turchin who led her husband's regiment into battle. Above all, women continued the agricultural work at home to feed their families and the armies. They maintained their families during their husbands' absences and sometimes after their deaths.Berkin, ''Revolutionary Mothers'' (2006) pp. 59–60 American women were integral to the success of the boycott of British goods, as the boycotted items were largely household articles such as tea and cloth. Women had to return to knitting goods and to spinning and weaving their own cloth—skills that had fallen into disuse. In 1769, the women of Boston produced 40,000 skeins of yarn, and 180 women in Middleton, Massachusetts, Middletown, Massachusetts wove of cloth. Many women gathered food, money, clothes, and other supplies during the war to help the soldiers. A woman's loyalty to her husband could become an open political act, especially for women in America committed to men who remained loyal to the King. Legal divorce, usually rare, was granted to Patriot women whose husbands supported the King.

Other participants

France and Spain

In early 1776, France set up a major program of aid to the Americans, and the Spanish secretly added funds. Each country spent one million "livres tournaises" to buy munitions. A dummy corporation run by Pierre Beaumarchais concealed their activities. American Patriots obtained some munitions through the Dutch Republic, as well as French and Spanish ports in the West Indies. Heavy expenditures and a weak taxation system pushed France toward bankruptcy. Spain did not officially recognize the U.S. but it separately declared war on Britain on June 21, 1779. Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid, general of the Spanish forces in New Spain, also served as governor of Louisiana. He led an expedition of colonial troops to capture Florida from the British and to keep open a vital conduit for supplies.

Native Americans

Most indigenous people rejected pleas that they remain neutral and instead supported the British Crown. The great majority of the 200,000 indigenous people east of the Mississippi distrusted the colonists and supported the British cause, hoping to forestall continued colonial expansion into their territories. Those tribes closely involved in trade tended to side with the Patriots, although political factors were important, as well. Most indigenous people did not participate directly in the war, except for warriors and bands associated with four of the
Iroquois The Iroquois ( or ) or Haudenosaunee (; "People of the Longhouse") are an indigenous Indigenous may refer to: *Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous pe ...

tribes in New York and Pennsylvania which allied with the British. The British did have other allies, especially in the upper Midwest. They provided indigenous people with funding and weapons to attack Continental Army outposts. Some indigenous people tried to remain neutral, seeing little value in joining what they perceived to be a "white man's war", and fearing reprisals from whichever side they opposed. The Oneida tribe, Oneida and Tuscarora people, Tuscarora tribes among the Iroquois of central and western New York supported the American cause. The British provided arms to indigenous people who were led by Loyalists in war parties to raid frontier settlements from the Province of Carolina, Carolinas to New York. These war parties managed to kill many settlers on the frontier, especially in Pennsylvania and New York's Mohawk Valley. In 1776,
Cherokee The Cherokee (; chr, ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯᎢ, translit=Aniyvwiyaʔi, or chr, ᏣᎳᎩ, links=no, translit=Tsalagi) are one of the indigenous people of the Southeastern Woodlands of the United States. Prior to the 18th century, they were concentr ...

war parties attacked American Colonists all along the southern frontier of the uplands throughout the Washington District, North Carolina (now Tennessee) and the Kentucky wilderness area. They would launch raids with roughly 200 warriors, as seen in the Cherokee–American wars; they could not mobilize enough forces to invade Colonial areas without the help of allies, most often the Muscogee (Creek), Creek. The Chickamauga Cherokee under Dragging Canoe allied themselves closely with the British, and fought on for an additional decade after the Treaty of Paris was signed. Joseph Brant of the powerful Mohawk nation, Mohawk tribe in New York was the most prominent indigenous leader against the Patriot forces. In 1778 and 1780, he led 300 Iroquois warriors and 100 white Loyalists in multiple attacks on small frontier settlements in New York and Pennsylvania, killing many settlers and destroying villages, crops, and stores. The Seneca, Onondaga, and Cayuga of the Iroquois Confederacy also allied with the British against the Americans.Colin G. Calloway, ''The American Revolution in Indian Country: Crisis and Diversity in Native American Communities'' (1995) In 1779, the Americans forced the hostile indigenous people out of upstate New York when Washington sent an army under John Sullivan (general), John Sullivan which destroyed 40 empty Iroquois villages in central and western New York. The Battle of Newtown proved decisive, as the Patriots had an advantage of three-to-one, and it ended significant resistance; there was little combat otherwise. Sullivan systematically burned the empty villages and destroyed about 160,000 bushels of corn that composed the winter food supply. Facing starvation and homeless for the winter, the Iroquois fled to Canada. The British resettled them in Ontario, providing land grants as compensation for some of their losses. At the peace conference following the war, the British ceded lands which they did not really control, and they did not consult their indigenous allies during the treaty. They transferred control to the United States of all the land east of the Mississippi and north of Florida. Calloway concludes: The British did not give up their forts until 1796 in the eastern Midwest, stretching from Ohio to Wisconsin; they kept alive the dream of forming an allied indigenous nation there, which they referred to a "Indian barrier state". That goal was one of the causes of the War of 1812.

Black Americans

Free blacks in the North and South fought on both sides of the Revolution, but the majority fought for the Patriots. Gary Nash reports that there were about 9,000 black Patriots, counting the Continental Army and Navy, state militia units, privateers, wagoneers in the Army, servants to officers, and spies. Ray Raphael notes that thousands did join the Loyalist cause, but "a far larger number, free as well as slave, tried to further their interests by siding with the patriots." Crispus Attucks was one of the five people killed in the
Boston Massacre The Boston Massacre was a confrontation on March 5, 1770, in which British soldiers shot and killed several people while being harassed by a mob in Boston Boston (, ), officially the City of Boston, is the capital city, capital and List o ...

Boston Massacre
in 1770 and is considered the first American casualty for the cause of independence. Many black slaves sided with the Loyalists. Tens of thousands in the South used the turmoil of war to escape, and the southern plantation economies of South Carolina and Georgia were disrupted in particular. During the Revolution, the British commanders attempted to weaken the Patriots by issuing proclamations of freedom to their slaves.Revolutionary War: The Home Front
Library of Congress
Historian David Brion Davis explains the difficulties with a policy of wholesale arming of the slaves: Davis underscores the British dilemma: "Britain, when confronted by the rebellious American colonists, hoped to exploit their fear of slave revolts while also reassuring the large number of slave-holding Loyalists and wealthy Caribbean planters and merchants that their slave property would be secure". The Americans, however, accused the British of encouraging slave revolts, with the issue becoming one of the 27 colonial grievances. The existence of Slavery in the colonial United States, slavery in the American colonies had attracted criticism from both sides of the Atlantic as many could not reconcile the existence of the institution with the eglitarian ideals espoused by leaders of the Revolution. British writer Samuel Johnson wrote that "how is it we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of the Negroes?" in a text opposing the greivances of the colonists. Referring to this contradiction, English abolitionist Thomas Day wrote in a 1776 letter that "if there be an object truly ridiculous in nature, it is an American patriot, signing resolutions of independency with the one hand, and with the other brandishing a whip over his affrighted slaves". African-American writer Lemuel Haynes expressed similar viewpoints in his essay ''Liberty Further Extended'' where he wrote that "Liberty is Equally as pre[c]ious to a Black man, as it is to a white one". Thomas Jefferson unsuccessfully attempted to include a section in the Declaration of Independence which asserted that King George III had "forced" the Atlantic slave trade, slave trade onto the colonies.Maier, ''American Scripture'', 146–50. Despite the turmoil of the period, African-Americans contributed to the foundation of an American national identity during the Revolution. Phyllis Wheatley, an African-American poet, popularized the image of Columbia (name), Columbia to represent America. She came to public attention when her ''Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral'' appeared in 1773, and received praise from George Washington.Hochschild pp. 50–51 The effects of the war were more dramatic in the South. In Virginia, royal governor Lord John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore, Dunmore recruited black men into the British forces with the promise of freedom, protection for their families, and land grants. Tens of thousands of slaves escaped to British lines throughout the South, causing dramatic losses to slaveholders and disrupting cultivation and harvesting of crops. For instance, South Carolina was estimated to have lost about 25,000 slaves to flight, migration, or death—amounting to a third of its slave population. From 1770 to 1790, the black proportion of the population (mostly slaves) in South Carolina dropped from 60.5 percent to 43.8 percent, and from 45.2 percent to 36.1 percent in Georgia. British forces gave transportation to 10,000 slaves when they evacuated Savannah, Georgia, Savannah and Charleston, South Carolina, Charleston, carrying through on their promise. They evacuated and resettled more than 3,000 Black Loyalists from New York to Nova Scotia, Upper Canada, and Lower Canada. Others sailed with the British to England or were resettled as freedmen in the West Indies of the Caribbean. But slaves carried to the Caribbean under control of Loyalist masters generally remained slaves until British abolition of slavery in its colonies in 1833-38. More than 1,200 of the Black Loyalists of Nova Scotia later resettled in the British colony of Sierra Leone, where they became leaders of the Sierra Leone Creole people, Krio ethnic group of Freetown and the later national government. Many of their descendants still live in Sierra Leone, as well as other African countries.

Effects of the Revolution

Loyalist expatriation

Tens of thousands of Loyalists left the United States following the war, and Maya Jasanoff estimates as many as 70,000. Some migrated to Britain, but the great majority received land and subsidies for resettlement in British colonies in North America, especially Province of Quebec (1763-1791), Quebec (concentrating in the Eastern Townships), Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. Britain created the colonies of Upper Canada (Ontario) and New Brunswick expressly for their benefit, and the Crown awarded land to Loyalists as compensation for losses in the United States. Nevertheless, approximately eighty-five percent of the Loyalists stayed in the United States as American citizens, and some of the exiles later returned to the U.S. Patrick Henry spoke of the issue of allowing Loyalists to return as such: "Shall we, who have laid the proud British lion at our feet, be frightened of its whelps?" His actions helped secure return of the Loyalists to American soil.


Interpretations vary concerning the effect of the Revolution. Historians such as Bernard Bailyn, Gordon S. Wood, Gordon Wood, and Edmund Morgan (historian), Edmund Morgan view it as a unique and radical event which produced deep changes and had a profound effect on world affairs, such as an increasing belief in the principles of the Enlightenment. These were demonstrated by a leadership and government that espoused protection of natural rights, and a system of laws chosen by the people. John Murrin, by contrast, argues that the definition of "the people" at that time was mostly restricted to free men who passed a property qualification. This view argues that any significant gain of the revolution was irrelevant in the short term to women, black Americans and slaves, poor white men, youth, and native Americans. Gordon Wood states: :The American Revolution was integral to the changes occurring in American society, politics and culture .... These changes were radical, and they were extensive .... The Revolution not only radically changed the personal and social relationships of people, including the position of women, but also destroyed aristocracy as it'd been understood in the Western world for at least two millennia. Edmund Morgan has argued that, in terms of long-term impact on American society and values: :The Revolution did revolutionize social relations. It did displace the deference, the patronage, the social divisions that had determined the way people viewed one another for centuries and still view one another in much of the world. It did give to ordinary people a pride and power, not to say an arrogance, that have continued to shock visitors from less favored lands. It may have left standing a host of inequalities that have troubled us ever since. But it generated the egalitarian view of human society that makes them troubling and makes our world so different from the one in which the revolutionists had grown up.

Inspiring all colonies and the American Revolution's worldwide impact

The first shot of the American Revolution on Lexington Green in the Battle of Lexington and Concord is referred to as the “shot heard ‘round the world.” The American Revolution not only established the United States, but also ended an age (an age of monarchy) and began a new age (an age of freedom). It inspired revolutions around the world. The United States has the world’s oldest written constitution, and the constitutions of other free countries often bear a striking resemblance to the US Constitution – often word-for-word in places. As a result of the growing wave started by the Revolution, today, people in 144 countries (representing 2/3 of the world’s population) live in full or partial freedom.McDonald, Forrest. ''Novus Ordo Seclorum: The Intellectual Origins of the Constitution,'' pp. 6-7, University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, 1985. .Bailyn, Bernard. ''To Begin the World Anew: The Genius and Ambiguities of the American Founders,'' pp. 35, 134-49, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, New York, 2003. . After the Revolution, genuinely democratic politics became possible in the former American colonies. The rights of the people were incorporated into state constitutions. Concepts of liberty, individual rights, equality among men and hostility toward corruption became incorporated as core values of liberal republicanism. The greatest challenge to the old order in Europe was the challenge to inherited political power and the democratic idea that government rests on the consent of the governed. The example of the first successful revolution against a European empire, and the first successful establishment of a republican form of democratically elected government, provided a model for many other colonial peoples who realized that they too could break away and become self-governing nations with directly elected representative government. The Dutch Republic, also at war with Britain, was the next country to sign a treaty with the United States, on October 8, 1782. On April 3, 1783, Ambassador Extraordinary Gustaf Philip Creutz, representing King Gustav III of Sweden, and Benjamin Franklin, signed a Treaty of Amity and Commerce (USA–Sweden), Treaty of Amity and Commerce with the U.S. The American Revolution was the first wave of the Atlantic Revolutions: the French Revolution, the Haitian Revolution, and the Latin American wars of independence. Aftershocks reached Ireland in the Irish Rebellion of 1798, in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and in the Netherlands. The Revolution had a strong, immediate influence in Great Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, and France. Many British and Irish British Whig Party, Whigs spoke glowingly in favor of the American cause. In Ireland, the Protestants Protestant Ascendancy, who controlled Ireland demanded Irish Home Rule, self-rule. Under the leadership of Henry Grattan, the so-called "Irish Patriot Party#Grattan's Patriots, Patriots" forced the reversal of mercantilist prohibitions against trade with other British colonies. The King and his cabinet in London could not risk another rebellion on the American model, and made a series of concessions to the Patriot faction in Dublin. Armed Protestant volunteer units were set up to protect against an invasion from France. As in America, so too in Ireland the King no longer had a monopoly of lethal force. The Revolution, along with the Dutch Revolt (end of the 16th century) and the 17th century English Civil War, was among the examples of overthrowing an old regime for many Europeans who later were active during the era of the French Revolution, such as the Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, Marquis de Lafayette. The American Declaration of Independence influenced the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789. The spirit of the Declaration of Independence led to laws ending slavery in all the Northern states and the Northwest Territory, with New Jersey the last in 1804. States such as New Jersey and New York adopted gradual emancipation, which kept some people as slaves for more than two decades longer.

Status of African Americans

The American Revolution not only got rid of a king, it profoundly changed society itself. Prior to the Revolution, everyone except the king had their "betters." Society was layered, with the king at the top, then the peerage (those with titles of nobility), gentlemen, common people, and slaves at the bottom. One's life was determined by one's birth. The American Revolution got rid of this entire system of aristocracy. There is even a clause in the Constitution prohibiting the granting of titles of nobility in America.Mackaman, Tom. “An Interview with Historian Gordon Wood on the New York Times 1619 Project,” World Socialist Web Site, wsws.org, November 28, 2019, Retrieved, October 10, 2020.
/ref>Wood, Gordon S. ''The Radicalism of the American Revolution,'' pp. 3-8, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, New York, 1992. . It got rid of all the layers, except for the bottom one, the slaves. Slavery had existed for 3,000 years. It was legal and normal - it fits in with a layered society.Bailyn, Bernard. ''Faces of Revolution: Personalities and Themes in the Struggle for American Independence,'' pp. 221-4, Vintage Books, New York, New York, 1992. . The American Revolution changed that. As historian Christopher L. Brown put it, slavery "had never been on the agenda in a serious way before," but the Revolution "forced it to be a public question from there forward." In the first two decades after the American Revolution, state legislatures and individuals took actions to free slaves, in part based on revolutionary ideals. Northern states passed new constitutions that contained language about equal rights or specifically abolished slavery; some states, such as New York and New Jersey, where slavery was more widespread, passed laws by the end of the 18th century to abolish slavery by a gradual method. By 1804, all the northern states had passed laws outlawing slavery, either immediately or over time. In New York, the last slaves were freed in 1827. Indentured servitude (temporary slavery), which had been widespread in the colonies (Half the population of Philadelphia had once been bonded servants) dropped dramatically, and disappeared by 1800. An Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves sailed through Congress with little opposition. President Thomas Jefferson supported it, and it went in effect on January 1, 1808.
Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin ( April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States that was negotiated on behalf of the United States by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and John Jay The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simp ...

Benjamin Franklin
and James Madison each helped found manumission societies. No southern state abolished slavery, but for a period individual owners could free their slaves by personal decision, often providing for manumission in wills but sometimes filing deeds or court papers to free individuals. Numerous slaveholders who freed their slaves cited revolutionary ideals in their documents; others freed slaves as a reward for service. Records also suggest that some slaveholders were freeing their own mixed-race children, born into slavery to slave mothers. The number of free blacks as a proportion of the black population in the upper South increased from less than 1 percent to nearly 10 percent between 1790 and 1810 as a result of these actions. Thousands of free Blacks in the northern states fought in the state militias and Continental Army. In the south, both sides offered freedom to slaves who would perform military service. Roughly 20,000 slaves fought in the American Revolution. Shortly after the Revolution, the Northwest Territory was established, by Manasseh Cutler and Rufus Putnam (who had been George Washington's chief engineer). Both Cutler and Putnam came from History of the Puritans in North America, Puritan New England. The Puritans strongly believed that slavery was morally wrong. Their influence on the issue of slavery was long-lasting, and this was provided significantly greater impetus by the Revolution. The Northwest Territory (which became Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and part of Minnesota) doubled the size of the United States, and it was established at the insistence of Cutler and Putnam as "free soil" - no slavery. This was to prove crucial a few decades later. Had those states been slave states, and their electoral votes gone to Abraham Lincoln's main opponent, Lincoln would not have become president. The American Civil War, Civil War would not have been fought. Even if it eventually had been, the North might well have lost.

Status of American women

The democratic ideals of the Revolution inspired changes in the roles of women. The concept of republican motherhood was inspired by this period and reflects the importance of revolutionary republicanism, Republicanism as the dominant American ideology. It assumed that a successful republic rested upon the virtue of its citizens. Women were considered to have the essential role of instilling their children with values conducive to a healthy republic. During this period, the wife's relationship with her husband also became more liberal, as love and affection instead of obedience and subservience began to characterize the ideal marital relationship. In addition, many women contributed to the war effort through fundraising and running family businesses without their husbands. The traditional constraints gave way to more liberal conditions for women. Patriarchy faded as an ideal; young people had more freedom to choose their spouses and more often used birth control to regulate the size of their families. Society emphasized the role of mothers in child rearing, especially the patriotic goal of raising republican children rather than those locked into aristocratic value systems. There was more permissiveness in child-rearing. Patriot women married to Loyalists who left the state could get a divorce and obtain control of the ex-husband's property. Whatever gains they had made, however, women still found themselves subordinated, legally and socially, to their husbands, disfranchised and usually with only the role of mother open to them. But, some women earned livelihoods as midwives and in other roles in the community not originally recognized as significant by men. Abigail Adams expressed to her husband, the president, the desire of women to have a place in the new republic: "I desire you would remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands." The Revolution sparked a discussion on the rights of woman and an environment favorable to women's participation in politics. Briefly the possibilities for women's rights were highly favorable, but a backlash led to a greater rigidity that excluded women from politics. For more than thirty years, however, the 1776 New Jersey State Constitution gave the vote to "all inhabitants" who had a certain level of wealth, including unmarried women and blacks (not married women because they could not own property separately from their husbands), until in 1807, when that state legislature passed a bill interpreting the constitution to mean universal ''white male'' suffrage, excluding paupers.


The American Revolution has a central place in the American memory as the story of the nation's founding. It is covered in the schools, memorialized by a Independence Day (United States), national holiday, and commemorated in innumerable monuments. George Washington's estate at Mount Vernon was one of the first national pilgrimages for tourists and attracted 10,000 visitors a year by the 1850s. The Revolution became a matter of contention in the 1850s in the debates leading to the American Civil War (1861–1865), as spokesmen of both the Northern United States and the Southern United States claimed that their region was the true custodian of the legacy of 1776. The United States Bicentennial in 1976 came a year after the American withdrawal from the Vietnam War, and speakers stressed the themes of renewal and rebirth based on a restoration of traditional values. Today, more than 100 :American Revolutionary War sites, battlefields and historic sites of the American Revolution are protected and maintained by the government. The National Park Service alone owns and maintains more than 50 battlefield parks and sites related to the Revolution. The American Battlefield Trust preserves almost 700 acres of battlefield land in six states.
Princeton, N.J. Town Topics, Nov. 12, 2014, "Princeton Battlefield Focus of National Campaign." Accessed May 30, 2018.

See also

* Diplomacy in the American Revolutionary War * Founding Fathers of the United States * List of George Washington articles * List of plays and films about the American Revolution * List of television series and miniseries about the American Revolution * Museum of the American Revolution * Timeline of the American Revolution


General Sources

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Reference works

* Barnes, Ian, and Charles Royster. ''The Historical Atlas of the American Revolution'' (2000), maps and commentar
excerpt and text search
* * * Cappon, Lester J. ''Atlas of Early American History: The Revolutionary Era, 1760–1790'' (1976) * Fremont-Barnes, Gregory, and Richard A. Ryerson, eds. ''The Encyclopedia of the American Revolutionary War: A Political, Social, and Military History'' (5 vol. 2006) 1000 entries by 150 experts, covering all topics * Gray, Edward G., and Jane Kamensky, eds. ''The Oxford Handbook of the American Revolution'' (2013) 672 pp; 33 essays by scholars * Greene, Jack P. and J. R. Pole, eds. ''A Companion to the American Revolution'' (2004), 777 pp – an expanded edition of Greene and Pole, eds. ''The Blackwell Encyclopedia of the American Revolution'' (1994); comprehensive coverage of political and social themes and international dimension; thin on military * Herrera, Ricardo A. "American War of Independence" ''Oxford Bibliographies'' (2017) annotated guide to major scholarly books and article
* Kennedy, Frances H. ''The American Revolution: A Historical Guidebook'' (2014) A guide to 150 famous historical sites. * * Purcell, L. Edward. ''Who Was Who in the American Revolution'' (1993); 1500 short biographies * Resch, John P., ed. ''Americans at War: Society, Culture and the Homefront'' vol 1 (2005), articles by scholars * Selesky, Harold E. ed., ''Encyclopedia of the American Revolution'' (3 vol. Gale, 2006) * Symonds, Craig L. and William J. Clipson. ''A Battlefield Atlas of the American Revolution'' (1986) new diagrams of each battle

Surveys of the era

* John Richard Alden, Alden, John R. ''A history of the American Revolution'' (1966) 644p
online free to borrow
A scholarly general survey * Allison, Robert. ''The American Revolution: A Concise History'' (2011) 128 p
excerpt and text search
* Atkinson, Rick. ''The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777'' (2019) (vol 1 of his 'The Revolution Trilogy'); called, "one of the best books written on the American War for Independence," [''Journal of Military History'' Jan 2020 p 268]; the maps ar
online here
* Axelrod, Alan. ''The Real History of the American Revolution: A New Look at the Past'' (2009), well-illustrated popular history * George Bancroft, Bancroft, George. ''History of the United States of America, from the discovery of the American continent.'' (1854–78), vol 4–1
online edition
classic 19th century narrative; highly detailed * Black, Jeremy. ''War for America: The Fight for Independence 1775–1783'' (2001) 266pp; by leading British scholar * Brown, Richard D., and Thomas Paterson, eds. ''Major Problems in the Era of the American Revolution, 1760–1791: Documents and Essays'' (2nd ed. 1999) * Christie, Ian R. and Benjamin W. Labaree. ''Empire or Independence: 1760-1776'' (1976) * Cogliano, Francis D. ''Revolutionary America, 1763–1815; A Political History'' (2nd ed. 2008), British textbook * Joseph J. Ellis, Ellis, Joseph J. ''American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies in the Founding of the Republic'' (2008
excerpt and text search
* Don Higginbotham, Higginbotham, Don. ''The War of American Independence: Military Attitudes, Policies, and Practice, 1763–1789'' (1983
Online in ACLS Humanities E-book Project
comprehensive coverage of military and domestic aspects of the war. * Jensen, Merrill. ''The Founding of a Nation: A History of the American Revolution 1763–1776.'' (2004) * Knollenberg, Bernhard. ''Growth of the American Revolution: 1766–1775'' (2003) * Lecky, William Edward Hartpole. ''The American Revolution, 1763–1783'' (1898), older British perspectiv
online edition
* Mackesy, Piers. ''The War for America: 1775–1783'' (1992), British military stud
online edition
* Robert Middlekauff, Middlekauff, Robert. '' The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763–1789'' (Oxford History of the United States, 2005)
online edition
* Miller, John C. ''Triumph of Freedom, 1775–1783'' (1948
online edition
* Miller, John C. ''Origins of the American Revolution'' (1943
online edition
to 1775 * Jack Rakove, Rakove, Jack N. ''Revolutionaries: A New History of the Invention of America'' (2010) interpretation by leading schola
excerpt and text search
* Taylor, Alan. ''American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804'' (2016) 704 pp; recent survey by leading scholar * Stanley Weintraub, Weintraub, Stanley. ''Iron Tears: Rebellion in America 1775–83'' (2005
excerpt and text search
popular * Gordon S. Wood, Wood, Gordon S. ''Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different'' (2007) * Wrong, George M. ''Washington and His Comrades in Arms: A Chronicle of the War of Independence'' (1921) online short survey by Canadian schola

Specialized studies

* Bailyn, Bernard. ''The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution.'' (Harvard University Press, 1967). * Becker, Carl. ''The Declaration of Independence: A Study on the History of Political Ideas'' (1922) * Becker, Frank
The American Revolution as a European Media Event
European History Online, Mainz: Institute of European History, 2011, retrieved: October 25, 2011. * Breen, T. H. ''The Marketplace of Revolution: How Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence'' (2005) * Breen, T. H. ''American Insurgents, American Patriots: The Revolution of the People'' (2010) 337 pages; examines rebellions in 1774–76 including loosely organized militants took control before elected safety committees emerged. * Brunsman, Denver, and David J Silverman, eds. ''The American Revolution Reader'' (Routledge Readers in History, 2013) 472 pp; essays by leading scholars * Ron Chernow, Chernow, Ron. ''Washington: A Life'' (2010) detailed biography; Pulitzer Prize * Crow, Jeffrey J. and Larry E. Tise, eds. ''The Southern Experience in the American Revolution'' (1978) * David Hackett Fischer, Fischer, David Hackett. ''Paul Revere's Ride'' (1995), Minutemen in 1775 * Fischer, David Hackett. ''Washington's Crossing'' (2004). 1776 campaigns; Pulitzer prize. * Douglas Southall Freeman, Freeman, Douglas Southall. ''Washington'' (1968) Pulitzer Prize; abridged version of 7 vol biography * Gerald Horne, Horne, Gerald. ''The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America.'' (New York University Press, 2014). * Kerber, Linda K. ''Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America'' (1979) * Kidd, Thomas S. ''God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution'' (2010) * Langley, Lester D. '' The Long American Revolution and Its Legacy''(U of Georgia Press, 2019
online review
emphasis on long-term global impact. * Lockwood, Matthew. ''To Begin the World Over Again: How the American Revolution Devastated the Globe.'' (Yale University Press; 2019) * David McCullough, McCullough, David. ''1776 (book), 1776'' (2005). ; popular narrative of the year 1776 * Pauline Maier, Maier, Pauline. ''American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence'' (1998
excerpt and text search
* Nash, Gary B. ''The Unknown American Revolution: The Unruly Birth of Democracy and the Struggle to Create America''. (2005). * Allan Nevins, Nevins, Allan; ''The American States during and after the Revolution, 1775–1789'' 1927
online edition
* Norton, Mary Beth. ''Liberty's Daughters: The Revolutionary Experience of American Women, 1750–1800'' (1980) * Norton, Mary Beth. ''1774: The Long Year of Revolution'' (2020
online review
by Gordon S. Wood * O'Shaughnessy Andrew Jackson. ''The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire'' (Yale University Press; 2013) 466 pages; on top British leaders * Palmer, Robert R. ''The Age of the Democratic Revolution: A Political History of Europe and America, 1760–1800.'' vol 1 (1959
online edition
* Resch, John Phillips and Walter Sargent, eds. ''War and Society in the American Revolution: Mobilization and Home Fronts'' (2006) * Murray Rothbard, Rothbard, Murray, ''Conceived in Liberty'' (2000), ''Volume III: Advance to Revolution, 1760–1775'' and ''Volume IV: The Revolutionary War, 1775–1784''. , Libertarianism, libertarian perspective * Van Tyne, Claude Halstead. ''American Loyalists: The Loyalists in the American Revolution'' (1902
online edition
* Volo, James M. and Dorothy Denneen Volo. ''Daily Life during the American Revolution'' (2003) * Wahlke, John C. ed. ''The Causes of the American Revolution'' (1967) primary and secondary reading
* Wood, Gordon S. ''American Revolution'' (2005) [excerpt and text search] 208 p
excerpt and text search
* Wood, Gordon S. ''The Radicalism of the American Revolution: How a Revolution Transformed a Monarchical Society into a Democratic One Unlike Any That Had Ever Existed''. (1992), by a leading scholar


* Breen, Timothy H. "Ideology and nationalism on the eve of the American Revolution: Revisions once more in need of revising." ''Journal of American History'' (1997): 13–39
* Countrymen, Edward. "Historiography" in Harold E. Selesky, ed., ''Encyclopedia of the American Revolution'' (Gale, 2006) pp 501–508. * Gibson, Alan. ''Interpreting the Founding: Guide to the Enduring Debates over the Origins and Foundations of the American Republic'' (2006). * Hattem, Michael D. "The Historiography of the American Revolution" ''Journal of the American Revolution'' (2013
outlines ten different scholarly approaches * Morgan, Gwenda. ''The Debate on the American Revolution'' (2007). * Schocket, Andrew M. ''Fighting over the Founders: How We Remember the American Revolution'' (2014), how politicians, screenwriters, activists, biographers, museum professionals, and reenactors portray the American Revolution
* Sehat, David. ''The Jefferson Rule: How the Founding Fathers Became Infallible and Our Politics Inflexible'' (2015
* Shalhope, Robert E. "Toward a republican synthesis: the emergence of an understanding of republicanism in American historiography." ''William and Mary Quarterly'' (1972): 49–80
* Waldstreicher, David. "The Revolutions of Revolution Historiography: Cold War Contradance, Neo-Imperial Waltz, or Jazz Standard?." ''Reviews in American History'' 42.1 (2014): 23–35

* Wood, Gordon S. "Rhetoric and Reality in the American Revolution." ''William and Mary Quarterly'' (1966): 4–32
* Young, Alfred F. and Gregory H. Nobles. ''Whose American Revolution Was It? Historians Interpret the Founding'' (2011).

Primary sources

* ''The American Revolution: Writings from the War of Independence'' (2001), Library of America, 880 pp * Henry Steele Commager, Commager, Henry Steele and Richard B. Morris, eds. ''The Spirit of 'Seventy-Six': The Story of the American Revolution as told by Participants''. (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1958)
short excerpts from hundreds of official and unofficial primary sources * Dann, John C., ed. ''The Revolution Remembered: Eyewitness Accounts of the War for Independence'' (1999
excerpt and text search
recollections by ordinary soldiers * * Humphrey, Carol Sue ed. ''The Revolutionary Era: Primary Documents on Events from 1776 to 1800'' (2003), 384 pp; newspaper account
excerpt and text search
* Jensen, Merill, ed. ''Tracts of the American Revolution, 1763–1776'' (1967). American pamphlets * Jensen, Merill, ed. ''English Historical Documents: American Colonial Documents to 1776: Volume 9'' (1955), 890pp; major collection of important documents * Samuel Eliot Morison, Morison, Samuel E. ed. ''Sources and Documents Illustrating the American Revolution, 1764–1788, and the Formation of the Federal Constitution'' (1923). 370 p
online version
* Tansill, Charles C. ed.; ''Documents Illustrative of the Formation of the Union of the American States.'' Government Printing Office. (1927). 1124 p
online version

Martin Kallich and Andrew MacLeish, eds. ''The American Revolution through British eyes'' (1962)
primary documents

Contemporaneous sources: ''Annual Register''

* Murdoch, David H. ed. ''Rebellion in America: A Contemporary British Viewpoint, 1769–1783'' (1979), 900+ pp of annotated excerpts from ''Annual Register''
''Annual Register'' 1773
British compendium of speeches and reports
''Annual Register'' 1774

''Annual Register'' 1775

''Annual Register'' 1776

''Annual Register'' 1777

''Annual Register'' 1778

''Annual Register'' 1779

''Annual Register'' 1780

''Annual Register'' 1781

''Annual Register'' 1782

''Annual Register'' 1783

External links

US National Park Service website portal

Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) uses historic places in National Parks and in the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places to enliven history, social studies, geography, civics, and other subjects. TwHP has created a variety of products and activities that help teachers bring historic places into the classroom.

Museum of the American Revolution

Revolution! The Atlantic World Reborn
Revolution! explores the enormous transformations in the world's politics that took place from 1763–1815, with particular attention to three globally influential revolutions in America, France, and Haiti. Linking the attack on monarchism and aristocracy to the struggle against slavery, Revolution!shows how freedom, equality, and the sovereignty of the people became universal goals.New-York Historical Society
132 historic photographs dealing with the personalities, monuments, weapons and locations of the American Revolution; these are pre-1923 and out of copyright.

''Pictures of the Revolutionary War: Select Audiovisual Records''
National Archives and Records Administration selection of images, including a number of non-military events and portraits
The Democratic Revolution of the Enlightenment
Legacy of the struggle for independence and democracy.
PBS Television Series ''Liberty''

Chickasaws Conflicted by the American Revolution
– Chickasaw.TV
Smithsonian study unit on Revolutionary Money

The American Revolution
the History Channel (US cable television) website
Black Loyalist Heritage Society

Spanish and Latin American contribution to the American Revolution

at Northern Illinois University Libraries
Gayle Olson-Ramer, "Half a Revolution"
16-page teaching guide for high school students, Zinn Education Project/Rethinking Schools
"Counter-Revolution of 1776": Was U.S. Independence War a Conservative Revolt in Favor of Slavery?
''Democracy Now!'' June 27, 2014. {{Authority control American Revolution, 1770s conflicts 1780s conflicts 1770s in the United States 1780s in the United States 18th-century rebellions 18th-century revolutions Legal history of the United States Age of Enlightenment 1760s conflicts