The War for Independence

I. The steps to independence: 1754-1776


A. 1754-1763
1. The French and Indian War
a. North American theater of the Seven Years’ War
b. American colonists fought with British soldiers while the French allied themselves with a few Native American Tribes
c. The war ended after the British captured the majority of France’s territory in Canada and the Ohio Valley
d. Treaty of Paris basically drove France out of Canada and left Britain the major power in North America
2. Pontiac’s Rebellion
a. The Ottowa chief Pontiac united many of the northeastern tribes and led raids on British forts and colonies.
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b. The rebellion was crushed by British forces
3. Aftermath
a. Britain was in debt.
1) With the wars with France and fighting off Native Americans in the colonies, Prime Minister George Grenville was only concerned with preventing more losses in the colonies.
B. Turning point: 1763
1. Proclamation of 1763
a. stated that no colonists could go further west that the Appalachians.
1) designed to prevent more wars with Native Americans
b. END OF SALUTARY NEGLECT
C. Various Parliamentary Acts: 1763-1776
1. Enforcement of the Navigation Acts
a. Navigation Acts: 1650-1673
1) certain goods shipped from a colonial port could go only to Britain or another colony
2) enumerated goods from colonies could only go to Britain
3) intended to promote a mercantilist system
a) mercantilism- prevailing economic philosophy of the 17th century that said that colonies existed to serve the mother country and each nation’s goal was to export more than it imported.
4) intended as a weapon in Britain’s then ongoing rivalry with Holland
5) had not been enforced particularly until 1764
2. Sugar Act 1764
a. strictly enforced tax on imports such as wine, cloth, coffee, silk, and sugar
3. Quartering Act 1765
a. required colonies in which British troops were stationed to provide soldiers with bedding and other basic needs
4. Stamp Act 1765
a. required colonists to use “stamped” paper for legal documents, newspapers, playing cards, books, and others
5. resulted in the Stamp Act Congress
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a. delegates of seven colonies met in New York to discuss plans for defense
b. Adopted the Declaration of Rights and Grievances, which stated that freeborn Englishmen could NOT BE TAXED WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT
1) led to debates about virtual representation versus actual representation
a) virtual representation- the English idea that the members of parliament represented all of Britain and the entire empire even though members were only elected by a small number
6. Declaratory Act 1766
a. gave Britain the power to tax and make laws for the Americans in all cases
b. followed repeal of the Stamp Act
7. Townshend Acts 1767
a. formed a program of taxing items imported to the colonies such as paper, lead, glass, and tea. It basically replaced the Stamp Act
D. Beginning of resistance: 1767-1774
1. The Boston Massacre: March 5, 1770
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a. occurred when British soldiers attempted to enforce the Townshend Acts
b. British Soldiers killed five Bostonians
c. John Adams provided legal defense for the soldiers
d. Despite the fact that the soldiers acted primarily in self defense, anti-Royal leaders used propaganda to spur action in the colonies
2. Methods of Colonial Resistance
a. at first restrained and respectful petitions
b. boycotts (non-importation)
c. violence against customs officials and merchants who violated boycotts
3. Tea Act and the Boston Tea Party 1773
a. Tea Act allowed the British East India Company to ship tea directly to colonial ports and sell it at a bargain which undercut local merchants
b. colonists opposed the act by turning back ships, leaving shipments to rot, and holding them in ports
c. led to the Boston Tea Party in which the Sons of Liberty dressed as Native Americans destroyed tea on British Ships

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1) Intolerable and Coercive Acts 1774
a) closed the Port of Boston to all trade until the lost tea was paid for
b) increased the power of the Massachusetts’ Royal governor at the expense of the legislature
c) allowed Royal officials accused of crimes in Massachusetts to be tried elsewhere
2) First Continental Congress: September-October 1774
a) Meeting in Philadelphia of colonial representatives to denounce the Intolerable Acts and to petition Parliament
b) a few radicals discussed breaking away from England
c) Created Continental Association and forbade the importation and use of British goods
d) Agreed to convene a Second Continental Congress in May 1775

II. The war: 1775-1783
A. Lexington and Concord
1. April 1775
2. General Thomas Gage, commander of British troops in Boston, sent troops to Concord to seize colonial military supplies
3. Paul Revere and William Dawes detected movement of British troops toward Concord and warned militia and gathered Minutemen at Lexington
a. The Americans were forced to retreat under heavy British fire
4. The British entered Concord and on their way back to Boston were attacked by hundreds of militiamen, suffering over 250 casualties
B. The Second Continental Congress
1. May 1775
2. Colonial representative meeting in Philadelphia presided over by John Hancock
3. Group torn between declaring independence and remaining under British power
4. Moderates forced the adoption of the Olive Branch Petition
a. a letter to King George III appealing one final time for a resolution to all disputes.

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b. King George refused to receive it
5. The congress then sent George Washington to command the army around Boston, Benedict Arnold to raid Quebec in order to draw Canada away from the British empire, and organized an American navy and marine corps
a. adopted a Declaration of the Causes and Necessities for Taking Up Arms and called on the colonies to provide troops
6. American ports were opened in defiance of the Navigation Acts
C. The Battle of Bunker Hill
1. June 1775
2. Massachusetts militiamen had fortified Breed’s Hill (next to Bunker Hill) which overlooked Boston and allowed Americans to contain General Gage and his troops
3. The colonists twice turned back a British frontal assault but were overtaken by the British when they ran out of ammunition
a. The British suffered over 1000 casualties and so the Americans claimed a victory of sorts for inflicting so many British deaths
b. The “victory” led to a strengthened morale
D. Common Sense
1. Pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in January 1776 that called for immediate independence from Britain
2. Sold largely and carried favor in the colonies
3. Weakened colonial resistance to independence
E. Second Continental Congress met again in the summer of 1776
1. Lee’s Resolutions
a. presented to the congress by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia
b. urged congress to declare independence; accepted July 2nd 1776
c. Said, “that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.”
2. Declaration of Independence
external image DeclarationIndependence.jpg

a. Thomas Jefferson wrote and a smaller committee edited
b. not only a declaration of independence, but also a concise summary of enlightenment ideas (i.e. we all have natural rights that cannot be infringed upon)
c. The final product lacked provisions condemning the British slave trade and a denunciation of the British people that earlier drafts had contained
3. Submitted the Articles of Confederation (not ratified until 1781)
F. Battle of Saratoga
1. 1778
2. British planned to end the Revolution by splitting the colonies along the Hudson River, but they failed to mobilize properly
3. The British surrendered allowing for the first great American victory
4. Demonstrated that the British could more easily hold the cities, but tat they would have trouble subduing the countryside
5. Considered a turning point, as French aid began after this battle
a. Louis XVI believed he could weaken Britain by helping undermine its colonial empire
b. After Saratoga France openly allied itself with the Americans (Spain and Holland also entered the war a year later)
1) France’s alliance proved a decisive factor in the American struggle for independence because it widened the war and forced the British to divert military resources away from America
G. George Washington’s Leadership in the American Revolution


1. Forced British to evacuate Boston in March 1776
2. Defeated British at Trenton, New Jersey, after the famous Delaware Crossing
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3. Survived tough winter at Valley Forge (1777-1778); Washington strengthened his troops during the winter and gained respect
H. Yorktown
1. Last major battle of the war, 1781
2. Strongly supported by French naval and military forces, Washington’s army forced the surrender of a large British army commanded by General Charles Cornwallis
I. The Treaty of Paris
1. Cornwallis’s defeat caused a heavy blow to the now unpopular Tory party in Britain. The war had placed a heavy strain of the British economy and the government’s finances.
a. Lord North and other Tory ministers therefore wanted to end the war
2. Paris 1783, a peace treaty was finally signed by the various belligerents
3. The Treaty of Paris provided for the following:
a. Britain would recognize the existence of the United States as an independent nation
b. the Mississippi River would be the western boundary of the nation
c. Americans would have fishing rights off the coast of Canada
d. Americans would pay debts owed to British merchants and honor Loyalist claims for property confiscated during the war
III. Aftermath and establishment of government: 1781-1789
A. State Governments
1. by 1777 ten of the former colonies had written new constitutions
a. each state constitution began with a list of basic rights and freedoms (jury trial, freedom of religion, etc.) that could not be taken away by state officials
b. with some exceptions, the powers of state government were given to three separate branches (legislative to an elected bicameral legislature, executive to an elected governor, and judicial powers to a system of courts)
c. the right to vote was extended to all white males who owned some property (based on the assumption that property owners had a large stake in government than did the poor and landless)
d. those seeking elected office were usually held to a highter property qualification that voters
B. The Articles of Confederation

1. Ratification
a. written in 1776, ratification was delayed by a dispute over the stretches of wilderness beyond the Alleghenies.
1) Costal states like Rhode Island and Maryland insisted that such lands should be laced under the jurisdiction of the new central government.
2) When Virginia and New York finally agreed to five up their claims to western lands the Articles were ratified in March 1781
2. Structure of the government
a. unicameral congress
1) each state given one vote
2) at least 9 of 13 required to pass important laws
3) a unanimous vote was required to amend the Articles
b. A Committee of States which one representative from each state could make minor decisions when the full congress was not in session
3. Powers of the government
a. wage war
b. make treaties
c. send diplomatic representatives
d. borrow money
4. Powers NOT given to the government
a. regulate commerce
b. levy taxes (which meant that to finance any of its decisions the congress had to rely of taxes voted by each state)
c. any executive powers to enforce its own laws
5. Accomplishments of congress under the Articles
a. Won the war
b. Land Ordinance of 1785
1) act of congress to assist in settlement of the west; the sale of land provided federal revenue
2) organized distribution of land into townships, setting aside a section of each in support of public education
c. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787
1) States would be admitted to the Union when free inhabitants reached 60,000
2) Slavery and involuntary servitude would not be allowed in these states
3) set a precedent of how states could join the Union
6. Problems with the Articles
a. WEAK CENTRAL GOVERNMENT
1) financial problems
a) most war debts were still unpaid
b) most states and the congress issued worthless paper money
c) underlying reason was that congress had no taxing power and could only request that the states donate money for national needs
2) Foreign problems
a) Britain and Spain didn’t respect the US’s authority, especially because they could not pay back war debts, and began to encroach on their land soon after the war ended
3) Domestic problems
a) Shays Rebellion
i. 1786-1787
ii. during a period of economic depression due to the circulation of worthless paper money, Daniel Shays led group of farmers to stop the courts from seizing a farmer’s land and enacting debt collection
iii. citizens of Boston raised an army and suppressed the rebels
iv. Americans then felt pressure to strengthen the government and avoid future violence
C. Unhappiness with the Articles led to the Constitutional Convention in 1789 in which James Madison and others wrote the constitution of the United States.

the wiki doesn't allow for outline formatting. Despite this, I have put the text of the outline on this page with pictures and videos. In addition to that, I attached the original word document with the simple outline if you want it.
-Julia M.