BBC - History - British History in depth: Was the American Revolution Inevitable?
The thirteen American colonies were one part of a global empire generated by the In North America alone the British victory in the Seven Years War resulted in the colonists did attempt to exert some influence in it through petition and lobbying. . defining the institutional relationship between it and the former colonies. The Effects of the American Revolutionary War on Britain Trade was also affected by naval attacks from Britain's enemies, and trade with the colonies by , and by trade between Britain and Europe had doubled. The colonists living in the British North American colonies who rebelled against the The majority of the war was fought in New York, New Jersey, and South Carolina, lived in the rural countryside outside of British control and influence. was signed on July 4th, , formally dissolving the colonies' relationship with .
Top The widening theatre of war Washington, fearing that his cause would inevitably collapse as short-term enlistment into the Continental Army expired, launched a risky attack on the little town of Trenton, held by a brigade of Hessians German troops in British service on Boxing Day He won this battle, and although the victory was small in tactical terms, it had a wider strategic impact, showing that the patriots were still in the fight.
The American war was now a world war, which meant that British resources could no longer be concentrated on North America alone. In Howe took Philadelphia for the British, and had rather the better of fighting in the central theatre of war. But an ill-judged British attempt to invade from Canada, thrusting down the Hudson Valley towards New York and cutting off the rebellious New England, went badly wrong, and Lieutenant General John Burgoyne was forced to surrender with his entire army at Saratoga in October.
Defeat at Saratoga was not necessarily a military cataclysm for the British, but it encouraged the French, anxious to obtain revenge for the humiliations of the Seven Years War, to go beyond the covert support they had offered the patriots thus far, and join the war. Spain and Holland were to follow suit, and in a wider League of Armed Neutrality was formed, to resist British attempts to stop and search merchant shipping.
Saratoga did not improve Washington's position instantly, however, and his army spent a miserable winter at Valley Forge. But in the spring of Howe's replacement, General Sir Henry Clinton, withdrew from Philadelphia American Continentals fought creditably when they took on his rearguard at Monmouthretaining New York as his base in the central theatre, and switching his main effort elsewhere.
There had already been fighting in the south. The British had failed in an attack on Charleston, although from Savannah they had repulsed a powerful French force, sent by sea from the West Indies.
In springClinton reopened the campaign in the south, moving by sea to take Charleston in the biggest British victory of the war. British regulars now had an impressive combination of discipline and tactical skill, which made them formidable adversaries even in the difficult country of the south. But their loyalist allies fared less well. That September Major Patrick Ferguson, with a well-organised loyalist force was routed at King's Mountain, and in January the following year the dashing and controversial Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton 'Bloody Ban' to his enemies was badly beaten by the unconventional Daniel Morgan at Cowpens.
Washington was badly rattled by the Arnold affair, and he still faced unrest amongst his tired soldiers. Cornwallis, although his army was now in tatters, was still a doughty adversary. But like so many British victories it was won at disproportionate cost, and Cornwallis could not mint strategic currency from tactical success. Exhausted, he fell back towards the coast, and eventually established himself at Yorktown, to the south of the Chesapeake Bay, where he hoped to be supplied or, if the worst came to the worst, to be evacuated, by sea.
In the New York area there had been no developments of real military significance. However, the ambitious Major General Benedict Arnold, one of the patriot heroes of Saratoga, had become embittered, and entered into secret negotiations with Clinton to betray the fort at West Point on the Hudson. The scheme failed at the last moment and Arnold escaped to enter British service: And although a substantial French force under the Comte de Rochambeau had landed in Rhode Island, it was hard to see how the war could be won.
The Economics of the American Revolutionary War
Top Turning point In the spring of the picture changed at a stroke. Admiral de Grasse, commanding the French fleet in the West Indies, made a bold attempt to secure control of the sea off the Chesapeake Bay. Immediately Washington heard what was afoot, he moved south with the bulk of his army and Rochambeau's Frenchmen.
The British could not prevent de Grasse from entering the Chesapeake Bay, and when they brought him to battle in early September the result was a tactical draw but a strategic victory for the French. Conversely, the patriots had always been likely to win, provided they struggled on and avoided outright defeat. They still controlled the bay, and Cornwallis was still trapped in Yorktown. Another French squadron brought in heavy guns from Rhode Island, and the French and Americans mounted a formal siege against the outnumbered and ill-provisioned Cornwallis.
Although Clinton and the admirals mounted a relief expedition, it arrived too late: When the British prime minister, Lord North, so firmly associated with Britain's war effort, heard the news, he staggered as if shot and cried out: It is all over'.
The reason the British and the Americans resorted to using arms after a decade of fighting verbally and ideologically over the rights of the British subjects in the colonies, was because both sides had finally "become convinced that force alone could decide the issues that divided the empire" Miller In Aprilthe battle of Lexington occurred, closely followed by the battle of Concord.
The shot at Lexington marked the first blood spilled in the war of the American independence Ward, 3. These two very important instances of bloodshed served to evoke the spirit of American patriotism all over the colonies Olsen, The Second Continental Congress met on May 10, and George Washington was elected commander of the patriotic forces. He and his army fought for the defense of American liberty and consequently led America to independence Ward, The British rejection of the Olive Branch Petition, which expressed a "general desire for the restoration of harmony between Britain and her colonies" Thomas, issued in the summer of"stiffened the patriots' resolve towards independence" BMPL Another strong arguments for independence revolved around the issue of not becoming like the rotten Mother England.
Americans believed that "the longer they remained within the British Empire, the greater was the danger of contamination" Miller, By earlyAmericans were ready to denounce any allegiance to the British crown Ward, In January of that same year, Thomas Paine published Common Sense, a brochure that strongly served to rally Americans to independence.
Paine's writing convinced many of his countrymen to disown the monarchy and replace it with a republic By this time, the movement toward revolution was rapidly gaining speed. By spring of that same year, all royal governors had been ousted and patriots replaced British authority in the colonies by makeshift governments.
The Congress itself exercised sovereign powers Ward, The Articles of Confederation was the first document uniting the citizens of all thirteen colonies into one country. Under the Articles, the central government was very weak and the states held most power, but it was a beginning.
Background, History, And The Beginning Of The Revolution
As a result of Shay's Rebellion, the Articles were disowned and the Federal Constitution was written in It is still the basic law of the United States of America. Many revolutions begin with the outbreak of violence, which is often a response to heightened repression or other extraordinary demands from government against their people.
The American Revolution is an obvious example of this Rule The violence took the form of the Revolutionary War and Congress became the leadership. American Revolution was the first anti-colonial, democratic revolution in history.
Americans insisted on representation and when the British denied it, they fought their colonizers. Americans won and set up their own government, a republic. Thus, what was initially undertaken to secure for British Americans guarantees of local autonomy and individual rights equivalent to those enjoyed by Englishmen in the home islands,