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Chapter 05 - The American Revolution

 1)The States United

a)Defining American War Aims

i)2nd  Continental Congress (CC) agreed to support war, disagreed on purpose. One group led by John and Sam Adams favored full independence, others wanted modest reforms in imperial relationship. Most sought middle ground

ii)“Olive Branch Petition” conciliatory appeal to king, then July 1775 “Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms”

iii)Public @ first fought not for independence but redress of grievances, later began to change reasons b/c cost of war too large for such modest aims, anger over British recruitment of Indians, slaves, mercenaries, and b/c GB rejected Olive Branch Petition and enacted “Prohibitory Act” w/ naval blockade

iv)January 1776 Common Sense by Thomas Paine was revolutionary propaganda, argued that problem was not parliamentary acts but English constitution, king, and ruling system. GB no longer fit to rule b/c of brutality, corruption

b)The Decision for Independence

i)After Common Sense support grew, CC recommended colonies establish independent govt’s from British, July 4 1776 Declaration of Independence

ii)Dec of Indep. written mostly by Thomas Jefferson, restated contract theory of John Locke that govts formed to protect rights of “life, liberty, pursuit of happiness”, then listed alleged crimes of king and Parliament 

iii)Dec. inspired French Revolution’s Dec. of the rights of Men, claimed sovereign “United States of America”, led to increased foreign aid

c)Responses to Independence

i)At news of Dec many rejoiced others disapproved b/c still had great loyalty to king, called themselves Loyalists but independents called them Tories

ii)States drafted constitutions to replace loyal govts by 1781, states considered centers of authority but war required central direction

iii)1777 Articles of Confederation passed to confirm weak, decentralized system in place. Continental Congress was main coordinator of war effort

d)Mobilizing for War

i)Nation needed to raise, organize, equip, and pay for army. W/o British markets shortages of materials, gunsmiths couldn’t meet demand for funs and ammunition. Most supplies captured from Brits or supplied by Eur nations

ii)Financing problematic, Congress had no power to tax ppl + had to ask states for funds. Eventually issued paper money, led to inflation, value of money plummeted. Most farmers + merchants preferred business w/ British who could pay for goods in gold and silver. Govt forced to borrowed $ from other nations

iii)After patriotic surge 1775 few American army volunteers. States used persuasion, force, drafts. To correct problem of states controlling army units 1775 created Continental army w/ single commander, George Washington. In new nation unsure of structure and govt, he provided the army and the ppl a symbol of stability around which they could rally, held nation together

2)The War for Independence

a)The First Phase: New England

i)After Concord and Lexington American forces besieged army of General Thomas Gage in Boston, Battle of Bunker Hill fought June 1775. Heaviest British casualties of entire war occurred

ii)By 1776 Brits concluded Boston not best place to wage war from b/c of geography and fervor. March 1776 withdrew to Halifax, Nova Scotia

iii)In south Patriots crushed uprising of Loyalists February 1776 at Moore’s Creek Bridge, NC. In north Americans invaded Canada, Patriot General Benedict Arnold + Richard Montgomery threatened Quebec in order to remove British threat and recruit Canadians. Siege failed, Canada not to become part of US

iv)British evacuation not so much victory as changing English assumptions about war. Clear conflict not local phenomenon around Boston but larger war

b)The Second Phase: The Mid-Atlantic Region

i)During summer 1776 British army of 32,000 landed in New York City under William Howe. Americans rejected Howe’s offer or royal pardon, Washington’s 19,000 man army pushed backed from LI, thru NJ, to PA

ii)Eur warfare was seasonal activity, British settled for winter in NJ leaving outpost of Hessians at Trenton. Christmas 1776 Washington attacked across Deleware

iii)British 1777 sought to capture Philadelphia to discourage Patriots, rally Loyalists, end war quickly. Captured city September, Washington defeated at Germanton in October, went into winter quarters at Valley Forge. CC, dislodged from capital, met in York, PA

iv)British John Burgoyne led British campaign in north, at first successful- captured supplies of Fort Ticonderoga. Defeats led Congress to remove General Philip Schuyler and replace with Horatio Gates. But series of Patriot victories followed, Burgoyne forced to withdraw to Saratoga where Gates surrounded him and forced surrender of 5,000 man army

v)Campaign Patriot success, led to alliance btwn US and France

vi)British failure due to William Howe abandoning northern campaign and letting Burgoyne fight alone, allowed Washington to retreat and regroup instead of finishing him, left Continental army unmolested in Valley Forge

c)The Iroquois and the British

i)Iroquois Confederacy declared neutrality in 1776, but Joseph and Mary Brant persuaded some tribes to support British (Mohawk, Seneca, Cayuga). Belived British victory would stem white movement onto tribal lands

ii)Only 3 of 6 nations supported British(Oneida, Tuscarora, Onondaga split)

d)Securing Aid From Abroad

i)Failure of Brits to crush Continental army in mid-Atlandtic states + rebel victory at Saratoga was turning point

ii)After Dec of Indep, US sent reps to Europe’s capitals to negotiate commercial treaties. Most promising potential Ally was France where King Louis XVI and his Count de Vergennes eager to see Britain lose part of empire

iii)Thru covert deals French supplied Americans supplies but would not officially recognize US diplomatically. Ben Franklin went to France, after news of Saratoga in February France formally recognized US as nation. Allowed for expanded assistance- money, munitions, navy

e)The Final Phase: The South

i)After defeat at Saratoga and French intervention British govt put limit on commitment to conflict, tried to enlist loyalist dissidents believed to be centered in South to fight from within

ii)British forced moved from battle to battle 1778-1781, but much less Loyalist sentiment than predicted. Some refused to rise up b/c of fear of Patriot reprisal + British attempts to free slaves in order to fight. Patriots=no threat to slavery

iii)British had disadvantage of enemy in hostile territory, new form of combat. Segments of population previously apathetic now forced to involve themselves

iv)In North fighting stalemate after British moved forces to New York. Benedict Arnold became traitor, scheme to betray Patriot fort at West Point was foiled

v)In South British captured Savannah 1778, Port of Charleston 1780. Won conventional battles but harassed as they moved thru countryside by Patriot guerillas. Lord Cornwallis (Brit general for South) defeated Patriot Horatio Gates, led Washing to give command to Gen. Nathanael Greene

vi)Battle of King’s Mountain 1780 a Patriot victory, Greene split army into small, fast contingents and refrained from open battles. British had to abandon Southern campaign after battle at Guilford Courth House, NC in 1781

vii)Cornwalis ordered by Clinton to wait for ships at Yorktown. Washington, French Count Jean Baptiste de Rochambeau, and Admiral Francois Joseph Paul de Grasse all coordinated army and navy to surround British on peninsula

viii)Cornwallis surrendered October 17, 1781. Fighting over, but Brits continued to hold seaports of Savannah, Charleston, Wilmington, & New York

f)Winning the Peace

i)Cornwallis’s defeat let to outcry aginsnt war, Lord North resigned and Lord Shelbrune succeeded. British emissaries in France began speaking to diplomats there (Ben Franklin, John Adams, John Jay). Final settlement Peace of Paris signed Sept 1783 when France and Spain also agreed to end hostilities

ii)Treaty recognized US independence, gave land from southern Canada to north boundary of Florida, from Atlantic to Mississippi River

3)War and Society

a)Loyalists and Minorities

i)Up to 1/5 of white population Loyalists- some officeholders in imperial govt, others merchants engaged in trade tied to imperial system, others who had lived in isolation of revolutionary ideas, others expected Brits to be victors

ii)Hounded by Patriots, harassed by legislative and judicial actions- fled to Canada or to England. Most Loyalists of average means but many were wealthy, after they left estates and social and economic leadership vacancies

iii)Anglicans were mostly Loyalists, in colonies where it was official religion (such as MA and VA). Taxes to church halted, support from England ceased, few ministers remained. Quakers weakened b/c their pacifism unpopular

iv)Catholic Church gained respect b/c most American Caths supported Patriot cause, French alliance brought Cath troops and ministers. Gratitude eroded hostility, after war Vatican named Father John Caroll American archbishop

b)The War and Slavery

i)War led to some slaves to escape due to British presence in South + their policies meant to disrupt American war effort. Revolutionary ideas introduced slaves to idea of liberty. This situation put slave dominated states like SC and Georgia to be ambivalent to revolution b/c opposed British emancipation efforts but feared revolution would foment slave rebellions

c)Native Americans and the Revolution

i)Patriots and Brits wanted Indians to remain neutral, and by and large they did. Some supported British b/c feared replacing ruling class whom they had developed limited trust with and who had fought against white expansion

ii)Patriot victory weaked natvies bc increased white demand for western lands, many Americans resented Mohawk and other Indians assistance to British and wanted to treat them as conquered people

iii)Revolution increased deep divisions and made it difficult for tribes to form common front for resistance b/c of neutral and pro-Brit alliances

iv)After war Indian and American fighting continued w/ Indian raids against froneir whites, white militia responded with attacks into Indian territories

d)Women’s Rights and the Women’s Roles

i)Patriot men going off to fight eft wives, mothers, sisters in charge of farms and businesses- sometimes successful and other times not so much. In many cities and towns impoverished women class emerged

ii)Sometimes women chose, other times forced to join camps of Patriot armies, raised morale and performed necessary tasks on cooking, nursing, cleaning. Some women ended up in combat (legendary Molly Pitcher)

iii)After revolution certain assumptions about women questioned- some like  Abigail Adams called for modest expansion of women’s rights and protections. Others such as Judith Sargent Murray wanted equal education and rights

iv)New era for women did not arrive, legal doctrines of English common law gave married women barely any rights, Rev did not change these legal customs

v)Revolution encouraged ppl to reevaulate contributions of women b/c of womens participation in revolution and part general reevalutaion of American life after struggle- search for a cultural identity

e)The War Economy

i)No longer protection of trade by British navy, no more access to markets of the empire including Britain itself. Privateering used by Americans to pretty on Brit commerce. 

ii)End of imperial relation in long run opened up enormous new areas of trade for nation b/c no more Brit regulations. Trade w/ Asia, South America, Caribbean

iii)End of English imports thru prewar boycotts and war itself led to stimulation of domestic manufacturing of necessities, desire for sufficiency grew

4)The Creation of State Governments

a)The Assumptions of Republicanism

i)Republicanism meant all power came from ppl, active citizenry important and could not be just a few powerful aristocrats and mass of dependent workers- idea of independent landowner was basic political ideology

ii)Opposed Eur ideas of inherited aristocracy- talents and energies of individuals and not birth would determine role in society- equality of opportunity

b)The First State Constitutions

i)States decided tat constitutions had to be written b/c believed vagueness of England’s unwritten constitution produced corruption, believed power of executive had to be limited, separation of executive from legislature

ii)Except GA and PA upper and lower chambers, property requirements for voters

c)Revising State Governments

i)By late 1770s state govts divided and unstable, believed to be so b/c they were too democratic—steps taken to limit popular power

ii)To protect constitutions from ordinary politics created the constitutional convention- special assembly to draft constitution that would never meet again

iii)Executive strengthened as rxn to weak governors, fixed salary + elected by ppl

d)Toleration and Slavery

i)New states allowed complete religious freedom, 1786 VA enacted Statue of Religious Liberty by Thomas Jefferson which called for separation of church and state

ii)Slavery abolished in New England and PA b/c of Quakers, every southern state but SC and GA prohibited further importation of slaves from abroad- slavery continued though b/c of racist assumptions about black inferiority, enormous economic investments in slaves, and lack of alternatives

5)The Search for A National Government

a)The Confederation

i)Articles of Confed adopted in 1777, Congress had power to conduct wars, foreign relations, appropriate money- would not regulate trade, draft troops, or levy taxes on ppl. Each state had one vote, articles ratified only after VA and NY gave up western land claims in 1781

b)Diplomatic Failures

i)GB failed to live up to terms of peace treaty of 1783- forces continued to occupy posts, no restitution to slave-owners, restrictions on access to empire’s markets. 1784 John Adams sent to make deal but British refused

ii)Treaty w/ Spain 1786 solidified Florida’s borders, limited US rights to navigate Mississippi R.- Souterhn states blocked ratification, weakened Articles

c)The Confederation and the Northwest

i)Ordinance of 1784 divided western territory into 10 districts, Ordianance of 1785 Congress created surveying + sale system, areas north of Ohio R. were to be parceled and sold w/ some money going to create schools

ii)Northwest Ordinance of 1787 abandoned ten districts, designated five territories that when had 60,000 ppl would become states, slavery prohibited

iii)S of Ohio R. chaotic, Kentucky and Tennessee entrance conflict not resolved

d)Indians and the Western Lands

i)Western land policies meant to bring order and stability to white settlement, but many territories claimed by Confederation were also claimed by Indians

ii)Series of treaties with Indians failed, violence climaxed in early 1790s. Negations not continued until General Anthony Wayne defeated Indians 1794 at Battle of Fallen Timbers. Treaty of Grenville w/ Miami indians ceded lands

e)Debts, Taxies, and Daniel Shays

i)Confederation had war bonds to be repaid, owerd soldiers money, foreign debt- had no way to tax, states only paid 1/6 of requested funds

ii)Group of nationalists led by Robert Morris, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison called for a 5% impost on imported goods, when Congress rejected plan they withdrew involvement from Confederation

iii)To pay war debts states increased taxes, poor farmers burdened by their own debt and new taxes rioted throughout New England

iv)Some farmers rallied behind Daniel Shays, 1786 Shayites prevented debt collection. Boston legislature denounced them as traitors, when rebels advanced on Springfield state militia defeated them January 1787


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