Western Life

The American Revolution – The Fight for Independence

The British Crown was left deeply in debt as a result of the Seven Years War, fought between Britain and France from 1754 to 1763. The government attempted to replenish their monetary supply by imposing taxes on their North American colonies, which they had previously subjected to a prolonged period of salutary neglect. This had allowed the colonies to govern themselves, effectively making their own rules, and they no longer relied as much on the motherland. The North American citizens became resentful of the new demands and thirteen colonies revolted, starting The United States War of Independence, also known as The American Revolution.

The American Revolution took place between 1765 and 1783, starting as a political disagreement before escalating to a full fledged war. The thirteen colonies that instigated the rebellion were New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Delaware, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, North and South Carolina and New Hampshire. Even though the taxes being imposed were relatively low, the colonists disagreed with paying them because of their lack of representation in the British government.

The First Continental Congress was held in 1774, where the colonies came to the decision to unite and form a single government. This system of rule would divert from the monarchy, and would be a government for the people ‘chosen by the people.’ In 1776, The Second Continental Congress was held which declared the United States an independent nation. This ‘Declaration of Independence’ was written by Thomas Jefferson, who became the third president of the United States. Issued in Philadelphia, it stated that ‘all men are created equal’ with the right to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’

When the war first began, and the militaries were compared, the chances of the colonists winning looked bleak. Britain had the world’s best navy and a well trained army, while America’s navy was small and their army made up of persons from small militia groups. The British were at a disadvantage, however, because of the long distance they had to travel and the unfamiliarity of the North American terrain. By 1780,The Netherlands, France, and Spain had joined the war on the colonies’ side. The French provided them with training and supplies, and the American military began to employ guerrilla warfare tactics. These were relatively uncommon during this period, and often caught the British off guard. In addition, the Americans were led by one of the greatest military commanders in history, General George Washington. After the war, Washington oversaw the creation of the new constitution, and became the first president of the United States of America, in 1789.

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