The American Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1783 was the inevitable climax of the independence movement of 13 British colonies who wanted to break away from the English motherland and found their own state.
Background and cause of action:
The British colonies in North America were subject to severe restrictions on the part of the English motherland in Europe and had only a slight self-determination. The dictated restrictions included:
1. No construction of an industry for the production of goods. These had to be imported from England
2. West of the Appalachians there was no settlement, as England did not want a confrontation with the locals living there
3. Due to the ongoing clashes with the French colonies in North America, a standing British army was set up for their own colonies. The colonies were to raise the upkeep, although the majority of the settlers were against the army
4. Due to the high national debt of the motherland, the colonies had to pay ever higher taxes. Although much lower than taxes in the mother country, there was a general rejection of tax increases
5. The high import duties for goods imported from England
Protests have reversed most of the taxes and duties soon after launch, but the settlers were aware that it was only a matter of time before new ways of collecting money were introduced.
The climax of the protests was the Boston Tea Party in 1773, when settlers disguised as Indians in December of that year threw overboard the tea supplies from three ships of the East India Company to protest against the low price of the tea and its high tariffs. In the following months, further actions were taken to reject English tea. For example, street vendors had to burn their goods publicly, and private people also burned their tea.
The provocations of the settlers then prompted the British Parliament to implement punitive measures. With the laws of the Intolerable Act, the Boston Harbor was closed from 1 June 1774 and the rights of the colony of Massachusetts severely restricted and put under military rule.
From 5 September to 26 October 1774, the representatives of the 12 colonies met there (Georgia was still neutral) and held the first Continental Congress and decided to set up its own militia in the fight against the British and stop trading with the motherland ,
List of 13 colonies at the time:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
On February 9, 1775, the colony of Massachusetts was declared a renegade province and on March 30, the New England Restraining Act was also passed, which justified military punitive actions.
The Revolutionary War:
British General Thomas Gage was commissioned by the British Crown in 1775 to implement the new laws in Massachusetts. However, the Legislature there did not recognize its authority in the new military rule and its sphere of influence initially limited itself directly to Boston. So he marched on 19 April 1775 with about 700 soldiers in the direction of Concord to seize an armory of the insurgents. On the way there, the small army in the village Lexington and later on the north bridge of Concord was attacked by the new independence militia, with which the conflict flared up completely.
The British had to retreat to Boston, where they were followed by the army of the militia and the city subsequently besieged.
From England, a relief army with a strength of 4,500 soldiers set off and attacked the militia troops on June 16 at Breed's Hill and Bunker Hill. With heavy losses, the British were able to win in both battles. Due to the poor supply and the low man strength, however, the British had to give up Boston in March 1776 and the city fell to the militia in the hands.
Although the British were able to increase their troop strength by loyal settlers, black slaves who hoped for their freedom and enumerate about 30,000 German mercenaries (the so-called Hesse, since the vast majority of the soldiers came from this area), but they did not succeed in the conquered territories to control and to occupy the expanses of the North American colonies with sufficient soldiers.
In 1775, Congress representatives reassembled and agreed to establish a Continental Army led by George Washington. Although this army initially had supply difficulties, lack of equipment and funding, Washington managed to establish a reasonably effective army. He also found support from 1778 by the Prussian Inspector General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben.
In July 1776, the Congress declared its independence from England and now made its aspirations politically official. Nevertheless, the British managed to go on the offensive for the time being. So they took under the leadership of General William Howe in a landing operation New York, from where it went on to Philadelphia, which fell in 1777 in British hands. A militia attack on Canadian territory was repulsed by the British, who then went on the offensive with General John Burgoyne and marched south towards Hudson. In October 1777, however, the army was encircled at Saratoga by the militia and had to surrender.
After the defeat at Saratoga, the American independence movement was able to persuade France to join forces and enter the war against England. The alliance was closed in February 1778 and in June France began to take part in warfare against England. Two years later, England was still at war with the Spaniards and the Dutch, bringing the conflict in North America into the background in order to pool English interests in the more profitable Caribbean.
In July 1778, the Continental Army was reinforced by a French army led by Rochambeau.
Shortly thereafter, the British began a last attempt to turn the fortune of war. Under the new commander Sir Henry Clinton they carried out landing operations and were able to take Charlston in South Carolina and Savannah in Georgia. In the hinterland of South Carolina, a violent guerrilla war broke out between the Americans and the British. The British, under the leadership of General Charles Cornwallies, were the first to win a great victory at Camden, but when she lost her fortune Cornwallies halted the campaign and marched towards Virginia. There he entrenched himself with his soldiers in the summer of 1781 on the Chesapeake Bay in the hope of being supplied by the British Navy from the sea. However, the rebuilt after the Seven Years War, French Navy was able to intercept an English fleet on 5 September 1781 and also from the countryside was Cornwallies a siege by Washington and Rochambeau exposed. Hopelessly inferior and cut off supplies Cornwallies had no choice but to capitulate on October 19, 1781 at Yorktown and to end the American Revolutionary War.
Conclusion of peace and its consequences:
After the surrender of British troops at Yorktown on October 19, 1781, a preliminary peace was signed on November 30, 1782, regulating the fighting between England and the new United States of America.
On September 3, 1783, the Peace of Paris was signed, which made official the recognition of the independence of the former British colonies, among other points. Other conditions were:
- Article 1
Recognition of the thirteen colonies as the independent United States of America
- Article 2
Establishing the borders between the United States and British North America
- Article 3
Fishing rights guarantee for US fishermen in the Grand Banks, off the coast of Newfoundland and in the Gulf of St Lawrence
- Article 4
Recognition of the obligation to pay legally incurred debts on both sides
- Article 5 (was never fulfilled)
The United States Congress will "strongly urge" the state legislature to help British citizens who were lawful owners of confiscated land to reimburse all land, rights and possessions
- Article 6
The US Congress will prevent further confiscations
- Article 7
Prisoners of war on both sides are released and all equipment left behind by the British army in the United States is not damaged (including the black slaves that were considered property).
- Article 8
Britain and the United States both have perpetual access to the Mississippi River
- Article 9
Territories occupied by the Americans after the treaty is concluded will be returned without compensation
- Article 10
The Treaty shall be ratified within six months of signature by the Parties
In the separate peace with Spain, England ceded Florida to Spain.
Interesting to know:
The background of the armed citizen in the resistance against the British led to the right to carry a firearm being incorporated into the Constitution of the United States of America. This right is still invoked by many Americans and the US arms lobby today to maintain the purchase and sale of firearms.
You can find the right literature here:
Almost a Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence
In this gripping chronicle of America's struggle for independence, award-winning historian John Ferling transports readers to the grim realities of that war, capturing an eight-year conflict filled with heroism, suffering, cowardice, betrayal, and fierce dedication. As Ferling demonstrates, it was a war that America came much closer to losing than is now usually remembered. General George Washington put it best when he said that the American victory was "little short of a standing miracle."
Almost a Miracle offers an illuminating portrait of America's triumph, offering vivid descriptions of all the major engagements, from the first shots fired on Lexington Green to the surrender of General Cornwallis at Yorktown, revealing how these battles often hinged on intangibles such as leadership under fire, heroism, good fortune, blunders, tenacity, and surprise. The author paints sharp-eyed portraits of the key figures in the war, including General Washington and other American officers and civilian leaders. Some do not always measure up to their iconic reputations, including Washington himself. Others, such as the quirky, acerbic Charles Lee, are seen in a much better light than usual. The book also examines the many faceless men who soldiered, often for years on end, braving untold dangers and enduring abounding miseries. The author explains why they served and sacrificed, and sees them as the forgotten heroes who won American independence. Ferling's narrative is also filled with compassion for the men who comprised the British army and who, like their American counterparts, struggled and died at an astonishing rate in this harsh war. Nor does Ferling ignore the naval war, describing dangerous patrols and grand and dazzling naval actions.
Finally, Almost a Miracle takes readers inside the legislative chambers and plush offices of diplomats to reveal countless decisions that altered the course of this war. The story that unfolds is at times a tale of folly, at times one of appalling misinformation and confusion, and now and then one of insightful and dauntless statesmanship.
The American Revolution: A Visual History
The American Revolution will transport you back in time and onto the frontlines. This complete overview of the war brings all the action to life, from the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party to the Declaration of Independence and the Treaty of Paris.
Beginning with the first stirrings of colonial resistance, The American Revolution presents illustrated accounts of every major military action and comprehensive timelines for every stage of the war. Revealing first-person accounts by soldiers and civilians and profiles of the war's main protagonists, from George Washington to Benedict Arnold. Gallery spreads feature collections of weapons and uniforms, and feature sections detail the politics of the war, such as the treatment of prisoners and the revolution's implications for women, Native Americans, and African Americans.
Two hundred and forty years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, The American Revolution demonstrates that the story of how America overthrew the British is as meaningful today as it was when the ink was still wet on the parchment.
After Yorktown: The Final Struggle for American Independence
After the Humiliating Defeat at Yorktown in 1781, George III Vowed to Keep Fighting the Rebels and Their Allies Around the World, Holding a New Nation in the Balance
Although most people think the American Revolution ended with the British surrender at Yorktown, Virginia, on October 19, 1781, it did not. The war spread around the world, and exhausted men kept fighting—from the Arctic to Arkansas, from India and Ceylon to Schenectady and South America—while others labored to achieve a final diplomatic resolution.
After Cornwallis’s unexpected loss, George III vowed revenge, while Washington planned his next campaign. Spain, which France had lured into the war, insisted there would be no peace without seizing British-held Gibraltar. Yet the war had spun out of control long before Yorktown. Native Americans and Loyalists continued joint operations against land-hungry rebel settlers from New York to the Mississippi Valley. African American slaves sought freedom with the British. Soon, Britain seized the initiative again with a decisive naval victory in the Caribbean against the Comte de Grasse, the French hero of Yorktown.
In After Yorktown: The Final Struggle for American Independence, Don Glickstein tells the engrossing story of this uncertain and violent time, from the remarkable American and French success in Virginia to the conclusion of the fighting—in India—and then to the last British soldiers leaving America more than two years after Yorktown. Readers will learn about the people—their humor, frustration, fatigue, incredulity, worries; their shock at the savage terrorism each side inflicted; and their surprise at unexpected grace and generosity. Based on an extraordinary range of primary sources, the story encompasses a fascinating cast of characters: a French captain who destroyed a British trading post, but left supplies for Indians to help them through a harsh winter, an American Loyalist releasing a captured Spanish woman in hopes that his act of kindness will result in a prisoner exchange, a Native American leader caught “between two hells” of a fickle ally and a greedy enemy, and the only general to surrender to both George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte. Finally, the author asks the question we face today: How do you end a war that doesn’t want to end?
American War of Independence Commanders
The commanders who led the opposing armies of the American War of Independence (1775–1783) came from remarkably different backgrounds. They included not only men from Britain and America, but from Germany, France and Spain as well. Some were from the great families of the "Old World," while others were frontiersmen or farmers in the "New World." Despite their differing origins, all were leaders in the events that led to the establishment of the United States of America. This book details the appearance, careers and personalities of the commanders on both sides. It covers such famous figures as George Washington and Lord Cornwallis along with less well-known men such as Admiral Suffren and Bernando de Galvez.