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The American Revolution 1776-1783


The American Revolution 1776-1783 The American Revolution was not only a rebellion against Great Britain, but also a civil war. What factors influenced colonists to ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The American Revolution 1776-1783

The American Revolution 1776-1783
  • The American Revolution was not only a rebellion
    against Great Britain, but also a civil war. What
    factors influenced colonists to take sides?
    Secondly, what did the colonies look like during
    the Rebellion? Describe how opposing armies,
    unscrupulous merchants, Colonial militias and
    legislatures shaped the Revolutionary period.

Who Served the Patriot Cause
  • About 25 of population supported ideologically,
    and an even smaller number materially (225,000
    colonists served during the war 1790 white
    population 3.1 million).
  • Rich mans war and poor mans fight Rich often
    find means to screen themselves altogether from
    those military services which the poor and
    indigent are on all occasions taken from their
    homes to perform in person.
  • Washington believed he needed 20,000 soldiers to
    fight the British Servants, the unemployed,
    unmarried farm laborers and male heads of
    household. Congress eventually barred freedmen
    and slaves from serving in the Continental Army
    did serve with distinction in some colonial
  • Muster list of 11th Continental Regiment Mostly
    young, poor, and foreign-born (German, English,
    Scottish, and Irish). Most ordinary workers and
    tradesman laborers, farmers, weavers,
    shoemakers, tailors, soap boilers, saddlers,
    carpenters, blacksmiths, and silversmiths.
  • African Americans Served in Northern Militias
    from the start of the war, and as replacements
    for the Southern gentry. In all about 5,000 black
    men served the Patriot cause.
  • American troops very little discipline nor did
    they have any concept of sanitation, cleanliness,
    or sobriety.
  • Overall Continental Army relatively untrained and
    poorly armed.

Loyalists Tories
  • 1/5 of colonial population actively fought for
    the crown, and another 1/5 remained neutral
    (Quakers) another 80,000 loyalists fled to
    Canada, Nova Scotia, England, and the British
    West Indies. (Franklins son was a loyalist
    Governor of New Jersey)
  • In many cases Loyalists were the Kings friends
    and others were the patriots enemies.
  • Loyalist ranks Anglican Clergy, Methodists,
    North Carolina Regulators, Lawyers trained in
    England, thousands of wealthy merchants and
    planters stood to loose their fortunes. Majority
    made up of ordinary tenant farmers and artisans.
  • The rhetoric of freedom and unalienable rights
    for freeborn Englishmen rang hollow for men who
    for years had struggled for security on the land
    they worked. For them, the tyranny of their
    landlords was far more injurious than the English
    tyranny bemoaned by the American patriots.
  • Hudson River Valley controlled by a few wealthy
  • Manorialism Manor lords leased land to tenant
    farmers, who paid annual rents for the right to
    farm on modest parcels.

  • Loyalists estates were ceased and their property
    sold at auction. Process extremely corrupt.
  • Patriot Commissioners could and did fail to
    advertise the sale, fail to publish an accurate
    inventory, holding the auction at an inconvenient
    time, close the bidding at a specific hour after
    a confederate had placed a bid, and so maneuver
    the whole thing that a favored buyer would get
    the property at a bargain price.
  • British offered slaves freedom if they join
    British side 50,000 slaves fled across British
    lines. 20,000 slaves enlisted to fight in the
    British Army in exchange for their freedom, (Over
    20,000 died of small pox epidemic).
  • Native Americans were largely loyalists
    Iroquois grew fearful of western expansion by
    colonists British promised to stop expansion
  • Like most African Americans, the majority of
    Native Americans painfully reached the conclusion
    that preserving political and territorial
    integrity could be best achieved by fighting
    against the side that proclaimed the equality of
    all men.

Northern Theatre of Operations 1775-1780.
  • Expulsion of British from Boston and Charlestown
    gave the American Colonists false hope of a short
    victory. The British had no intention of leaving
    their most valuable possession so quickly.
  • New York became the next battle ground for
    American Independence.
  • British Army 10,000 Redcoats land in New York,
    supported by 30,000 German Hessian mercenaries as
    well as over 50,000 Loyalists.
  • Royal Navy crucial to British war effort.
  • British Plan Land at New York march up the
    Hudson River Valley toward Albany and cut off the
    Northern colonies along the Hudson River.
  • August 27, 1776 British won a decisive victory
    at Long Island, killing or wounding over 1,500
    Americans Howe also took Fort Lee and Fort
    Washington, bagging an additional 3,000 American
  • Washington retreated across the Delaware into
    Pennsylvania, while Congress fled Philadelphia
    for Baltimore (Dark time for the Rebellion).
  • Washington lost 90 of his army, by the time he
    retreated into Pennsylvania.
  • Christmas Night 1776 Washington crosses the
    Delaware taking Trenton by surprise as well as
    defeating the British force at Princeton (January
    3, 1776).
  • These two victories saved the Revolution. Put the
    British on the defensive forcing their evacuation
    of New Jersey.

Northern Theatre of Operations 1775-1780.
  • Washington spent first winter at Morristown while
    Congress returned to Philadelphia. British pulled
    back to New Brunswick and eventually New York
  • British strategy 1777 Howes 3 pronged Attack
    designed to bring rebellion to its knees.
  • General Howe to take Philadelphia attack by sea,
    landed 13,000 men at the Head of Elk, Maryland
    arrived August 24, 1777.
  • Gen. John Burgoyne march south from Canada
    Objective Albany.
  • Gen. Henry Clinton would hold New York City.
  • Colonel Barry St. Leger would advance east from
    Oswego in upstate New York.
  • Howe Attacks Continental Army on September 11,
    1777 at Battle of Brandywine.
  • Occupied Philadelphia two weeks later, congress
    fled to Lancaster then York Pennsylvania.
  • Washington attacked British at Germantown
    (October 4, 1777), failed to dislodge British
    from Philadelphia (Complex plan poor execution).
  • Washington settles into winter quarters December
    19, 1777 at Valley Forge, Pa.

Northern Theatre of Operations 1775-1780.
  • John Burgoyne Attacked Fort Ticonderoga taking
    it without a fight. St. Leger and his Indian
    Allies took Ft. Schuyler in August of 1777, but
    had to retreat when Benedict Arnold with a force
    of 1,000 men retook Ft. Schuyler.
  • Burgoyne led his force of 7,800 men towards
    Albany after taking Fort Ticonderoga.
  • American forces kept falling back leading the
    British farther away from their supply bases in
  • Saratoga October 17, 1777. Burgoyne decisively
    defeated, surrenders his entire army. Northern
    push to isolate the New England colonies
    decisively defeated.
  • Saratoga Turning point in the war Boosted
    patriot morale, it also proved to the French that
    the Americans could win the war.
  • Saratoga convinced Louis XVI that Americans
    deserved official aid (Money, Troops, and the
    French Navy).
  • Alliance brokered by Benjamin Franklin French
    recognized American Independence, free trade with
    French possessions, committed troops to North
    America, and relinquished any claims to territory
    in North America.
  • May 4, 1778 American Congress voted unanimously
    to ratify the French Alliance (Britain declared
    war on France).

West Point Key to the Continent Lake
Champlain-Hudson River Line
  • The strategic importance of the position stemmed
    from its situation. The colonies were naturally
    divided by a line which ran from British Canada
    south through Lake Champlain and its tributaries,
    and down the Hudson River to British New York.
  • Because of Britains Navy, and her
    well-disciplined infantry, superbly effective in
    formal open battles, this entire line was
    extremely vulnerable to capture.
  • It could be defended effectively only in the
    rugged mountains where the Hudson flows into a
    gorge West Point.
  • West Point key to colonial communications
    network, troop movement, and supplies between New
    England and the South.
  • Without supplies and troops from Connecticut and
    Massachusetts Revolution would have failed.

French Alliance
  • 1776-1777 Covert Aid through foreign agents
    (Dutch), and French Port agents who would look
    the other way as an American merchant ship was
    loaded with the materials of war.
  • Hortalez Co. of Paris 90 of the munitions of
    war gunpowder, arms, and manufactured articles
    came from France.
  • March 2, 1776 Continental Congress sent Silas
    Deane as an agent to France to buy supplies.
  • Why? Seven Years War, France lost her commerce
    and credit in India. She lost Canada, Louisiana,
    Isle Royale, Acadia, and Senegal.
  • France surrendered deeply in debt.
  • Most important of all France desired to regain
    her lost honor.
  • Once the centre of all European activity, she
    became, an unheeded onlooker. None cared for her
    favor or wishes.

Northern Theatre of Operations 1775-1780.
  • Valley Forge winter of 1777-1778.
  • Forged a professional Army.
  • 9,000 Troops wintered at encampment.
  • Spring 1778 Henry Clinton pulled British forces
    out of Philadelphia in order to concentrate in
    New York.
  • Battle of Monmouth Court House, June 28, 1778
    final battle in the Northern Theater. Pitted
    newly trained American forces against British
    regulars on an equal footing.

War in the West and South
  • The War in the West Native American tribes such
    as the Iroquois, Choctaw, Creek, Cherokee, and
    Chickasaw waged a violent war against American
    colonists. Terrorized American settlements taking
    scalps for British bounties.
  • Late 1778 British took the city of Savannah,
    Georgia. Led by General Lord Cornwallis also set
    sites on Charles Town, quell the rebellion.
  • Cornwallis took Charles Town and captured over
    5,000 continental troops under the command of
    Benjamin Lincoln in May of 1780.
  • Brutal partisan warfare, bordering on civil war
    Banastre Tarleton led British irregular soldiers
    mainly loyalists on a bloody rampage. Americans
    led by Thomas Sumter and Francis Marion The
    Swamp Fox countered this threat and were equally
  • Camden, South Carolina British destroy American
    Army under Horatio Gates Hero of Saratoga on
    August 16, 1780. Put South Carolina firmly in
    British control. Washington replaced Gates with
    Nathaniel Greene in October of 1780.
  • Battles of Kings Mountain, Cowpens, and
    Yorktown destroyed any hope of a British victory
    in the south and for that matter on the North
    American Continent.

Colonial Militia Southern Campaign, 1780-1783.
  • The militiaman, forced to develop his strategy
    and tactics to the sound of the war whoop and
    within range of the arrow and the tomahawk,
    proved by his survival that he knew how to fight
    the Indian. The regular, on the other hand,
    prepared for the dress-parade and close order
    tactics which then dominated European warfare,
    did not possess this vital knowledge.
  • Militia, like Native Americans, had learned to
    fight from cover and conduct hit-and-run raids,
    not fight in the European sense. Militia were
    ineffective in this setting, but deadly, when
    fighting on their own terms.
  • Francis Marion Swamp Fox operated out of the
    lower Carolina swamps, conducting hit-and-run
    raids on unsuspecting British and Loyalist units.
  • Nelsons Ferry, August 19-20 1780 Marion learned
    of Gates defeat at Camden. Ambushed British
    regulars escorting 150 prisoners of the Maryland
    Line, Marion destroyed the British detachment and
    rescued the POWs.

Colonial Home Front
  • The war between Americans and England dislocated
    the market economy. The prolonged clash of arms
    cut off avenues of trade to the West Indies and
    continental Europe, created shortages as
    marauding American and British armies
    requisitioned food and livestock, forced the
    Americans to rely on paper currency, leading to
    rampant inflation, and offered unusual
    opportunities for unscrupulous merchants,
    retailers, and even farmers to manipulate the
    price of food stuffs.
  • Merchants, like Thomas Boylston of Boston,
    withheld products from the market, causing
    prices to sky rocket.
  • Congress needed huge sums of money to keep the
    troops in the field. Wealthy patriots initially
    supported the revolution, soon went broke,
    congress did not yet have authority to tax
    population. By 1780 Congress had printed over
    200 million in paper currency.
  • Paper currency created a crisis of public trust
    Currency essentially worthless. (By 1779, 42
    paper to buy 1 worth of specie currency (gold or

Colonial Home Front
  • Salt in Maryland and Virginia sold for 1 a bag
    in 1776 by 1779 same bag cost 3,500.
  • Philadelphia militiaman complained in June 1777
    Every article of life or convenience was raised
    upon us, eight, or twelve fold at least.
  • Hoarding led to mob violence with colonial women
    ransacking warehouses taking coffee and sugar by
    force from greedy merchants (Boston,
  • Between 1776-1779 there were more than 30 such
    food riots.
  • Women became deeply involved in the majority of
    these food riots.

Prisoners of War
  • American POWs kept on prison barges in New York
    Harbor died in droves of malnutrition and
  • Fewer then 800 of the 4,500 prisoners taken in
    the New York campaign survived captivity. 8,000
    to 11,500 Americans died in British captivity.
  • British and Hessian Pows Not held in isolated
    camps but in American towns Reading,
  • Cultivated there own gardens, hired themselves
    out as farm labor, and attended local parties.

Not so Permanent Government
  • Articles of Confederation, ratified 1777, made
    law March 1,1781 (Maryland last to ratify)
    Perpetual union between the states of New
    Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island,
    Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
    Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina,
    South Carolina, and Georgia.
  • Each state has one vote 13 votes needed to
  • 13 Articles Article 1, named the confederacy of
    states the United States of America.
  • Americas transitional constitution, Heavily
  • Why? No power of national taxation, no national
    power to control trade, weak executive branch,
    and crippled governments efforts to conduct
    foreign policy.
  • States had power to collect taxes, issue
    currency, provide own militia.
  • Impossible to govern, no way to enforce national
  • National Governments main function was to
    control foreign policy, Indian affairs, and
    conclude treaties.

Treaty of Paris, 1783.
  • November 1782 All parties set their names on the
    Treaty of Paris United States, John Adams,
    Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and Henry Laurens.
  • Treaty recognized American Independence, America
    not to push past the Mississippi River and
    respect the rights of former Loyalists.
  • Both parties agreed to settle all previous debts,
    and to return all British subjects and Loyalist
  • Spain regained Florida from the British,
  • Britain retained Canada.
  • Treaty signed on September 2, 1783.
  • The last British troops marched from New York on
    November 25, 1783, equipped for show with their
    scarlet uniforms, a woman recalled the patriots
    marched in, ill-clad and weather beaten but
    then they were our troops and my eyes were

Problems with the Articles of Confederation
  • United States unable to enforce all aspects of
    the Treaty of Paris, particularly Articles IV and
  • British retained western forts (Oswego, Niagara,
    and Detroit), which encouraged hostile tribes to
    resist American westward expansion.
  • April 1784,Spain closed lower Mississippi River
    to American navigation.
  • British prevented American goods from reaching
    England while flooding America with English
  • Congress was helpless under the Articles of
    Confederation. Congress had no power to enforce
    or negotiate.
  • A stronger document was needed to solidify the
  • A Federal Government was the answer to Americas
    problems, according to several prominent
    politicians of the time, including James Madison
    and Alexander Hamilton, still others like Thomas
    Jefferson, had other ideas how America should be
    protected and shaped.
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