The American Revolutionary War | U.S. History Review
The Revolutionary War
The Revolutionary War was primarily a war between Great Britain and the 13 colonies. These 13 colonies were supposed to be colonies loyal to Great Britain. The 13 colonies were later declared the United States of America. They later became known as Americans instead of just colonists. The 13 colonies were supposed to be colonies under British rule, but the king of Britain was imposing a lot of really harsh taxes and other laws on the colonists and the colonists rebelled.
They said, “If you don’t repeal these intolerable acts, as those laws on taxes were known, then they were not going to be loyal to Britain anymore.” Britain said, “Okay, we’re declaring you guys as not submitting to us. There will be military repercussions.” The colonists started forming assemblies in each colony where they would gather weapons and form militias.
In April of 1775, the battles of Lexington and Concord became the first battles in the Revolutionary War. This occurred when the Massachusetts assembly was having a meeting and British soldiers were ordered to go break it up. When they did that, the colonists resisted. They had their weapons and they had already been forming militias, so they fought back against the British soldiers.
That became the first- well, those became the first battles of the war, because they happened in different areas of Massachusetts, namely Lexington and Concord. Next, you’ve got the Battle of Bunker Hill. There were other battles, but these are some of the key points of the war and important battles. These are more of just highlights of the Revolutionary War.
There were definitely other battles fought, but these are ones that were most important points, most important times, during the war. The battle of Bunker Hill was fought in June of 1775. April of 1775 was the first battle. In June, we’ve got the Battle of Bunker Hill, which was one of the bloodiest battles, which means they lost the most men. The British forced the Americans to retreat.
In the end, the British did win, but they lost almost half of their troops in the process. The British won this battle. They were able to force the Americans to retreat, to withdraw from that area, but they lost almost half of their troops, so it really wasn’t as huge a victory as it could have been. This battle proved that the colonists could stand against the professional British soldiers.
The British soldiers had been trained as soldiers. They stood in the line, they fought in a very organized manner. The colonists didn’t do that. They fought in the woods, they fought from horseback, they didn’t just go in a straight line, because that way they weren’t as open and available to be struck down by the enemy.
The British soldiers were used to this kind of fight, and this battle at Bunker Hill proved that the colonists could stand against the professionally trained British soldiers, because they had a different fighting style. While the British did win in the end, because they just kept going forward and keeping the Americans from advancing and finally forced them to withdraw, they did lose half their troops in the process, because their method of fighting was to stand on the open lines and march in lines.
It was just like, basically, shooting down targets in the middle of an open area where the colonists would hide behind trees and would dodge and move around. They didn’t move in such an orderly manner, so it wasn’t predictable how the colonists were going to move. It was predictable how the British soldiers were going to move.
This battle was important, because it was one of the bloodiest battles where the most people lost their lives there, but also because it showed the colonists that they could stand up to those British soldiers. Now, the first victory for the colonists came on December 26, 1776. April, then June, now we’re in December of 1776. This is over a year and a half later.
It took a while for them to actually get a victory here. They weren’t winning a lot before now. They were steadily fighting the British soldiers, but they weren’t winning yet. On December 26, 1776, in Trenton, New Jersey, the colonists got their first victory. General George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River on Christmas Day and were able to launch this surprise attack on British and Hessian troops.
The Hessians were German soldiers hired by the British to come over and fight the colonists. They launched a surprise attack. Everyone was still recovering from Christmas Day. They were all relaxed in a holiday mood. While they were still sleeping and resting and unprepared, the colonists launched their surprise attack and had a victory for the first time in the Revolutionary War.
That was an important battle for them. The Battle of Saratoga ended Britain’s plan to separate the colonies geographically. They thought, “Okay, if we win this battle at Saratoga, we can separate the northern colonies from the southern colonies. If they can’t transfer food and munitions and communicate with each other, then it’s going to be a lot easier to defeat two small armies than one big army that can join together.
The Battle of Saratoga ended this plan, because the colonists won. British General John Burgoyne surrendered, which led France to join the war as allies of the Americans. This battle is considered a major turning point in the war. We have this victory here in Trenton, New Jersey, and then at the Battle of Saratoga we have another victory.
This victory is even more important, because whenever the British surrendered at the Battle of Saratoga, France said, “Okay, you know what, Americans? You’ve shown us that you have the power to beat these British soldiers, so we’re going to help you now.” France joined the war as allies to the Americans, so where the Americans are already winning, now they’ve got even more momentum, because they’ve got France, who is going to send French soldiers and the French navy to help fight.
This battle is considered a turning point in the war, because the Americans had been winning a little bit, but now they won a battle that was really important and convinced France to join and fight on their side. On October 19th, 1781, British General Cornwallis surrendered after being defeated at the Battle of Yorktown, Virginia. His surrender technically ended the war, but fighting still continued while peace terms were negotiated.
General Cornwallis was the main general of all the troops. He surrendered over 8,000 troops at this battle of Yorktown in Virginia, and, technically, that ended the war. At this point, it should have been over, but news traveled very slowly. Peace Terms weren’t 100% negotiated and agreed upon. Fighting still continued for the next two years while peace terms were negotiated.
Then, the Treaty of Paris was signed on September 3rd, 1783. This treaty of Paris officially ended the war and recognized the United States of America as an independent nation. The Revolutionary War was fought mainly between Great Britain and the 13 colonies, later known as the United States of America. Other countries sided with Britain to help fight the Americans and control those pesky colonies.
Then, France joined with the Americans to help fight the British, because they had a common enemy. France said, “You know, if the colonies aren’t going to be ours, we’re going to help make sure Britain doesn’t get them either.” There were other countries, other nations, involved in this war, but, primarily, it was between Great Britain and the 13 colonies.
The 13 colonies wanted independence from Britain. In the end, they won their independence from Great Britain and signed a peace treaty, the Treaty of Paris, which said that Britain recognized the United States of America as an independent nation.
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Last updated: 08/10/2018