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THE revolutionary War

The thirteen colonies' fight for independence

The colonists’ resistance became violent during the Boston Massacre, when British soldiers began firing into a crowd of colonists in 1770. Then, in 1773, colonists boarded British ships and dumped 342 chests of tea into the Boston Harbor in what is now known as the Boston Tea Party. This caused Parliament to pass the Intolerable Acts. The colonists responded by holding the First Continental Congress to discuss their grievances against the British crown.

The Revolutionary War (1775-1783) began after over a decade of tension between colonists and the British authorities. The Seven Years War (1756-1763) had gained new territory for the British crown but led to more taxes. Then, the British government taxed the colonies through the Stamp Act, the Townshend Acts, and the Tea Act. The colonists resented their lack of representation in Parliament and wanted the same rights as all British subjects.

Important Events

  • In 1775, the Revolution had its first major battle - the Battle of Bunker Hill.
  • The colonists struggled to contain the British throughout the fall and winter of 1775.
  • On July 4th of 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence.
  • The British sent a large fleet to fight back and pushed the colonists out of New York, but George Washington launched a surprise attack in Trenton, New Jersey on Christmas night 1776.

The turning point came when General Horatio Gates defeated the British in the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. This prompted France to enter the war on the colonists’ side. This was important in the Battle of Yorktown because Washington attacked on land while a fleet of French warships prevented the British from evacuating. The British surrendered, and on September 3rd, 1783, Great Britain recognized the independence of the United States in the Treaty of Paris.

On April 8th, 1775, British troops marched to Concord, Massachusetts. Colonial militias began mobilizing and on April 19th, colonial militiamen fought with British soldiers in the battles of Lexington and Concord. This marked the start of the Revolutionary War.