The American War of Independence, Essay Example
The American War of Independence, also known as the American Revolution, occurred during the years 1775-1783. This war ended the 200 year reign of Britain in the North American colonies and is credited with forming what is now the United States of America. The war began as a war between Great Britain and the 13 British colonies in North America. The war ended as a global war between Britain and France. The American War of Independence was initiated after the French and Indian War ended and the Treaty of Paris in 1973 was signed. The British established territory in North America and since the cost of the French and Indian War was so high, the British tried to tax the Americans. The British introduced the Stamp Act of 1765 to the 13 colonies. The Act forced the colonists to pay tax on printed materials, such as magazines, newspapers, legal documents and other types of paper used during that time. In addition, the stamp tax was required to be paid in British currency, not the currency used by the colonist. The colonist rebellion led to the beginning of the war.
The Stamp was controlled by George Grenville. It was initiated on November 1, 1765. This was also the first time in 150 years that the American colonist had to pay any type of tax and it wasn’t even to their own legislatures, the tax money went directly to Britain. The American colonists rebelled against this Act for two reasons. The colonists couldn’t pay the tax and because they believed it violated the newly formed principle, “No taxation without representation”. The colonists were already angered with the passing of the Quartering Act on June 2, 1976. This Act made colonist provide quarters, food and transportation for any British soldier. Britain justified this because they said they were protecting the colonist from the French, even though the colonist did not perceive the French as a threat. The colonist began to start to resent being controlled by King George III and his parliament. (Hunsaker et al., 1999) Great Britain did not take this rebellion well, as they were considered the “mother country” during that time. The colonist believed that they had rights. Neither the colonist nor the British parliament gave in and this led to an intense war for independence.
The first start of the war began on April 19, 1775. The American colonists, referred to as patriots, wanted freedom from England and violently rebelled against the British authorities. From here on, the American Revolution began and lasted for eight years. (Hunsaker et al., 1999) In 1770, Britain placed British troops in Boston and the soldiers and the colonists began to fight. On March 5, 1770, 10 British soldiers were attacked by snowballs and fired into the crowd, killing five people. Colonist’s rebels turned the incident into what is known as the “Boston Massacre”. Patriots in the American Revolution, such as Samuel Adams began forming group and releasing papers illustrating their anger against Britain. Then again in 1773, the Tea Act was passed by Parliament. Boston colonists disguised as Indians destroyed 90,000 pounds of teach on three ships in the Boston Harbor. The British parliament, in retaliation, passed the Coercive Acts, more commonly known as the “Intolerable Acts”. This Act closed the harbor to traffic and put any officials on trial. This hurt the American economy, particularly for merchants and sailors.
During 1774, 55 delegates of the First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia. The Congress made it a right of the colonies to tax and create legislations for themselves. This event postponed the war; however, all of the activities combined by the colonist, such as the Boston Tea Party and the Continental Congress, prompted King George to have all of the arms apprehended and the rebels, such as John Hancock and Samuel Adams arrested. The King stated, “The New England Governments are in a State of Rebellion; blows must decide whether they are to be subject to this Country or independent.” This is also where the famous line, “The British are coming” was initiated. Paul Revere was on lookout for soldiers and rode through the countryside on horse to alert the colony that the British soldiers were there. The colonists were outnumbered by the British soldiers by the hundreds. (TeachAmericanHistory)
The war began and in April, 1775, there were battles at Lexington Green and Concord. The British had 273 casualties and the Americans had 95. The second continental Congress met in May 1775 after the bloody battles at Lexington Green and Concord. The Congress passed a petition, known as the Olive Branch Petition where it affirmed that the colonists were loyal to George III; however, they also established an American Continental army. This army was led by George Washington. There was also another battle at Bunker Hill in which the British lost over 1000 people and colonist only 300. This angered the British more and the King issued a proclamation of rebellion. (TeachAmericanHistory)
The colonists wanted to reconcile; however, the book called, “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine was published. This book tore apart the monarchy system, which pushed the colonists to become independent. The book urged the Americans to become a republic. From this book, the Declaration of Independence was said to have been written. This Declaration, declared the equal rights of humans, justice and liberty for all. The war still persisted and numerous battles were won by the British; however, by 1781, a treaty was signed between America and Britain that announced the independence of America. The treaty was for all territory from the southern border of Canada to the northern border of Florida. In addition, the Americans agreed to the issue debts and compensation for damages to Britain’s property. This ended 176 years of colonial rule under the British parliament that began on May 14, 1607 with the founding of Jamestown. The American colonies were now free and America was under its own independent rule. (TeachAmericanHistory)
Hunsaker, S., Conwell, D., Ochoa, J. 1999. American Revolution. Stamp Act. University of San Francisco.< http://usf.usfca.edu/fac_staff/conwell/revolution/stamp.htm>
Teach American History. Web. Retrieved on April 27, 2012 from: http://www.teachamericanhistory.org/File/American_Revolution_Essay.pdf
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