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The US Military History, Essay Example

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Essay

How were the American colonies (United States) able to defeat Great Britain in the War for Independence (The American Revolution)? How did the leadership of George Washington contribute to this victory?

The so called American Revolutionary War of 1775 to 1783, or the American War of Independence, was waged by 13 former British colonies in the North American region against Great Britain Kingdom. The war accentuated to become a global war with several European powers such as France joining in against Her Majesty’s armies. The honor of the conquest finally celebrate by the American peoples is mostly attributed to the near-primitive, malnourished, ill-equipped and determined continental army under the command of General George Washington, who would eventually become the inaugural president of the independent United States of America.

That victory is iconic in the history of liberation wars given the great advantages borne by English armies. The English had superior naval power that was capable of a global domination (Leamon, 1993). They had larger and more professional fighting force (trained soldiers hardened by combat experience). More so, Britain had a greater manufacturing capabilities of weapons besides being a hundred times over in wealth.  Again, Britain had a host of loyal colonies who all combined efforts to help Britain win the war against American dissident forces.

Yet with all these advantages, the English forces still lost the war. The American colonies were mostly able to suppress the British forces because of their advantages over the colonialists (Leamon, 1993). The long distance from England made it very difficult to bring in supplies of arms and food to the colonies. The transport of troops was equally troublesome for the British. It was very hard to maintain communication between the British administration and their representatives in the colonies. Again, the professional soldiers had very little motivation even as they engaged in war while the Patriots had all reasons to be determined, persistent and self-sacrificing for the cause of liberation. One of the greatest undoing of the British superior forces was their overconfidence in their ability to contain the resistance in the colonies (Higginbotham, 1983).

On the other hand, the patriots had the advantage of fighting on a familiar home ground; they had the motivation of liberating and defending their homeland. Since they agreed to their inferiority in the war, they readily accepted flexibility war tactics that eliminated the British advantages such as Guerrilla warfare, surprise attacks and primitive weapons manufacturing. It must also be noted that the patriot forces were skilled with rifles, which is an age old American tradition before the war begun. So, despite lack of arms and military training, they still were formidably apt with seized riffles. One other reason why the colonies were able to conquer British forces was the undeniable genius of leadership and tactical wisdom of General George Washington (Chartrand, 2003).

Historical accounts to the fact that George Washington wasn’t a great general as such but he was a brilliant revolutionary, probably the best America has ever had (Chartrand, 2003). He lost most of his waged battles with the British forces, for many years. Yet despite the losses, he was able to hold his hungry, ill-equipped, untrained and ragtag army together. This remains the singular most significant accomplishment the commander of the Continental American forces and the reason of their conquest. Persistent and determination overstretched any military’s ability of the enemy (Chartrand, 2003).

George Washington shrewdly energized naked, ignorant, poorly paid troops composed of children, old men and Negroes to consistently march under fire of bulldozing enemies. Washington knew that just one great victory by the continental army would totally undermine the support for England’s endless war policy (Billias, 1994). So, he waited and inspired his men for years of patience until the right circumstances unfolded. Even when the British dared the Continental forces time and again, to fight in a conventional open battle, Washington ingeniously kept to his hit-and-run tactics. This frustrated British very much since the war was being fought on Washington’s rules (Billias, 1994). Victory was inevitable ultimately.

References

Billias, G. (1994). George Washington’s Generals and Opponents: Their Exploits and Leadership. New York: Da Capo Press. 175–188.

Chartrand, R. (2003). American War of Independence Commanders. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Oxford

Higginbotham, D. (1983). The War of American Independence: Military Attitudes, Policies, and Practice, 1763–1789. Massachusetts: Northeastern University Press.

Leamon, J. (1993). Revolution Downeast: The War for American Independence in Maine. New York: The Maine Historical Society.

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