American Revolution

Madison Rogers

Boston Tea Party

This act of American colonial defiance served as a protest against taxation. Trying to boost the East India Company, British Parliament adjusted import duties with the passage of the Tea Act in 1773. While consignees in Charleston, New York, and Philadelphia rejected tea shipments, merchants in Boston refused to give in to Patriot pressure. On the night of December 16, 1773, Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty boarded three ships in the Boston harbor and threw 342 chests of tea overboard. This resulted in the passage of the punitive Coercive Acts in 1774 and pushed the two sides closer to war.

Boston Massacre

The Boston Massacre occurred on March 5, 1770. A group of British soldiers, came to support a sentry who was being pressured by a crowd, let off some shots. Three people were killed immediately and two died later of their wounds. One important victim was Crispus Attucks, he was of black or Indian parentage. The British officer in charge, Captain Thomas Preston, was arrested for manslaughter, along with eight of his men. All were later found not guilty.

Intolerable Acts

1. Boston Port Act
The Boston Port Act was the first Intolerable Act passed. It was punishment to the city of Boston for the Boston Tea Party.
2. Massachusetts Government Act
This act changed the government of the colony of Massachusetts. It gave more power to the governor and took away power from the colonists.
3. Administration of Justice Act
This act allowed the governor to move capital trials against government officials to Great Britain.
4. Quartering Act
The Quartering Act of 1774 went deeper into the original Quartering Act of 1765. It said that the colonies had to provide barracks for British soldiers.
5. Quebec Act
The Quebec Act expanded the British Canadian territory south into the Ohio Valley. It also made the Quebec Province a Catholic province. Even though this act wasn't in response to the Boston Tea Party, it was passed at the same time as the rest of the acts.

Battle of Saratoga

Fought eighteen days apart in the fall of 1777, the two Battles of Saratoga were a turning point in the American Revolution. On September 19th, British General John Burgoyne achieved a small, costly victory over American forces led by Horatio Gates and Benedict Arnold. Although his troops strength had weakened, Burgoyne attacked the Americans at Bemis Heights on October 7th again, but this time was defeated and forced to retreat. He surrendered ten days later, and the American victory convinced the French government to formally recognize the colonist’s cause and enter the war as their ally.

Lexington and Concord

The Battles of Lexington and Concord, fought on April 19, 1775, started the American Revolutionary War. Tensions had been building for many years between the 13 colonies and the British authorities, particularly in Massachusetts. On the night of April 18, 1775, hundreds of British troops marched from Boston to Concord in order to seize an arms cache. Paul Revere and other riders sounded the alarm, and colonial militiamen began mobilizing to intercept the Redcoat column. A confrontation on the Lexington town green started off the fighting, and soon the British were retreating under intense fire. Many battles followed, and in 1783 the colonists formally won their independence.

The Declaration of Independance

The Declaration of Independence, authored by Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, reflected the ideas of Locke and Paine:

~ “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

~ “That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

~ "That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government.”

~ Jefferson then went on to detail many of the grievances against the king that Paine had earlier described in Common Sense.

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Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine was an English immigrant. He produced a pamphlet known as Common Sense. It challenged the rule of the American colonies by the King of England. Paine's "Common Sense" was written in 1775–76. It inspired people in the Thirteen Colonies to declare and fight for independence from Great Britain in the summer of 1776. Paine wrote and explained it in such a way that common people understood.

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John Locke

Locke wrote all people are free, equal, and have "natural rights" of life, liberty, and property that rulers cannot take away. Social contract theory means if the government does not protect natural rights you can overthrow them. Locke wrote that governments powers are limited to those the people have consented to give to it. Locke's' ideas were radical. John Locke was an Enlightenment philosopher whose ideas influenced the American belief in self-government.