Three Phases of American Revolution
What were the three phases of American revolution? What were the developments in the three phases of American revolution during the seventeenth century? How did the three phases of American revolution evolve?
In 1754, war erupted on the North American continent which was known as the French and Indian War. The fighting lasted until 1763, when Britain and its colonists emerged victorious and seized nearly all French land in North America. The victory, however, only led to growing tensions between Britain and its colonies. In order to fight the war, Great Britain ran up a huge debt. Because American colonists benefitted from Britain’s victory, Britain expected the colonists to help pay the costs of the war.
In 1764, parliament passed Sugar Act and Currency Act. The Currency Act banned the American colonists from treating paper money as a legal tender. The act ensured that British merchants would be paid in gold or silver boosting their profits and British wealth. Similarly, the Sugar Act stopped New England merchants from smuggling French molasses to avoid excessive duties on the British Sugar Planters.
In 1765, parliament passed Stamped Act. According to this law, colonists had to pay a tax to have an official stamp put on wills, deeds, newspapers, and other printed materials. American colonists were annoyed and outraged. Colonial lawyers argued that the stamp tax violated colonists’ natural rights, and they accused the government of taxation without representation. In Britain, citizens consented to taxes through their representative in Parliament. The colonists, however, had no representatives in Parliament. Thus, they argued they could not be taxed.
Over the next decade, hostilities between the two sides increased. Some colonial leaders preferred independence from Britain. In 1773, a group of colonists dumped a large load of British tea into Boston Harbor. George III exasperated by the Boston Tea Party as it was called ordered British to close the port of Boston. These harsh tactics by the British made enemies of many moderate colonists. In
September 1774, representatives from every colony except Georgia gathered in Philadelphia to form the First Continental Congress. This group protested the treatment of Boston of George III. When the King paid little attention to their complaints, the colonies decided to form the Second Continental Congress to debate their next move.
On 1775, the war erupted between British soldiers and American militiamen in Lexington, Massachusetts. The fighting spread to nearby Concord. The Second Continental Congress voted to raise an army and organize for battle under the command of Virginian named George Washington. The American Revolution began. Colonial leaders used enlightenment ideas to justify independence. The colonists asked for the same political rights as people in Britain, but the king completely rejected their demands. Therefore, the colonists were justified in rebelling against a tyrant who broke the social contract. In July 1776, the Second Continental Congress issued the Declaration of Independence. This document, written by political leader Thomas Jefferson was resolutely based on the ideas of John Locke and the Enlightenment. The declaration reflected these ideas in its obvious demand for natural rights. We hold these truths to be self-evident, states the beginning of the Declaration, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights that among this is life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Since Locke had asserted that people had right to rebel against an unjust ruler, the Declaration of Independence included a long list of Georges III’s abuses. The document ended by declaring the colonies’ separation from Britain. The Colonies, the Declaration said, are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown. The British was not about to let their colonies leave without a fight.
Shortly after the publication of the Declaration of Independence, the two sides went to war. Intuitively, the colonists seemed destined to go down in quick defeat. Washington’s ragtag, poorly trained army face the well-trained forces of the most powerful country in the world. In the end, however, the Americans won their war for the Independence. The main reason that led Americans became successful on this war because Americans were so motivated to defend their homeland and also that the British were overconfident which led them to make several mistakes. Actually, the time itself was on the side of the Americans. After a few years, British called for peace.
Finally, the Americans did not fight alone. The King of France helped the Americans in the revolution. However, he was eager to weaken France’s rival, Britain. French entry into war in 1778 was significant. In 1781, combined forces of about 9,500 Americans and 7,800 French trapped a British army commanded by Cornwallis near Yorktown, Virginia. Unable to escape, Cornwallis eventually surrendered.
The Americans won their independence finally. French entry really played a vital role in the independence of the United States.
After declaring the Independence, the 13 individual states recognized the need of a national government. As the victory became certain, all 13 states ratified a constitution in 1781. This plan of government was known as the Articles of Confederation. The Articles established the United States as a republic, a government in which citizens rule through elected representatives. However, the delegates distrusted a powerful central government controlled by one person or group. They, therefore, established three separate branches egislative, executive, and judicial. This set up provided built-in system of checks and balances, with each branch checking the actions of the other two. The constitution created a strong central government and set up a federal system in which power was divided between national and state governments.
The courage and bravery of the Americans in various situations has made the United States an independent nation with full freedom rights to all its citizens. French also played a key role in American independence, however, they supported Americans for their own benefit because they were eager to weaken Britain, their rivals. However, with a lot of hard work and battles, the Americans finally did it and set their country independent in 1776.
The following are the major events and identified topics of the American Revolution.
Franco-American Alliance of 1778
The Americans could not have defeated England by themselves. The essential help arrived as a result of the victory at Saratoga, which convinced the French to enter the war. Franco-American alliance played a key role in the Revolutionary War. It was based on two treaties between the United States and France that were signed on February 6, 1778. The first treaty dealt mostly with commercial matters, giving a generous interpretation of neutral rights. The second treaty stated that neither France nor America would sign a separate peace with Britain and the France would fight until American independence was established. It was also agreed that the United States would have the right to conquer British possessions on the mainland of North America and that France would conquer British Islands. France aided the Americans in every way short of becoming official partners in war. France provided Americans military goods such as cannons, muskets, and gunpowder. Highly trained French military experts volunteered to help the American army in the field with technical advice and military strategy. France also opened its ports to American shipping without restriction, a favor that was most useful in the French West Indies. However, the alliance collapsed in the 1790s.
Siege of Yorktown
In the early months of 1781, Cornwallis set out to try his North Carolina plan again; if successful, it would isolate South Carolina and Georgia. For months, he moved his army around the state, taking land but not holding it. In February 1781, Cornwallis proclaimed, prematurely, that North Carolina was reconquered, a move calculated to increase loyalists support. However, few loyalists could be found who were willing to take up arms against the energized rebel forces. Cornwallis decided to push the war further north, into Virginia. He captured Williamsburg, which had been the capital until the previous year. Then he raided Charlottesville, where Virginia’s revolutionary government was meeting, and seized members of the assembly; Governor Thomas Jefferson narrowly avoided capture. (More than a dozen of Jefferson’s slaves ran off to seek refuge with the British army.) As last as the start of September, Cornwallis was not wrong to think; he had the upper hand in Virginia.
Treaty of Paris of 1783
Early in 1783 France and Spain gave up on Gibraltar and reached an armistice. The final signing of the Treaty of Paris came on September 3, 1783. In accord with the bargain already struck, Great Britain recognized the independence of the United States and agreed to a Mississippi River boundary to the west. Both the northern and southern borders left ambiguities that would require further definition in the future. Florida, as it turned out, passed back to Spain-along with the island of Minorca in the Mediterranean. France regained Senegal in Africa and the island of Tobago in the West Indies, both of which France had lost in 1763. The British further granted Americans the liberty of fishing off Newfoundland and in the St. Lawrence Gulf, and the right to dry their catches on the unsettled coasts of Labrador, Nova Scotia, and the Magdalen Islands. On the matter of debts, the best the British could get was a promise that British merchants should meet with no legal impediment in seeking to collect them. And on the tender point of Loyalists whose property had been confiscated, the negotiators agreed that Congress would earnestly recommend to the states the restoration of confiscated property. Each of the last two points was little more than a face-saving gesture for the British. On November 24 the last British troops left New York City, and on December 4 they evacuated Staten Island and Long Island. That same day Washington took leave of his officers at Fraunces Tavern in New York. On December 23 he appeared before the Continental Congress, meeting in Annapolis, to resign his commission.
Articles of Confederations
The central government, like the state governments, grew out of an extralegal revolutionary body. The Continental Congress exercised governmental powers by common consent and without any constitutional sanction before March 1781. In a sense it had much the character of a diplomatic congress, composed of delegates named annually by the state legislatures. Plans for a permanent frame of government were started very early, however, Richard Henry Lee’s motion for independence included a call for a plan of confederation. As early as July 12, 1776, a committee headed by John Dickinson produced a draft constitution, the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. For more than a year Congress debated the articles between more urgent matters and finally adopted them on November 15, 1777, subject to ratification by all the states. All states ratified promptly except Maryland, which stubbornly insisted that the seven states claiming western lands should cede them to the authority of Congress. Maryland did not relent until early 1781, when Virginia gave up its claims under the old colonial charter to the vast region north of the Ohio River. However, when the Articles of Confederation became effective in March 1781, they did little more than legalize the status of quo. The Articles of Confederation was the written document that established the functions of the government in the United States after the United States gained independence from the Britain.
At the outset, the delegates made Washington their president by unanimous vote, and William Jackson their secretary. One of the first decisions was the meet behind closed doors, in order to discourage outside pressures and speeches to the galleries. The secrecy of the proceedings was remarkably well kept, and since Jackson’s journal was a skeleton record of motions and votes, knowledge of the debates comes mainly from extensive notes kept by James Madison. It was Madison, too, who drafted the proposals which set the framework of the discussions. These proposals, which came to be called Virginia Plan, were presented on May 29 by Edmund Randolph, governor of the state and delegate to the convention. The Virginia plane embodied a revolutionary proposal for the delegates to scrap their instructions to revise the Articles of Confederation and to submit an entirely new document to the states. The plan proposed separate legislative, executive, and judicial branches, and a truly national government to make laws binding upon individual citizens and to coerce states as well. Congress would be divided into two houses, a lower house chosen by popular vote and an upper house chosen by the lower house from nominees of the state legislatures. Congress could disallow state laws under the plan and would itself define the extent of its and the states’ authority.