7 The American Revolution 1776-1786
The American Revolution 1776-1786 • The War for Independence • The United States in Congress Assembled • Revolutionary Politics in the States • Conclusion
Chapter Focus Questions • What were the major alignments and divisions among Americans during the American Revolution? • What were the major campaigns of the Revolution? • What role did the Articles of Confederation and the Confederation Congress play in the Revolution?
Chapter Focus Questions • In what ways were the states the sites for significant political change?
A National Community Evolves at Valley Forge • Approximately 11,000 men and 700 women gathered in Valley Forge. • Men and women at Valley Forge created a common identity and strong bonds among themselves. • Leaving Valley Forge five months later, Washington commanded a much stronger and united army.
The War for Independence • With vastly greater resources, the British underestimated the American capacity to fight. • The British falsely assumed the colonial rebellion was the work of a small group of disgruntled conspirators. • Resistance was widespread and geography stymied British strategy.
The Patriot Forces • The militia was important in the defense of their homes but fought poorly in major battles. • Final victories resulted from consistent struggles of the Continental Army. • Colonial social gradations in the army, with a wide chasm between officers and enlisted men.
The Patriot Forces (cont'd) • Continentals and militias pressured Congress when shortages of food and pay erupted. • The shared experience developed national community.
The Toll of War • Regiments of the Continental Army suffered casualty rates as high as 40 percent. • More than 25,000 Americans died in the war. • The South suffered more civilian casualties than New England or the mid-Atlantic states.
The Loyalists • Between a fifth and a third of the colonial population remained loyal to the Crown • including African Americans, Indians, ethnic minorities, tenant farmers, British colonial officials, and Anglican clergy. • Patriots cracked down on Loyalists. • As many as 50,000 fought for the king and 80,000 fled the country after the Revolution, many reluctantly.
The Loyalists (cont'd) • The most infamous British supporter was Benedict Arnold whose name is synonymous with treason.
Women and the War • Women remained at home and ran the family farms and businesses. • Many women joined their men in the military camps. • On rare occasions, women played roles on the battlefields. • While Mercy Otis Warren’s essays brought her fame, other women became folk heroes.
The Campaign for New York and New Jersey • The British plan: cut off New England from the rest of the colonies by: • Marching north from New York; and marching south from Canada. • Washington driven out of New York City and pursued into New Jersey.
The Campaign for New York and New Jersey (cont'd) • After victories at Trenton, and Princeton, he adopted a defensive strategy of avoiding confrontation to insure survival of the Continental Army.
The Northern Campaigns of 1777 • In 1777, the British tried to achieve the goal of cutting new England off from the rest of the colonies. • General Burgoyne’s large army was surrounded at Saratoga and surrendered. • Washington lost Philadelphia and was forced to retreat into Valley Forge. • Congress fled Philadelphia but continued to function.
The Northern Campaigns of 1777 (cont'd) • After two years of war, Britain had not been successful in suppressing the rebellion.
A Global Conflict • During the first two years of conflict, French and Spanish loans helped finance the American cause. • The victory at Saratoga led to an alliance with France and later with the Dutch. In 1779 Spain joined the war, though without a formal American alliance. • Both France and Spain worried about American expansion.
A Global Conflict (cont.) • The French entry into the conflict forced the British to withdraw troops from the mainland to protect their Caribbean colonies. • While France provided men and resources, Spain waged campaigns on the Gulf Coast and in the Mississippi Valley.
A Global Conflict (cont.) (cont'd) • The war at sea was mainly fought between British and French vessels, but Continental ships raided the British merchant shipping.
Indian Peoples and the Revolution in the West • Although many Indians preferred a policy of neutrality, their fears of American expansion led many to side with Britain including the Iroquois and Ohio Indians. • Thousands of frontier civilians died at native hands. • American forces launched punitive campaigns against the Iroquois and Cherokee.
Indian Peoples and the Revolution in the West (cont'd) • George Rogers Clark’s victory at Vincennes challenged British control of the West.
The War in the South • By the late 1770s, the British had shifted their focus to the South, capturing Savannah and Charleston. • Violence between Loyalists and Patriots created unrest. • Patriot militias won battles at Kings Mountain and Cowpens.
The War in the South (cont'd) • General Greene harassed British forces, persuading Cornwallis to march towards the Chesapeake seeking reinforcements.
The Yorktown Surrender • In 1781, Washington led 16,000 French and American troops to southern Virginia. • The French navy trapped Cornwallis at Yorktown. • After weeks of siege, the British surrendered on October 19, 1781. • Word of the defeat put pressure on George III, who reluctantly opened peace negotiations.
Famous moment during the Battle of Cowpens that took place in January 1781.
The Articles of Confederation • The Articles of Confederation created a loose union of autonomous states. • Congress had limited central power, reserving powers such as taxation to the states. • Maryland held up ratification for three years until the eight states with western land claims ceded them to the national government.
Financing the War • Though benefiting from foreign subsidies, Congress and the states financed the revolution mainly by issuing paper currency that caused runaway inflation. • Secretary of Finance, Robert Morris, met interest payments on the debt, but did not persuade Congress to come up with an independent source of income.
Negotiating Independence • Peace negotiations began in 1782 • Resulted separate treaties between Great Britain and the United States, France, Spain • Spain regained Florida but France was left without reward.
Negotiating Independence (cont'd) • The United States gained: • independence; • the promise of the withdrawal of British troops; • land to the Mississippi River; and • fishing rights off the Canada coast.
The Crisis of Demobilization • Congress had neither paid the soldiers nor delivered the officers their promised postwar bounties or land warrants. • Several officers stationed at Newburgh contemplated action if Congress failed to act, but they were shamed into accepting civilian rule by George Washington, who resigned his commission.
The Crisis of Demobilization (cont'd) • Instead of military dictatorship, civilian control of the military was firmly established.
North America after the Treaty of Paris, 1783 • The map of European and American claims to North America was radically altered by the Revolution.
The Problem of the West • Western land settlement raised new issues, including: • land losses for several Indian tribes. • tens of thousands of Americans rushing into the newly acquired Ohio River Valley.
American Commissioners of the Preliminary Peace Negotiations with Great Britain, 1783–1785
The Problem of the West (cont.) • Three land ordinances provided for organizing the land for settlement, self-government and eventual statehood. • They also provided for orderly division of land into townships, regular land sales, and the abolition of slavery in the Northwest Territory.