Independence Vigorous Declaration, Precarious Maintenance, 1776
So what about Bunker Hill • Both Thomas Gage and William Howe insisted on a direct assault, overrruling the advice of Henry Clinton to launch an amphibious assault on the rear. • Colonial forces largely fought well—no cowardly rabble here. • Pyrrhic victory—British losses were the largest of entire war— 247 killed, 818 wounded—British tended to prefer maneuver afterward.
Why the move to Independence • Shooting at Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill. • George III declared colonies in Rebellion, August 23, 1775. • George III viewed as enemy of parliamentary reform efforts. • Publication of Common Sense
Common Sense—1st published 10 January 1776 • Summary of Paine’s arguments • It was ridiculous for an island to rule a continent. • America was not a "British nation"; it was composed of influences and peoples from all of Europe. • Even if Britain was the "mother country" of America, that made her actions all the more horrendous, for no mother would harm her children so brutally. • Being a part of Britain would drag America into unnecessary European wars, and keep it from the international commerce at which America excelled. • The distance between the two nations made governing the colonies from England unwieldy. If some wrong were to be petitioned to Parliament, it would take a year before the colonies received a response. • The New World was discovered shortly after the Reformation. The Puritans believed that God wanted to give them a safe haven from the persecution of British rule. • Britain ruled the colonies for its own benefit, and did not consider the best interests of the colonists in governing them.
Declaring Independence • Lee Resolution—June 7, 1776 Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved. • Resolution passed on July 2, 1776 • Declaration of Independence adopted on July 4, 1776—no one signed it on this day. • All colonies had approved it by July 9 • Most signed on August 2
"We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." • Declaring Independence was not the same thing as securing it. • Britain was most powerful sovereignty on the planet. • U. S. possessed a couple of advantages: vast territory in a pre-industrial age; strategic objective—Britain had to conquer, U. S. only to survive.
British Invade Long Island • Creation of Continental Army under George Washington • Capture of Ft. Ticonderoga, Dorchester Heights, British Evacuation of Boston • British land on Staten Island in July 1776 with a force of 34,000 • August 27, 1776—Battle of Long Island (Brooklyn) • Washington evacuates Long Island under cover of fog on Aug. 29-30. • Lord Howe’s Peace Conference—Sept. 11, 1776. • Sept. 13—Kipp’s Bay assault • Oct. 12—Throgs Neck • Oct. 28—Battle for White Plains