The Revolutionary Era Chapter 4
War and Diplomacy • The 18th century was an interesting juxtaposition of the Enlightenment (seeking to make a better society) and intense rivalry/competition between European nations. • In Europe: wars tended to be dynastic as well as territorial, especially in central Europe between the emerging powers of Austria and Prussia. • In the Colonies: wars were fought over land and trade opportunities, with England/France the main rivals to expand their territories
Warfare in the 18th Century • Increasingly deadly- the technology of weaponry began to improve rapidly in the 1700s. Muskets could fire farther, with greater accuracy(and safety for user) Bayonets invented for hand to hand combat • Battle tactics developed with required enormous discipline and coordination, but could be remarkably effective. • These sophisticated militaries were quite expensive, and military became an increasing part of a nation’s budget (requiring taxes to pay for it)
Competition Between France and England • By the time of the revolution, more than ½ of British trade, and 1/3 of French trade wasn’t European. Colonies and International trade represented vital segments of the economy- and England/France were more than willing to protect what was theirs….and go after what wasn’t. • England and France claimed land in the same areas: North America, the Caribbean, and India. English colonies had the population (1.7 million in 1760) French colonies had the size. • Probably the most valuable and contested area was actually the Caribbean (it’s the sugar) where territories were small (therefore easier to potentially conquer), and revenues were big
French Canada • Established at Quebec in 1608 • Claimed not only territory north of the Great Lakes, but in Ohio River Valley and west of Mississippi. Fur trade (especially Beaver) most important econ activity. • Had the most cooperative relationship with Native Americans- specifically the Huron and Algonquin, meaning that Indian tribes (with valuable knowledge of territory) would fight for French. And that’s important, b/c the European population is small- only 6000 white Men in “New France”
Clash of Empires • There were 4 “World Wars” (meaning fought in areas other than Europe) between 1688 and 1763. Primary antagonists are France and England • King William’s War (1688-1697) and Queen Anne’s War (1702-1713) were faintly dynastic, outside nations trying to get on the throne of England. There are skirmishes between British and French colonist along borders. Treaty of Utrecht (1713) will create a 30 year peace • King George’s War/War of Austrian Succession (1744-1748) Same theme, but with Austrian throne (under Maria Theresa) as the prize. New England will invade New France and take Ft Louisbourg at the mouth of the St Lawrence. They give it back as part of Treaty of Paris 1748…which made colonists mad. • Creates Salutary Neglect- England is busy doing other things… and Prime Minister Robert Walpole thought that if colonies were left alone, they would be more productive (which is true at that time period)
The Seven Years War • 1756 - 1763. The most important (and deciding) conflict. • This one actually STARTS in North America. The treaty of 1748 had called for French to give up forts in Ohio Valley….but they weren’t • 1754 George Washington, a colonial Lieutenant in the British Army, led surveyors to areas near what is today Pittsburgh to make sure they aren’t building a fort there (Ft Duquesne). He is attacked by French and forced to surrender (though allowed to leave with his army) • General Braddock (and Washington) bring main army out to attack the fort- and get stomped by an Indian ambush (ft Necessity) Braddock and 2/3 of Army killed- Washington leads survivors out. • Meanwhile back in Europe…Prussia/England squares off against Austria/France/Russia/Sweden over territory in German states and eastern Europe
The Albany Plan of Union • Many colonists felt vulnerable to Fr/Indian attack. Called Albany Congress in 1754 to discuss the issue, and attempt to create a firm alliance with the Iroquois- attended by 7 northern colonies • Ben Franklin (delegate for PA) says Britain is too far away to be useful in a crisis, colonies need Home Rule. Proposes Albany Plan of Union: An association for mutual trade and defense. Would have a colonial assembly to manage policy. • Didn’t work: Iroquois refused an official alliance (looked like French were winning), and neither the colonies nor the British felt that colonies working together was a good idea • BUT: important 1st step to colonial unity
The French and Indian War • Fighting on several fronts- there were significant naval battles in the Caribbean, and a decisive victory in India at the Battle of Plessy (which gave the British East India Company dominion over trade in the area). But the heart of the fighting was in North America- specifically around the great lakes and Ohio Valley. • Prime Minister William Pitt put 40,000 troops (British and colonial) into the field • Decisive battle of the War fought on Plains of Abraham near Quebec: General James Wolfe scales cliffs to take city by surprise- defeats the Marquis de Montcalm • Treaty of Paris 1763: France gave up Canada, to Britain, pulled out of trade with India, lost land west of Mississippi to Spain. (Spain also gives Florida to Britain, and regains Cuba) Very humiliating (and expensive) for France…this is why they support colonial rebellion 15 years later…. • Britain emerges as dominant naval power, and dominant colonial power. (A position they will hold for over a century)
Friction After the War • Colonists emerge from war feeling great- they fought for their homes and won! BUT, were annoyed so few colonials had been appointed officers in British army • British were annoyed that colonists had continued to smuggle in West Indies during war- essentially supplying the French (b/c they paid better than English) Made them question colonial loyalty. • Colonial militias had also been reluctant to leave their home areas and fight where needed, which had complicated British war effort.
Pontiac’s Rebellion • Now that French threat beyond the Appalachians removed…. Colonist assumed that there was all sorts of new land available- and began flocking west to get it. • As the war ended, in order to pacify Native Americans (who had been allies of the French, and weren’t leaving) the British had promised to limit settlement • As colonials came west, Chief Pontiac of the Ottawa led an alliance of Indian tribes to attack in Ohio Valley/Great Lakes region. 9 of 11 British Forts taken, 2000 settlers killed, and it took British army 18 months to get area under control. (Germ warfare- smallpox blankets) • British decide this whole area is a hassle, not liable to make them $$, and they don’t want to have to protect it…..
Proclamation of 1763 • So…… to keep peace with the Indians, the British issue Proclamation of 1763, which says there can be no colonial expansion beyond the Appalachians. It’s actually intended to be temporary, just to get things under control, and create more organized settlement. • But Colonists FREAK. Why had they fought? They see the order as permanent, and outright refuse to obey. This gets the British gov’t mad….they had given a direct order, what was unclear? • Setting up the idea (for the colonists) that the British might not have their best interests at heart….
Paxton Boys and Regulators • Not only were colonists, annoyed, they were ready to fight for what they saw as their rights. (Similar to Liesler’s and Bacon’s Rebellions) • Paxton Boys In Pennsylvania Scotts Irish settlers kill 20 Indians (from a peaceful tribe), and governor (a Quaker) wants them tried for murder. 250 Scotts Irish march on Philadelphia demanding Indians removed from frontier. Benjamin Franklin negotiates a truce between Scotts, Quakers, and Indians. • Regulators: Western Carolina (more Scotts) frustrated with British land and tax policies, become vigilantes, demanding access to the frontier for what they call “fair” treatment in terms of land ownership • Again- British just don’t want to deal with this….and decide they need to get the colonies under control.
Review: America Before the Revolution • American colonists have the highest standard of living in the world. • Mercantilism and Navigation Laws restricted trade, but certainly allowed the colonists to make good $$. (Southern colonies generally suffered more, as they needed manufactured goods, and didn’t tend to smuggle) • Colonists had more direct representation in local government than English
Towards independence • In 1763 colonies were happy to be a part of the victorious British empire. In 1776 they were in open rebellion- that’s a big change in 15 years! • Revolution (according to John Adams) came from a change in the colonists interpretation in the balance of liberty and order: “the principles, opinion, sentiments and affections of the people”. England itself had dealt with the same issue during the English Civil War, and the Glorious Revolution. • After French and Indian War, and the problems with Western expansion; British feel they need to get a grip on the colonies. AND they should pay for their own defense (which was admittedly a HUGE expense) • Actually, what the British wanted wasn’t unreasonable or repressive- but the Americans (b/c that’s what they are becoming) no longer the goals of England as their own best interest.
The issue of taxation • Doesn’t start with NEW taxes…but with attempts to ENFORCE the old ones- and end the loss of revenue that came from colonial smuggling with the west indies. • Sugar Act of 1764 replaced Molasses Act 1733: 1st British tax designed to raise revenues in the colonies. Taxed foreign sugar to stop smuggling. • Currency Act 1764: forbid colonies to issue their own paper $$. (they don’t want Colonies to control the specie they use to pay debts, they could devalue it) they have to pay taxes in bullion- which is scarce in colonies.
The end of Salutary Neglect • Prime Minister after War was George Grenville, and he wanted to recoup expenses of French and Indian War. (which was HUGE, ½ of the British national debt directly related to colonial expense) Wanted colonists to pay 1/3 of cost of maintaining a garrison of 10,000 soldiers for continued protection against Native Americans. • Increased authority of admiralty courts to try smugglers and tax evaders, and those trials were conducted without a jury. • George III (became king in 1762) very stubborn. Surrounded himself with government officials who were inexperienced in colonial affairs, and narrow minded. When things go badly, King George replaces them, he will have 5 prime ministers in the 1st 10 years of his reign – no stablity
Writs of assistance • British customs officers given right to inspect all colonial ships (with or without probable cause) to reduce smuggling. • Seen as very offensive by colonists, as though their government assumes they are criminals. • 1761: James Otis (a Boston Lawyer) demanded Parliament repeal the acts (they did not). He coined the phrase “No Taxation without Representation”
The Stamp Act • Probably the most important event leading to the revolution. • 1765 Required all printed materials (like published papers and legal documents) must bear an official “stamp” to be legal. • Grenville’s Justification: Colonies needed to pay for their defense, and a similar act (but larger) had been used in England during times past. When colonies complained about “taxation w/o representation” he said that all British citizens had “virtual representation” in Parliament, b/c Parliament represents all Englishmen (Even if they didn’t vote for members) • Virginia Resolves: (drafted by Patrick Henry) said that Stamp Act violated colonists rights as Englishmen. Called for non importation of English goods. 8 other colonies drafter similar resolutions
Internal/External Taxes • Colonists differentiated between “legislation” and “taxation” • Parliament has the right to make laws for the empire, and those laws MAY include taxes that apply to ALL British citizens (external) such as customs duties and tariffs. • But local taxes – those that apply to only one area) are the right of local government (internal) and since the stamp act applied only to the colonies, parliament was violating colonial rights
The Stamp Act Congress • Colonists did NOT accept Grenville’s reasoning, and 9 colonies (the ones with resolutions) met in Boston in 1765 to discuss matter. Massachusetts and Virginia the leaders. • Petitioned the King to repeal the Stamp act (in a list of rights and grievances, a forerunner of the declaration), called for a boycott of trade with Britain. • Important b/c the colonies are working together, seeing that they have more in common with each other than England. • Sons of Liberty: (Led by Sam Adams) put pressure (sometimes pretty intense, vandalize, tar and feather etc) on merchants. All Stamp Act agents resigned.
The Stamp Act Repealed • 1766. Boycotts work (if you really want to get someone to change their minds, hit them in the pocketbook) • George Grenville replaced as PM by Lord Rockingham, who didn’t want merchants (an important electoral group in England) mad at him, so he repealed Stamp Act. • However, Parliament passed the Declaratory Act to save face, saying that parliament had the right to tax colonies in any way they saw fit
Townshend Acts • Charles Townshend becomes Prime Minister 1767- wanted to punish colonies for stamp act uprising, and creates a series of new taxes. They are not large, and external (indirect) paid as customs duties at ports, so Townshend assumes they will not cause problems. • Import fee on glass, white lead, paper, paint, silk and tea. • Sticky bit is that revenue is used to pay the salaries of royal governors and admiralty judges- which makes them unpopular, and causes colonists to challenge their validity (again) • John Dickenson: “letters from a Pennsylvania farmer” said England didn’t have right to tax colonies to pay for British officials.
Massachusetts Circular letter • Sam Adams and James Otis drafted a letter in the Massachusetts legislature which supported Dickenson’s argument- and called for the repeal of the Townshend Acts, and the renewal on non-importation • British sent troops to Boston, and demanded the letter be retracted. When it wasn’t, they dissolved the Mass. Legislature…warning that they will do the same in any colony that supports (Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and South Carolina will have their legislatures dissolved) • British exports fall 40% over then next few months.
Trouble in Boston: The Boston Massacre • Parliament decides it’s time to stop messing around- and the send two regiments to Boston in 1768. Colonists take this as a sign that the British are a threat not only to their liberty, but to their lives. • March 5th 1770 a mob began taunting and threatening British soldiers on patrol. The soldiers “took” the abuse for some time- but eventually fired on the crowd. • 5 killed, 6 wounded. (Crispus Attucks, a free Black, the 1st shot) Colonial propaganda grossly exaggerated the incident. John Adams and Josiah Quincy defended the soldiers in court- the majority were acquitted
Townshend Acts Repealed • Repealed 1770- again as a result of econ downturn caused by colonial non importation. (we were a much larger part of their econ then they had bargained for) More than ½ the troops pulled out of Boston • The tax on tea was NOT repealed- once again parliament is trying to save face and assert their supremacy. • From 1770-1773 relations between America and England somewhat stabilized
Committees of Correspondence • Sam Adams was a master of propaganda. Didn’t WANT the anger/resentment to die down, so he found a way to keep colonists stirred up. • Local groups organized to write letters of propaganda, to keep opposition to British policy alive. • At first just in Massachusetts, but idea spread into other colonies, and intercolonial ties developed (which will help lead to the 1st continental congress)
Boston Tea Party • Tea Act 1773: East India Company in financial trouble- on the verge of bankruptcy. SO, the gov’t (a large shareholder) gave them a monopoly on Tea. The monopoly actually made the price of tea in the colonies LOWER than it had been, but that wasn’t the point, colonists were furious. • As the tea landed in Philadelphia, New York, Charleston and Boston; colonists attempted to convince governors not to allow it to land (some successful) but when “talking” failed in Boston, Sam Adams led a party of 60 (dressed as Indians) to throw 342 barrels of tea overboard. • And now we are talking about destruction of gov’t property, and the government doesn’t think that’s funny….
Colonial Unity • Britain responds with the Intolerable (Coercive) Acts- intending to put a stop to rebellion by punishing Boston/Massachusetts/New England • Closed Boston Harbor until damages paid, Massachusetts charter revoked. Restrictions of town hall meetings. Anyone who attacked a British officer or British property would be tried in England. Quartering of troops in Boston • Also passed the Quebec Act- which was designed to organize the lands taken from the French in the War. And even THIS makes the colonists mad (showing how high the tension level is) b/c they feel it means the proclamation of 1763 will be permanent, and they will never get the lands in the Ohio valley they want so badly. Also afraid they will lose representative gov’t as Act specifically says new lands won’t have it (which they didn’t under French anyway) • All of this pushes the colonies together….they are developing a common cause
Continental Congress(es) • Colonies decided it was time to talk….Reps from 12 colonies (no GA) meet in Philadelphia during Sept/Oct 1774. (1st Continental Congress) Suffolk Resolves: Agree to boycott British goods, and to send an Declaration of Rights to the King, and organize a colonial militia. Intended to be brief, but was cordial and successful, so delegates leave agreeing to meet again • 2nd Continental Congress convenes May 1775. Prime Minister North declares it an illegal assembly- and says colonies are in rebellion. Blockaded all trade with foreign nations
Loyalists v. Patriots • Between 1763 and 1776, many colonists went from loyal subjects to rebels- but NOT all of them, not even close. • Loyalists: did not support the revolution (some even fought for British) Econ was a prime reason, and the wealthier a colonist was, the more likely to want to stay in the empire. (esp those engaged in Atlantic trade, large landowners, or those in backcountry, who need protection from Indians). Conservative, feared rebellion would bring anarchy. • Patriots: More likely to be urban, small merchants (feeling pinch of taxes), and artisans. Congregationalist/Presbyterian/Methodist/Baptist
The American Revolution • 2nd Congress make us rebels, but “the shot heard round the world” starts the war for independence. • April 1775: 700 British troops sent to confiscate arms/gunpowder from colonials to prevent it being used against them (and arrest leaders Sam Adams and John Hancock). Warned by Paul Revere (and others) 70 “minutemen” are ready- and fire on the British (0 British killed, 8 Americans)- who move on to Concord. There they are met with by an even larger colonial group- and the Americans take the field. By the end of the day, 273 British casualties, 95 American • British return to Boston- and find a city ready for siege, which they are forced to dislodge (bunker’s/breed’s hill) though Americans saw it as a victory, they had surrendered only b/c they were out of ammo. (actually bloodiest battle of war) Will lead King George to send mercenaries: Hessians.
The 2ndcontinental Congress • Now faced with a war- and they have to decide what to do…. (it’s one thing to write letters and boycott) They were forced to become a government- and the delegates become the 1st group of the “founding fathers”. • Drafted a 2nd letter for the king- and for the British people: “Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking up Arms” (Thomas Jefferson) • But they aren’t really an authorized government, and one of their great challenges during the war was getting the colonies to act together when they didn’t want to.
Olive Branch Petition • Last ditch effort by loyalists/moderates in congress to avoid full out bloodshed. Written by John Dickenson of PA, pledged loyalty to the crown, and sought to restore peace. Asked king/parliament to “reconsider” Intolerable acts, and withdraw troops. • Ignored in England
Continental Army • Most significant act in 1775 was the agreement to fight- and fight together (after all, early conflict all in Mass) Authorized summer of 1775. George Washington made commander (he didn’t really have all that much experience, and he had never had large numbers of troops or planned strategy- and in the end he loses more battle than he won) BUT- he had a personal integrity that inspired loyalty….and he was from Virginia, and New England NEEDS southern colonies on board. • More early fighting done by Ethan Allen/Benedict Arnold and “Green Mountain Boys” who attacked and captured British Ft Ticonderoga
Common Sense • Thomas Paine: January 1776 • Helped shift the mindset of the “average” American (who thought all out warfare with the most powerful country in the world fairly risky) Irony: He’s English- had come to America as an adult. But he is an ardent Republican- against a hereditary government. • Detailed what the Britain gained from colonies, and made it seem exploitive. Also criticized them for inconsistent policy. Expressed confidence that an independent America would grow stronger than her mother country. “Nowhere in the universe does a smaller heavenly body control a larger one”. Said we had a sacred mission to create a pure new nation. • Sold 120,000 copies in 6 months- huge publicity burst for patriot cause. Convinced Congress to go for full independence- not home rule or other reconciliation.
The Declaration of Independence • The resolution for Independence was introduced by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia (great, great, great… of Robert E Lee- irony)Adopted July 2,1776. Such a thing had never been done- and lots of people were nervous. So Congress decides that an explanation is needed, and appoints a 5 man committee: John Adams, Ben Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston…and Thomas Jefferson to create it • The bulk of the Declaration is a list of Grievances against the king, but that’s not what makes it famous. It’s a statement of ideology, of the philosophical ideas we will use as the foundation of our new nation • But Jefferson doesn’t come up with the ideas fully on his own…..
John Locke: Two Treatise on Government • Inspiration for much of Jefferson’s work in the Declaration • Locke had written after the English Civil War (1689)- was a call for a constitutional government. • Does NOT look for a democracy, or even a Republic (Locke had no problem with the idea of a king) though it does say “all men are created equal” …in the eyes of the law. • Two particularly important concepts