Revolution in America • Little indication of forthcoming revolution in mid-18th century • 13 colonies regarded themselves as British subjects • Long cultural and personal connections with England • Mutually profitable military and economic relationship
French and Indian War, 1754-1763 • Expensive, extensive • Overlapped with Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) • Conflict in Europe, India • British victory ensured global dominance, North American prosperity
Increased Taxation in 1760s • Bills come due from the Seven Years’ War • Tax burden falls to the colonies • Sugar Act (1764) • Stamp Act (1765) • Quartering Act (1765) (Housing British Troops) • Tea Act (1773)
The Declaration of Independence • British products boycotted, officials attacked • Protests • Boston Tea Party (1773), tea dumped into Boston harbor in protest against Tea Act • “no taxation without representation” • Continental Congress formed (1774), coordinates colonists’ resistance to British policies • July 4, 1776, adopts Declaration of Independence • Influence of Locke: retention of individual rights, sovereignty based on consent of the ruled
1846 lithograph by Nathaniel Currier entitled "The Destruction of Tea at Boston Harbor"; the phrase "Boston Tea Party" had not yet become standard. Contrary to Currier's depiction, few of the men dumping the tea were actually disguised as Indians.
Influence of the Enlightenment On The New America • The Declaration of Independence inspired by Locke & other enlightenment thinkers. • Jefferson wrote: • Governments rule only with the consent of the people and that they protect the natural rights of their citizens. • People have the right to overthrow unjust governments that do not protect its people, which justified an independent America.
Influence of the Enlightenment On The New America • The Constitution of the United States set up a government by social contract. • “We the people of the United States…” • Influenced by Montesquieu, the Constitution created a republic in which power was divided between the federal government and the states. Those powers were then divided between 3 branches creating a system of checks and balances. • The Bill of Rights was to protect these rights.
Impact of the American Revolution • Represented freedom for Europe and Latin America • Other nations would copy the ideas in US Constitution, which created the most liberal government at the time. • Inspired other challenges of absolute power.
Revolutionary War • Britain: • Strong central government • Navy, army • Loyalist population • Colonies: • Logistic advantage • Popular support • Support of British rivals • George Washington (1732-1799) provides imaginative military leadership
Building an Independent State • War-weariness sets in by 1780 • British forces surrounded at Yorktown, Virginia • Surrender in October 1781 • Military conflict ceases, treaty at Peace of Paris, 1783 • Recognition of American independence • 1787 Constitution of the United States drafted • Political and legal equality for men of property