The Road to Revolution
• What is meant by “salutary
neglect” and how does this lead
directly to the revolution?
What was the Revolutionary mov’t at its core really all
The amount of taxation?
The right of Parliament to tax?
The political corruption of Britain and the virtue of
The right of a king to govern America?
The colonies’ growing sense of nat’l identity apart from
Was the Revolution truly a radical overturning of gov’t
and society - the usual definition of a “revolution - or
something far more limited or even “conservative” in
its defense of traditional rights?
Whose Revolution
Varying viewpoints: whose revolution?
An ideological view of the Revolution as resulting from the
ideas view
about of
power. as
product of social conflict among colonial
“The colonists believed they saw emerging from the welter of
groups. “It was the opposition of interests
events during the decade after the Stamp Act a pattern whose
In America
that chiefly made saw
was unmistakable…They
them, with
On eitherclarity,
men who
take a
no merely
or even
evil, to
the principles
safe middle
to be evidence
of nothing
less than as
a deliberate
their country
nor to mark
rebels, assault
launched surreptitiously by plotters against liberty both in England
could no longer hold together”
and in America…. This belief transformed the colonists’
Carl L. Becker Beginnings of the American People
Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American
Revolution (1967)
• Parliament rejected the First Continenta
Congress’ petition
• April 1775 Br. Commander in Boston
sent detachment of troops to nearby
Lexington and Concord
– Shot heard around the world
– British lost 1/3 of their army
On the Eve of the
Revolution ?
• pop adv 3:1
•Naval power
•Professional army
• Ireland worry
•French backstab
•No Wm Pitt to organize
• Liked American cousins
Write this down!
• defensive fight
• self sustaining agric
•Moral advantage just
• disjointed/jealous
•Badly organized
•No currency
Second Continental Congress
• May 1775
• Conservative
• No well defined desire for
• Best political move - drafting G
• Va to balance Ma - aristocrat to
balance “masses”
Washington’s Headaches
Only 1/3 of the colonists were in
favor of a war for independence [the
other third were Loyalists, and the
final third were neutral].
State/colony loyalties.
Congress couldn’t tax to raise money
for the Continental
Poor training [until
the arrival of
Baron von Steuben.
Exports & Imports: 1768-1783
Make Up Your Mind!
• One hand Americans trying to
affirm loyalty to king and trying to
patch up
• Other hand raising armies and
shooting Br. Soldiers
Military Strategies
The Americans
Attrition [the
Brits had a long
supply line].
Guerilla tactics
[fight an
insurgent war 
you don’t have
to win a battle,
just wear the
British down]
Make an
alliance with
one of Britain’s
The British
Break the
colonies in half
by getting
between the
No. & the So.
Blockade the
ports to prevent
the flow of
goods and
supplies from an
“Divide and
Conquer”  use
the Loyalists.
• Battle of Lexington & Concord •
April 19, 1775
• Fort Ticonderoga May 10, 1775 •
• Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775
• Common Sense, Feb 14,1776
• Siege of Charleston, June 1776 •
• Declaration, July 1776
• Battles for New York – August –
October, 1776
• Battles for New York – August – •
October, 1776
Trenton, December 26, 1776
Princeton, January 2, 1777
Saratoga, September 1777
2nd Saratoga, October 1777
Valley Forge, Dec. 1777 – June
France joins the war against Britain,
February 6, 1778
British take Charleston, SC May 12
American victory at Cowpens, SC
Jan. 17, 1781
American victory at Guilford
Courthouse NC Mar 15 1781
British surrender at Yorktown Oct
19, 1781
Treaty of Paris signed Sept 3 1783
Phase I: The Northern Campaign
May 1775: Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold.
Ticonderoga and Crown Point
Bunker Hill (June, 1775)
The British suffered over 40% casualties.
Second Continental Congress
Olive Branch Petition
July 1775
Now it is treason - punishable by
Then he hired Hessians!
Thomas Paine’s
Common Sense
aka “pis*&^ing in the wind”
• Best seller
• Common sense said to completely
rebel - Britain was smaller than us!
• Biblical language appealed to the
Thomas Paine’s
Common Sense
• Not just independence but whole new republic where power comes from the people themselves
• Radical revert to Greece
•Traditional was “mixed gov’t”
•This suggestion was heard b/c
–Colonist experience in self - govt ex: New England
–Experience in democratic town meets
–Committees of correspondence showed republican gov’t
–No hereditary aristocracy in the colonies
Citizen Virtue
•Because political power will no longer reside with
the king
•Individuals need to sacrifice their personal selfinterest to the public good
•**collective good of the “people” mattered more
than private rights and interests
•Republicanism for them meant an end to
hereditary aristocracy but not an end to all social
hierarchy. Many still worried the revolutionary fervor
for liberty would overwhelm the stability of the
social order
What are the single most important 35 words
in the English language?
Declaration of Independence
Price they paid
Phase II:
New York City in Flames
Burgoyne’s Plan - 1777
Capture the Hudson River Valley, thereby cutting New England
off from the rest of the country,squeezing it to death.
sail down Lake Champlain and recapture Fort Ticonderoga. head
through the forest to try and attack the Americans.
Burgoyne was only traveling 22 miles, but it took him 20 days to
cover it because he had 600 wagons going through the forest and the
muddy marsh with him.
• Over 30 of them were carrying his own personal baggage
because even in the wilderness, Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne
ate off of silver plates. This gave the Americans time to prepare
for the British.
When the British got to Saratoga, their 6,000 man army was
outnumbered and after a fierce battle, they lost.
Shortly after, the French decided to help the American cause for
These were the two major turning points in the war, which
turned it in America's favor.
“Turning Point”
of the War?
A modern-day re-enactment
Arnold Leading the Charge at
Freeman's Farm
During the second battle of Saratoga on Oct.
7, 1777, Arnold led a headlong charge,
captured a key redoubt, was again wounded,
and made the British surrender inevitable.
One of his soldiers called Arnold "as brave a
• His bitterness, along with a need for money
to pay heavy debts, led Arnold to negotiate
with the British. He conceived a plan to betray
West Point, a post that he commanded
His attempted treachery was
revealed when John Andre (left), a
major, was captured in September
1780 carrying Arnold's message.
Arnold escaped to the enemy lines
and was commissioned a brigadier
general in the British army. For his
property losses, he claimed and
Washington Crossing the Delaware
Painted by Emanuel Leutze, 1851!
Is it realistic?
The People of Valley Forge
• There were 12,000 men and women of the
Continental Army in Valley Forge on during the
winter of 1777.
• The Commander-in-Chief was General George
• It was a difficult time for them.
– There wasn't enough food or shelter from the weather.
– They had lost battles at Brandywine in September and Germantown in
– They were discouraged and wondered if they could even win the war.
– The men were as young as eleven and as old as 60. Most of the
soldiers were white, but there were some blacks and Indians. There
were even some foreigners there who helped the soldiers.
• 2,000 died; the others stayed at their posts
THE NAVAL WAR - it goes
• An important factor, and one not always
remembered, was that the Continental
Congress relied heavily on aid from abroad.
Aid which included not only muskets and
powder, but ultimately ships and men as well.
• This aid could only be brought to American
shores by water, and to do it required a sea
power to counterbalance that of England. The
struggle for North America was fought not
only at Trenton, Monmouth,and Saratoga, but
also in the cold, gray seas off Ushant; off
Cadiz, and in the shadows of grim Gibralter
and in the tropical waters of the West Indies
Phase III: The Southern
Strategy [1780-1781]
Britain’s “Southern Strategy”
Britain thought that there were more
Loyalists in the South.
Southern resources were more
valuable/worth preserving.
The British win a number of small
victories, but cannot pacify the
countryside [similar to U. S. failures
in Vietnam!]
Good US General:
Nathanial Greene
The Battle of Yorktown (1781)
Count de
De Grasse
Cornwallis’ Surrender at Yorktown:
“The World Turned Upside Down!”
Painted by John Trumbull, 1797
Recap of Important Battles
Lexington – Concord 1775
Shot heard @ the world
Breeds- Bunker Hill – 1775
Don’t fire ‘til you see the whites of their
Trenton- Princeton 1776
G. Washington crosses frozen Delaware
River Christmas Eve
Saratoga Oct 17, 1777
Howe and Burgoyne( Br) vs. Gates
Fr $ - Valley Forge
Yorktown Oct 17, 1781 * end
Cornwallis (Br) vs. G. Washington and
North America After the
Treaty of Paris, 1783

The American Revolution