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Revolutionary America

As a colonial power, England considered America’s colonies as possessions that existed to benefit the mother country. America was a source of food and raw materials and was also a market for finished products. At the time, England controlled the colonies with mercantilism, which was the policy of regulating colonial commerce to maximize economic benefit for England. To achieve this, they imposed a series of trade and manufacturing regulations. In addition, England instituted new taxes on the colonists to pay for the cost of maintaining colonial armies and for the debt incurred from the French and Indian War.

Colonists became resentful of the economic policies that affected them. They demanded rights to govern themselves, but England’s ruler, King George III, refused to acquiesce to colonists’ demands. The American Revolutionary War began, and on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence severed ties with England and established a new nation, the United States of America.

  • The Stamp Act - The French and Indian War had been an expensive undertaking for Britain.... Continue Reading
  • The Boston Massacre - As a means of generating income for colonial administration, Parliament in 1767 passed the Townshend Acts, which placed duties on paper, lead, paint, and tea imported into the colonies.... Continue Reading
  • The Sons of Liberty - During the Parliamentary debate over the Stamp Act (1765), Isaac Barré referred to the American opponents of the new tax as the "Sons of Liberty*." Secret radical groups in the colonies adopted this n... Continue Reading
  • The Boston Tea Party - In 1770, American protests led to Parliament's repeal of the Townshend duties — except for the duty on tea retained by the British as a matter of principle.... Continue Reading
  • Taxation and Representation - A fundamental difference of opinion had developed between British authorities and the Americans on the related issues of taxing the colonists and their representation in Parliament.... Continue Reading
  • Phillis Wheatley - Sung and unsung, more women have contributed significantly to American history than can be contained within a single table. The following is a representative survey of some of the most important women... Continue Reading
  • First Continental Congress - The idea of an intercolonial meeting was advanced in 1773 by Benjamin Franklin, but failed to gain much support until after the Port of Boston was closed in response to the Boston Tea Party.... Continue Reading
  • Common Sense - The fighting at Lexington and Concord did not immediately transform American public opinion into supporting independence from Britain.... Continue Reading
  • New York and the American Revolution - The colony of New York was adversely affected by British policies in the period following the French and Indian War.... Continue Reading
  • American Revolution - John Adams once wrote, "But what do we mean by the American Revolution?... Continue Reading
  • Second Continental Congress - Before adjourning in late October 1774, the First Continental Congress had provided for reconvening at a later time if circumstances dictated.... Continue Reading
  • Paul Revere's Ride - In the spring of 1775, most of the Massachusetts Patriot leaders had taken refuge in outlying communities, fearing arrest by British officials.... Continue Reading
  • The War of Independence - Many historians accept a distinction made by John Adams between the American Revolution and the War for Independence.... Continue Reading
  • Yorktown - From today’s perspective, it is difficult to appreciate the long odds faced by Americans and their French allies in the Yorktown campaign of 1781.... Continue Reading
  • The Treaty of Paris - The American victory in its war of independence from Britain was in large measure due to its alliance with France.... Continue Reading