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The American
Revolution
“A World Turned Upside Down”
Britain and Its American Colonies
The American Colonies Grow



American colonies grow large and
populous during the 1600s and 1700s
Colonies thrive economically through
trade with Europe
• Britain’s Navigation Act restricts that
trade (1651)
• Other trade laws add restrictions and
taxes
Colonists identify less and less as
British subjects
British-Colonial Tensions Arise
 Britain and American colonies win the
French and Indian War in 1763
 Britain taxes colonists to help pay the war
debts
 Colonists argue that British cannot tax
them without their consent:
Secret protest societies
“No taxation without representation”
Growing Hostility Leads to War
 Colonists protest tea tax with “Boston
Tea Party” in 1773
 Colonists meet in Philadelphia to address
British policies (1774)
 British and Americans exchange fire at
Lexington and Concord in 1775
American Strengths and
Weaknesses
The colonists are
fighting for
independence
 George
Washington can
inspire his men to
fight
 France will aide
the colonies with
weapons, supplies
and their navy

Patriots and Loyalists
Patriots were
colonists who
supported the break
from England.
 Loyalists are
colonials support the
England.
 Colonists are divided
as to whether or not
they should rebel
against England!

American Strengths and
Weaknesses
The colonists are
not a trained
army
 Colonists enlist
for months
instead of years
 Short on money,
weapons and
supplies to fight
a war

British Strengths and
Weaknesses
The British have
an experienced
professional army
 Outnumber the
Continental Army
 The British army
is well supplied
with equipment
and weapons

British Strengths and
Weaknesses
 The
British are not fighting for a
cause
 British officers are careless and
poor leaders
 The British have a to cross the
Atlantic Ocean to send men and
supplies for the war
 The support at homes is rather
weak
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
Army.
•
Poor training, until
the arrival of
Baron von Steuben.
The Strategy of War
American Colonies vs Britains
American Colonies



Keep the Colonial
Army together
Washington seeks
to stretch the
British army away
from supply lines
Harass the enemy,
defeat the British in
a major battle
Britain




Seeks to destroy the
Colonial Army
Regain control of
the colonies by
region
Take the fight to the
Colonial Army
using European war
tactics
Use loyalists
support against the
colonies
Military Strategies
American Colonies

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 enemies.
Britain

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 ally.

“Divide and
Conquer”  use
the Loyalists.
Lexington and Concord, April
1777
 British
attempt to capture Samuel Adams
and weapons stockpile around Concord
 The colonists are warned by Paul Revere
and 40 other riders that “The British are
coming”
 4,000 colonial “militia men” exchange
fire with British troops along the main
road
 This battle is considered the beginning of
the American Revolution
A personal view of the American
Revolution
“ The men that was wounded in the thigh or
leg, they dashed out their brains with
their muskets and run them through with
their bayonets, made them like sieves.
This was barbarity to the utmost.”
Sergeant New Jersey Regiment, 1778
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