The American Revolution was a political upheaval that took place between 1765 and 1783 during which colonists in the Thirteen American Colonies rejected the British monarchy and aristocracy, overthrew the authority of Great Britain, and founded the United States of America.
Starting in 1765, members of American colonial society rejected the authority of the British Parliament to tax them without colonial representatives in the government. During the following decade, protests by colonists—known as Patriots—continued to escalate, as in the Boston Tea Party in 1773 during which patriots destroyed a consignment of taxed tea from the Parliament-controlled and favored East India Company.〔Smuggler Nation: How Illicit Trade Made America: Peter Andreas Page 4〕 The British responded by imposing punitive laws—the Coercive Acts—on Massachusetts in 1774, following which Patriots in the other colonies rallied behind Massachusetts. In late 1774 the Patriots set up their own alternative government to better coordinate their resistance efforts against Great Britain, while other colonists, known as Loyalists, preferred to remain aligned to the British Crown.
Tensions escalated to the outbreak of fighting between Patriot militia and British regulars at Lexington and Concord in April 1775. The conflict then evolved into a global war, during which the Patriots (and later their French, Spanish, and Dutch allies) fought the British and Loyalists in what became known as the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783). Patriots in each of the thirteen colonies formed a Provincial Congress that assumed power from the old colonial governments and suppressed Loyalism, and from there built a Continental Army under the leadership of General George Washington. Claiming King George III's rule to be tyrannical and infringing the colonists' "rights as Englishmen", the Continental Congress declared the colonies free and independent states in July 1776. The Patriot leadership professed the political philosophies of liberalism and republicanism to reject monarchy and aristocracy, and proclaimed that all men are created equal. Congress rejected British proposals requiring allegiance to the monarchy and abandonment of independence.
The British were forced out of Boston in 1776, but then captured and held New York City for the duration of the war. The British blockaded the ports and captured other cities for brief periods, but failed to defeat Washington's forces. In early 1778, following a failed patriot invasion of Canada, a British army was captured at the Battle of Saratoga, following which the French openly entered the war as allies of the United States. The war later turned to the American South, where the British captured an army at South Carolina, but failed to enlist enough volunteers from Loyalist civilians to take effective control. A combined American–French force captured a second British army at Yorktown in 1781, effectively ending the war in the United States. The Treaty of Paris in 1783 formally ended the conflict, confirming the new nation's complete separation from the British Empire. The United States took possession of nearly all the territory east of the Mississippi River and south of the Great Lakes, with the British retaining control of Canada and Spain taking Florida.〔Liberty's Exiles: Maya Jasanoff.Pages 5-53〕〔Rough Crossings; Simon Schama Page 13-50〕
Among the significant results of the revolution was the creation of a democratically-elected representative government responsible to the will of the people, but which as a result of the 'Three-Fifths Compromise' allowed the southern slaveholders to consolidate power and maintain slavery in America for another eighty years.〔"We Hold These Truths to be Self-evident;" An Interdisciplinary Analysis of the Roots of Racism & slavery in America Kenneth N. Addison; Introduction P. xxii〕 The new Constitution established a relatively strong federal national government that included an executive, national judiciary, a bicameral Congress that represented both states in the Senate and population in the House of Representatives.〔Wood, ''The Radicalism of the American Revolution'' (1992)〕〔Greene and Pole (1994) chapter 70〕
Historians typically begin their histories of the American Revolution with the British victory in the French and Indian War in 1763, which removed France as a major player in North American affairs. Lawrence Henry Gipson, the historian of the British Empire, states:
:It may be said as truly that the American Revolution was an aftermath of the Anglo-French conflict in the New World carried on between 1754 and 1763.〔Lawrence Henry Gipson, "The American revolution as an aftermath of the Great War for the Empire, 1754-1763." ''Political Science Quarterly'' (1950): 86-104.(in JSTOR )〕
For the prior history see Thirteen Colonies.
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