The American Revolution, 1765 – 1783
Episode #2 of the course “Revolutions that changed the world”
The American Revolution is also known as the American Revolutionary War and the U.S. War for Independence. Originally, the United States consisted of colonies of people that came from Great Britain, and British laws and regulations were supposed to control the colonies. They also imposed taxes on the colonies, often at higher rates than those of the people in England. The colonies did not have representation in Parliament, so they were unable to meaningfully voice their concerns about the higher taxation rates.
The tension turned violent when British soldiers opened fire on a mob of colonists, killing five men. This is commonly known as the Boston Massacre and occurred in 1770. In another famous protest, the Boston Tea Party, the colonists objected to the taxation of tea within the colonies. Five men dressed up as Mohawk Indians, sneaked onto British ships, and dumped 342 chests filled with tea into the Boston Harbor. Shortly thereafter, the British passed a series of laws, the Intolerable or Coercive Acts, to help control the American colonies and reinstate British authority.
A group of colonists, including famous figures such as George Washington, John and Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, and John Jay, met in Philadelphia to voice their grievances against the crown. These delegates argued that there should be no taxation without representation and issued a declaration of rights that every colonist should have. However, on April 19, 1775 the first shots of the revolution were fired when the local militia clashed with British soldiers, and the Americans drafted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. After a battle that lasted the next seven years—and with help from France—Great Britain finally recognized the United States as a separate country on September 3, 1783 in the Treaty of Paris.
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