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Learn about The History of the American Revolution and Map in this educational video from dizzo95.
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In the 1760s, Great Britain confronted its 13 American colonies with a punishing tax policy that ushered in the crisis in Anglo-American relations. On April 19th, 1775, Massachusetts minute men, in defense of their local privileges, challenged British regulars at the battle of Lexington and Concorde. The British responded by trying to intimidate Boston. In June, the bloody battle of Bunker Hill showed Boston would not submit, and support throughout the colony showed the rebellion did not center in Massachusetts alone.
On June 15th, the Continental Congress commissioned George Washington of Virginia to lead the American Army. 12 days later, Congress ordered an invasion of Quebec, but, in the winter, the invasion was repulsed.
With Canon Hall from Fort Ticonderoga, the Americans prepared a siege of Boston. The British, under Sir William Howe, withdrew to Halifax. Enjoying total naval supremacy, British strategy was to wage war along formal European lines, with disciplined troops. Howe landed in Staten Island with a powerful force of 32,000. He promptly defeated Washington’s army at Brooklyn Heights and occupied New York City. In October, Howe pursued Washington, beat him at the Battle of White Plains and set up winter garrisons in New Jersey. But Washington demonstrated the vulnerability of Howe’s extended outposts when, in a brilliant stroke, he crossed the Delaware River on Christmas and took the Hessian Garrison completely by surprise. A few days later, Washington scored a second victory at Princeton, American morale soared. In an effort to sever New England from the other warring colonies, the British planned a major assault. Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne led an army into northeastern New York, while troops under Barry St. Leger invaded the Mohawk Valley.
The campaign called for forces under St. Leger, Burgoyne and Howe, who would move up the Hudson Valley to link near Albany. But, in the summer of 1777, Howe decided on a different plan, he would seize the American capital at Philadelphia. St. Leger was forced to quit the siege of Fort Stanwix, following the retreat of his Iroquois allies.
Meanwhile, Burgoyne pressed south. Heavy casualties forced his slow moving army back to Saratoga, where 10,000 men under General Horatio Gates surrounded and outnumbered him. In October, Burgoyne surrendered to the Americans.
News of Saratoga caused a sensation in London and Paris. France, which had been secretly bankrolling the Americans since the start of hostilities, formerly recognized the Unites States in February, 1778.
After moving off Chesapeake Bay, Howe trounced Washington in a string of engagements, at Brandy Wine Creek, and again at Germantown. Howe then took Philadelphia, while the Continental Congress fled in panic to York, but, despite a desperate winter of ice and mud and disease at Valley Forge, Washington held on until the arrival of reinforcements. After 1778, the center of the war shifted south, as Britain moved to protect its lucrative islands in the West Indies from maritime competitors.
At the end of 1778, the British took Savannah, then moved quickly into the interior and captured Augusta. In May, 1780, they forced the surrender of the Continental Army at Charleston, the worst loss of American soldiers of the war. And in August, at Camden, under Lord Charles Cornwallis, they annihilated the hastily assembled American Army under General Gates, the hero of Saratoga.
While the British had no trouble taking the south’s major cities, they fail to establish control in the back country. Colorful guerilla leaders such as Francis Marion, the legendary swamp fox, and General Nathaniel Green’s frontier men, zapped the strength of Cornwallis’ army. And as Cornwallis carried his campaign to North Carolina, the Americans won decisively at the Battle of Kings Mountain.
Convinced that Virginia held the key to the south, Cornwallis moved north. His position at Yorktown however, gave the Franco-American alliance a strategic opportunity. A French fleet blocked Cornwallis’ access to the sea, defeating the British at the Battle of the Capes, while Washington’s allied forces rushed in to choke off an escape by land.
With full military honors and the British bands playing, the world turned upside down. Cornwallis surrendered his army on October 19th, 1781. The peace of Paris ratified American independence in September, 1783. American negotiators not only secured British recognition of the United States, but a highly favorable territorial settlement too. The entire region, from the Appalachians to the Mississippi.