Chapter 8: America Secedes from the Empire 1775-1783

Intro:
  • 2nd Continental Congress - May 1775 - 13 colonies.
  • Just wanted to keep fighting until parliament redressed grievances.

Congress Drafts George Washington:

  • Washington had great leadership qualities and moral values
  • Him being chosen was largely political: from Virginia (most populous colony), already wealthy.

Bunker Hill and Hessian Hirelings:

  • May 1775, American force under Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold captured British garrisons at Ticonderoga and Crown Point. Secured gunpowder and artillery.
  • Colonists seized Bunker (Breed's) Hill - Americans just shot those redcoats down - US victory
  • Continental Congress developed "Olive Branch Petition" - American loyalty was still to the crown, asked British to end hostilities. Rejected.
  • Britain hired German (Hessian) soldiers

The Abortive Conquest of Canada:

  • October 1775 - British burned Falmouth (Portland), Maine
  • Rebels invaded Canada (in hopes for a 14th colony and to get that area away from British control) - offensive warfare
  • Generals Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold launched assault on Quebec - but were beaten off.
  • Jan 1776 - British burned Norfolk, Virginia
  • March 1776 - British forced to evacuate Boston.
  • Rebels won victories at Moore's Creek and Charleston harbor.

Thomas Pain Preaches Common Sense:

  • American colonies were still "loyal" to king
  • Common Sense by Thomas Paine - why shouldn't tiny Britain control huge America?

Pain and the Idea of "Republicanism":

  • Paine not only called for independence, but a new government called "republics" - all public officials were elected
  • Citizen "virtue" fundamental to republican government
  • Some worried it would promote too much social "leveling"

Jefferson's "Explanation" of Independence:

  • July 2nd, 1776 - Richard Henry Lee made motion for independence
  • Congress assigned Jefferson to write a formal declaration of independence - July 4th, 1776.
  • Invoked "natural rights" of humankind

Patriots and Loyalists:

  • Loyalists=Tories, Patriots=Whigs
  • Rebel militias important. Spread Revolutionary ideals, harassed British detachments.
  • 16% population Loyalists. People of education and wealth, of culture and caution. - Anglican church.
  • Patrick Henry "give me liberty or give me death!"
  • New England mostly rebels

Makers of America: They Loyalists:

  • Loyalists (wealthy, educated) thought breaking from Britain would lead to anarchy
  • Tory brigades: Volunteers of Ireland, N. Carolina Highlanders
  • African-American Loyalists hoped for escape from bondage. After war, some black loyalists freed, some betrayed.
  • White loyalists faced arrest, exile, loss of legal rights - fled to Britain and Canada

The Loyalist Exodus:

  • After DoI, loyalists imprisoned, some hanged
  • 80,000 Loyalists driven out or fled - their properties were sold to finance the war.

George Washington at Bay:

  • Huge British fleet New York - July 1776
  • 35,000 British vs. 18,000 Americans
  • Americans got pwned and routed at Battle of Long Island. Washington crossed the Delaware with the British close behind.
  • British General William Howe did not crush American forces.
  • Dec 26, 1776, Washington surprised and captured 1,000 Hessians

Burgoyne's Blundering Invasion:

  • British General Burgoyne pushes down Lake Champlain from Canada. Howe advanced up Hudson to meet Burgoyne at Albany. Smaller force would come by Lake Ontario
  • Washington transferred his armies to Philadelphia - got beat at Brandywine Creek and Germantown
  • Washington winter at Valley Forge
  • Burgoyne forced to surrender at Saratoga. 1777.

Strange French Bedfellows:

  • French thought siding with America could weaken the British.
  • Sent American gunpowder and firearms
  • After Saratoga, British granted Americans home rule - but not revolution. France feared reconciliation.
  • 1778 French-American treaty of alliance. "Fight Until Freedom!"

A Colonial War Becomes a World War:

  • 1779 - Spain and Holland against Britain.
  • Russia's Armed Neutrality riled up all European neutrals against Britain.
  • 1778-1783: France provided rebs w/ guns, money, equipment, half of America's armed forces, and naval strength
  • June 1778 Washington attacked red coats

Blow and Counterblow:

  • 1780 powerful French army of 6,000 troops arrives at Rhode Island
  • 1780 Benedict Arnold turns traitor.
  • British overrun Charleston, SC
  • "Fighting Quaker" Nathanael Greene cleared most troops out of Georgia and SC

The Land Frontier and the Sea Frontier:

  • 1777 "Bloody Year" on the frontier. Indians split between British and American loyalty.
  • Mohawk chief Joseph Brant believe Britain could restrain Americans from expanding West.
  • 1778-1779 George Rogers Clark captured British forts
  • America had a tiny navy

Yorktown and the Final Curtain:

  • British General Cornwallis - Chesapeake Bay at Yorktown to await supplies and reinforcement
  • French Admiral de Grasse and General Washington marched to Yorktown - cornered! Cornwallis surrendered.
  • Fighting continued for more than a year after Yorktown.

Peace at Paris:

  • Whigs replaced Lord North 1782
  • Ben Franklin, John Adams, John Jay met in Paris
  • France wanted America independent, but weak, so it could be good for France.
  • Pre-treaty signed in 1782
  • Treaty of Paris 1783: British formally recognized independence of USA. Granted boundaries to the Mississippi, Great Lakes, Spanish Florida.

A New Nation Legitimized:

  • New Whigs in Britain more friendly to Americans than Tories
  • America alone gained from the war

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