AMERICAN REVOLUTION

The period 1765-1788 saw great changes in North America. The 13 eastern colonies demanded democratic government, and went to war against Britain in 1775. In 1776 they issued a DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, and in 1781 the British command surrendered the fight.

WHY DID THE COLONISTS REVOLT?

The people who had settled in North America valued personal freedom. Many of them had left Europe because of their strong religious or political views. They protested when the British government imposed taxes on them without consulting the local governing bodies of the colonies.

WHAT WAS THE BOSTON TEA PARTY?

Taxes paid on imported goods were very unpopular. In 1773, colonists disguised as American Indians boarded an English ship in Boston Harbor and threw its cargo of highly taxed tea overboard. This became known as the Boston Tea Party.

WHO FOUGHT IN THE WAR?

British troops, including German mercenaries, were supported by colonial loyalists. The rebellious Patriots formed a Continental Army after 1775, defeating the British at Saratoga Springs in 1777. The French sent 6,000 troops to fight the British.

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

In 1774, Patriots convened the first in a series of Continental Congresses in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to coordinate their struggle against the British. The 1776 Congress issued a Declaration of Independence, laying down its principles of freedom. A full United States government was founded in 1788.

WHO CALLED FOR FREEDOM?

The 1776 Declaration of Independence was issued in Philadelphia, in the name of John Hancock, president of the Continental Congress. It was written by Thomas Jefferson, who later became the third US president. It declared that “all men are created equal” and have a right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” These ringing words inspired revolutionaries around the world.

BIOGRAPHY: GEORGE WASHINGTON 1732–1799

Born in Virginia, Washington was a wealthy landowner and served with the British army. In 1775 he was chosen to command the rebel American army, which he led to victory in 1781. He oversaw the new constitution and in 1789 became the first US president.

FIND OUT MORE

Colonial America

Copyright © 2007 Dorling Kindersley

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