On May 10, 1775, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia. The Congress dealt with the military crisis the colonies were in with England. It organized forces around Boston into the Continental Army and appointed George Washington to commander-in-chief.
The Battle of Bunker Hill was the first major battle fought in the war. The colonists had made a fort on Bunker and Breeds Hills to fire on English ships approaching Boston. Thomas Gage ordered his British troops to attack the hills. He believed the task to be an easy one, but met great resistance. It took two British attempts to capture the two hills, which lead to many British casualties. The second attempt did run the colonists off the hills, but resulted in a greater colonial victory. Of the original 2500 Redcoats, only 1500 had survived the attack while only 400 of the Patriots had met with death.
Although war had begun, the colonies still wanted to make peace with England. Only 1/3 of the colonists wanted to wage war with England. The people were afraid that if a major war was fought with England, that all traitors would be executed. The motives for the war were not against King George III. The colonies were rebelling against Parliament, not against the crown. The Olive Branch Petition was created in an attempt to persuade King George III to mediate for the colonies. King George ignored the petition and said to use full force against the colonies to crush the resistance to English government. Then in January 1776, Thomas Paine published “Common Sense” with stated that the American Colonies should be independent from England. This along with the King’s refusal to support the colonies caused the creation of the Declaration of Independence.
The American Revolution was caused by many different reasons. The main reasons where Mercantilism trade with in the American Colonies, The First Great Awakening, The Great War of Empires, The Proclamation Line of 1763, The Acts passed by British Parliament, The population demographics of the eighteenth-century, The Common sense and the Declaration of Independence. The first reason was the ...
The devastation caused by the Battle of Bunker Hill caused General Gage to be replaced with General William Howe. Howe ordered his troops to evacuate Boston and sailed his men to Nova Scotia to wait for reinforcements and to plan his next attack. How planned to isolate New England because it was though that most resistance originated from there. He intended to capture New York City and take control of the Hudson River. He also planned for an army, led by John Burgoyne, to march southward from Canada. Howe was successful in his attempts to capture New York City.
General Howe’s victory in New York City began a repeating pattern for both himself and Washington. It seemed as if General Howe was unstoppable, while Washington was merely a child playing war. As Washington kept losing battles and being pushed back, men in his militia began deserting him. The Second Continental Congress was beginning to lose faith in Washington. Then, on December 25, 1776, Washington marched 2400 men across the Delaware during a wild winter storm and attacked Trenton. Washington’s men defeated a great Hessian force, which led to victory at Princeton.
The attack during the winter led by Washington infuriated General Howe. It was at this point he disregarded the battle plan that was originally meant to isolate New England from the rest of the continent. Howe sailed his men to Philadelphia to defeat the city and capture the Second Continental Congress. Although successful in his attempts, the outright disregard for the battle plan left Burgoyne and Clinton weakened. While Howe chased Washington around New England, American forces led by Philip Schuyler and Horatio Gates and Benedict Arnold had made great defenses south of Saratoga. Burgoyne attacked Saratoga twice and was defeated both times suffering great loses. Each day more and more militia came to the aid against Burgoyne and soon surrounded the British army. Burgoyne’s only hope for aid was Henry Clinton who was marching up the Hudson, but decided to return to New York for reinforcements just before he reached Saratoga. This led to Burgoyne’s surrender of himself and 5700 British troops. This great triumph led to an American alliance with the French in 1778(Franco-American Alliance).
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After the great loss at Saratoga, William Howe resigned from his position and was replaced by Henry Clinton. General Clinton decided to turn to British loyals for alliance and shifted the war to the southern colonies. After he attacked Savannah and Charlestown, Clinton returned north and left General Lord Cornwallis in charge of defeating the south.
General Cornwallis’ southern campaign seemed to go well in the beginning, but as American forces fought battles their tactics became better. Cornwallis withdrew to North Carolina where he would meet reinforcements. Greene’s Patriots quickly regained control of the Carolina backcountry.
Cornwallis continued to march northward into Virginia where he joined forces with troops led by Benedict Arnold. As in Carolina, the British vastly outnumbered the Patriots but rapidly deteriorated when local militia and Continental forces concentrated attacks against them. General Clinton ordered Cornwallis to establish a base at Yorktown where he could be supplied by sea. It was here that Cornwallis met with a disastrous defeat. The French navy bottled the Atlantic and cut Cornwallis off from the sea. Washington then attacked Cornwallis at Yorktown with nearly 17,000 French and American veterans. Cornwallis held out until October 17 and asked for terms of surrender. Two days later 7,000 British soldiers laid down their arms.
The Treaty of Paris in 1783 meant the end of war and the recognition of the Americas as an independent country. The Continental Congress appointed John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, and Henry Laurens as a commission to conduct peace talks. The peace talks resulted in trade being established with England and the dividing of the North American continent being divided between the colonists, French, and Spanish.