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A War for Independence.  In Europe, the war was known as the Seven Years’ War  In North America, it was known as the French and Indian War  The Treaty.

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Presentation on theme: "A War for Independence.  In Europe, the war was known as the Seven Years’ War  In North America, it was known as the French and Indian War  The Treaty."— Presentation transcript:

1 A War for Independence

2  In Europe, the war was known as the Seven Years’ War  In North America, it was known as the French and Indian War  The Treaty of Paris ended the war in 1763  The French ceded territory to Britain in North America and elsewhere  In addition, the British also secured Canada  And the thirteen colonies seemed safe from any threat posed from the French and their native American allies

3  After the war, the British wanted the American colonies to contribute more to the cost of their own defense  And some successful merchants in the colonies wanted to break free of controls imposed by the British  Of course, there were also radical politicians and propagandists who wanted a complete break with Britain when many of their countrymen still hoped that it might be avoided

4  There was a growing sense of patriotism and national identity  There was increased resentment of Great Britain’s economic mastery over the colonies  In particular, many colonists, especially in light of the fact that they lacked representation in the British Parliament, resented the taxes Britain levied to pay for the army it maintained in North America

5  Economic freedom from Britain would also allow American merchants to become wealthier, due to free trade and the new spirit of capitalism  And don’t forget, the philosophers of the Enlightenment…their ideas encouraged the pursuit of liberty  Enlightenment thinkers such as John Locke, Baron Charles de Montesquieu, Voltaire, and others shaped the government that eventually developed after this war for independence

6  Yet the descent into armed conflict between patriot (anti-British) and loyalist (pro-British) sympathizers was gradual  Events like the Boston 'Massacre' of 1770, when British troops fired on a mob that had attacked a British sentry outside Boston's State House, and the Boston 'tea-party' of 1773, when British-taxed tea was thrown into the harbour, marked the downward steps

7  Less obvious was the take-over of the colonial militias - which had initially been formed to provide local defence against the French and the Native Americans - by officers in sympathy with American patriots/rebels, rather than by those in sympathy with pro- British loyalists/Tories  As all these elements of conflict came into play, the British commander in chief in North America was Lieutenant General Thomas Gage

8  In April 1775, Gage sent a small force to seize patriot militia weapons and gunpowder at Concord, not far from Boston, but his soldiers became involved in a brief fire fight on Lexington Green on their way there  At first, the poorly trained and poorly armed American forces, led by George Washington, struggled against the professional armies of Britain  By 1777, however, the tide was turning

9  In mid-1775, patriot representatives of the 13 colonies of America, meeting in Philadelphia as the Continental Congress, had appointed George Washington, a well-to-do Virginia landowner, as commander in chief of its military forces  Washington, who thought militias fundamentally unreliable, set about raising a regular force, the Continental Army, and as the initial skirmishes between the patriots on the one hand and the British and their loyalist supporters on the other turned into a full-scale war, both sides were to use a mixture of regular troops, militias and other irregulars

10  Washington could also do nothing to deny the enormous advantage that command of the sea conferred on the British  In the summer of 1776 General Howe, his army of 30,000 men carried in ships commanded by his brother Richard, landed near New York and duly captured the city, inflicting several sharp defeats on the patriots

11  Washington, fearing that his cause would inevitably collapse as short-term enlistment into the Continental Army expired, launched a risky attack on the little town of Trenton, held by a brigade of Hessians (German troops in British service) on Boxing Day 1776  He won this battle, and although the victory was small in tactical terms, it had a wider strategic impact, showing that the patriots were still in the fight

12  In 1777, Howe took Philadelphia for the British  But an ill-judged British attempt to invade from Canada, thrusting down the Hudson Valley towards New York and cutting off rebellious New England, went badly wrong, and Lieutenant General John Burgoyne was forced to surrender with his entire army at Saratoga in October

13  Defeat at Saratoga was not necessarily a military cataclysm for the British, but it encouraged the French, anxious to obtain revenge for the humiliations of the Seven Years War, to go beyond the covert support they had offered the patriots thus far, and join the war  Spain and Holland were to follow suit, and in 1780 a wider League of Armed Neutrality was formed, to resist British attempts to stop and search merchant shipping

14  Saratoga did not improve Washington's position instantly, however, and his army spent a miserable winter at Valley Forge  In the New York area there had been no developments of real military significance  However, the ambitious Major General Benedict Arnold, one of the patriot heroes of Saratoga, had become embittered, and entered into secret negotiations with British General Clinton to betray the fort at West Point on the Hudson  The scheme failed at the last moment and Arnold escaped to enter British service: Major John André, Clinton's adjutant-general, was captured in civilian clothes carrying letters to Arnold, and Washington had him hanged

15  In the spring of 1781 the picture changed  Admiral de Grasse, commanding the French fleet in the West Indies, made a bold attempt to secure control of the sea off the Chesapeake Bay  Immediately Washington heard what was afoot, he moved south with the bulk of his army and Rochambeau's Frenchmen  The British could not prevent de Grasse from entering the Chesapeake Bay, and when they brought him to battle in early September the result was a tactical draw but a strategic victory for the French

16  They still controlled the bay, and Cornwallis was still trapped in Yorktown  Another French squadron brought in heavy guns from Rhode Island, and the French and Americans mounted a formal siege against the outnumbered and ill-provisioned British General Cornwallis  Although Clinton and the admirals mounted a relief expedition, it arrived too late: Cornwallis had surrendered

17  Although the war was not formally ended until the Treaty of Paris in 1783, it was clear after Yorktown that the British, with their world-wide preoccupations, no longer had any realistic chance of winning

18  The patriots had always been likely to win, provided they struggled on and avoided outright defeat  It is unlikely that George Washington would much like being compared with General Vo Nguyen Giap, who commanded the North Vietnamese army in the Vietnam war  But both shared the same recognition that a militarily-superior opponent with worldwide preoccupations can be beaten by an opponent who avoids outright defeat and remains in the field  It is an old truth, and 21st-century strategists, whatever their political differences, should be well aware of it

19  Although some colonists, nicknamed “Tories,” remained loyal to the British, popular support for the revolution was high  Another social factor that helped the Americans was that most members of all classes – lower, middle, and upper – united behind the independence movement  And the Americans were fighting on their home territory

20  Not only did European freedom fighters with military experience arrive to train American troops, the Americans also used unconventional tactics and guerrilla warfare to counter the British soldiers’ training and experience  The British were also fighting far from home, at the end of extremely long supply lines  And of course, after America’s victory at Saratoga in late 1777, France, Britain’s mortal enemy, began to lend military and naval assistance to the American colonists  The assistance of the French fleet against the Royal Navy, Britain’s chief strength, was particularly useful to the Americans

21  After the war, there was much disagreement over how closely bound together the thirteen colonies would be  Also, who should have power?  Should the government be elected?  And if so, who should be allowed to vote?  These questions and others were decided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787  By 1789, the United States Constitution had been written and accepted by all thirteen states

22  The system that resulted was a democratic republic, in which a federal government shared powers with governments in each state  To prevent a dictatorship, power at the federal level was shared among three branches: executive (president), legislative (Congress), and judicial (Supreme Court)  State governments, as well as the president and members of Congress, were to be elected

23  It should be noted, however, that “democracy” in this case – as in all cases before the twentieth century – was by no means all-inclusive  Women and Native Americans could not vote  Men who failed to fulfill certain property requirements could not vote  Moreover, the U.S. Constitution did not outlaw slavery

24  Yet despite its initial flaws, the U.S. Constitution has remained one of the most successful political documents in world history  It is also the product and cause of a great deal of intellectual and philosophical exchange  Most of the Constitution’s general ideals, and many of the specific principles, came from England and France

25  From John Locke, the ideas of natural rights or the right to life, liberty, and property were incorporated into the Constitution  From Montesquieu, the idea of separation of powers came  From Voltaire, the principle of religious freedom and freedom of speech were incorporated  And Rousseau contributed the idea of the social contract

26  In turn, the Constitution (along with the Declaration of Independence that the colonists wrote in 1776) had an enormous impact on the Atlantic revolutions that followed in the 1780s, 1790s, and early 1800s  France’s Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen drew heavily upon America’s Declaration of Independence and Constitution

27  The failed Dutch rebellion of the 1780s did likewise  In the early nineteenth century, the revolutionaries of Latin America did their best to adapt the Americans’ political methods and ideals  Therefore, the American Revolution, and the political documents at the heart of it, had a tremendous impact on the rest of the world

28  The Monroe Doctrine (1823) -the U.S. government warned the nations of Europe against intervening in the Western Hemisphere’s political affairs -It was the first step in the United States’ creation of a sphere of influence in the Americas -By the end of the 1800s, especially after the Spanish-American War (1898), the United States’ economic and political influence over Latin America was considerable

29  U.S.A. Territorial Expansion -The rapid and massive growth of the United States, from a collection of small colonies on North America’s east coast to a vast land sprawling from Atlantic to Pacific, greatly altered the balance of world power -This growth began with the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and continued with the Mexican-American War ( ), along with other events -The United States became a huge nation, incredibly rich in natural resources

30  America’s reputation as a land of freedom and economic opportunity drew millions of immigrants from Europe and Asia during the 1800s  Approximately one million Irish immigrants came to the United States during the Irish Potato Famine of the 1800s  The impact of immigration has had a tremendous demographic effect on the geographical balance of world population


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