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Presentation on theme: "THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION: FROM GENTRY PROTEST TO POPULAR REVOLT, 1763-1783 America: Past and Present Chapter 5."— Presentation transcript:


2 Contested Meanings of Empire n 1760s an optimistic post-war period –Striking ethnic and racial diversity –60% of population under 21 years old –High level of post-war prosperity –Wealth unevenly distributed n Americans proud to be part of Europe’s most thriving, prosperous empire

3 Breakdown of Political Trust n George III ascended throne n Suspicions on both sides of the Atlantic that Crown wished to enlarge its powers n Conflict over Parliamentary sovereignty – English officials assumed that Parliament must have ultimate authority – Colonists tried to reserve internal colonial authority for their own legislatures

4 No Taxation Without Representation: the American Perspective n Colonists assume their legislatures equal in some ways to Parliament n Americans not represented at all in Parliament n Only colonial assemblies could tax Americans

5 Appeal to Political Virtue n John Locke, "Commonwealthmen" inform colonial political thought n All governments believed susceptible to corruption into “tyranny” – “Tyranny” understood as any attempt to encroach upon the people's liberty n “Virtuous” citizens, alert to rights and determined to live free, resist tyranny

6 Challenge and Resistance: Eroding the Bonds of Empire n Large, expensive army left in America at the end of the Seven Years’ War n Colonists doubted the army’s value n Pontiac’s War –Exposed the British army’s weakness –Revealed the desperate situation of Native Americans after withdrawal of French n Colonists determined to settle trans- Appalachian West

7 Paying off the National Debt n First minister George Grenville attempts to reduce England’s war debt n Revenue Act of 1764 (the Sugar Act) n Merchants and gentry protest, most colonists ignore

8 Mobilizing the People n Stamp Act requires that colonists purchase stamp to validate documents n Unites the gentry and the mass of the population in protest n Protest includes mob riots, boycotts n Stamp Act Congress petitions the King and Parliament for repeal

9 Saving Face n New administration in office, favors repeal of Stamp Act n Repeal tied to Declaratory Act of 1766 – Parliament sovereign over America "in all cases whatsoever" n Controversy estranges colonists from English officials

10 A Foolish Boast: Tea and Sovereignty n Charles Townshend: chancellor of the exchequer n Townshend Duties tax American imports of paper, lead, glass, and tea n American Board of Customs Commissioners created to collect duties

11 Response to the Townshend Duties n Sons of Liberty organize boycott of English goods n Circular letter from Massachusetts House of Representatives urges protest n 92 Massachusetts Representatives defy government order to rescind letter

12 Creating Patriotic Martyrs n English government moves troops from frontier to Boston to save money n Tensions increased n March 5, English soldiers fired on Boston mob, killed five Americans –Incident labeled a “massacre” –Paul Revere engraving a best-seller n Tensions defused by Lord North

13 Last Days of the Old Order, n New prime minister, Lord North, leads repeal of all duties except tea n marked by tranquility n Customs collectors antagonize colonists n Radicals protest tea tax as violation of American rights n Committees of correspondence built up alternative political structure

14 The Final Provocation: The Boston Tea Party n Parliament passes Tea Act – Designed to help the East India Company by making its sale cheaper in America n Americans interpret as a subtle ploy to get them to consume taxed tea n December Boston protestors dump the tea into the harbor

15 English Reaction: The Coercive Acts n Port of Boston closed until tea paid for n Massachusetts government restructured – Upper house made appointive body – Town meetings permitted only once per year n Accused officials to be tried in England, not America n Army authorized to quarter troops wherever needed

16 The Quebec Act: An Error in Timing n Quebec Act establishes authoritarian government for Canada n Colonists interpret Act as final proof of Parliamentary plot to enslave America n Mainland colonies rally to support Boston, protest the British blockade

17 The Ultimate Crisis n Parliament’s insistence on supremacy would make rebellion unavoidable n Ben Franklin suggests Parliament secure colonial loyalty by renouncing claim to supremacy n Parliament rejects Franklin’s advice

18 Decision for Independence n September First Continental Congress in response to Coercive Acts n Congress commends “Suffolk Resolves” urging forcible resistance n Intercolonial “Association” halts commerce with Britain until Coercive Acts repealed

19 Shots Heard Around the World n April 19, skirmish breaks out in Lexington, Massachusetts n Fighting spread along road between Lexington, Concord, Boston n English retreat to Boston with heavy losses

20 Beginning “The World over Again:” Early War Effort n June Congress appoints George Washington commander of Boston force n English government blockades colonial ports, hires German mercenaries n Royal governors urge slaves to take up arms against their masters

21 Beginning “The World over Again:” Decision for Independence n January Thomas Paine’s Common Sense urges independence n July 2, Independence voted by Congress n July 4--Declaration of Independence issued

22 Fighting for Independence n English task – Meet challenge of long supply line – Use better-trained army to occupy territory – Crush the popular spirit of independence n Washington’s task – Defend territory as well as possible – Keep his army intact n Militia’s role: compel support for Revolution

23 Testing the American Will, July-August 1776 n American army routed on Long Island n New York City captured n Washington forced to retreat through New Jersey n British obtain thousands of “Oaths of Allegiance” in wake of retreat

24 "Times That Try Men's Souls" n December 25, Washington captures Trenton n January 3, Washington captures Princeton n Victories rekindle wartime patriotism n British consolidate forces, leave territory in patriot control

25 Victory in a Year of Defeat: Campaigns of 1777 n British campaign for New York under John Burgoyne defeated at Saratoga n British capture Philadelphia under General William Howe n Washington's army winters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania

26 The French Alliance n Saratoga prompts British suit for peace to prevent Franco-American alliance n Terms include repeal of all laws since 1763, respect for colonial taxation rights n February Americans ally with France to secure full independence

27 The Final Campaign n Spring English capture Savannah and Charleston n August American army routed at Camden, South Carolina n Nathaniel Greene’s forces deal several defeats to English under Cornwallis n October Cornwallis surrenders to Washington’s combined forces

28 The Loyalist Dilemma n Loyalists treated poorly by both sides n English never fully trusted Loyalists n Patriots seize property, imprison, execute some n More than 100,000 Loyalists leave U.S. at war’s end

29 Winning the Peace n Peace Treaty of 1783 negotiated by Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay n Terms secured by playing France against England, include – independence – U.S. gains all territory east of Mississippi River, between Canada and Florida – U.S. secures fishing rights in North Atlantic

30 Post-Colonial Experience n The American Revolution begins construction of new form of government n Question remains: a government of the elite or a government of the people?

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