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The Glorious Cause: The War for Independence. I. A Foolhardy Rebellion  Americans should have lost the war: Britain richest + greatest military power.

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Presentation on theme: "The Glorious Cause: The War for Independence. I. A Foolhardy Rebellion  Americans should have lost the war: Britain richest + greatest military power."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Glorious Cause: The War for Independence

2 I. A Foolhardy Rebellion  Americans should have lost the war: Britain richest + greatest military power in world  100 warships to Am 1  Regular army vs. none  $ for mercenaries (Hessians)  1778: 50,000 B regulars + 30,000 Hessians vs. 20,000 Americans (at greatest strength)

3  3 phases of war  3 major regions  3 kinds of forces  3 major British mistakes  4 kinds of war: colonial war independence, civil war, world war, war of ideas

4 II. War in New England: The Militia at Lexington and Concord, 1775  Suffolk Resolves  new, revolutionary government in Mass. (old one dissolved)  Mass. Congress meets in Concord, Committee of Safety stockpiles arms

5  Early 1775: General Thomas Gage ordered to arrest provincial congress –Parliament believed rebellion act of a small group of conspirators –Hoped to end conflict quickly: couldn’t imagine what war would become

6 A. Lexington  18 April: 700 redcoats assemble to march to Lexington and Concord  Colonists knew they were coming (Revere) and Minutemen turn out at Lexington (70 men)

7  Capt. John Parker (vet of F+I war) + militia wait, when Brits don’t show  break up w/sigh of relief

8  Next morning, regroup: as Brits approach, order militia to disarm  flash-in-pan  shooting, B volley  Ams: 8 dead, 10 wounded; B: 1 wounded

9 B. Concord and the Road to Boston  Concord hides the equipment, withdraw across the river  American reinforcements arrive  Americans decide to take the North Bridge  battle w/light infantry  Brits fall back

10  1 st atrocity of the war: 2 wounded B regulars on bridge killed by “country youth” w/an axe (out of fear)  B claim they were scalped  circulate rumors A mutilating bodies

11  The “Bloody Chute” (road back to Boston): approx. 500 Ams fire from the woods (“concealed villains”)  Final casualties: B 230, A 93

12 C. 1 st British Mistake  Military officers underestimated Americans of 3 fronts:  1) commitment to armed resistance (protecting homes and families)  2) Skill of marksmen  3) Devastating impact of militia’s refusal to play by rules of 18 th C gentlemanly warfare: guerilla tactics learned from frontier warfare –BUT: vast majority of American warfare was traditional style warfare

13 III. War in the Middle Colonies: Continental Army at Trenton, 1776  A. Washington Takes Command  Early success in NE generated hope that Americans would not need regular army, but by late 1776 knew that they did  Continental Army under command of George Washington –Seen as political move: other commanders more qualified, but need to bring the South into the War

14  Theater of war shifts to Middle Colonies: B hope to split Mass and VA  GW retreats to New Jersey after defeat in NYC  As Americans cross Delaware into PA, Hessians seize Trenton  Am troops reduced to 3,000

15 B. The Crisis  Thomas Paine, The Crisis:  “THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

16  Dec. 25: GW turns the tide  takes 2400 men across the Delaware into Trenton  overrun drunk/hungover Hessians  918 prisoners, not 1 Am death

17 Not a glorious victory (have to retreat soon after) but:  1) timely: morale surges, locals more generous in support  2) GW realizes what kind of war needs to fight: attrition (hit + run)  Generalship marked by poverty (men, supplies, weapons)  strategic defensive

18  #1 objective: keep the army alive, even if give up lots of territory (major break w/military tradition) –Understood that British public support was faltering  what are we fighting for? Some believed that the Revolutionaries were right: they shouldn’t be taxed

19  2 nd Major British blunder: fought war in traditional manner: seized cities/capitals, but only 5% lived in cities C. 2 nd British Blunder

20 IV. War in the South: Guerilla Warfare at King’s Mountain, 1780 A. A World War British move South:  a) believe filled w/Loyalists and run- away slaves who will support them  b) switch strategy from regarding Americans as misbehaving children to foreign enemies (esp. after entrance of French, 1778) –French mainly help by redirecting British attention to the West Indies

21 B. Civil War  Much of the Continental Army surrenders  war carried out by partisans  American Patriots vs. American Loyalists (true civil war)

22  Thomas Jefferson (gov. of VA): turn of the tide: King’s Mountain (border NC+SC), Oct. 7, 1780  British left wing (Loyalists) hunting down Patriots  East Tennessee mountain men rise up

23  Annihilate Loyalists: 1000 British casualties, 90 American  Took prisoners + tortured + massacred some, mutilated + urinated on Loyalist bodies   struck terror into British General Cornwalis’ men  defeat at Yorktown (did he intentionally walk into trap?)

24 C. 3 rd British Blunder  Believed military victory would retain American loyalty, but this was first modern war of national liberation:  Had to win their “hearts and minds”  British raping + pillaging + military rule  greater resistance + mobilization –Also declining Brit pop. support  AR was an insurgency –Compare Vietnam/Iraq/Afghanistan


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