North American Revolutions (1775-1787)

Haley Fetsch, Jonathan Pham & Natasha Tolia (WHAP Period 6)


The Second Continental Congress (May 1775)

The emergence of the Second Continental Congress organized the revolution, forming an army that would implant within the revolution a chance of success and drafting new legislation that would become the foundation for a fledgling nation.

The intellectual society of the colonial states distinguish themselves from the ideology of the Royal Crown, leading the revolution by thought and rhetoric.

Common Sense by Thomas Paine (January 1776)

Common Sense by Thomas Paine applied the idea of natural rights developed during the Enlightenment to the imperial governance of overseas colonies, justifying revolution clearly, bluntly, and poignantly.

The rhetorical and logical basis for revolution is established and paves the way for the violent conflagration to follow.

Rising Fever

Battle of Lexington & Concord (April 1775)

While relatively minor in scale, the Battles of Lexington and Concord were certainly of remarkable importance. The first conflicts of the American Revolution epitomize the eruption of tension between the British and their colonial subjects, provoking further action on the part of the colonists to address the conflict.

The conflicts at Lexington and Concord were triggered by the heightened emotions responding to the economic (Navigation, Stamp & Sugar Acts) and political (Declaratory, Intolerable & Quartering Acts) restrictions imposed on the colonies by the British Crown.

The Declaration of Independence (July 1776)

"These United Colonies, are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved."

No longer content with the attitude of the British government, the provisional government officially breaks ties with the Crown in the Declaration, formalizing the socioeconomic clash on a political level.


Battle of Saratoga (1777)

Following a string of defeats at Bunker Hill in Boston, Fort Ticonderoga, and Long Island, the Continental Army forced the surrender of the British in upstate New York, securing a French alliance that would turn the tide of the war in favor of the colonial rebels.

The progression of war and battle, blood and toil, takes its toll on the Continental Army. However, the stunning victory at Saratoga provides the colonial society with the momentum needed to persist and equal the British offensives.


Treaty of Paris (1783)

"His Brittanic Majesty acknowledges the said United States . . . to be free sovereign and Independent States."

The peace treaty recognized by both the British Crown and the colonial nation brought an end to the fighting, winding down the revolution and establishing the United States as an autonomous country. Stability and order in the States is increased with the rise of a new government headed by the leaders of the revolution, who are ready to address the challenges facing the nascent country.

In the Context of Revolutions...

"Had no important step been taken by the leaders of the Revolution for which a precedent could not be discovered, no government established of which an exact model did not present itself, the people of the United States . . . must at best have been laboring under the weight of some of those forms which have crushed the liberties of the rest of mankind . . . America . . . pursued a new and more noble course. They accomplished a revolution which has no parallel in the annals of human society. They reared the fabrics of governments which have no model on the face of the globe."

- James Madison, The Federalist Papers (1787)

The success of the American Revolution energized revolutionary movements in societies across the world for decades following its end.  The actualization of a society inaugurated on the tenants of liberty, freedom, and democracy provided a model for the composition of more modern constitutions that define the world we know today.

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