American Revolution

Symptoms

From their inception, the British North American colonies had been neglected by England. However, all of this changed after the French and Indian War.

This image demonstrates the initial symptoms that caused the revolution— though the French and Indian War was not the colonists' fight, they were inducted into the war and had to pay taxes for it.

Because of the significant resources the British Empire used to fight France in the colonies, they had to start taxing the colonies. Examples include the Stamp Act, which taxed legal papers, and the Sugar Act, which taxed sugar and tea. The colonies, used to having little regulation, were very unhappy.  


Fever Rising


These tensions eventually erupted in the Boston Tea Party.

This illustrates how the growing tensions between the colonists and British boiled over leading to the colonists dumping tea in the harbor and creating an actual impact— creating massive financial losses for the the British East India Company

In response to the colonists' unruly actions, the British Parliament passed the Intolerable Acts, a series of stringent rules imposed on Boston. Tensions once again came to a head with the Boston Massacre.

The Boston Massacre illustrates another symptom of the rising fever as violent events grew more common.

The colonists made a last attempt to make peace with the English through the Olive Branch Petition, but their proposal was rejected and war loomed on the horizon. (Olive Branch Petition shown below)

The "shots heard round the world" were fired in Lexington and Concord in 1776 and soon after the Declaration of Independence was signed, marking the start of the American Revolution.

The Declaration of Independence was the zenith of the fever as tensions reached a point to where the colonies decided to break away from the King.

Crisis

Though the colonists were at a disadvantage in terms of resources, their superior knowledge of the land, allowed them to begin to turn the tide of the war in the iconic battles of Saratoga. After this, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were able to secure support from the French, who wanted to undermine England. Being lead by George Washington, the revolution never truly lost control under his strong leadership.

Washington represented a stable leader who could prevent the crisis stage of the revolution from occurring, thus making sure the revolution never grew radical and out of control.

The British Army, lead by General Cornwallis, was finally defeated in the Battle of Yorktown, marking the end of the revolution.

Convalescence

Though the revolution had been borne on ideas of individualism and state autonomy, those ideals soon died out. The Articles of Confederation proved to be an ineffective method of governing, as each state had too much autonomy and no unity. With the ratification of the Constitution in 1787, the last of the revolutionary zeal had died out and a strong central government under Washington was established.

The Constitution, with its strong central government and limitations of voting rights to certain people, represented a return to conservative ideals. The revolutionary ideas of independent rule were dying out.

Suffrage was only given to white men who owned property, and the Federalist (conservative) party kept a hold on the government. In the end, the revolution changed little but the men in charge of the colonies— not much of a revolution at all.

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