From to , Parliament, King George III , royal governors, and colonists clashed over regulations of trade, representation, and taxation.
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Despite the growing unrest, many Americans perceived war and independence as a last resort. By , however, tensions reached a boiling point. Both sides prepared for war as negotiations continued to falter. Fighting began outside of Boston in the spring of during a British raid to seize munitions at Lexington and Concord. The American War of Independence had officially begun. The militia harassed the British all the way from Concord to Boston, and then surrounded the city. George Washington arrived that July to assume command of the American forces, organized as the Continental Army.
Washington then forced 11, British soldiers to evacuate Boston the following March, when Henry Knox successfully led 12 artillery pieces from Fort Ticonderoga to Dorchester Heights overlooking the city below. By the early spring of , the war had expanded to other regions.
Relive the Spirit of the American Revolution
After initial successes, particularly the capture of Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York, an American invasion of Canada stalled and ended in failure at the end of the year. As rolled into , the British rapidly built up forces in New York and Canada to strike back.
That winter, however, Washington revived the American cause by winning spirited victories at Trenton and Princeton , New Jersey. In , the British launched two major offensives. Despite the losses, the inexperienced soldiers of the Continental Army performed well and gained a measure of confidence, believing that they could very well stand up to the British. Later, however, his army became bogged down thanks in part to efforts of American militia units at Oriskany , Fort Stanwix , and Bennington.
Then, after a stunning defeat in an open battle, Burgoyne surrendered his entire field army at Saratoga , New York. The American victory at Saratoga was a turning point of the war, for it convinced the French monarchy that the Americans could actually defeat the British in battle.
As a result, a formal military alliance was signed between the French and American governments in , which entailed increased financial and military support. The alliance had even more positive implications for the Continental Army, because it forced the Parliament to funnel manpower and resources to fight the French across the globe, rather than sending them to North America.
While arriving rather disheveled, disheartened, and largely undisciplined, the army underwent a rigorous training program under the direction of Baron von Steuben. Only one British soldier was injured, but the American Revolution had begun. By , tensions between the American colonies and the British government approached the breaking point, especially in Massachusetts , where Patriot leaders formed a shadow revolutionary government and trained militias to prepare for armed conflict with the British troops occupying Boston.
In the spring of , General Thomas Gage, the British governor of Massachusetts, received instructions from England to seize all stores of weapons and gunpowder accessible to the American insurgents. The Boston Patriots had been preparing for such a military action by the British for some time, and upon learning of the British plan, Patriots Paul Revere and William Dawes were ordered to set out to rouse the militiamen and warn Adams and Hancock.
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When the British troops arrived at Lexington, Adams, Hancock, and Revere had already fled to Philadelphia, and a group of militiamen were waiting. The Patriots were routed within minutes, but warfare had begun, leading to calls to arms across the Massachusetts countryside. When the British troops reached Concord at about 7 a. They managed to destroy the military supplies the Americans had collected but were soon advanced against by a gang of minutemen, who inflicted numerous casualties.
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Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith, the overall commander of the British force, ordered his men to return to Boston without directly engaging the Americans. As the British retraced their mile journey, their lines were constantly beset by Patriot marksmen firing at them Indian-style from behind trees, rocks, and stone walls.
By the time the British finally reached the safety of Boston, nearly British soldiers had been killed, wounded, or were missing in action. The Patriots suffered fewer than casualties.
The battles of Lexington and Concord were the first battles of the American Revolution, a conflict that would escalate from a colonial uprising into a world war that, seven years later, would give birth to the independent United States of America. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! Five teenagers from Harlem were convicted of the crime, which shocked New Yorkers for its randomness and viciousness and became The Declaration of Independence is one of the most important documents in the history of the United States.
The foundation of the American government, its purpose, form, and structure, are in the Constitution of the United States. The Constitutional Convention adopted the Constitution on September 17, The Bill of Rights is the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. It guarantees greater constitutional protection for individual liberties and lists specific prohibitions on government power.
There are 27 Constitutional Amendments in all.
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You can view the original, parchment copy of the U. You can also view an online copy of the U. Constitution or order a printed copy of the Constitution. The United States Armed Forces date to , when America needed a defense force to protect the original 13 colonies from a British invasion.