The American Revolution was an event of sweeping worldwide importance. A costly war that lasted from 1775 to 1783 secured American independence and gave revolutionary reforms of government and society the chance to continue. At its core, the war pitted colonists who wanted independence and the creation of a republic against the power of the British crown, which wanted to keep its empire whole. At certain times and in certain places, Americans fought other Americans in what became a civil war. From the family whose farm was raided, through the merchant who could not trade, to the slave who entered British lines on the promise of freedom, everyone had a stake in the outcome.