The American Revolution 1775 1783 1 Fighting Begins in the North read pgs 166-172

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US History

Fort Burrows

The American Revolution 1775 - 1783

6.1 -- Fighting Begins in the North

READ pgs 166-172
Time Line:
1775 - At Bunker Hill, the colonists face the British in what will be known as

the first major battle of the American Revolution

1777 - the Battle of Saratoga becomes the turning point of the war. Also, after

the American’s victory, the French decide to join the war and help

America defeat the British

1778 - France recognizes American Independence
¿¿ Why is this so very IMPORTANT ? ____________________________________
1781 - The British surrender to the Americans at Yorktown

1783 - Great Britain recognizes American independence in the Treaty of Paris
Main Idea:

Even though Congress did their part and tried to make peace with Britain, more fighting began in New England.


Olive Branch - peace petition sent to King George III by colonial delegates

Petition declaring their loyalty to the King and asking him to repeal the

Intolerable Acts

Green Mountain - surprise attack on Fort Ticonderoga which gave the

Boys Americans control of a key route into Canada

Continental Army - army established by the second continental congress to

fight the British

Patriots - colonists who favored war against Britain

Loyalists - colonists who remained loyal to Britain

Battle of Bunker Hill - 1775, 1st MAJOR battle of the American Revolution

blockade - shutting of a port to keep people or supplies from moving in or out

mercenaries - soldier who fights merely for pay, often for a foreign country
The American War for Independence was the first time in the history of the world that a colony had successfully rebelled against its ruling country. The American Revolution set an example for the overthrow of many tyrannical governments, beginning with the demise of the French absolute monarchy and continuing into our own day with the fight for free elections in South Africa, Iraq, and other countries.
Setting the Scene:

News of the fighting at Lexington and Concord spread like wildfires. Riders galloped off carrying hurriedly scrawled messages about the battles. The messengers were urged to “ride day and night” and spread the news “without the least delay.” Within a few days, between 10,000 and 15,000 militia rushed to Boston. They surrounded the city and the British troops stationed there.

The sudden arrival of rebellious colonists was a clear sign that the quarrel between Britain and its American colonies was about to blaze into war. Still, many colonists hoped for a peaceful solution.

Was there no way to heal relations with Britain ? ___________________________________________

Peace or War ?

In May 1775, a few weeks after the battles at Lexington and Concord, colonial delegates met at the Second Continental Congress hoping to avoid a final break with Britain

A Peace Petition

 Delegates sent the Olive Branch Petition to King George III

They declared loyalty to the king and asked for a repeal of the 4 Intolerable Acts

King George III was furious and vowed to bring the colonists rebels to justice

He sent 20,000 more troops to the colonies to crush the revolt

Sam and John Adams were convinced that war could not be avoided even before Congress sent the petition
¿¿ How did King George react to the Olive Branch Petition ?

Rebels Take Ticonderoga

Ethan Allen, Vermont blacksmith, did not wait for Congress to act

In May 1775, he led a band of Vermont volunteers, known as Green Mountain Boys, in a bold surprise attack on Fort Ticonderoga in the early morning

British commander surrendered and the Green Mountain Boys won a valuable supply of cannons and gunpowder

The success gave Americans control of a key route into Canada
Setting Up an Army

The Second Continental Congress had to make decisions about their makeshift army in Boston

In June 1775, the delegates set up the Continental Army and appointed George Washington as commander

Washington knew he would be fighting against one of the world’s toughest armies but was willing to do his best and set off at once to take charge

Advantages of the Opposing Sides


Colonists who favored war with Britain thought British rule was harsh and unjust

1/3 of colonists were Patriots

Patriots entered war with some disadvantages and advantages



Forces were poorly organized and untrained

Many owned rifles and were good shots

Forces had few cannons and little gunpowder

GW was a brilliant commander

No navy

Determined to defend their homes/property

Few colonists willing to enlist for long terms

Fighting on their home ground

The British

British were a powerful foe – highly trained, experienced troops

British navy was the best in the world

British armies were 3,000 miles from home

News and supplies took months to travel from Britain to North America

British soldiers risked attacks from colonists once they marched out of the cities


1/3 of colonists remained loyal to Britain

Included wealthy merchants, former officials of the royal government, some farmers and craftsworkers

More Loyalists lived in the Middle and Southern Colonies

Loyalists faced hard times during war

¥ Tarred and feathered by Patriots

¥ Fled to England or Canada, losing their homes, farms and stores

¥ Some found shelter in cities controlled by British
The Fight for Boston

During the first year of conflict, fighting centered around Boston

6,000 British troops were stationed in Boston surrounded by colonial militia

Battle of Bunker Hill (before GW reached Boston)

June 1775, Colonel Prescott led 1,200 minutemen from Boston, up Bunker Hill

Patriots could fire on British ships in Boston harbor from Bunker Hill

Prescott moved troops to Breed’s Hill, an even better position

British General Howe spotted the Americans and ferried 2,400 red coats across harbor to attack

Patriots fired and British were forced to retreat two times

On the third attack, British took Bunker Hill and Breed’s Hill

British paid high price for victory with 1,000 dead or wounded red coats

Battle of Bunker Hill was the first MAJOR battle of the Revolution

It proved Americans could fight bravely but the British would not be

an easy defeat
¿¿ Why was the Battle of Bunker Hill significant for the Patriots ?

The British Leave Boston

When George Washington arrived in Boston, he found 16,000 troops

GW turned raw recruits into a trained army and won their loyalty

In January 1776, Washington had a stroke of good fortune

The cannon captured by the Green Mountain Boys at Fort Ticonderoga arrived in Boston and was placed overlooking the harbor

British General Howe knew he could not hold Boston and his troops

sailed to Canada in March 1776 – 1,000 loyalists went with them

King George III ordered a blockade of all colonial ports and hired German mercenaries to help fight the colonists

  1. How did Congress struggle between Peace and War with Britain ?



  1. What advantages did each side have as it entered the war ?



  1. How did the Continental Army gain control of Boston ?


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