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American Revolution

The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution that occurred in colonial North America between 1765 and 1783. The Americans in the Thirteen...

The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution that occurred in colonial North America between 1765 and 1783. The Americans in the Thirteen Colonies defeated the British in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), gaining independence from the British Crown and establishing the United States of America, the first modern constitutional liberal democracy.American colonists objected to being taxed by the British Parliament, a body in which they had no direct representation. Before the 1760s, Britain's American colonies had enjoyed a high level of autonomy in their internal affairs, which were governed by colonial legislatures. The passage of the Stamp Act of 1765, which imposed internal taxes on the colonies, led to colonial protest, and the meeting of representatives of several colonies in the Stamp Act Congress. Tensions relaxed with the British repeal of the Stamp Act, but flared again with the passage of the Townshend Acts in 1767. The British government deployed troops to Boston in 1768 to quell unrest, leading to the Boston Massacre in 1770. The British government repealed most of the Townshend duties in 1770, but retained the tax on tea in order to symbolically assert Parliament's right to tax the colonies. The burning of the Gaspee in Rhode Island in 1772, the passage of the Tea Act of 1773 and the Boston Tea Party in December 1773 led to a new escalation in tensions. The British responded by closing Boston Harbor and enacting a series of punitive laws which effectively rescinded Massachusetts Bay Colony's privileges of self-government. The other colonies rallied behind Massachusetts, and twelve of the thirteen colonies sent delegates in late 1774 to a "Continental Congress" to coordinate their resistance to Britain. Opponents of Britain were known as Patriots or Whigs, while colonists who retained their allegiance to the Crown were known as Loyalists or Tories.
Open warfare erupted when British regulars sent to capture a cache of military supplies were confronted by local Patriot militia at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. Patriot militia, joined by the newly formed Continental Army, then put British forces in Boston under siege. Each colony formed a Provincial Congress, which assumed power from the former colonial governments, suppressed Loyalism, and contributed to the Continental Army led by General George Washington. The Continental Congress declared King George III a tyrant who trampled the colonists' rights as Englishmen, and they declared the colonies free and independent states on July 4, 1776. The Patriot leadership professed the political philosophies of liberalism and republicanism to reject rule by monarchy and aristocracy, and they proclaimed that all men are created equal.
The Patriots unsuccessfully attempted to invade Quebec during the winter of 1775–76. The newly created Continental Army forced the British military out of Boston in March 1776, but the British captured New York City and its strategic harbor that summer, which they held for the duration of the war. The Royal Navy blockaded ports and captured other cities for brief periods, but they failed to destroy Washington's forces. The Continental Army captured a British army at the Battle of Saratoga in October 1777, and France then entered the war as an ally of the United States, transforming the war into a global conflict. Britain also attempted to hold the Southern states with the anticipated aid of Loyalists, and the war moved south. British general Charles Cornwallis captured an American army at Charleston, South Carolina in early 1780, but he failed to enlist enough volunteers from Loyalist civilians to take effective control of the territory. Finally, a combined American and French force captured Cornwallis' army at Yorktown in the fall of 1781, effectively ending the war. The Treaty of Paris was signed on September 3, 1783, formally ending the conflict and confirming the new nation's complete separation from the British Empire. The United States took possession of nearly all the territory east of the Mississippi River and south of the Great Lakes, with the British retaining control of northern Canada, and Spain taking Florida.
Among the significant results of the Revolution were American independence and the end of British merchantilism in America, opening up worldwide trade for the United States - including with Britain. The Americans adopted the United States Constitution, establishing a strong national government which included an elected executive, a national judiciary, and an elected bicameral Congress representing states in the Senate and the population in the House of Representatives. Around 60,000 Loyalists migrated to other British territories, particularly to British North America (Canada), but the great majority remained in the United States.

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