FROM COLONIES TO NATION: THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
I. At Home With Empire, But…
- The Albany Conference & Plan
• All of the colonies north of Virginia, the French, Iroquois, and others
• Convened by the British to settle land issues regarding land
• Unified voice – colonial government would be easier to deal with because it’s closer to
• None of the colonial assemblies wanted to surrender their power to another body…
o No one likes the plan except Benjamin Franklin…
• Failure! Couldn’t diplomatically sort out land disputes btwn Britain and France….. wait
for another war!
• Saw themselves as slightly distinctive between themselves and England
o Sense of opportunity, freedom (religious tolerance and legislatures)
• As long as they continued to flourish, they were happy to be part of the empire… once
the british started asserting themselves, the affection btwn colonies and empire crumbled
II. The Seven Years War (1754 (56) – 1763)
• Britain and france… becomes a European war, yadda yadda.
• European perspective = 1756. Colonial perspective is 1754
• French and the “Indian” war
• 1759: british defeat the French, 1760 – French gave up the land
• larger war is still going on in Europe
• British regain control of the French half… continent is essentially secured. Spanish are
given French terrirory west of the Mississippi river. FRANCE IS GONE. HA
• Colonists and the british interpret outcome differently:
o British saw it as the british regular army, not the colonial militias. Backwards and
o Colonists saw that they had turned out in force only to be regulated to non
glorious grunt work…
• Britain is now massively in DEBT – doubles over the course of the war, so they look
towards their colonies for payment!
• These methods of lessening debt creates… tension III. Tension between Empire and Colonies
- Standing Armies and the Royal Proclamation (1763) (Pontiac’s Rebellion)
• Kind of a big issues… British are leaving behind standing armies, not colonial militias to
maintain peace btwn colonists and native American peoples
• When france surrendered territory, they didn’t consult the Natives… pretty much had
their land given away – they refused to accept the french’s decision.
• Pontiac’s rebellion: chief of group of Natives that lived Iowa?
o Launched a series of raids among the frontier
• In an attempt to make peace, Br. Launches proclaimation: a line that forbids the colonists
that stops them from expanding west of the Appalachian mountains
• Obviously they weren’t happy – they fought this war, and now they cannot pass the line?
• - The Sugar and Stamp Acts, 1763-65 (George Grenville; Sons of Liberty)
- The Declaratory Act (1766)
• The colonists should help pay off Britain’s debt, thus the sugar act
• Raises the tensions a bit
• Provides greater regulation of American shipping… derp.
• Colonists grumble a bit, but they aren’t too mad
• Required the purchase of specially embossed printer for things to be printed on. (stamp
act) derpity derp
• Blatant effort to raise revenue – clearly a money grab!
• Virginia’s assembly declared that they were British citizens, so they deserved the same
right as the ppl in Britain themselves. Self taxation was part of it!
o Traditionally a “gift”
o Since they don’t have seats in government, they don’t owe any money to the
government due to lack of representation
• Established internal taxes so they could make money.
• Not just assemblies that are in an uproar about this: Sons of Liberty
o Organized in massetuschets – harass the stamp people to not follow the act. Lol
o Popular resistance!
• - Townshend Duties and Economic Retaliation, 1767-1770 (Daughters of
Liberty) • Parliament doesn’t like this, so it repeals the stamp act in 1766, issues another called the
o Parliament has the right to legistlate for the colonies in whatever case may occur
o Gives them the right to legislate for them “in all cases whatsoever”
• Townsend applies tax on any good… they don’t like this on principle
• Internal money grabbing taxes are not okay – should be up to the colony, not the british
• Non importation: going to need the support of women colonists – the stuff was important
to the women’s sphere
o Daughters of liberty: got together to make their own stuff instead of wearing stuff
o Traditional women’s work has become infused with political purpose, thus they
start saying don’t forget that women have no rights you hypocrites derp
• Success: imports fall by about 40%: merchants complained to parliament, 1770 the
townsend duties are repealed
o Sends 3000 troops to the port of boston… winter of 1770, people are taunting the
military eventually lead to:
- The Boston “Massacre”
• 5 people dies, 11 injured. Derp.
• Great propaganda!
• Since duties are off the table, trade resumes and everyone seems happy
- The Tea Party and the Coercive (Intolerable) Acts, 1773-74
• Tax that raises the price of tea by large amount, but British trading company are exempt –
everyone needs to pay except british!
• Unfair money grab.
• Boycott tea that comes from the british
• English makes new acts: Close port of commerce, disband massetuch. assembly, demand
the troops of boston will be quartered by the colonists, freedom of religion is granted to
the French catholics, settlers of old new france are allowed to settle under british
• This is horrible. The “intolerable acts” colonials hate this liberty of the governments?
• Response: continental congress!
- The First Continental Congress
• Representatives from individual colonies in one congress. Task? Agree on a united
statement on what their position is regarding their rights
• Stop trade completely with Britain? New England didn’t mind, Virginia freaked.
Continental voices were still very much divided. Meet for 7 weeks – declaration of rights
• Sends petition directly to George – looking to work things out/reconcile. No one looking
towards independence or conflicts
• No one wants conflict, hoping for reconciliation IV. From Hopes of Reconciliation to Declaration of Independence
- Lexington and Concord
• Ppl look at this as the start of the revolution, even though they were 14 months from
declaration of independence
- Second Continental Congress
• Monarchy is not really a problem – their issue was with the parliament, not the monarchy
• Didn’t mind breaking free of the constitution
• Went straight to the King
- Olive Branch Petition
• Olive branch swag
• King George’s rejected it, declares them in a state of rebellion, their actions constitute
treason. Uh oh
• Hiring mercenaries to come to the colonies and help put down a colonial rebellion
• If the king cast them out of the empire, they don’t owe anything to the empire
• Pressure doesn’t amount until:
- Thomas Paine’s Common Sense
• Says the whole concept is dumb…
• Present state of affairs in colonies: should become independent, shouldn’t go towards
constitutional monarachy, but rather a republic
• CONTINENTAL BRITISH SPIES LOLOLOLOL
• Thomas Hickey: executed for treason against the United States of America – a country
that doesn’t exist. DERPITY DERP
- The Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776) – text follows at end of outline
• No one didn’t raise an eyebrow at the opening… accorded with philosophical ideas of the
time. Literally meant all “white property men”
V. Revolution as Civil War?
- British Support for Americans
• Within Britain: support for the colonial position!
- American support of Britain → The Loyalists
• 90% were loyalists by 1760? Thought that separation was a bad idea
• Became increasingly quiet, and even left 1/5 to 1/3 remained loyal to the crown at the
• By the end, there are no loyalists
VI. Independence Declared … Now What?
Colonies, aka states, had to figure out how they were going to govern themselves – what will this
newly declared united states would rule themselves
- Articles of Confederation
• Written in 1777, ratified in 1782 • Why disputes over borders
• CONGRESS: Cannot impose taxes on the states – pretty much the only person who could
assign taxes = the states themselves
• Congress = friendship between states common defense
o Each state has an equal vote
• Very weak federal government
- State Constitutions (republicanism)
• Congress directs each of the states to do this: write out their constitution. Why? English is
not actually written
• Those who govern do so at the consent of those they go