Albany Congress (1754)

Albany Plan of Union (Historian of the State Department)

Join or Die cartoon (Teaching

Plan of union proposed by Benjamin Franklin (but not approved):
  • Supreme governor chosen by England
  • Supreme assembly represented by colonists.
  • Plan could possibly have averted Revolution.
  • Same plan later used with Canada and Australia.

New France

New France

French and Indian War (Seven Years' War), 1754-1763

The Seven Years War and the Great Awakening: Crash Course US History #5
End at 7:44

Who was on each side in the war?
Really a French versus British war with Indian allies on both sides.

French began to encircle the British colonies.

French—from today's Canada—claimed the Great Lakes and Mississippi Valley.

French established New Orleans to anchor the southern end of the Mississippi River.

French claimed the Pittsburgh area (originally called Fort Duquesne by the French, Fort Pitt by the British).

Three rivers come together at Pittsburgh: Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio

Various battles in the French and Indian War


George Washington's role in the war

Video (4:49)

Fort Necessity was Washington's first battle and the opening battle of the entire war in America.

Braddock Campaign

Battle of the Plains of Abraham/Battle of Quebec (1759)

This crucial British victory won the war.
*British victory at Quebec on the Plains of Abraham was the turning point. It was a major battle in history.

Quebec Politics: France vs. Britain - The Plains of Abraham

Both commanding generals were killed in the battle: Wolfe (British) and Montcalm (French)

Famous painting: The Death of Wolfe
Video explanation

Peace Treaty of Paris (1763)

Great Map!

France is entirely ousted from the North American continent
France will want to get back at Britain for this defeat
France will therefore be willing to help us win the American Revolution.

After the war, British colonists no longer feared a French threat.
Indians could no longer play European powers against one another.


Major themes along the Road to Revolution:
  • Development and spread of the colonial resistance movement
  • British actions
  • Colonists' responses

King George III (1760–1820)

New young king; various prime ministers.
[I can't find a good, short video about him.]

Pontiac's uprising (1763)

Indian chief led Indian uprisings in the Ohio region to kick out colonists.
British troops unable to defend the frontier against him.

Good map

Pontiac's Rebellion ( | 5/7/1763))

Proclamation Line of 1763

Good map

Video: Proclamation of 1763

Proclamation Line of 1763 (Historian of the State Department)

British tried to keep colonists out of land west of Appalachian Mountains
British wanted to protect Indians
British wanted to slow down land speculation
But many colonists had already settled west of the Proclamation Line
They refused to respect the line.

Ideological conflicts between Britain and the North American colonies

a) Conflict over the nature of political representation

English view:
  • Parliament collectively represented the entire nation
  • Member of Parliament voted on best interests of nation not his district.
  • Virtual representation: colonists were represented even if not there in person

Colonists' views:
  • Advocated individual representation.
  • Legislator instructions
  • Represented only the regions that had elected them.

b) Conflicts over the role of a national government.

1. Colonists saw conspiracies in England that threatened to take away their liberties.

Colonists believed that a central government should have only limited authority over people.

Colonists felt the need for perpetual vigilance to ensure that monarchs do not corrupt and oppress the people, encroach on their liberty, and seize their property

2. Colonists believed that there was an important link between liberty and property rights:

  • Excessive and unjust taxation could take away personal freedom.
  • No taxation without representation idea, but more subtle.
  • Not so much the amount of taxation, but who did the taxing.

Sugar Act (1764)

Sugar Act (Massachusetts Historical Society)

Sugar Act (1764)
The Sugar Act and Triangular Trade

New British Prime Minister George Grenville
He felt that colonists should pay a greater share of costs of empire.
Particularly pay back costs of French and Indian War.

American protests limited largely to New England merchants
Navigation Acts OK
Collection of revenue not OK

Currency Act (1764)

[I can't find a good, short video about the Currency Act.]

British merchants complained that Americans were paying their debts in inflated local currencies.

Currency Act outlawed colonial issues of paper money.

The Sugar and Currency Acts hit an economy already in the midst of depression.

Lacking any precedent for a united campaign against Parliament, Americans in 1764 took only hesitant and uncoordinated steps of protest.

Stamp Act (1765)
Video: Stamp Act ((1765)

Stamp Act (Massachusetts Historical Society)

Modeled on a law in effect in Britain for over a century.

Three aspects to remember:

Stamp Act required tax stamps on most printed material:
Ship's papers, legal documents, licenses, newspapers, and playing cards were taxed

Tax stamps had to be paid for in cash (scarce)
Violators would be tried in vice admiralty courts (no juries).

Boston History in a Minute: Stamp Act Riots
Destruction of Thomas Hutchinson's house

Protests against the Stamp Act

Colonists feeling their way on exactly how to protest British decisions that affected them.

a) James Otis:

[I can't find a good, short video about James Otis.]

How to combat certain acts of Parliament without questioning Parliament's authority over the colonies.
He concluded that colonists had to obey British laws.
Many Americans, therefore, reluctantly prepared to obey the Stamp Act.

b) Patrick Henry

[Good video below about him debating the Townshend Duties.]

Not all the colonists were resigned to paying the Stamp tax.
Patrick Henry did not agree with James Otis
He proposed the "Virginia Stamp Act Resolves"
These resolves protested Parliament's right to tax Americans without their consent.

Patrick Henry (Today in History, Library of Congress)

Patrick Henry College

c) Despite the uproar, most Americans wanted to remain loyal British subjects and were not yet arguing for independence.

Stamp Act Repeal (March 1766)

New British Prime Minister, Lord Rockingham
He repealed the Stamp Act not because he believed Parliament lacked the power to tax the colonies, but because he thought the law unwise and divisive.

Video: Repeal of Stamp Act

Declaratory Act (March 1766)

Linked to the repeal of the Stamp Act.
Dangerous implications for the colonists.

Key issue: Asserted Parliament's ability to tax & legislate for the colonies "in all cases whatsoever."

Sons of Liberty

Colonial elites wanted to control the protests against unpopular laws.
They created an inter-colonial association, the Sons of Liberty, to protest the Stamp Act.
In subsequent U.S. history, groups who want to protest government action often will call themselves Sons of Liberty.

Video: Sons of Liberty

Sons of Liberty

Sons of Liberty Indian disguise

Boston History in a Minute: Flip, a Trendy Colonial Cocktail

Boston History in a Minute: Green Dragon Tavern

Samuel Adams

Boston History in a Minute: Samuel Adams

Liberty Tree

Video: Johnny Tremain: Liberty Tree

Liberty Tree

Boston History in a Minute: Liberty Tree

Liberty Song

Written by John Dickinson (he is the one whose plantation is right across from Dover AFB.

Liberty Song

Video: Liberty Song

Tarring and Feathering

Bostonians paying the excise man cartoon
Tarring and feathering

Non-importation association

The first attempts to use an economic boycott to pressure British exporters to demand repeal of the Stamp Act

Non-consumption and non-importation
Boston Non-Importation Agreement

Townshend Acts (1767)

Townshend Acts (Massachusetts Historical Society)

Video: Townshend Acts

Video: Patrick Henry: Townshend Duties

1. British officials searched for new ways to generate revenue to help pay war debts from French and Indian War.

2. The passage of the Townshend Acts drew a swift response from the colonists, who were now less hesitant and better organized.

3. Townshend Acts provided as follows:
  • Duties on goods (glass, lead, paper, paint, and tea) imported from Britain to the colonies
  • Proceeds would pay salaries for some royal officials in the colonies
  • American Board of Customs Commissioners (based in Boston)
  • Added vice–admiralty courts in Boston, Philadelphia, and Charleston

Boston "Massacre" (5 March 1770)

British troops assigned to Boston to protect Customs Commissioners.
Tensions in a military garrison town: soldiers took local jobs
Was this a "massacre"?

Future US President John Adams defended the British troops in the trial.

Boston Massacre (Massachusetts Historical Society)

Video: Boston Massacre

Townshend Duties Repealed (12 April 1770)

Townshend Duties Repealed/Non-Importation (Massachusetts Historical Society)

Repeal (

Parliament revoked all the duties (glass, lead, paper, and paint) except that on tea.

(This remaining duty on tea will be a cause of the Boston Tea Party)

The other Townshend provisions remained in effect.

Committees of Correspondence

Committees of Correspondence (Massachusetts Historical Society)

Committees of Correspondence

Widen geographic scope of resistance movement.

Boston Tea Party (1773)

Boston tea party ships and museum home page

Boston Tea Party (Massachusetts Historical Society)

Video: Boston Tea Party
[Has good material on Tea Act, Indian disguise]

Video: Boston Tea Party

Sons of Liberty Indian disguise

Tea Act (May 1773)

Tea Act

1. Monopoly: British East India Company sell off surplus tea to America
2. Patriots were making money smuggling tea from Holland.
3. Patriots feared precedent of paying even a small tax on tea.

Tea Party itself:

Tea destroyed worth almost $1 million.
Colonists refused to pay for the tea.

Eyewitness account by George Hewes

Coercive Acts (1774)

Called Intolerable Acts by the colonists

Coercive Acts (Massachusetts Historical Society)

Video: Coercive (Intolerable) Acts

Intolerable Acts

Americans convinced British planned to take away their liberty.

Port of Boston closed to shipping until tea was paid for: "Lord North is closing the port of Boston."

Lord North (Victorian Web)

a. Massachusetts Government Act

Altered the Massachusetts charter
Substituted an appointed council for an elected one
Increased the powers of the Governor
Halted most town meetings.

b. Justice Act

British officials would be sent to England for trial.

c. Quartering Act

British military commanders could house their troops in private dwellings.

Quebec Act (1774)

Intended to ease strains of British conquest of the former French colony.

Quebec Act map

Catholics granted greater religious freedom.
Representative assembly abolished.
Canada boundary extended to Ohio River.
Many American colonists coveted this land.

Results thus far in the arguments between the British government and the colonies:

Colonists worried over precedents of Coercive Acts and Quebec Act.
Both Acts made colonists fear that Britain had a deliberate plan to oppress the American colonies.

BUT: few people wanted to take hasty action.
Most patriots remained loyal to Britain and hoped for reconciliation
Colonists agreed to send delegates to Philadelphia to attend a Continental Congress to consider an appropriate response.


The American Revolution required patriot leaders to do three things :
  • Establish a coalition in favor of independence
  • Gain foreign recognition.
  • Triumph over the British army

First Continental Congress (Philadelphia, Sept 1774)

First Continental Congress (Massachusetts Historical Society)

Video: First Continental Congress

1. Declaration of Rights and Grievances
Colonists would obey normal laws of British Parliament
Colonists would not obey taxes in disguise (like Townshend Duties)

2. Continental Association
Boycott of English goods

3. Committees of Observation & Inspection
Committee members (7000) assigned to monitor boycott,
Became, in effect, the local leaders of the American resistance.

Provincial conventions :
Independence was being won at the local level, without formal acknowledgement and without much bloodshed.

Popularly elected congresses took over government in each colony

These conventions
  • a. elected delegates to the Second Continental Congress
  • b. organized militia units
  • c. gathered arms and ammunition
  • d. collected taxes

Choosing sides

Which side do you think you would have been on?

1. Patriots (40% of population)

Americans who were against the British

Video: Loyalists and Patriots

To win, Patriots had to neutralize or defeat potential internal enemies.

2. Neutrals (40% of population)

Those who tried to remain in the middle

  • Sincere pacifists (Quakers)
  • Those who supported whoever controlled their area
  • Those who simply wanted to be left alone

3. Loyalists (20% of population)

Loyalists were Americans who remained loyal to the British:

  • British–appointed government officials
  • Merchants whose trade depended on British connections
  • Anglican (Church of England) ministers

100,000 loyalists left America, many to Canada

4. African–Americans

Slaves sought freedom by supporting the British.
British eventually took away 55,000 slaves
Colonies with highest slave %—less support for revolution.

5. Indians

Both British and patriots tried to keep Indians neutral
Indians bitter at aggressive expansionism of colonists
Most taking sides supported British—less threat than Patriots

British military planners made three erroneous assumptions :

1. Americans would not stand up to professional troops

2. English could fight a conventional war as they would in Europe

3. Military victory would be sufficient to win the struggle

Paul Revere's Ride (April 1775)

Video: Boston History in a Minute: Paul Revere's Ride

Paul Revere's Ride
Three riders were Paul Revere, Samuel Prescott, and Richard Dawes
They were hoping to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams in Lexington.

Battles of Lexington and Concord (April 1775).

Lexington and Concord (Massachusetts Historical Society)

Video: Minute Men

Video: General Thomas Gage (new Governor of Massachusetts and military commander)
Prior to Lexington

Good map in the Wikipedia account of the battle
[scroll 25% of the way down the screen]

Results: Colonial victory (note casualties and losses)

Battle of Bunker Hill (June 1775)

Results: British victory

Boston History in a Minute: Battle of Bunker Hill

Battle of Bunker Hill (Massachusetts Historical Society)

Olive Branch Petition

Video: Olive Branch Petition

Boston siege

Patriot troops surrounded British in Boston for next year

Second Continental Congress

Convened in May 1775 at Philadelphia

Second Continental Congress (Massachusetts Historical Society)

a. Became the intercolonial government during American Revolution
b. Authorized the printing of money
c. Established a committee to supervise relations with foreign countries
d. Created the Continental Army
e. Washington, from the South, appointed commanding general

Washington takes command of the Continental Army

Washington as Commander (Massachusetts Historical Society)

George Washington bio

Thomas Paine: Common Sense (Jan 1776)

a. Wildly popular book
b. Helped Americans accept the idea of separation from Britain
c. Advocated creation of an independent republic
d. Downplayed benefits of links to mother country
e. Insisted Britain had exploited colonies unmercifully
f. Americans hated Parliament, but thought King was sympathetic
g. Paine disagreed:
h. King was a royal brute
i. King only pretended to care for the colonist's welfare

Video: Thomas Paine and Common Sense

Religion and the American Revolution (Library of Congress)

Read "Resistance to Tyranny a Christian Duty"
Jonathan Mayhew argued that resistance to a tyrant was a glorious Christian duty.

Read "Revolution Understood in Scriptural Terms"

Read "A Fighting Parson"
Peter Muhlenberg


Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776)
Declaration of Independence (Today in History, Library of Congress)

The Declaration of Independence (The Weeknd's "Can't Feel My Face" Parody) (3:46)

Video: "Stay With Me" sung by King George III (3:45)

a. Noted committee members: Jefferson, Adams, Franklin

Thomas Jefferson (Finding Dulcinea)

Video: John Adams (60-second President)

Video: Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson bio

Thomas Jefferson’s Bible Teaching

Jefferson was chosen to draft the Declaration

He wrote well
He had recently drafted the Virginia state constitution

b. Colonists no longer accept legitimacy of Parliament

c. Declaration concentrated on King George III as the villain

The King had attempted to destroy representative government
The King oppressed Americans by excessive force

d. All men are created equal: principle to live up to

e. Signers of the Declaration at great risk: treason.
John Hancock's big signature: "King won't need his spectacles"

Boston History in a Minute: John Hancock

Lineup of opponents during the war itself :

a. War took place on several levels

Regular troops: British against Patriots

Irregular troops: Partisan warfare (Patriots versus Loyalists)

b. Fighting moved chronologically from North to South:
  • New England
  • Middle colonies
  • Southern colonies

Continental army

a. Never numbered more than 18,500 men
b. Included black (5,000) troops
c. Short–term militiamen helped in their own area
d. Women traveled with the army

Who: wives and widows of poor soldiers
Doing what: cooks, nurses, and launderers

Valley Forge: Patriot winter camp (close to Philadelphia)

Video: Valley Forge
Stop at small pox

Tremendous suffering

Picture: Valley Forge cabin used by soldiers

Time for needed training (Baron von Steuben)

General Von Steuben (National Park Service)

Video: Baron von Steuben

Treason of Benedict Arnold (21 September 1780)
Officers developed intense commitment to the revolutionary cause

Arnold betrayed the cause (

Arnold bio sketch

Washington "crossed the Delaware" River

Attacked Trenton
This victory cheered American spirits

Video: German Hessians were used as mercenaries by the British
They were defending the post at Trenton which Washington attacked when he crossed the Delaware.

Video: Victory at Trenton

Video: Battle of Trenton

Video: Washington's spy network

Painting: Washington crossing the Delaware

Battle of Saratoga (September 1777)

Battle of Saratoga (Today in History, Library of Congress)

a. British invaded New York to cut off New England from rest of colonies
b. British General Burgoyne surrendered 6,000 troops
c. American victory led to French recognition of American independence

Video: Surrender at Saratoga and Treaty with France

Video: Benedict Arnold: militant patriot
Early years

Video: Benedict Arnold: hero of Saratoga

Daniel Morgan

Daniel Morgan's riflemen (snipers) were crucial at Saratoga
Morgan fought in French and Indian War and copied the guerrilla style of the Indians.

Video: Daniel Morgan at Saratoga

Franco–American Treaty of Alliance (1778)

Treaty of Alliance with France 1778 (Today in History, Library of Congress)

Treaty of alliance brought France into war on American side:

a. Americans had mixed feelings
b. France had been major enemy in past
c. French were Catholic
d. But French were anxious to avenge their defeat in the French and Indian War

French help was critically important to the overall Patriot victory against the British.

Guns and ships (Hamilton musical)

Marquis de Lafayette

Fighting moved to the south
British had taken key cities in the North:
  • Boston
  • Newport, Rhode Island
  • New York City (their headquarters for most of the war)
  • Philadelphia

But still the British were not stopping the Patriots

British thought they would have better success in the South

Charleston (South Carolina)

Results were the reverse of Saratoga.

Americans surrendered 5,000 troops to the British.

Nathanael Greene

Nathanael Greene (Today in History, Library of Congress)

He was a Quaker.
He operated effectively against the British militarily.
But he was much more than just a military man.
He showed tolerance for the problems of loyalists and Indians.

British Surrender at Yorktown (1781)


Cornwallis Surrender at Yorktown (Today in History, Library of Congress)

a. British General Cornwallis trapped on Tidewater peninsula

b. American and French armies surrounded him on land.

c. French navy defeated British rescue effort off Chesapeake Bay

d. Great American victory for American commander George Washington.

Video: Victory at Yorktown

e. Alexander Hamilton showed great courage leading an assault on a British position at Yorktown

History has its eyes on you (Hamilton musical)

Yorktown (Hamilton musical)
70th Tony Awards "Hamilton" (Obamas intro)

Peace Treaty of Paris (1783)

American diplomats: Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay
Won a tremendous settlement for America

Video: Treaty of Paris (1783)

a. England recognized American independence
b. Britain kept Canada—but reduced to its original boundaries before Quebec Act
c. U.S. got all territory east of the Mississippi
d. Britain ignored territorial rights of its Indian allies
e. French GOT NOTHING out of the peace treaty

Great map: