Chap. 8: American Pageant
America Secedes from the Empire
I. Congress Drafts George Washington
A. Minutemen Surround Boston – after bloodshed at Lexington & Concord in April 1775, outnumbered British.
B. Second Continental Congress – met in Philadelphia May 10, 1775, no intention of independence, merely desire to
continue fighting in hope king & Parliament consent to redress of grievances.
1. sent another list of grievances to Parliament.
2. adopted measures to raise money for an army and a navy.
3. selected George Washington to command army.
a) Washington – never risen above rank of colonel, largest command only 1,200 men, looked like a leader, was a
morale boost to troops.
b) He radiated patience, courage, self-discipline, & sense of justice, he insisted on working without pay.
II. Bunker Hill and Hessian Hirelings
A. Colonists – maintain loyalty while shooting at king’s men in first year of war.
B. Fort Ticonderoga & Crown Point – (May 1775) tiny American force (Green Mountain Boys), led by Ethan Allen &
Benedict Arnold, surprised & captured British garrisons. Importance: captured much-needed cannons & gunpowder.
C. Bunker (Breed’s) Hill – (June 1775) colonials seize hill. Turning Point: instead of flanking Redcoats launched
frontal attack, heavily entrenched colonial sharpshooters mowed them down until gunpowder ran out & forced retreat.
1. Effects: George III dooms hope of reconciliation & declared colonies in open rebellion, treasonous affair.
2. Hessians – hired German mercenaries, lured by booty & not duty, large numbers desert & remained in America
become respectful citizens.
III. The Abortive Conquest of Canada
A. Falmouth (Portland), Main – (October 1775) British burned.
B. Invasion of Canada – colonists decided would add a 14th colony & deprive Britain of valuable base for striking.
1. supposed French-Canadians support Americans because they were bitter about Britain’s taking over their land.
2. General Richard Montgomery captured Montreal.
3. General Benedict Arnold joins him at Quebec.
4. Assault of Quebec – last day of 1775 Montgomery killed & Arnold wounded in one leg, whole campaign collapsed
men retreated up St. Lawrence River, reversing the way Montgomery had come.
5. French-Canadians – didn’t like anti-Catholic invaders.
C. Norfolk, Virginia – (January 1776) British burned, in March, British forced to evacuate Boston.
D. Moore’s Creek Bridge (N.C.) – southerners won a victory against 1,500 Loyalists & against invading British fleet at
Charleston Harbor (S.C.).
IV. Thomas Paine Preaches Common Sense
A. Thomas Paine – (1776) published pamphlet Common Sense, urged colonists stop war of inconsistency, stop
pretending loyalty & declare independence.
B. Nowhere in the universe did a smaller body control a larger one, unnatural for tiny Britain to control gigantic
C. Called King George III ―the Royal Brute of Great Britain.‖
V. Paine and the Idea of “Republicanism”
A. Republic – Paine argued for representative senators, governors, & judges should have power from consent of people.
B. He laced his ideas with Biblical imagery, familiar to common folk.
C. His ideas fell on receptive ears, New Englanders already practiced this type of government in their town meetings.
D. Some patriots, though, favored a republic ruled by a ―natural aristocracy.‖
VI. Jefferson’s “Explanation” of Independence
A. 2nd Continental Congress – (Philadelphia) instructed by their colonies, moved toward clean break with Britain.
B. Richard Henry Lee – (June 7, 1776) urged for complete independence, idea finally adopted on July 2, 1776.
C. Declaration of Independence – Congress appointed Thomas Jefferson.
1. coming up with list of grievances against King George III & persuasively explaining why colonies had right to
2. ―explanation‖ of independence also upheld ―natural rights‖ of humankind (life, liberty, and the pursuit of
D. Congress fully approves declaration July 4th, 1776.
VII. Patriots and Loyalists
A. War of Independence: Civil War
1. Patriots – (Whigs) supported rebellion.
2. Loyalists – (Tories) supported king & went to battle against fellow Americans.
3. Moderates – in middle & those who were neutral, constantly being asked to join one side or another.
B. Typical Loyalist (Tory)
1. Loyalists were generally conservatives, but the war divided families. Benjamin Franklin against his illegitimate son,
William, last royal governor of New Jersey.
2. Loyalists were most numerous where the Anglican Church was strongest (the South).
3. Loyalists were less numerous in New England, where Presbyterianism and Congregationalism flourished. Loyalists
were more numerous in the aristocratic areas such as Charleston, SC.
C. Typical Patriot
1. Patriots generally younger generation, like Samuel Adams & Patrick Henry.
2. Patriot militias constantly harassed small British detachments.
3. Patriots typically didn’t belong to the Anglican Church (Church of England) but were Congregational, Presbyterian,
Baptist, or Methodist.
D. ―Profiteers‖ – sold to highest bidder, selling to British for gold & ignored starving/freezing soldiers at Valley Forge.
VIII. The Loyalist Exodus
A. Patriots confiscated Loyalist property to resell it (an easy way to raise money).
B. Some 50,000 Loyalists served the British in one way or another (fighting & spying).
IX. General Washington at Bay
A. New York – base of British operations after evacuation of Boston.
1. British Fleet appeared off coast July 1776, consisting of some 500 ships and 35,000 men, largest armed force seen
in America ever until the Civil War.
2. Washington only muster 18,000 ill-trained men & they were routed at the Battle of Long Island.
a) Washington escaped to Manhattan Island, crossed the Hudson River to New Jersey, reaching the Delaware River.
b) Delaware River Crossing – at Trenton December 26, 1776, surprised & captured a thousand Hessians.
c) Princeton – he left campfires burning as a ruse, slipped away, & inflicted sharp defeat on smaller British
detachment at Princeton, showing his military genius at its best.
d) British Gen. William Howe didn’t crush Washington when he was at Delaware, remembered Bunker Hill & was
X. Burgoyne’s Blundering Invasion
A. Capturing Vital Hudson River Valley (1777) – sever New England from rest of the colonies:
1. General Burgoyne push down Lake Champlain route from Canada.
2. General Howe’s in New York, could advance up Hudson & meet Burgoyne in Albany.
3. Col. Barry St. Ledger come in from west by way of Lake Ontario & the Mohawk Valley.
B. Benedict Arnold – after failure at Quebec, retreated slowly along St. Lawrence back to Lake Champlain, where the
British would have to win control (of the lake) before proceeding.
1. British stopped to build huge force, while Arnold assembled tattered flotilla from whatever boats he could find.
2. His ―navy‖ was destroyed, but he had gained valuable time, because winter set in and the British settled in Canada.
3. Arnold’s – daring & skill made British unsuccessful in dividing the colonies.
C. General Burgoyne – with 7,000 troops & heavy baggage train (officers’ wives included) moves south. Meanwhile
rebels gathering along his flanks.
D. General Howe – should have moved up Hudson, deliberately embarked for an attack on Philadelphia.
1. wanted to force encounter with Washington & leave path wide open for Burgoyne’s thrust.
2. Washington transferred his troops to Philadelphia, defeated at Brandywine Creek & Germantown.
3. Then, the fun-loving Howe settled down in Philadelphia, leaving Burgoyne ―to the dogs.‖
E. Valley Forge – Washington retired for winter, troops froze, Prussian drillmaster Baron von Steuben whipped cold
troops into shape.
F. Battle of Saratoga – (Oct. 17, 1777) Burgoyne’s troops engaged by rebels swarmed in with a series of sharp
engagements, pushing St. Legers force back at Oriskany while Burgoyne finally forced to surrender entire force.
1. perhaps one of the most decisive battles in British & American history.
2. Importance: afterwards France sensed America might actually win & came out to officially help America.
XI. Revolution or Diplomacy?
A. France – secretly supplied Americans throughout war.
B. Continental Congress – sent delegates to France. ―Model Treaty‖ sought no political or military connections only
1. Ben Franklin – played diplomacy game by wearing simple gray clothes & coonskin cap exemplify raw new
C. Peace Treaty British offered Americans home rule—everything they wanted except independence.
D. After Saratoga, France finally was persuaded to enter the war against Britain.
1. Louis XVI’s ministers argued that this was the perfect time to act, because if Britain regained control, she might
then try to capture the French West Indies for compensation for the war.
2. Now was the time to strike, rather than risk a stronger Britain with its reunited colonies.
E. Treaty of Alliance France (1778) offered America everything Britain had offered & recognition of independence.
XII. The Colonial War Becomes a World War
A. Spain & Holland – (1779) entered war against Britain.
B. Catherine the Great of Russia – (1780) took lead in organizing Armed Neutrality all Europe’s neutrals in passive
hostility against England.
C. America – didn’t win until France, Spain, & Holland joined & Britain couldn’t handle them all.
D. Philadelphia Evacuated – Britain with French navy in seas give up Philadelphia concentrate forces in New York.
XIII. Blow and Counterblow
A. French Reinforcements – (1780) commanded by Comte de Rochambeau, arrived in Newport, R.I., but flares
sometimes erupted between Americans & French.
B. Traitor Benedict Arnold – (1780) feeling unappreciated & lured by British gold, plotted sell out West Point.
1. When the plot was discovered, he fled with the British.
2. ―Whom can we trust now?‖ cried George Washington in anguish.
C. British Plan to Roll up Colonies from South
1. Georgia was ruthlessly overrun in 1778-1779.
2. Charleston, South Carolina, fell in 1780.
3. Carolinas, Patriots bitterly fought their Loyalist neighbors.
4. King’s Mountain – (1781) American riflemen wiped out British detachment & defeated smaller force at Cowpens.
5. Gen. Nathanael Greene – (1781) Carolina campaign, Quaker-reared tactician distinguished w/ strategy of delay.
By slowly retreating & losing battles but winning campaigns, he helped clear British out of most of Georgia & S.C.
XIV. The Land Frontier and the Sea Frontier
A. “Bloody Year” 1777 – on frontier Indians went on scalping spree.
B. Most Indians supported Britain & believed that if they won, it would stop American expansion into the West.
C. Mohawk chief Joseph Brant – convert to Anglicanism & his men ravaged backcountry of P.A. & N.Y. until
checked by Americans in 1779.
D. Treaty of Fort Stanwix – (1784) pro-British Iroquois (Oneidas & Tuscaroras sided with Americans, other four w/
British) signed first treaty between U.S. & an Indian nation. Result: Indians ceded most of their land.
E. Pioneers – continued to move West during war show gratitude to French town names Louisville & remembering
revolution w/ Lexington, Kentucky.
F. George Rogers Clark – (1778-1779) audacious frontiersman floated down Ohio River w/ 175 men in & captured
forts Kaskaskia, Cahokia, & Vicennes in quick succession.
G. American Navy – never really hurt British warships, but did destroy British merchant shipping & the British Isles.
H. Naval Privateers – preyed on enemy shipping, capturing many ships & forcing them to sail in convoys.
XV. Yorktown and the Final Curtain
A. Inflation – soar & govt. virtually bankrupt. Announced could only repay many debts at rate 2.5 cents per dollar.
B. Yorktown: Cornwallis Defeated
1. Cornwallis – retreats to Chesapeake Bay & waits for British supplies
2. Trapped by Washington’s Army & Rochambeau’s French army & navy of French Admiral de Grasse.
C. After hearing the news of Cornwallis’ defeat, Lord North cried, ―Oh God! It’s all over!‖
D. Stubborn King George wanted to continue war, since he still had 54,000 troops in North America and 32,000 in U.S.,
& fighting did continue a year after Yorktown, especially in South, but America had won.
XVI. Peace at Paris
A. British War Weary – suffered heavily in India & West Indies & Rock of Gibraltar was tottering.
B. Ben Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay Meet in Paris for a peace deal.
1. Jay – suspected France try keep U.S. cooped up east of Alleghenies & keep America weak.
2.Cause: thinking France would betray American ambition to satisfy Spain, secretly made separate overtures to
London (against instructions from Congress) & came to terms quickly with British, who were eager to entice one of
their enemies from alliance.
C. The Treaty of Paris of 1783
1. Britain formally recognized U.S. independence & granted generous boundaries stretching to Mississippi River
(West), Great Lakes (North), & Spanish Florida (South).
2. Yankees also retained a share in the priceless fisheries of Newfoundland.
3. In Return Americans – couldn’t persecute Loyalists, & Congress could only recommend legislature that would
return or pay for confiscated Loyalist land.
XVII. A New Nation Legitimized
A. Britain ceded so much land because it was trying to entice America from its French alliance.
B. During time of treaty American-friendly Whigs in control of Parliament, which was not to be case in later years.
C. France approved treaty, though with cautious eyes.
XVIII. Makers of America: The Loyalists
A. Loyalists were conservative, well-educated, and thought that a complete break with Britain would invite anarchy.
They felt that America couldn’t win against the most powerful nation in the world.
B. Many Britons had settled in America after the Seven Years’ War, and they had reason to support their home country.
C. Thousands of African-Americans joined the British ranks for hope of freedom from bondage.
1. Many Black Loyalists won their freedom from Britain.
2. Others suffered betrayal, such as when Cornwallis abandoned over 4,000 former slaves in Virginia and when many
Black Loyalists boarded ships expecting to embark for freedom but instead found themselves sold back into slavery.
3. Some Black exiles settled in Britain, but weren’t really easily accepted.
D. Most Loyalists remained in America, where they faced special burdens and struggled to re-establish themselves in a
society that viewed them as traitors.
E. Hugh Gaine, though, succeeded in building back his name.
1. He reopened his business and even won contracts from the new government.
2. He also published the new national army regulations authored by Baron von Steuben.
3. When New York ratified the Constitution in 1788, Gaine rode the float at the head of the city’s celebration parade.
4. He had, like many other former Loyalists, become an American.