The Revolutionary War
1. Fought 1775-1783
2. Fought between the Colonists (Patriots) vs. the English (Redcoats)
3. Declaration of Independence was written in 1775 saying that the King of England had wronged the
Colonists so they were seeking independence and democracy. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of
Independence (Thomas Jefferson became the 3rd president).
4. Reasons for the war:
- Colonists had lived in America for 150 years and didn’t feel English anymore.
- England was taxing Colonists but Colonists didn’t get any say in the government. (Taxation without
representation!) In response to taxes, the Sons of Liberty organized the Boston Tea Party.
- Colonists wanted to have a democracy, not base government on Noble Birth (I.e. Kings & Queens)
5. Paul Revere warned people in Lexington and Concord, MA that the British were coming. He was a silver
smith and part of the Sons of Liberty.
6. Patriots survived terrible winter without supplies. Resorted to eating shoe leather. Washington had whole
army vaccinated against smallpox, which saved thousands. George Washington was the Patriot’s general.
He used guerilla tactics and led them to victory. He became the first president of the United States of
7. Benedict Arnold was another very good/famous general. He felt he was ignored and not rewarded for his
good service so he betrayed the Patriots to the British (he was a traitor).
8. War was won with the battle of Yorktown and General Cornwallis’ surrender.
9. The men who were part of the Sons of Liberty then worked together to create a new government that was
a representative democracy. James Madison ended up writing the document (called the Constitution),
whose purpose was to outline what the government was allowed to do. The Constitution included checks
and balances which kept the three parts of the government from having too much power. James Madison
eventually became the 4th president of the US. John Adams helped with a lot of the ideas and he became
the second president.
10. The three parts of government included the Executive branch, the Legislative branch, and the Judicial
branch. The Executive branch was led by the president who could veto laws passed by the Legislative
branch, command the army, and encourage laws to be made. The Legislative branch (aka Congress aka the
House of Representatives and the Senate) controls the government’s money, the post office, roads, and
trade between states and it makes laws. The Judicial branch (the Supreme Court) is in charge of making
sure that laws are constitutional (i.e. the government is not breaking the rules of the Constitution).
11. The Bills of Rights were the first 10 amendments. The purpose of the Bill of Rights is to protect American’s
rights from the Government. It outlines what the Government cannot do to the people. Amendments are
changes to the Constitution. The rights that we talked about in class include: Freedom of Religion,
Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, the Right to Assemble, the Right to Petition the government,
not being required to testify against yourself (plead the 5th), not allowed to be tried twice for a crime
(double jeopardy), no cruel and unusual punishment (like excessive bail), Quartering Act (don’t have to
shelter soldiers in your home), the Government cannot steal your land while in jail – they must pay for it,
the right to bear arms (have weapons), Right to the privacy of your own home (police must have a warrant
and probable cause).