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American War of Independence

American War of Independence


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The immediate result of the war was America’s independence. For the first time a colonial power was overthrown by the colonised, leading to the establishment of a republican government in the United States. The colonists wanted to get rid of the feudal inequalities of Europe and they succeeded. For many followers of the Enlightenment in Europe, the language of the Declaration of Independence seemed a living fulfillment of their ideals. The Declaration of Independence of 1776 stated that “all men are born equal.” But in reality the poor Black slaves did not fit in this. America had to fight a bitter civil war in the succeeding century, to abolish slavery.

By 1777 nearly all the colonies had a written constitution. These constitutions protected individual rights, freedom of press and freedom of religion. The Continental Congress had drafted the Articles of Confederation. The Church and the State were separated. Thomas Jefferson in his Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom introduced freedom of religion. It was later incorporated into the American Constitution.The conception of people’s right to a government of their choice encouraged the Latin American revolutionaries to strive for the overthrow of the Spanish empire in South America. Mirabeau quoted the Declaration of Independence with enthusiasm during the French

Revolution and the revolutionaries inspired by it were determined to fight against royal absolutism. The intellectuals of the time believed that the republican state was the only political structure in which individuals could preserve their basic freedom, including property and political rights.

Lafayette, who fought the British on Washington’s side through to the conclusive battle at Yorktown in 1781, later during the French Revolution served the French National Guard as its Commander.


He penned the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, with the help of Jefferson, which the National Assembly adopted on August 27, 1789.


The British Isles and the War of American Independence

  • Author : Stephen Conway
  • Publisher : OUP Oxford
  • Release Date : 2000-03-02
  • Genre: History
  • Pages : 420
  • ISBN 10 : 9780191542572

This book examines a hitherto neglected aspect of the War of American Independence, providing the first wide-ranging account of the impact of this eighteenth-century conflict upon the politics, economy, society and culture of the British Isles. The author examines the level of military participation - which was much greater than is usually appreciated - and explores the war's effects on subjects as varied as parliamentary reform, religious toleration and attitudes to empire. The books casts new light upon recent debate about the war-waging efficiency of the British state, and on the role of war in the creation of a sense of 'Britishness'. The thematic chapters are supplemented by local case studies of six very different communities the length and breadth of the British Isles.


The Renaissance

  • The Renaissance had inaugurated an era of questioning the established beliefs. Gradually, this questioning covered every aspect of thought and belief. The period after the 16th century, witnessed an intellectual revolution when all the existing beliefs based on faith came under heavy attack.
  • Great progress was made in various sciences, which also undermined the existing beliefs. The new ideas were characterized by rationalism and were increasingly concerned with secular affairs. Because of the growing emphasis on reason, the period of the 18th century in European history is called the Age of reason or the Age of Enlightenment.
  • Gradually the beliefs that permitted people to be divided into higher or lower groups on the basis of birth, and into privileged groups and others, and the hold of the Church in the sphere of ideas, were undermined.
  • The new ideas were ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity. Thus arose ideas of freedom, democracy and equality, which became the rallying slogans of peoples everywhere.
  • Simultaneously, there also arose ideas of nationalism which brought a sense of unity and oneness to the people forming a nation and the desire to organize themselves into independent states with their distinctive national identities.
  • Movements arose in many parts of Europe and in North America to overthrow the existing autocratic political systems and replace them by democratic political system and to abolish privileges and establish the equality of political rights. These movements which began earlier became powerful forces in the 19th century Europe.
  • In this chapter you will read about some revolutions that led to the overthrow of autocratic governments and their replacement by democratic forms of government. You will also read about some successful movements of national independence and national unification. In the last section, you will read about the emergence of ideas of socialism and about the movements based on those ideas which took shape.

General Overviews

Surveys vary in scope and treatment. Middlekauff 2005 is a broad but sophisticated narrative of Revolutionary America. British conduct of the war is treated in Robson 1955 in chapters that might be read separately, while Mackesy 1993 analyzes the war through British strategic concerns, integrating ministerial politics. Middleton 2012 offers a fresh perspective on the war in an Atlantic context. For a thematic understanding of American military policies and practices, see Higginbotham 1983. For accounts emphasizing the contingent nature of the war, Ferling 2007, Griffith 2002, and Black 1998 are useful studies.

Black, Jeremy. The War for America: The Fight for Independence, 1775–1783. 2d ed. Burton-on-Trent, UK: Wrens Park, 1998.

A concise narrative history, this work challenges the assumption of an inevitable American victory and suggests that British leaders had the realistic possibility of achieving a negotiated peace early in the war. Organized thematically and chronologically, it is well illustrated and written for a general readership.

Ferling, John E. Almost a Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Well researched and wide-ranging, stressing the war’s contingent nature and its relationship to war in the early modern era. Devotes attention to leading characters and their roles in shaping decisions and outcomes.

Griffith, Samuel B., II. The War for merican Independence: From 1760 to the Surrender at Yorktown in 1781. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2002.

A solid, but limited synthesis addressing politics, diplomacy, and military affairs in North America. Strongest treatment in military concerns. Originally published as In Defense of the Public Liberty: Britain, America, and the Struggle for Independence—From 1760 to the Surrender at Yorktown in 1781 (New York: Doubleday, 1977).

Higginbotham, Don. The War of American Independence: Military Attitudes, Policies, and Practices, 1763–1789. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1983.

Survey of American military policies and practices ranging from the late colonial period to the end of the war. Thematic and chronological organization integrating military, social, and political history. Emphasizes American society’s close connections and relationship to the states’ militias and the Continental army. First published in 1971 (New York: Macmillan).

Mackesy, Piers. The War for America, 1775–1783. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1993.

Analysis of war from the British imperial and grand strategic perspectives. Considers policy formulation and the execution and interplay of domestic and European politics, as well as the inability of British political and military leaders to grasp the nature of the rebellion. First published in 1964 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).

Middlekauff, Robert. The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763–1789. Rev. and exp. ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Comprehensive narrative of the Revolution and the war giving thorough consideration to the political, social, and economic developments. Integrates the war within the fuller considerations of the Revolution.

Middleton, Richard. The War of American Independence, 1775–1783. New York: Pearson, 2012.

Far-reaching synthesis of the war in its Atlantic-world context. Narrative and analytical, it weaves diplomatic, political, and military history together, noting British imperial and geopolitical overreach and giving due credit to French naval power and American independence.

Robson, Eric. The American Revolution in Its Political and Military Aspects, 1763–1783. London: Batchworth, 1955.

Critical analysis of British aims and conduct of the war. Uneven editing due to the author’s death before final draft and submission.

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The American war of Independence and the Treaty of Paris 1783.

The Second Continental Congress met on the 10 th of May 1775 in Philadelphia. This Congress representing all the 13 colonies sent a petition to King George III for the removal of all the colonial grievances. This petition was known as the Olive Branch Petition. The Congress also appointed George Washington, a Virginian planter as the commander of the Liberation Forces. George III was in no mood to consider the petition. On the 23rd of August 1775, George III issued a proclamation declaring the colonies to be in a state of rebellion.

The Third Continental Congress met again in the year 1776. On the 4 th of July 1776, the Third Continental Congress adopted the famous “Declaration of Independence”. In fact, it was one of the most important documents drafted in human history.

The Declaration runs as follows: “We hold these truths to be self-confident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain rights. Those among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

The next year i.e., in 1777 the British suffered a great defeat at Saratoga. This defeat could be considered as the turning point and this news reached Europe, the European powers i.e. France, Spain, and Holland entered the war on the side of the colonies. The British government now had to concentrate its efforts not only in America but also in the Mediterranean Sea, in India, and in the West Indies. The new English general, Lord Cornwallis won several battles in the colonies.

In 1781, General Cornwallis and the British soldiers advanced to Yorktown in Virginia. But there he had to face the combined army of the colonies and France. He was cut off from all communication and finding his position hopeless. Thus, Cornwallis surrendered at North Ford in October 1781.

With the fall of Yorktown, the war came to an end in America. However, England’s war against France and Spain continued throughout the next year. Finally, in 1783 the American war of Independence came to an end by the Treaty of Paris signed on September 3rd, 1783.

The terms of the Treaty are:

  1. Great Britain recognized the Independence of the 13 colonies in America.
  2. It handed over to the colonies all territories in America, except Canada, which she kept, and Florida and Minorca which she returned to Spain.
  3. France received from England the West African settlements and the islands in the West Indies which she had lost during the Seven year’s war.
  4. Americans won her Independence and owed their victory to British incompetence, French help, and to George Washington.
  5. The Americans agreed to recommend the separate states. Also, it allows loyalists to recover their property and British traders to recover the debts owed to them before the war.

Timeline of the War for Independence

1774, September 5
First Session of First Continental Congress in Philadelphia.

The War for Independence
1775-1782

1775, February 9
British Parliament declares Massachusetts to be in rebellion

1775, April 19
Battles of Lexington and Concord

1775, May 10
First Session of the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia

1775, May 10
Patriots capture Fort Ticonderoga in New York

1775, June 14
Congress establishes the Continental Army

1775, June 15
Congress appoints George Washington Commander-in-Chief

1775, June 17
Battle of Bunker Hill in Massachusetts

1775, July 3
George Washington takes command of the Continental Army

1775, August 7
Louis XVI sends Julien Achard de Bonvouloir to America on a
fact-finding mission

1775, August 22
George III issues a proclamation declaring the Americans to be
in a state of open rebellion

1775, September 18
Continental Congress appoints a Secret Committee to import
gunpowder, musket locks, and arms

1775, October 13
Congress founds Continental Navy

1775, November 10
Congress founds Continental Marine Corps

1775, December 28
Julien-Alexandre Achard de Bonvouloir sends glowing report
detailing the Secret Committee of Correspondence to Paris

1776, March 3
Silas Deane receives instructions and list of supplies needed
from France for the American war effort

1776, March 17
Crown forces evacuate Boston

1776, April 22
Louis XVI decides to provide funding to the Americans via the
trading company of Roderigue Hortalez & Co. Soon after makes
1 million livres in cash available.

1776, June 7
Independence resolution first introduced in Congress

1776, June 20
Spain matches France's one million livres to American rebels

1776, July 4
Congress ratifies the Declaration of Independence

1776, August 14
Hessian troops begin to disembarked on Staten Island

1776, October 26
Benjamin Franklin sets sail for France from Philadelphia

1776, October 28
Battle of White Plains in New York

1776, December 8
Crown forces occupy Newport

1776, December 26
Battle of Trenton in New Jersey

1777, January 2
Second Battle of Trenton in New Jersey

1777, January 3
Battle of Princeton in New Jersey

1777, March 15
Congress authorizes Articles of Confederation

1777, June 13
Lafayette and de Kalb arrive

1777, August 6
Battle of Oriskany in New York

1777, September 3
Battle of Cooch's Bridge in Delaware

1777, September 11
Battle of Brandywine in Pennsylvania

1777, September 20
Paoli Massacre in Pennsylvania

1777, September 26
British occupy Philadelphia

1777, October 4
Battle of Germantown in Pennsylvania

1777, October 12
British forces are surrounded at Saratoga, surrender 5 days later

1777, October 22
Battle of Red Bank in New Jersey

1777, November 28
John Adams appointed to replace Silas Deane in Paris

1777, December 19
Continental Army enters winter quarters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania

1777, December 17
France recognizes the United States as an independent nation

1778, February 6
American representatives in Paris sign a "Treaty of Amity and
Friendship" and a secret "Treaty of Alliance" with France

1778, March 20
King Louis XVI receives U.S. representatives Benjamin Franklin,
Silas Deane and Arthur Lee

1778, May 4
Congress ratifies Treaty of Alliance with France

1778, May 6
Continental Army at Valley Forge celebrates French alliance

1778, 18 June
British evacuate Philadelphia

1778, 19 June
Continental Army leaves winter quarters at Valley Forge

1778, 28 June
Battle of Monmouth in New Jersey

1778, July 2
Continental Congress returns to Philadelphia

1778, November 30
Continental Army enters winter quarters in Middlebrook, New Jersey

1778, December 29
British capture Savannah in Georgia

1779, January 11
Lafayette sails to France to solicit more assistance

1779, March 11
Congress establishes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers out of
mostly of French personnel serving in the Continental Army

1779, June 3
Continental Army leaves winter quarters in Middlebrook for
New York Highlands

1779, July 16
Battle of Stony Point in New York

1779, September 16
French and American siege of Savannah

1779, October 25
British evacuate Newport

1779, December 1
Continental Army enters winter quarters at Morristown , New Jersey

1780, February 2
King Louis XVI approves the expédition particulière, the
transportation of forces to be stationed in the USA

1780, March 1
Louis XVI promotes Rochambeau to lieutenant general and
puts him in command of the expedition

1780, May 12
Charleston in South Carolina falls to Crown forces

1780, May 29
Battle of the Waxhaws in South Carolina

1780, June 22
Battle of Springfield in New Jersey

1780, July 11
A fleet carrying some 450 officers and 5,300 French troops under
comte de Rochambeau arrives in Newport, Rhode Island

1780, August 16
Battle of Camden in South Carolina

1780, October 7
Battle of King's Mountain in South Carolina

1781, January 17
Battle of Cowpens in South Carolina

1781, March 15
Battle of Guilford Courthouse in North Carolina

1781, June 29
Battle of Spencer's Ordinary in Virginia

1781, July 6
Battle of Green Spring in Virginia

1781, September 5
In the Battle off the Capes, French Admiral de Grasse prevents
a British fleet from entering the Chesapeake Bay, sealing the
fate of Lord Cornwallis in Yorktown

1781, September 8
Battle of Eutaw Springs in South Carolina

1781, September 28
Beginning of the siege of Yorktown

1781, October 3
Battle of the Hook near Gloucester in Virginia

1781, October 19
Cornwallis surrenders. The Continental Army marches north to
its winter quarters in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York
in early November. French forces will spend the winter of
1781/82 in and around Williamsburg

1782, July 4
Rochambeau's infantry begins its march from Virginia to Boston

1782, July 11
British evacuate Savannah, Georgia

1782, December 25
Rochambeau's infantry sails out of Boston Harbor for the
Caribbean. Lauzun's Legion winters in Wilmington, Delaware

The Start of a New Nation
1783-1789

1783, January 20
Preliminaries of Peace are signed in Paris

1783, February 4
George III issues Proclamation of Cessation of Hostilities
ending the American War of Independence

1783, April 15
Congress ratifies preliminary peace with Great Britain

1783, May 11
Lauzun's Legion sails out of Philadelphia for France

1783, May 18
United Empire Loyalists reach Canada

1783, September 3
Second Treaty of Paris ends American War of Independence.
Great Britain acknowledges the independence of the USA

1783, November 25
Crown forces evacuate New York City

1783, December 23
George Washington resigns as commander in chief

1784, June 2
Congress dissolves the Continental Army

1784, June 3
Congress creates the United States Army

1787, May 25
Constitutional Convention assembles in Philadelphia

1789, February 4
George Washington is elected President of the United States

1789, March 4
The US Constitution takes effect

1789, April 30
George Washington is sworn in as First President


10 things you (probably) didn’t know about the American War of Independence

The American Revolutionary War (1775–83) began when representatives from 13 North American colonies of the kingdom of Great Britain sought more autonomy within the British Empire. But when did the French intervene? How close did the British come to winning the war? And how tyrannical was the rule of King George III?

This competition is now closed

Published: July 3, 2018 at 10:20 am

Here, writing for History Extra, Professor Stephen Conway from University College London reveals 10 lesser-known facts about the 18th-century conflict, which saw the rebellion of 13 of the North American colonies of Great Britain declare themselves independent as the United States of America…

Independence was not the Americans’ original aim

When the war began in April 1775, the colonies sought more autonomy within the British Empire, not complete separation. The Continental Congress, which led American resistance, petitioned King George III that summer, denying that independence was the Americans’ objective, and appealing to him to protect the colonies.

At this critical juncture, British ministers, and the king, rebuffed the Americans, and started to treat them as open and avowed enemies, making many of the colonists think that independence was the only option.

George III was not trying to impose a tyrannical regime in the colonies

Despite the accusations made in the Declaration of Independence, George III was not determined to create an authoritarian system in the colonies. Indeed, in the constitutional disputes before the fighting began he urged moderation on his ministers, rather than encouraging them to take a hard line.

In 1775, George III disappointed the Americans by siding unambiguously with his government but he saw the war as the struggle for the rights of parliament, not as an attempt to increase his own power.

For enslaved people, the British, not the Americans, represented freedom

The rhetoric of the revolution presented the Americans as staunch defenders of liberty and the British as a threat to that liberty. But for enslaved people in the colonies, it was the British who represented liberty, not the white Americans.

In November 1775, Lord Dunmore, the last royal governor of Virginia, offered freedom to enslaved people who helped him put down the rebellion. Thereafter, thousands of slaves flocked to the British lines throughout the war. Many were to be disappointed, but at least some secured their freedom.

Dunmore’s actions may well have helped the revolutionary cause in the south, where many conservative plantation-owners reacted badly to his undermining the slave system.

The British nearly won the war in 1776

In late summer 1776, the British army inflicted a major defeat on Washington’s forces at the battle of Long Island (also known as the battle of Brooklyn). The British then went on to occupy New York City and chased the disintegrating remnants of the American army across New Jersey to the Delaware River.

By mid-December, many British officers assumed that the rebellion was on the verge of collapse. But just after Christmas, Washington boldly counter-attacked, reviving American spirits and ensuring that the war continued. Contemporaries blamed General Howe, the British commander, for not seizing the opportunity to crush the rebellion when he had the chance.

Historians have been kinder, recognising that, even in the 1776 campaign, the British faced major logistical challenges supplying their army at such a distance from home, and that Howe had no wish to alienate Americans further by using brutal methods.

A significant number of white Americans remained loyal to the British crown

The conflict was more of a civil war than a conventional international contest. Estimates vary, but probably somewhere around a fifth of white colonists refused to accept a complete break with Britain.

Many of them had supported resistance to the claims of the British parliament to tax the colonies, but they could not stomach a rejection of the link with the British crown. Some of these loyalists took up arms on the British side, and many of them migrated to Canada at the end of the war, providing the basis for its Anglophone population.

The French government helped the American rebels almost from the beginning of the war

Some French politicians feared the example a successful colonial rebellion might offer to their own overseas possessions, but the dominant view in Paris was that France should take advantage of Britain’s difficulties. Less than a year after the fighting started, the French government decided to support the Americans.

The rebels first received French arms and ammunition these vital supplies were followed by large injections of cash, which continued throughout the war.

When the French formally intervened in 1778, the war became a global struggle

The French became belligerents in 1778, turning a war that had begun as a struggle in and for America into something much bigger. The British and French clashed in every area of the globe where they were in competition – in the West Indies, which became a major theatre of operations West Africa, where each side tried to seize the other’s slave trading bases, and in India, where the rival East India Companies struggled for dominance.

Most importantly for the British, French intervention threatened the home territories with invasion. As the British redeployed their forces to meet the challenges of this wider war, their chances of recovering the rebel colonies diminished greatly.

The Spanish and Dutch joined the war in 1779 and 1780

French intervention was bad enough for the British, but their task became still more difficult when the Spanish entered the war as French allies in 1779. The French and Spanish fleets combined outgunned the Royal Navy.

In the summer of 1779, a Franco-Spanish armada controlled the Channel. Only disease on board the allied ships, and disagreements between the French and Spanish admirals, prevented an invasion.

At the end of 1780, the Dutch joined the conflict, too. While they posed little threat to the British on their own, their involvement extended the geographical range of the war even further, and so made the struggle in America still more of a secondary consideration for British politicians.

The French navy was responsible for British defeat in America itself

French intervention made the British position in America much more vulnerable. Until 1778, the British army had been able to rely on the dominance of the Royal Navy. British troops could be conveyed anywhere along the Atlantic coast of the colonies, and British generals had no need to fear for their extended Atlantic supply line.

But once the French joined the war, their navy posed an immediate threat. If French ships could co-operate with American troops on land, isolated British outposts could be captured.

At first, the French and Americans failed to co-ordinate their operations, but at Yorktown, Virginia, they succeeded to dramatic effect in autumn 1781. General Cornwallis’s British army was trapped by American and French troops and cut off from relief by the French navy. Cornwallis’s surrender effectively ended the war in America.

The British emerged from the wider war much stronger than looked likely in 1781

The battle of Yorktown [a decisive Franco-American victory ending on 19 October 1781] may have finished the conflict in America, but it did not end the wider war.

In April 1782, the British fleet decisively defeated the French and Spanish in the West Indies, saving Jamaica from invasion. The Mediterranean garrison of Gibraltar, besieged from 1779, held out right to the end of the fighting, withstanding repeated attempts by the Spanish and French to take it. These triumphs strengthened the British hand in the peace negotiations, and meant that the outcome was not as disastrous as had looked probable immediately after Yorktown.

One might even argue that the American aspect of the war was not the unmitigated British defeat that most accounts suggest. By the 1790s, the essential features of the old colonial relationship had been restored, at least in economic terms. The British sent more manufactured goods to the US than before independence, and received back a new American agricultural export, raw cotton, which supplied the textile mills of Lancashire and the Clyde Valley.

The British, in other words, retained the benefits of empire – a major export market and access to valuable raw materials – without having to pay the defence and administrative costs.

Professor Stephen Conway is head of history at University College London, and the author of A Short History of the American Revolutionary War (London: I.B. Tauris, 2013). Conway teaches courses on British history, and Colonial and Revolutionary North America.

This article was first published by History Extra in 2015


The American War of Independence, also known as the American Revolutionary War, was an eight-year (1775 - 1783) insurrection of the original Thirteen Colonies against British rule. After almost two centuries since the first English settlement in Jamestown, the American colonists gained independence from the British Crown and gave birth to the United States of America.

After the failure of the First Continental Congress to urge King George III of Britain to repeal the Coercive Acts, another Congress was set in May 1775. The Second Continental Congress acted as the revolutionary government of the Thirteen Colonies during the war. The Congress significantly created committees which handled the war efforts, alliances and steps to independence.

The American War of Independence officially began with military confrontation at the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and ended in the Siege of Yorktown. In the course of eight years, there were about 10 major campaigns and more than a hundred battles fought between the British troops and the Continental Army, and their respective alliances. The war also established the political careers of the Founding Fathers.

After the British defeat at Yorktown, England agreed to peace negotiations with the American colonists. A group of statesmen composed of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, and Henry Laurens were sent by the Continental Congress to negotiate a peace treaty. Aside from independence, the war sadly displaced Native American Indian populations and further strengthened the institution of slavery.

This self-guided course is designed for you to work through on your own using the resources and suggested learning activities provided.

Over the four lessons in the course, you'll learn about the causes of the Revolutionary War, the Second Continental Congress, key figures, battles & impacts of the Revolutionary War.


What British People in 1776 Really Thought of American Independence

I n the United States, the Fourth of July is time to launch some fireworks and eat some hot dogs in celebration of American independence. But in 1776, when news reached Britain of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, the atmosphere was anything but celebratory.

A look through letters from the period, now held in the archives of the U.K.’s Nottingham University, shows that British people were divided about the outbreak of war with what was then their colony&mdashover how bad it was, whose fault it was and what to do about it.

Before the Americans officially declared independence, the British were worried about what King George’s response to the unrest there would be. After all, the Declaration of Independence was not the beginning of the American Revolution the riot-provoking Stamp Act was passed in 1765, the Boston Tea Party took place in 1773 and the famous “shot heard ’round the world” that is seen as the start of the war was fired in 1775.

One 1775 letter from a group of merchants and traders in the southwestern port city of Bristol sheds light on the economic concerns provoked by the burgeoning revolution. They wrote to the king to express their concern about the &ldquounhappily distracted empires&rdquo and urged him to give the American colonists the freedoms they wanted rather than risk a precious trading relationship.

“It is with an affliction not to be expressed and with the most anxious apprehensions for ourselves and our Posterity that we behold the growing distractions in America threaten, unless prevented by the timely interposition of your Majesty&rsquos Wisdom and Goodness, nothing less than a lasting and ruinous Civil War,” they wrote. “We are apprehensive that if the present measures are adhered to, a total alienation of the affections of our fellow subjects in the colonies will ensue, to which affection much more than to a dread of any power, we have been hitherto indebted for the inestimable benefits which we have derived from those establishments. We can foresee no good effects to the commerce or revenues of this kingdom at a future period from any victories which may be obtained by your majesty&rsquos army over desolated provinces and [&hellip] people.&rdquo

The traders warned the King that “the subsistence of a great part of your kingdom has depended very much on the Honourable and in this instance amicable behaviour of your American subjects. We have in this single city received no less than one million bushels of wheat […].”

While they were confident that “none can profit by the continuance of this war,” the traders remained optimistic that the Americans would stay friendly if the British adopt a more conciliatory approach, despite things having been “carried to unfortunate lengths of hostility on both sides.”

“[Our] fellow subjects in that part of the world are very far from having lost their affection and regard to their mother country or departed from the principles of commercial honour,” they wrote.

Though their optimism might seem misplaced today, at the time it wasn’t completely ridiculous. After all, this was the same year that Americans’ Second Continental Congress sent the crown the Olive Branch Petition, a last-ditch attempt to convince the King to back off so that the British subjects in the colonies could continue to live happily under his rule alongside their counterparts in England.

Other letters, however, give indications that some people had given up hope that the King would give in to the colonists’ requests.

For example, in March of 1775, Chevalier Renaud Boccolari&mdashwhose own homeland of France would see a massive anti-monarchical uprising just over a decade later&mdashwrote to peers from Modena, Italy, warning of the &ldquoawful despotism [of the English king]” and the “crowd of blind and ugly [people] with whom he has shared his unjust power for some time.

&ldquoWe still find among us souls who are sensitive to freedom, souls that have not been swallowed by the insulting dominion of priests, the barbarous constriction of the inquisition and the blind, despotic monarchy,” he wrote. But, he felt &ldquoevery free country should be alarmed&rdquo that &ldquoin this century everything is tending towards the most illegitimate despotism.&rdquo


Watch the video: Doku Kampf um Amerika - Die fatalen Folgen HD (June 2022).


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