American Revolutionary War
English soldiers search a settler's house (1770s)
In 1763 AD
the French and Indian War against France
(which had been fought mainly in
North America), and so the English-speaking settlers on the East Coast could
stop worrying that they were about to be taken over by France. To pay for
that war, the English government began to make the the English-speaking
settlers pay more and more taxes
This brought the English a lot of money
but it made the settlers
more and more angry. They were especially angry because they couldn't vote
or speak for themselves in England about these taxes. The settlers said
this was "taxation without representation" and it was wrong.
The settlers decided to boycott everything they had been
buying from English traders - they would not buy their tea, clothes
and so on (This is when many Americans began to drink coffee). To show that
they meant it, in 1773 they threw a lot of tea on an English ship overboard,
into the ocean - this is called the "Boston Tea Party." Women proudly spun
their own cloth, though
they had not done it for a long time.
In 1775, two years later, the first shots were fired in Massachusetts.
England and the United States were now at war. The Iroquois
under their leader Joseph Brant, and the Cherokee
decided to help England with the war because they thought the English would
stop settlers from moving into their land. About a quarter of the settlers, notably Banastre Tarleton and his troop of "Tarleton's Raiders,"
took the side of England too. Many African-Americans
, both slave and free, fought on the side of the British, in the hopes of ending slavery. Quakers
tried to stay neutral.
George Washington (named after King George of England
) was the commander in chief of the United
States' army. At first he won, and on July 4th, 1776 the United States government
published the Declaration of Independence
But then the English government sent lots more men to fight (women weren't
allowed), and soon the United States was losing the war.
At this point, Benjamin Franklin went to Paris and succeeded
in getting the French king
to send help. In 1777 the French navy helped send
in lots of weapons for the United States army to use. Then Spain and the
Netherlands also came in on the side of France. Nobody was on the side of
England. Even some English people were on the side of the United States.
The French general Lafayette
By 1781, the United States (with the help of the French general Lafayette, other French soldiers, and lots of French money) had won several
big battles. Even when the English won, they couldn't get people to support
them, or get their navy through to help them. So in October the English
army surrendered to George Washington. That was the end of the Revolutionary
War. Thousands of Americans, both black and white, who had supported Britain moved to Canada after the war, where they could keep on being British subjects. So did many Iroquois
people. The victorious Americans soon forced the Cherokee
, who had also supported the British, off their land.
Bibliography and further reading about the American Revolution: