About This Chapter
The Revolutionary War - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives
Video lessons in this chapter can help you follow escalating tensions between colonists and the British government, witness the outbreak of war and examine factors that helped turn the tide of this six-year conflict in favor of the new nation. Instructors also discuss the impact of the Revolutionary War on Americans' social and religious lives. This chapter can help you understand the following:
- Philosophical and religious movements preceding the war
- Colonists' responses to British economic legislation
- Achievements of the Second Continental Congress
- Components of the Declaration of Independence
- Outcomes of conflicts at Trenton, Saratoga and Yorktown
|The American Enlightenment: Intellectual and Social Revolution||Describes characteristics of the American Enlightenment and the philosophical movements that preceded it.|
|The First Great Awakening: Religious Revival and American Independence||Explores the movement's legacy and examines the preaching styles of prominent evangelists like George Whitfield and Jonathan Edwards.|
|The French and Indian War: Causes, Effects & Summary||Provides an overview of early French victories, England's ultimate success and the effect of the war on colonists.|
|Sons of Liberty: Resistance to the Stamp Act and British Rule||Outlines economic legislation designed to repay English debtors for the cost of the French and Indian War. Discusses colonial efforts to mount an opposition to these acts.|
|Boston Massacre: Colonists and the Declaratory and Townshend Acts||Explains how tensions resulting from the passage of the Declaratory Act and Townshend Act culminated in the Boston Massacre.|
|The Boston Tea Party, Intolerable Acts & First Continental Congress||Analyzes the cause-and-effect relationships between the Tea Act, the Boston Tea Party and the Intolerable Acts. Discusses the secret meeting of the First Continental Congress to address grievances with the British government.|
|Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill: The American Revolution Begins||Depicts the Revolutionary War's first battles at Lexington and Concord as well as the siege of Boston. Describes the attack on Fort Ticonderoga.|
|The Second Continental Congress and Thomas Paine's Common Sense||Depicts the Second Continental Congress' attempts to create the Continental Army, print currency, authorize an intelligence agency and submit the Olive Branch Petition to Britain. Outlines the role of Common Sense in swaying public option towards independence.|
|The Declaration of Independence: Text, Signers and Legacy||Reviews events factoring into the colonies' decision to fight for independence. Summarizes content in the Declaration of Independence's preamble and the list of grievances. Discusses this document's influence on the revolutionary era it initiated.|
|British Loyalists vs. American Patriots During the American Revolution||Explains the types of white men likely to make up Patriot, neutral and Loyalist populations. Explores the sides taken by Native Americans, African Americans and women and describes the fate of Loyalists during and after the war.|
|George Washington's Leadership at Trenton, Saratoga & Valley Forge||Depicts the capture of Trenton, NJ, and analyzes the impact of victory at Saratoga on the French's decision to support the war. Outlines Washington's efforts to recuperate and train troops at Valley Forge.|
|John Paul Jones and the Naval Battles of the Revolutionary War||Discusses the origins of the U.S. Navy, the daily life of sailors and the biography of John Paul Jones. Examines the role of foreign navies in the war.|
|Loyalists in the Southern Colonies at the End of the Revolutionary War||Analyzes the British strategy to unite Loyalist forces in the South and focus the Regular Army's war efforts on recapturing the North.|
|The Battle of Yorktown and the Treaty of Paris||Outlines American maneuvers resulting in victory at Yorktown during the war's last year. Explains conditions for British surrender outlined in the Treaty of Paris.|
|American Revolution: Social and Economic Impact||Surveys the political effects of the war on white men, women, African Americans and Native Americans. Discusses the economic impact of population changes, market shifts, debt and other consequences of the war.|
|The Second Great Awakening: Charles Finney and Religious Revival||Lists religious groups born in the Second Great Awakening and examines the influence of Charles Finney and Lyman Beecher on social activism and public policy.|
1. The American Enlightenment: Intellectual and Social Revolution
For a thousand years, Europe had been living in the Dark Ages until a series of philosophical, religious and scientific movements helped turn on the lights. The Enlightenment began in Europe, but quickly spread throughout America in the 1700s and helped set the stage for a revolution against British rule.
2. The First Great Awakening: Religious Revival and American Independence
While the Enlightenment was shaping the minds of 18th-century colonists, another movement, the First Great Awakening, was shaping their hearts. With freedom of conscience at its core, the Awakening led Americans to break with religious traditions and seek out their own beliefs while sharing common values.
3. The French and Indian War: Causes, Effects & Summary
In the mid-1700s, the Seven Years' War involved all of the world's major colonial powers on five continents. The biggest fight was between France and Great Britain, and the victor would come away with control of North America.
4. Sons of Liberty: Resistance to the Stamp Act and British Rule
In 1763, British Prime Minister George Grenville passed new legislation aimed at solving some of the empire's problems stemming from the French and Indian War. The colonists cried, 'Taxation without representation is tyranny!' They organized boycotts, the Sons of Liberty and the Stamp Act Congress until some of the new taxes were lifted.
5. Boston Massacre: Colonists and the Declaratory and Townshend Acts
After overturning the hated Stamp Act, Parliament asserted its right to tax the colonists without representation by passing the Declaratory Act. When the Townshend Acts imposed import duties, the colonists went into action again. An escalating cycle of violence ended with the Boston Massacre, resulting in the cancellation of all duties except the one on tea.
6. The Boston Tea Party, Intolerable Acts & First Continental Congress
Three years of calm followed the Boston Massacre and the repeal of most Townshend duties. But no sooner had Parliament passed a new tax on tea than the colonies were in an uproar again about taxation without representation. What followed were the Boston Tea Party and the fateful last steps leading to war.
7. Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill: The American Revolution Begins
Following the Boston Tea Party, Massachusetts was placed under the command of the British army. Rumors of a rebellion led to an attempted raid on the militia's arsenal. The events that followed at Lexington and Concord touched off the American Revolution.
8. The Second Continental Congress and Thomas Paine's Common Sense
1763 marked the beginning of the long road to revolution for the American colonies. By 1775, military actions had finally erupted. How were the colonists and their leaders going to respond?
9. The Declaration of Independence: Text, Signers and Legacy
After 12 years of tension and fighting, the colonists and their leaders were ready to declare themselves a new country, independent of Great Britain. This lesson examines the motives, the text, and the legacy of America's Declaration of Independence.
10. British Loyalists vs. American Patriots During the American Revolution
In this lesson, learn about the difficult decisions faced by individuals as the American Revolution erupted. Would you have been a Loyalist or a Patriot? Are you sure about that?
11. George Washington's Leadership at Trenton, Saratoga & Valley Forge
After a series of setbacks in 1776, George Washington's leadership of the Continental Army helped America turn the tide of the war in three pivotal locations, prompting France to recognize the United States as a nation and an ally.
12. John Paul Jones and the Naval Battles of the Revolutionary War
Naval battles in the American Revolution are something of a lost chapter in history. Find out about the world's first military submarine, the privateers of the Continental Navy, and the helpful actions of three foreign allies at sea.
13. Loyalists in the Southern Colonies at the End of the Revolutionary War
After surrendering their northern army in the American Revolution, British leaders looked to the Southern Strategy. General Charles Cornwallis hoped that loyalist forces would hold territory so he could sweep north and end the war in Virginia.
14. The Battle of Yorktown and the Treaty of Paris
After the unsuccessful Southern Strategy, General Cornwallis pulled his army up to Yorktown, Virginia. A combined effort by the armies and navies of America and France resulted in British surrender and the 1783 Treaty of Paris that recognized the United States of America.
15. American Revolution: Social and Economic Impact
Learn about the impact of the Revolutionary War throughout the world, especially on various segments of American society. We'll look at political, social, and economic impacts.
16. The Second Great Awakening: Charles Finney and Religious Revival
The spirit of the Revolution led to changes in American churches in the post-war years. Beginning with a boom in evangelism and missionary work, the Second Great Awakening soon led to social reform, an intertwining of religious values with civic values, and a lasting emphasis on morality in daily life.
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Other chapters within the US History: Middle School course
- First Contacts in the Americas
- Settling North America & the Colonies
- The Making of a Nation after the American Revolution
- The Virginia Dynasty
- Jacksonian Democracy
- Everyday Life in Antebellum America
- Manifest Destiny & American Expansion
- Buildup to the American Civil War
- The American Civil War
- After the Civil War: Reconstruction
- American Industrialization of the Late 19th Century
- The Progressive Era of the Early 20th Century
- American Imperialism & World War I
- 1920s America
- America and the Great Depression
- America and the Second World War
- Post-War and the Cold War
- Civil Rights Movements in America
- America in the 1970s
- America in the 1980s
- America from 1992 to the Present