|April 19, 1775
Lexington and Concord
|This was the first battle of the Revolution. The American colonists proved themselves through guerrilla war tactics, attacking the British at Lexington, Concord, and on their march back to Boston.
|June 17, 1775||
Battle of Bunker Hill
|During one of the first major battles of the Revolution, the colonists held their own against General Gage and his forces at Breed’s (Bunker) Hill in Charlestown, MA. Despite losing, the colonial militia's confidence was greatly boosted.
|September 19, 1777||
Battle of Saratoga
|General Burgoyne of Great Britain clashed with Generals Arnold and Gates of the American forces. With 9,000 men, the Americans killed over 200 British and captured another 260 in a decisive American victory.
|December 29, 1778||
Capture of Savannah
|The Capture of Savannah proved a major blow to American forces. Under the command of General Howe, the American leader lost over half of his army as well as the city.
|October 19, 1781||
Battle of Yorktown
|The Battle of Yorktown was a major blow to British forces. With aid from the French, the American colonial army cornered General Cornwallis into surrender, ultimately ending their quest to defend their American colonies.
|September 3, 1783||
Treaty of Paris
|The signing of the Treaty of Paris marked the official end of the American Revolution. Americans gained recognition by the British Empire as a sovereign nation, and also gained all British claims East of the Mississippi River.
Students can create a chronological timeline of American wars since the revolution. This will help serve as a connective timeline to what America has experienced in terms of warfare since our very beginnings. Include a list of wars (or a defined list) for them to put in order, and utilize the same summative explanatory points in the aforementioned activity.
Before the United States of America existed as a country, the people who lived in the area were colonists from Great Britain. Great Britain commanded the largest empire that the world had ever known, and the American Colonies were just a part of it. As colonists, the American people were not given the same treatment and consideration as “true” British citizens. The colonists did not have representation in Parliament, they had to pay different taxes, they were prohibited from expanding into new territory, and they were forced to house and feed British soldiers after the Quartering Act of 1765. The American people eventually fought to be free from oppression.
The war began with what many call “The Shot Heard Round the World”, which may indeed be true since the British Empire controlled vast land across the entire world. American colonists began their fight for self-control and independence at the Battle of Lexington and Concord, and from there, history was forever changed. To grasp the holistic perspective of how the war was fought as well as its significance in history, one must understand pivotal battles, the men that led each nation’s forces, and what ultimately brought on the demise of the British forces and the welcoming of an entirely new nation: The United States of America.
Tactics, advantages, defeats, deaths, and victories all in one way or another defined how and why the war was won. The British Empire, the most powerful military in the world, and American colonists, veterans of years of fighting and oppression from the British, were soon pitted against each other in battle after battle. Despite mounting victories, military superiority, and confidence, the tide of the war shifted from the British to favor the colonists. With French aid and will power, and fueled by the ideas of liberty, the Americans proved victorious at pivotal battles, such as Yorktown, effectively triggering full British surrender. The eventual signing of the Treaty of Paris did not only help punctuate a victory in war for the Americans, but also the birth of their new nation.
Essential Questions for the American Revolution
- What is the significance of major, pivotal battles, including Lexington/Concord, Bunker (Breed’s) Hill, and Yorktown?
- What were the major advantages and disadvantages of both the British and American forces during the war?
- How did each side perform in pivotal battles?
- Who were the major key figures and leaders of the revolution?
- What roles did the key figures play and how did their actions affect the outcome of the war?
- How did the American colonists eventually achieve victory?
- How did ideas of independence, nationalism, patriotism, and civil liberties serve as driving forces for the Americans during the revolution?
- What is the significance of the Treaty of Paris?
- How did Americans initially handle their new-found independence?
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