American War of Independence (1765-1783)

Mains Marks Booster     4th August 2023        
Samadhaan

Timeline

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Current Context:

The American War of Independence, fought from 1775 to 1783, marked a significant turning point in world history, as the thirteen American colonies sought independence from British rule, laying the foundation for the birth of a new nation, the United States of America.

 

Interesting Fact: The American Revolution inspired other movements for independence and democracy around the world, such as France and Haiti.

 Introduction

  • Fought between 1775 and 1783, it emerged from a culmination of grievances and tensions between the American colonies and the British Empire. 
  • The American War of Independence saw the Loyalists (British settlers) supporting Britain while France, Spain, and the Dutch Republic secretly aided the Americans. 
  • Britain's failed attempt to encircle the Americans in 1777 marked a turning point, leading to France openly joining the war in 1778. 
  • Eventually, in 1783, British commander Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington's army. 

 

CAUSES OF AMERICAN RESENTMENTS AGAINST THE BRITISH:

  • Mercantile Capitalism: British trade restrictions and monopolies hindered American economic development, leading to resentment.
  • Proclamation of 1763: The ban on westward expansion by the British angered American settlers who fought in the Seven Year War for that purpose.
  • Role of Enlightenment Thinkers: Ideas of freedom and self-government from Enlightenment philosophers (Eg. Locke, Montesquieu) influenced American colonists' desire for independence
  • Recovery of War Expenditure: British attempts to tax the colonies to cover war costs sparked opposition and resentment.
  • No Representation in British Parliament: Americans objected to ‘taxation without representation’, viewing it as a violation of their rights (Eg. Stamp Act, Tea Tax).
  • Coercive Acts: Harsh measures passed by the British Parliament to punish Massachusetts colony and restrict self-government, intensifying colonial discontent.

IMPACTS OF REVOLUTION: CRITICAL ANALYSIS

 

POSITIVE IMPACT

LIMITED INPACT

Independence: The Second Treaty of Paris (1783) brought an end to the war, recognizing the US colonies as free and independent states, establishing perpetual peace between the US and Britain, and returning Florida to Spain.

Political Turmoil: The Articles of Confederation proved ineffective, causing political instability and the need for a stronger federal system.

 

First successful struggle for freedom in modern history, establishing democratic government.

 

Written Constitution: the first of its kind in modern history.

Limited Suffrage and Representation: restricted to property-owning white males, excluding groups like African Americans, Native Americans and women.

Transformation of American society: Abolition of Slavery, and instilled ideas of individual rights, fundamental rights, liberty, democracy, and equality.

Limited Social Change: Did not bring about the end of class distinction as had been in the case of French and Russian Revolutions.

 

Slavery persisted, denying basic rights and liberties to African Americans.

Economic prosperity: USA soon embarked on Industrial Revolution, to become a superpower

Native American tribes faced land loss and displacement as American settlers expanded westward.

Inspired other revolutions: French Revolution

 

 Conclusion:

  • The American War of Independence was a momentous struggle for freedom, self-determination, and the establishment of a new nation.
 Its legacy reverberates throughout American history, serving as a reminder of the courage, sacrifice, and ideals that propelled the colonists towards independence and helped shape the nation they envisioned.
Samadhaan