Unit 4: The American Revolution
- What are the political, economic, and social causes of the American Revolution?
- How did public opinion evolve in regard to the movement for independence?
- How did colonial protests against Britain escalate?
- What specific British policies galvanized public opinion in the colonies?
- What political systems were established in the colonies?
- How did the American Revolution parallel the move toward self-government?
- What were the major documents of the independence movement and how were they produced?
- What was the military course of the Revolutionary War?
- What role did leadership, commitment, and luck play in the American victory over the British?
- What political, economic, and social issues brought people together against the British?
- How did the Revolution change people's lives?
- How have these political, economic, and social changes been interpreted by different analysts?
- Was the American Revolution a "revolution" for all of the participants? Why or why not?
A. Economic factors
- Growth of mercantilism: triangular trade
- Rise of an influential business community in the colonies
- Cost of colonial wars against the French
B. Political factors
- The role of the British Civil War
- Periods of political freedom in the colonies
- Impact of the French and Indian War: Albany Plan of Union
- Political thought of the Enlightenment influenced prominent colonial leaders
C. New social relationships between European powers and the American colonies: development of a new colonial identity
D. New British attitude toward colonies following victory over France
- Colonies could not protect themselves
- Colonies were not paying a fair amount toward their support
E. New British policies antagonized many Americans
- Various acts of Parliament such as the Quebec Act
- New tax policies and taxes: Stamp Act and others
- Other acts of repression: Zenger case and others
F. Public opinion was shaped in different forums
- Political bodies
- Public display and demonstration
- Print media
G. Wide variety of viewpoints evolved
- Complete separation
- More autonomy for the colonies
- No change in status quo: the Loyalist position
H. The Revolution begins
- Early confrontations
- Important leaders
- First Continental Congress
I. The Second Continental Congress represented the first attempt to govern the colonies
- "Republican" government
- Request for state constitutions and political systems
- Asserting independence
J. A movement for independence evolved from the political debate of the day
K. Declaration of Independence
- Ideals embodied
L. Independence creates problems for New Yorkers
- Organizing new State government
- Economic problems
- Political factions
- Recruiting soldiers for the war
M. Strategies of the principal military engagements
- Washington's leadership
- New York as the object of strategic planning
- Evolution of the war from the North to the South: Lexington and Concord to Saratoga to Yorktown
N. Role of the Loyalists
- In New York City
- Colonists of Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island did not join the Revolution
- Refuge for Loyalists
- Staging ground for attacks on New York's patriots
O. The outcome of the war was influenced by many factors
- Personalities and leadership
- Geography: importance of various physical features
- Allocation of resources
- Foreign aid: funds and volunteers
- Role of women, blacks, and Native American Indians
- Haphazard occurrences of events: the human factor
- Clash between colonial authority and Second Continental Congress
P. On the national level
- Britain gave up claims to govern
- Slavery began to emerge as a divisive sectional issue because slaves did not receive their independence
- American economy was plagued by inflation and hurt by isolation from world markets
Q. In New York State
- The effects of the American Revolution on the Iroquois Confederacy
- Disposition of Loyalist property and resettlement of many Loyalists after the Revolution to Canada, thus changing the French/British balance
- A republican ideology developed which emphasized shared power and citizenship participation
R. In the Western Hemisphere
- Britain did not accept the notion of American dominance of the hemisphere
- The remaining British colonies in Canada strengthened their ties to Great Britain
- Many leaders in South America drew inspiration from American ideas and actions in their struggle against Spanish rule