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Americain Vs French Revolution Essay

1219 words - 5 pages

The American Revolution is a fascinating and enormous subject, with many parallels to the French Revolution, and it would be impossible to discuss every aspect of it in only a few paragraphs. However, here is a general overview. Perhaps the most interesting aspect was that the British colonies in North America were at first very loyal to the United Kingdom, but in a period of 10 or 15 years they became so dissatisfied that they demanded complete independence.

After the defeat of France in 1763, the United Kingdom gained the entire French empire in North America. At this time, the British colonists in North America were very loyal to their mother country. However, distance and time caused ...view middle of the document...

The American colonies had enjoyed a large degree of self-government, and they wanted even greater freedom from British control, so they resented the imposition of stronger British rule and heavier taxes. The colonists refused to pay these taxes, and in 1773 the Boston Tea Party was staged to dump incoming tea into the harbor rather than pay taxes on it. Troops were sent into Massachusetts to strengthen British authority. Other events which aggravated the growing dissatisfaction in the colonies were new laws which limited westward settlement, restricted colonial trade with other countries and required colonists to house British soldiers stationed in their communities. All these laws are passed without consultation of the colonists.

At first, the colonists wished only to have their grievances addressed and remain within the British Empire. The First Continental Congress was formed in Philadelphia in 1774 to petition the British government to ease their control of Massachusetts and to repeal what the colonists considered taxation without representation in the British Parliament. Instead, the British government considered Massachusetts and its neighbor colonies to be in rebellion, and British troops were ordered to take action. Boston Harbor was closed to punish the city for its "tea party". The first clashes between British and Americans soldiers occurred at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts in 1775. After the war had erupted, the colonists resolved to end British rule completely and fight for complete independence. The Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. This formally cut all ties between the colonies and the mother country.

The United Kingdom ordered a massive offensive to crush the rebellion. A British Army under Lieutenant General William Howe overpowered the Continental Army under General George Washington in New York. However, the Continental Army under General Horatio Gates defeated the British Army under Lieutenant General John Burgoyne at Saratoga in 1777. For the first time, the United States had real hope of winning its independence from the United Kingdom. The British defeat persuaded the British government to make concessions and offer the colonists the status of dominion (as it later granted to Canada in 1867). However, this major victory helped persuade France to lend its support to the Americans. French aid would be crucial during the remainder of the American Revolution. France recognized the new United States of America in 1778. Spain followed suit in 1779 and the Netherlands in 1780.

Faced with so many enemies, the United Kingdom found it very difficult to assemble an army powerful enough to destroy the American forces. Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton captured Charleston,...

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