The American Revolution and the Revolutionary War

Tip: the top of each Lesson for the Unit begins with a copy of the Study Guide terms for the Lesson.

Lesson 1 –Use its Learning Quiz on Essential Terms 1st

1.      War for Independence and the Confederation

·        Patriot and British weaknesses and strengths

·        Saratoga, what it is and why is it significant including in what nations fight the British

·        Yorktown, what it is and why is it significant

·        Articles of Confederation- What is a confederation? How does it cause problems for the war effort?

·        Terms of the Treaty of Paris in 1783



The Revolution – Thinking a bit more about the period

Click here (if you want it) for the chronology in Lesson 4 of Unit 1. Link Address:

1.      Before the American Revolution started, these things changed the British government:

·        Under King George I, II, III, the prime minister form of government developed and British king will forever after have less power

·        With the challenges of the victory of the Seven Years’ War (known in the colonies as the French and Indian War), the British government was financially broke and had a much larger territory to manage.

2.      From 1763 to 1776, some Britishers in Parliament shifted from pro-empire to some favoring the colonists in the American Revolution. Why?

·        Some in Parliament were also either merchants or dependent on merchants for support for their elections. The colonists were their best customers.

·        The colonists used boycotts (also called non-importation agreements) so they refused to buy British goods. It is a legal action, but powerful.
FYI: peaceful colonists can join a boycott because it is legal and over time they may change to favoring a new nation.

·        The major voice of the revolution was the Declaration of Independence and it expressed the views of the Enlightenment about government and treatment of humans. Many in Britain (and France) believed in those principles. Just to remind you, look at these lines.

§  “that all men are created equal,

§  that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

§  That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,


That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

The War and the Peace

1.      Reminder: The Americans are fighting 3 types of war at one time:

a.      Civil war - Loyalists versus Patriots (AKA Tories versus Whigs)

b.      Revolutionary war –British & Hessians versus Patriots

c.      Indian war – Indians & British versus the new Americans

2.      Click here for the issues Link Address:

Notice these things:

·        The vulnerability and assets of the new United States.

·        The differences in new American south and north and what happens with slavery and what is happening initially with the British arming slaves in Virginia and granting them freedom if they fight for the British

·        The two major battles of Saratoga and Yorktown.

·        The desperate importance of the French in this war in the initial time period and after they come in on the American side

·        Washington’s approach to the war. (This is a model of how to survive an impossible, long-term situation.)

·        The terms of the peace

o   Its parts

o   Its boundary for the nation

3.      with the ending pages being in this link on the strengths and weakness of the two.




4.      The major type of government in Europe is a monarchy, but the Americans have chosen a confederation. Frequently students have trouble because they do realize how different the Articles of Confederation is from the Constitution. These things may help you. Notice that the Articles lack 2 key powers.

Link for Self-Testing: Comparison tables showing the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution
Link with Answers: With answers

If you want to look at the Articles of Confederation, there is a copy in the Primary Sources.

If you think this government is doing well in the war, a video we will use will show you reality. The Primary Sources also include:

·        A letter from Washington about the starving troops needing some protein

·       A section from Thomas Paine’s the Crisis which is about these times that try men’s souls. While he published Common Sense earlier, the Crisis came at a desperate time. His most famous line is below:


Tom Paine again in service to chosen country during the war from the American Crisis: These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country, but he who stands it now, deserves the loves and thanks of man and woman.