The American Revolution
the most part, the American colonists had come to the "New World" seeking
political, religious and economic liberty. Consequently, when King
George III and the British parliament began encroaching on these
new-found freedoms, the colonists were greatly alarmed. There was
no single act or event which led the colonists to commence a war
against the British Crown. Rather, there was a litany of abuses and
insults which, taken together, convinced the colonists that revolution
was their only acceptable course of action.
colonists were perhaps the most likely of people in the history of
the world to commence a revolution against a tyrannical government.
Generally well-read, the colonists had "devoured" the writings of
17th Century English Civil War writers and their successors, such
as Milton, Neville, Trenchard and Gordon. From these authors, the
colonists acquired a powerful sense of moral indignation toward political
corruption of any kind.1 Moreover,
while recognizing that government is necessary to save man from the "state
of nature" depicted by Hobbes and Locke, they also believed that their liberty rested on their
ability to maintain superiority, i.e. physical military power, over
their government. As the British government continually pressed itself
and its authority on the colonists, they concluded that England's
dominion over the colonies was essentially the power to destroy their
these beliefs laid the philosophical foundations for the Revolution.
Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (Cambridge,
Mass.: Belknap Press, 1967), 47.
2. Ibid., 55-66.
Facts & Figures
A Brief Chronology of the Revolutionary
Resolutions of the Stamp Act Congress
Declaration and Resolves
Declaration of Independence
Causes and Necessity of Their Taking Up Arms
The War Inevitable Patrick Henry
Boston Massacre Oration John Hancock
Common Sense Thomas Paine
Reasearch and Study Helps
Why is George Washington considered the Father of this nation?
A Memorial Day Salute
Independence Day Salute
Think About It
Try to put yourself in the position of the American Colonists in the
mid-1770s. What kinds of feelings do you think they had about Britain?
What beliefs and principles do you think guided them in their quest for
When is revolution justified? When is it better to work "within
the system" to bring about necessary and desired changes?
What would America be like today if the Continental Army had not won
the Revolutionary War?