The American Revolutionary Period

Critical Events During The American Revolutionary Period

The First Navigation Law is Passed

January 1, 1663 - January 2, 1663

The purpose of the First Navigation Law was to limit the trade of English colonies to England exclusively - this is known as mercantilism. Mercantilism stymies the colonial economies but strengthens both the influence of the mother country over her colonies and the economic power capable by the empire.

Period of European Imperialistic and American Colonial Wars

1689 - 1763

A series of international conflicts between European powers following the settling down of the colonial race. Largely ignited by religious differences and the ambition of Louis XIV.

George Whitefield Spread the Great Awakening

1730 - 1743

The Great Awakening was a revitilization in the Christian religion during the 1730’s and 1740’s. In the New World, it incited disputations between traditionalists and revitalists. It acted as a religious upheaval similar (but smaller than) to the Protestant Reformation. George Whitefield was at the head of this continental movement.

Molasses Act

May 17, 1733 - May 18, 1733

The Molasses Act was established to tax molasses importation from the French Caribbean, which would make it cheaper to purchase the substance from the British Caribbean. This act of mercantilism upset colonists, as their price of molasses was raised, regardless of its original owner, it was met with bribery, intimidation, and rampant smuggling.

John Peter Zenger Trial

November 17, 1734 - January 1, 1735

Zenger was a publisher and printer in New York City. He wrote works criticizing the corruption of the New York Governor William Cosby. He later was arrested and imprisoned under charges of sedition. A court date was set, and received rampant attention. He was successfully defended and the precedent was set: It is not sedition and libel if it can be proved – this set the basis of the freedom of the press in the New World.

The French and Indian War

1754 - 1763

The French and Indian War was an American name for an American conflict fought mainly over the future of the North American Continent. The French, who had allied against Great Britain with members of the Iroquois Confederacy, lost much of their North American land and claims in the conflict.

Pontiac's Rebellion

1763 - 1766

Pontiac's Rebellion was launched in retaliation to laws passed by a victorious Britain after the French and Indian War. A large collection of Native American tribes launched an attack on British settlers, but was ultimately defeated.

The First Treaty of Paris

February 10, 1763 - February 11, 1763

The first Treaty of Paris was signed to mark an end to the French and Indian War. It declared the surrendering of French colonial land to Spain and Great Britain, largely removing France as a colonial competitor. It furthermore forced France to stay out of India, insuring Britain's colonial dominance for two centuries.

The Proclamation Act

October 7, 1763 - October 8, 1763

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 forbade British colonists from settling west of the Appalachian Mountains as an appeasement to Native Americans, in effect it created a reservation. This was extremely upsetting to potential settlers, who thought their right to ever expand westward...

Paxton Boys March on Philadelphia

January 1, 1764 - January 2, 1764

The Paxton Boys was a vigilante group that killed Native Americans after the French and Indian War and Pontiac's Rebellion. They marched toward Philadelphia to present their grievances (which were mostly related to issues of a lack of protection from Native Americans) to a group of civic leaders under Benjamin Franklin.

Sugar Act

April 5, 1764 - April 6, 1764

The Sugar Act was passed to replace its flawed predecessor, the Molasses Act. It was also met with rage by British colonists. The indirect tax hit at a time of economic depression in the colonies, this upset the colonists, who cited that they hadn't had a say in the passing of the law. Economic trouble and Taxation without Representation would be arguments for later conflicts.

Regulator Protests

1765 - 1771

The Regulator Protests was a series of uprisings by American colonists, largely against corrupted British officials in the New World. These uprisings could be considered small conflicts that preluded the American Revolution.

Stamp Act

March 22, 1765 - March 23, 1765

The Stamp Act was a direct tax imposed on American colonists by the British Crown. It forced colonists to use only stamped paper that was produced London, which carried a taxed stamp. This was enacted to create revenue for an empire largely indebted by the French and Indian War - but it was met with fury by the colonists, who cited it as an violation of their right to be taxed without their consent.

The Stamp Act Congress

October 7 ,1765 - October 25, 1765

The Stamp Act Congress was a convention of American colonial representatives consolidated against the Parliament imposed Stamp Act. They organized a formal protest against the act. This is an example of an early combined effort of the colonists against their rulers. They were ultimately denied by Parliament. The ramifications were more protests, more meetings, and a revolution.

The Townshend Acts are Passed

January 1, 1767 - January 2, 1767

The purpose of the Townshend Acts was to generate revenue from the British colonists in order to fund the colonists' Crown-appointed governors and to further enforce colonial compliance to British law. It was split into 5 main portions: The Revenue Act, The New York Restraining Act, the Commissioners of Customs Act, the Vice Admiralty Court Act, and the Indemnity Act.

Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania

January 1, 1767 - January 2, 1767

This collection of essays was written in order to combat colonial passivity towards the indirect taxes that were imposed upon them at the time. The essays, written by John DIckinson, were primarily in opposition to the Townshend Acts.

The Massachusetts Circular Letter

January 1, 1768 - January 2, 1768

Samuel Adams wrote this statement in response to the Townshend Acts passed by the British Parliament and had it passed by the Massachusetts House of Representatives. It created harsh tensions between the two legislative bodies.

The Boston Massacre

March 5, 1770 - March 6, 1770

The Boston Massacre was a killing of upset colonists by British soldiers stationed in Boston. While normally an event like this would cause much debate and unrest already, the issue was invigorated and intensified by the soldiers' acquitting in a British court.

The Gaspee Incident

June 9, 1772 - June 10, 1772

The Gaspee was a British ship responsible for the capturing of many colonial smuggling ships. The smugglers felt their actions were justified in the wake of expressedly extreme taxes enforced by the British. When smugglers burned the Gaspee, they were investigated and tried under treason, which caused further unrest.

The Committees of the Correspondence is Formed

January 1, 1773 - January 2, 1773

The Committees of Correspondence was a secret governmental body established as the hand of the American Revolution. It informed American citizens of British actions and expressed its desire to create an independent country throughout the colonies.

The Tea Act

May 10, 1773 - May 11, 1773

The Tea Act established a tax on imported tea in the British colonies. This was met with an outrage by the colonists, who incited riots, boycotts, and parties in response.

Coercive (Intolerable) Acts

January 1, 1774 - January 2, 1774

The Coercive Acts were enacted by Britain in response to the Boston Tea Party. These punitive measures included the weakening of the government of Massachusetts, the enabling of soldier quartering in public venues, and the closing of the port of Boston.

Quebec Act

June 22,1774 - June 23, 1774

Following the French and Indian War, new legislations had to be created for the now British colony of Quebec. The removal of many liberties in Quebec following their new rulers marked unsettlement amongst the colonists, who saw the dealings with Quebec as hints of Britain's future colonial policy.

Thomas Paine Writes Common Sense

January 10, 1776 - January 11, 1776

Common Sense was the title of a book that wrote of the eponymous, conspicuous logic that rightfully should compel British colonists to revolt from their overseas ruler. It inspired colonists and explained reasons for a later revolution.

The Declaratory Act

March 18, 1776 - March 19, 1776

The Declaratory Act was a British attempt to reestablish some control over its colonies in America. The Stamp Act was repealed because boycotts were injuring the British economy, and this was enacted so as to reaffirm lost authority. It stated that the British Parliament was fully in control of the colonies and could bound laws to both America and Albion.

The Declaration of Independence

July 4, 1776 - July 5, 1776

The Declaration of Independence was a unanimous sign of revolution by the British colonies. It stated that they were upset with their treatment under the British Crown, and their further attempt to create a country of their own.

The Association is Formed

January 1, 1777 - January 2, 1777

The Association was a military organization founded and organized by Benjamin Franklin to form fighting units in Pennsylvania and to hold the Delaware River.

The Battle of Saratoga

October 7, 1777 - October 8, 1777

Largely considered the turning point of the American Revolution, the Battle of Saratoga pitted an American force under Horatio Gates against the British general Burgoyne in New York. The American victory would interest the French in joining the Americans against the British.

Valley Forge

December 21, 1777 - March 21, 1778

Valley Forge was the military encampment of the American Continental Army during the winter between the years 1777 and 1778. The encampment saw great hardships during the winter. 2500 soldiers died of various diseases due to mutual, close proximity, starvation, and harsh weather conditions.

The Formation of the French-American Alliance

January 1, 1778 - January 2, 1778

The French-American alliance solidified the cooperation of the American revolutionaries and France in the American Revolutionary War. France would proceed to aid the United States in gaining its independence from Great Britain. This was considered a good political move by France, as it weakened the island directly to the north of them.

The Battle of Yorktown

October 19, 1781 - October 20, 1781

The Battle of Yorktown was the final battle of the American Revolution. The British General Cornwallis was trapped at Yorktown by troops under the French Officer Lafayette and the American Commander George Washington. The Treaty of Paris was signed soon after Cornwallis's surrender.

The Second Treaty of Paris

September 3, 1783 - September 4, 1783

After the victory at Yorktown, American representatives met with British delegates to establish the treaty that would end the American Revolutionary War. Among other things, the treaty defined the borders between British colonial holdings and the new United States.

Other Events During The American Revolutionary Period

King William's War (War of the League of Augsburg)

1689 - 1697

Board of Trade Assumes Governance of Colonies

January 1, 1696 - January 2, 1696

Queen Anne's War (War of the Spanish Succession)

1702 - 1713

War of Jenkin's Ear (War of the Austrian Succession)

1739 - 1748

Sermon: Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

July 8, 1741 - July 9, 1741

King George's War (War of the Austrian Succession)

1744 - 1748

Currency Acts

January 1, 1751 - January 2, 1751

Washington's Defeat at Fort Duquesne

September 14, 1758 - September 15, 1758

Parliament Vetoes South Carolina Anti-Slave Trade Measures

January 1, 1760 - January 2, 1760

The New York Legislature is Suspended by Parliament

January 1, 1767 - January 2, 1767

British Troops Begin to Occupy Boston

January 1, 1768 - January 2, 1768

Townshend Acts are Repealed (Except Tea Tax)

March 1, 1770 - March 2, 1770

Inaugural Continental Congress Meeting

January 1, 1774 - January 2, 1774

The Second Continental Congress Meets

September 5, 1774 - October 26, 1774

The Battle of Lexington and Concord

April 19, 1775 - April 20, 1775

Battle of Bunker HIll

June 17, 1775 - June 18, 1775

Battle of Cowpens

January 17, 1781 - January 18, 1781

General Greene's Victories in the Carolinas

March 15, 1781 - March 16, 1781