Rebellion and Revolution


The Stamp Act

March 22, 1765

A tax imposed on the colonists which required them to pay a tax on every piece of paper they purchased. Unlike the sugar act, this tax affected each individual colonist as opposed to the merchants.

The Declaratory Act

March 18 1766

An Act of Parilament which stated that Britain could do whatever they wanted with the colonies. The Declaratory Act proclaimed that Parliament "had hath, and of right ought to have, full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America ... in all cases whatsoever".A similar act was passed in Ireland in 1720 with disastrous effects for Ireland--Ireland was basically relegated to a "child" or "suubject" of Great Britain after their Declaratory Act passed.

Boston Massacre

March 5, 1770

A skirmish between British soldiers and American colonists in Boston. It started as a snowball fight and quickly escalated. The British fired rounds into the crowd and 5 colonists were killed.

Boston Tea Party

December 16, 1773

A protest of the tea act of 1773. Massachusetts colonists dump 345 chests of tea in the Boston Harbor.

Intolerable Acts

March 24, 1774

Acts passed to punish the colonists for the Boston Tea Party. Great Britain closed the port of Boston and gave Boston a royal governor, among other things. In short, these acts put Boston under English rule and dominance.

First Continental Congress

September 5, 1774

Delegates from 12/13 colonies meet to discuss keeping peace with England. The Congress met briefly to consider options, including an economic boycott of British trade; rights and grievances; and petitioned King George III for redress of those grievances.

Battle of Lexington and Concord

April 19, 1775

The first official battles of the American Revolution. They started with the "shot heard round the world" which nobody knows who fired. Although the Americans lost the battle, they proved they could stand up to the greatest army of the world.

Second Continental Congress

May 10, 1775

The second Congress managed the colonial war effort, and moved incrementally towards independence, adopting the United States Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

Battle of Bunker/Breed's Hill

June 17, 1775

The British defeated the Americans at the Battle of Bunker Hill in Massachusetts. Despite their loss, the inexperienced colonial forces inflicted significant casualties against the enemy, and the battle provided them with an important confidence boost.

Olive Branch Petition

July 5, 1775

A letter to King George III, from members of the Second Continental Congress, which represents the last attempt by the moderate party in North America to avoid a war of independence against Britain

Common Sense is Published

January 10, 1776

Written by Thomas Paine, this pamphlet ignited the fires of the revolution by persuading ordinary colonists to unite and fight for freedom, liberty, and independence from Great Britain.

Declaration of Independence

July 4, 1776

A document declaring America's independence from Great Britain. It was effectively an act of treason against England and an indirect declaration of war.

Battle of Long Island

August 27, 1776 - August 28, 1776

A crushing defeat for the colonists. America loses New York to Great Britain and the British are convinced the war with America will be short and end in their favor. This was the biggest invasion by another country in American history; the largest attack on NYC until 9/11; and the largest Briish Naval task force sent to any country until D Day in WWII. Over 400 ships were sent 3,000 miles to invade NYC. 32,000 British troops stormed off the boats to attack, outnumbering American colonists by 2/1. And just five of the ships carried more firepower than all of the guns and ammo supplies in all of NY. The British trapped the Americans from the front and back and Washington's men were defeated. According to the British rules of war, the morning after this entrapment, Washington should concede the loss and surrender to the British General. But Washington broke from decorum and instead marched his 9,000 remaining troops across a river while the British slept. In the morning, the British general emerged from his tent ready to accept the resignation of General Washington in the war but he was greeted instead by silence and an empty field. The Americans learned that the British were serious about this war and the British learned that the Americans were not going to play by the rules.

Crossing of Delaware

December 25, 1776

The first move in a surprise attack organized by George Washington against the Hessian forces in Trenton (resting and celebrating Christmas--not anticipating an attack), New Jersey, on the morning of December 26

Battle of Saratoga

September 19, 1777 - October 7, 1777

A turning point in the American Revolution. After capturing Fort Ticonderoga, the British advanced very slowly toward Saratoga, giving the Americans time to rally. The British were defeated and this defeat encouraged France to join the war, which helped turn the tide in favor of America.

Valley Forge

December 19, 1777 - June 18, 1778

A valley in eastern Pennsylvania that served as quarters for the American army in one winter (1777–1778) of the Revolutionary War. George Washington, who was commanding the army, had been forced to leave Philadelphia, and his troops suffered from the cold and from lack of supplies. Despite this debilitating hardship, some consider the fact that Washington's men emerged from the winter still intact as an army as a positive turning point in the war in favor of the Americans.

Battle of Yorktown

October 19, 1781

On this day in 1781, General George Washington, commanding a force of 17,000 French and Continental troops, begins the siege known as the Battle of Yorktown against British General Lord Charles Cornwallis and a contingent of 9,000 British troops at Yorktown, Virginia, in the most important battle of the Revolutionary War.

Earlier, in a stroke of luck for the Patriots, the French fleet commanded by Francois, Count de Grasse, departed St. Domingue (the then-French colony that is now Haiti) for the Chesapeake Bay, just as Cornwallis chose Yorktown, at the mouth of the Chesapeake, as his base. Washington realized that it was time to act. He ordered Marquis de Lafayette and an American army of 5,000 troops to block Cornwallis’ escape from Yorktown by land while the French naval fleet blocked the British escape by sea. By September 28, Washington had completely encircled Cornwallis and Yorktown with the combined forces of Continental and French troops. After three weeks of non-stop bombardment, both day and night, from cannon and artillery, Cornwallis surrendered to Washington in the field at Yorktown on October 17, 1781, effectively ending the War for Independence. A decisive victory for America. This is the last major battle of the American Revolution. Cornwallis surrenders.

Treaty of Paris 1783

September 3, 1783

The Treaty of Paris, signed in Paris by representatives of King George III of Great Britain and representatives of the United States of America on September 3, 1783, ended the American Revolutionary War.