Early United States


Intolerable Acts


A series of punitive laws passed by the British Parliament in 1774 after the Boston Tea Party. The laws were meant to punish the Massachusetts colonists for their defiance in the Boston Tea Party protest in reaction to changes in taxation by the British to the detriment of Colonial goods.

Revolutionary War

April 19, 1775 - September 3, 1783

A war fought from 1775-1783 and won by the 13 American colonies to achieve independence from Great Britain.

Battles of Lexington and Concord

April 19, 1775

The first military engagements of the Revolutionary War. The battles were fought in Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, within the towns of Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Menotomy, and Cambridge. They marked the outbreak of armed conflict between Britain and the thirteen colonies.

Battle of Bunker Hill

June 17, 1775

A battle that was fought during the Siege of Boston in the early stages of the Revolutionary War. The battle is named after Bunker Hill in Charlestown, Massachusetts, which was peripherally involved in the battle. It was the original objective of both the colonial and British troops, though the majority of combat took place on the adjacent hill which later became known as Breed's Hill.

Ratification of the Declaration of Independence

July 4, 1776

Ratification of the statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, which announced that the 13 American colonies regarded themselves as 13 indpendent sovereign states, no longer under British rule.

Treaty of Alliance

February 6, 1778

A defensive alliance between France and the United States, formed in the midst of the Revolutionary War, which promised mutual military support in case fighting should break out between French and British forces, as the result signing the previously concluded Treaty of Amity and Commerce.

Ratification of the Articles of Confederation

March 1, 1781

Ratification of an agreement among the 13 colonies that served as its first constitution. It was approved, after much debate by the Second Continental Congress and sent to the states for ratification.

Treaty of Paris

September 3, 1783

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. The treaty set the boundaries between the British Empire in North America and the United States.

Shays' Rebellion

August 31, 1786 - June 1787

An armed uprising in Massachusetts (mostly in and around Springfield) during 1786 and 1787. Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Shays led four thousand rebels (called Shaysites) in an uprising against perceived economic and civil rights injustices. In 1787, the rebels marched on the United States' Armory at Springfield in an unsuccessful attempt to seize its weaponry and overthrow the government.

Ratification of the Constitution

June 21, 1788

Ratification of the supreme law of the United States. It embodies the fundamental laws and principles by which the United States is governed. It was drafted by the Constitutional Convention and later supplemented by the Bill of Rights and other amendments.