Why I’m Publishing an American Revolution Timeline:
This past week, what time I have not spent creating this American Revolution timeline, I have spent reading The Federalist Papers. They are an excellent collection of American political thought and, for those that don’t know, what the Anti-Federalist Papers were written in opposition to. The version that I am reading begins with a short foreword, one part of which is an American Revolution timeline.
Because it is still close to the 4th of July, I thought that relating a timeline to you about the American Revolution and the founding of this great nation would be a great thing to do. All Americans should understand what led to the Revolution and have a general conception of how it went. The easiest way to gain that understanding, in my opinion, is to read an American Revolution timeline. So, without further ado, here is my attempt at creating that American Revolution timeline. Enjoy!
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The End of the French and Indian War: Following the British and colonial victory in the French and Indian War, the Peace of Paris created a demarcation line in the West. That line was the western boundary of colonial expansion for American settlers. It created resentment among the colonists, who felt that they had borne many of the costs of the war and deserved more land. Although it didn’t lead directly to the American Revolution, it did stir up many of the resentments that did.
Read about that border here: https://history.state.gov/milestones/1750-1775/french-indian-war
The Revenue Act, also known as the Sugar Act, imposed new tariffs on the American colonists. It was meant to give the British West India Company a monopoly on the sugar trade in the colonies and led to even more resentment than the proclamation line of the Peace of Paris. The Currency Act, which limited the circulation of paper money in the colonies, was also published in 1764 and stirred up resentments. It limited economic growth, something the capitalist colonials were very much against. Although both acts were backed by very real and pressing economic realities, they were arguably not worth the resentment that they caused.
Read about the Revenue Act here: http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/related/sugaract.html
And read about the Currency Act here: http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/related/currencyact.html
Parliament passes the Quartering Act, which requires the colonists to pay for the cost of quartering British Redcoats in America. That act infuriates colonists despite the generally good behavior of the British troops. Also, the Stamp Act, perhaps the most famous of the British taxes that drew colonial ire, is passed. It placed a tax on legal transactions and newspapers. Because Americans have historically supported free speech, like George Washington did in his quote about free speech, the colonists hated that. As a result, they formed the Stamp Act Congress to organize opposition to the Stamp Act.
Read about the Stamp Act here: https://www.history.com/topics/american-revolution/stamp-act
Read about the Quartering Act here: https://www.historyisfun.org/blog/quartering-act-of-1765/
Check out my analysis of George Washington’s quote on free speech after reading this American Revolution timeline: https://genzconservative.com/george-washington-on-freedom-of-speech/
Facing intense colonial opposition, Parliament withdraws the Stamp Act. But, to assert its continued control, Parliament also passes the Declaratory Act which declares that despite that repeal, it is still supreme over the colonies. Especially in legal matters. However, the year is still a big win for the colonists because they got the Stamp Act repealed.
Read about the Declaratory Act here to gain a better contextual understanding of this point in my American Revolution timeline: https://www.britannica.com/event/Declaratory-Act-Great-Britain-1766
To help pay for the costs of the French and Indian War (and to punish the colonies a bit), the Townshend Duties are passed by Parliament. They were imposed on imported colonial goods. Additionally, the duties created a Board of Customs’ Commissioners.
Read about the Townshend Duties here: https://www.history.com/topics/american-revolution/townshend-acts
Colonists are still resentful towards the British. They circulate the Massachusetts Circular Letter, which solicited support from the 13 colonies to work against British policy. It wanted coordinated and united action.
Read about the Massachusetts Circular Letter here: https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/mass_circ_let_1768.asp
The Boston Massacre happens. In a highly publicized event, British troops kill 5 colonial protestors in self-defense. Because it was in self-defense, it shouldn’t have really been a big deal. But, like when cops kill citizens today, it sparked national outrage. Also like today, those who were the most angry about it were angry for political reasons. Except for the tariffs on tea, the Townshend duties are repealed in 1770. That was another tax win for the colonists.
Read about the Boston Massacre here to see what sparked the violent state American Revolution and get more context for this point on my American Revolution timeline: https://www.history.com/topics/american-revolution/boston-massacre
The Boston Tea Party happens to protest the monopoly on tea that the British East India Company has. The protests were also related to a tax on tea created by the Tea Act. Although the tax is pretty small, it still sparked yet more outrage from the tax-averse colonists.
The Boston Tea Party: https://www.history.com/topics/american-revolution/boston-tea-party
The Coercive Acts, called the Intolerable Acts by the colonists, are passed by Parliament. They close Boston’s port, restricted colonial self-government in Massachusetts, and recognized Roman-Catholicism in Canada. Also, they allowed colonist to be tried in Great Britain rather than the colonies. Colonists were understandably furious and the first Continental Congress was convened. 56 delegates from 12 of the colonies showed up. It met in Philadelphia.
Read about the First Continental Congress here: http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/related/congress.html
Read about the Coercive Acts here: http://www.stamp-act-history.com/intorelable-coercive-acts/intolerable-coercive-acts/
The revolution starts when the Battles of Lexington and Concord happen. Those battles end up being a resounding victory for the colonial militia (which is why we should have adequate weapons to fight tyranny). The Second Continental Congress met later in the year and created a Continental Army led by George Washington. Then, the colonists lost the battle of Bunker Hill. Despite that loss, they inflicted heavy casualties; it then became apparent to the British that they had a serious war on their hands. Here are some resources if you’d like to gain more of an understanding about the early American Revolution than is on this American Revolution timeline:
The Battles of Lexington and Concord: https://www.history.com/topics/american-revolution/battles-of-lexington-and-concord
The attitude of the patriots of Lexington and Concord vs the attitude in the modern day: https://genzconservative.com/1776-vs-2019/
A book about the Battles of Lexington and Concord that you should definitely read: https://amzn.to/2Y4ppP0
The Second Continental Congress: http://www.ushistory.org/us/10e.asp
The Battle of Bunker Hill: http://www.ushistory.org/us/11d.asp
Thomas Paine publishes his famous Common Sense and also calls for independence from Great Britain. Then, on July 2 the Second Continental Congress adopts Richard Henry Lee’s resolution for Independence. At last, on July 4, the Declaration of Independence is approved unanimously. Afterwards, the Second Continental Congress adopts the Articles of Confederation and George Washington fights the Battle of Long Island, as described in Washington’s Crossing.
Get a copy of Common Sense: https://amzn.to/2XFNnff
The Declaration of Independence: http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/
My thoughts on the meaning of the 4th of July: https://genzconservative.com/the-meaning-of-the-4th-of-july/
The Articles of Confederation: https://guides.loc.gov/articles-of-confederation
The Battle of Long Island: https://www.britishbattles.com/war-of-the-revolution-1775-to-1783/battle-of-long-island/
Congress formally adopts the Articles of Confederation, then sends them to the states to be ratified.
America signs a treaty with France, bringing the French into the war on our side. But, in a blow to the revolution, the port of Savannah is lost to British forces.
The American treaty with the French: https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/alliance.html
In another blow to the Revolution, the strategic port of Charleston falls to British troops. Then, later in the year, Americans fight the Battle of Camden with the British.
The fall of Charleston: https://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/-Fall-of-Charleston-12-May-1780
The Battle of Camden: https://www.battlefields.org/learn/revolutionary-war/battles/camden
The Articles of Confederation are finally ratified by Maryland, putting them formally into operation. They have informally been operating since 1777. Then, George Washington launch and win the Yorktown campaign. In a crushing blow to British forces, Washington defeats Cornwallis. That was a huge turning point for the American Revolution.
The Yorktown Campaign: https://www.history.com/topics/american-revolution/siege-of-yorktown
Peace talks begin in Paris. The British have been forced to the negotiating table by American victories, French involvement, and sustained American resistance. But, Richard Morris’s proposal for Congress to assume state debts incurred during the Revolution is rejected by Congress.
The Treaty of Paris is signed and peace is declared. The Continental Army disbands and the British retreat from New York, ending the war. The, in a hugely important move, George Washington resigns his commission. That means that he is voluntarily giving up power, a huge step towards creating an effective and long-lasting republic. Without him doing that voluntarily, we very easily could have become a monarchy or military dictatorship.
The Treaty of Paris: https://www.history.com/topics/american-revolution/treaty-of-paris
George Washington giving up power: https://historylessons.net/george-washington-gives-up-power
In an important but lesser known event, the Mount Vernon Conference is held. At that conference, Maryland and Virginia meet to discuss their shared navigation of the Chesapeake. It is important because if the states are to hold together as a nation, then they need to learn how to work together.
The Mount Vernon Conference: https://www.mountvernon.org/library/digitalhistory/digital-encyclopedia/article/mount-vernon-conference/
Shay’s rebellion, a tax revolt over an excise tax on whiskey, happens in Massachusetts. That rebellion is what prompted Thomas Jefferson’s famous quote on liberty and the blood of tyrants. Throughout 1786, the Annapolis convention is held in which commercial issues are discussed. At the end of the convention, the men present suggest having a much larger convention in 1787 to straighten out the problems plaguing the country.
The Annapolis Convention: https://www.britannica.com/event/Annapolis-Convention
Shay’s rebellion: https://www.history.com/topics/early-us/shays-rebellion
Thomas Jefferson quote about liberty: https://genzconservative.com/thomas-jefferson-on-liberty/
Shay’s rebellion is utterly crushed by an army led by Washington. Then, the federal government passes the Northwest Ordinance. It is the main achievement of the government created by the Articles of Confederation and is the basis for organizing territory in the West. At the Constitutional Convention, delegates draft, argue about, and finally adopt the new Constitution. It is sent to the states for ratification. The first of the Federalist Papers and Anti-Federalist Papers are written as debate about the Constitution heats up. Delaware is the first state to ratify it, followed soon afterwards by New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The Federalist Papers: https://amzn.to/2WEndsY
The Anti-Federalist Papers: https://amzn.to/2MPyua0
What the Anti-Federalists were For https://genzconservative.com/what-the-anti-federalists-were-for/ :
My review of The Anti-Federalist Papers: https://genzconservative.com/anti-federalist-papers-summary-and-analysis/
The Constitutional Convention: https://history.state.gov/milestones/1784-1800/convention-and-ratification
Nine states have ratified the Constitution by June, with men like George Marshall supporting it, and since that is 9/13, the Constitution becomes operative. Other states continue debating on ratifying it.
George Washington is elected president and the First Congress meets in New York to begin legislative work. The Judiciary Act creates the federal judicial system and John Jay is appointed head of it. He becomes Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
The Judiciary Act: https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/judiciary.html
Rhode Island finally ratifies the Constitution. It is the last state to do so.
Virginia ratifies the Bill of Rights and those go into effect. They are a key Anti-Federalist victory.
Thanks for reading this sparse but (I hope) informative American Revolution timeline. I remember occasionally looking for an American revolution timeline in the past, so hopefully this is a good resource. Credit to it goes to Oxford World Classic’s version of The Federalist Papers. Their American Revolution timeline provided the basis for this one.
By: Gen Z Conservative
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