General Thomas Gage (1721-1787) was the last Royal Governor of Massachusetts and the commander in chief of British forces in America. Succeeding Gov. Thomas Hutchinson during an extremely tense period with the colonists in 1774, Gage exacerbated the situation by trying to enforce parliamentary policies, including the Coercive Acts, which only intensified colonial hostility towards British authorities. He ordered the advance on Concord, Massachusetts, to seize arms and ammunition. In hindsight, Gage's actions were the most immediate causes of the Revolutionary War.
Though he thought himself a defender of the rights of mankind, and though he married a headstrong American woman, Gage simply could not understand the Americans' grievances or their cause. He went from being the most powerful man in North America (in 1774) to an impotent general incapable of securing victory against colonial rabble-rousers, despite the fact that he had the world's most powerful military at his disposal.